Welcome to Rolling Earth

This website offers tools for education for democratic self-organization and reflections on their use. I hope it will provide a space for discussion and exploration of the use of "popular education" in movement building -- guided by a commitment to equality and democracy. See the website guidelines for more about the mechanics of the site. - Matt Noyes

That's how I feel.

Adapted from "Busca tu cancion" in 101 juegos musicales. See also I second that (e)motion.

The joker writes down three to 10 emotions on index cards, two cards per emotion. (One set of three if you have an odd number of participants.) There should be as many cards as participants.

Shuffle the cards, keeping them face down, and have people pick a card, keeping it hidden from others.

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That's my song!

Slightly adapted from "Busca tu cancion" in 101 juegos musicales.

Choose three or four songs that are probably known to everyone in the group and write each song's title on two index cards. (Or ask each participant to choose a song that they think everyone will know, writing the title on two index cards.) You should have as many cards as participants. (For odd numbered groups, add an extra card for one song.)

Shuffle the cards and have participants each choose one card, being careful not to show it to others.

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Argument Clinic

In this activity a "client" enters an Argument Clinic like the one in the famous Monty Python sketch.

As in the original, one person is the client, the other the Arguer. Also as in the original, there is a time limit.

The objective is simple: to argue just for the sake of arguing. No need to repeat the Monty Python sketch, just feel free to be disagreeable, contentious, contrary.

Variations:

The Flattery Clinic: Client enters room. Greets flatterer. Flattery ensues. Time limit.

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If I had a hammer...

I got this idea from Adiwena (like many Indonesians, he has no last name), a student who responded to the Spiral Model I presented with his own Web of Learning, a model of learning in which the learner is at the center, engaging with a variety of teachers and classes, each of which offers something potentially valuable. The learner has to find the best way to learn in each context, making the most of resources available, and weaving the various courses into the web or pattern of learning s/he needs or desires.

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Bullshit! or The Fourth Grace.

Like the card game of the same name (AKA "I doubt it."), which plays on the joy of lying and the fear of discovery. Mark Twain described lying as "a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend." It is also a fundamental language skill that should not be neglected.

The flow:

  • Give every player 5-15 blank index cards.
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If this meeting were a cup of coffee... radar charts for evaluation

I have given up using the evaluation technique in which you ask people, "If this meeting were a pair of shoes, what kind of shoes would they be? Roman Sandals? Pumps? Flippers?" Or, "If this workshop was a cup of coffee what kind of coffee would it be? Espresso? Turkish coffee? Soy or whole milk?" (I like that kind of thing, but I have found that not everyone does!)

But, we can borrow a tool used to evaluate coffee and other things to evaluate our work: the radar chart. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar_chart)

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The Gift

Learned this at Kani Club.

In pairs, one person (The Giver) mimes giving the other a gift. Her mime should show some quality of the gift -- size, weight, temperature, value, etc.

The Receiver receives the gift in kind (showing its weight, etc) and identifies it. E.g., "Oh what a beautiful lobster! Thank you so much!"

The Giver, in the spirit of "Yes, and...", follows the Receiver's lead, adding some detail about the Gift. E.g., "I pulled it up in the trap this morning and thought of you."

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Feel Free

This is a spiel that I give when beginning work with a new group.

Feel Free

In this course there is one rule: feel free. To me this means three things:

  • Feel free to be comfortable. Feel free to stretch, to sit comfortably, to stand, to use the bathroom. Feel free to make a phone call (outside). Feel free to sleep (outside).
  • Feel free to be uncomfortable. Feel free to be confused, to be shy, to be ashamed, to forget, to be stumped. Feel free to be frustrated, even angry. Feel free to be ignorant, to be mixed up, to be off balance.
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The shared object

A simple approach to emancipated teaching. As my friend Charley once said of a different activity, "This is a double black diamond!" To use this activity well you need to know what you are doing, and not doing, and why.

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Writing into

This is more the seed of activities that can be devised using a common technique, than a worked-out activity.

I learned about "writing into" from John McGough, a TDU organizer and lover of poetry. He sent me this poem by Robert Kelly in which Kelly writes his own poem into Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer." Here's the first bit of Whitman's poem followed by Kelly's version:

Whitman:
WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

Kelly:

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