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."
This is a spiel that I give when beginning work with a new group.
In this course there is one rule: feel free. To me this means three things:
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.
This game is a variation on the "Yes, and yay" improvisation game I learned at Kani Club. The purpose is to be playful and free with language, using a standard form of interaction creatively. Like most games, it can be thematic or simply fanciful. (In any case, it needs to be fanciful.) Finding the creativity and play in each other is an important gain for people working together in groups. Just as we need to re-invent the wheel periodically when it comes to our strategy, we also need to re-discover each other from time to time.
I thought up this idea for a game to introduce OWS-type consensus decision-making signals, to practice their use, and to spark discussion about the basics of consensus and some difficulties in consensus decision-making.
Circle game, whole group. As in Simon Says, the Jokeri leads the game. Only in this game by making a proposal, rather than giving an order, e.g., "Simon proposes we touch our noses."
Then, all the players "twinkle":
a) up to show their support
b) flat to show their willingness to go along
c) down to show their opposition
It's an obvious idea, but seeing video of people using the People's Microphone, I decided to teach the technique in my English for Activists course and use it for language practice.
This is not so much an activity or technique as a policy. But, it has implications for facilitation and for participants' actions.
At the outset of a course or workshop, as part of my self-introduction, I explain that there is one general rule that is very important to me, that is that everyone should feel free. (This is constantly evolving as I learn more about what feeling free can mean.)
People should feel free to be comfortable:
This is a fun way to get people talking with each other and to help them loosen up. Good for a group where people already know each other and may find it hard to strike up a conversation that isn't stale. Going deeper: this activity frees us from the usual sense of obligation/desire to tell the truth, which may conflict with our feelings of shame or just a sense of privacy. Taking the liberty to lie, to betray our principles, to espouse reprehensible beliefs, may free us from inhibition and help us find new truths.
A warm-up activity that raises (!) the question of power, what/who is powerful and what is not. Should be done quickly, but may lead to discussion that deserves time. This could be a good warm-up for a fuller discussion/analysis using, for example, the power linei activity.
Standing/sitting in a circle.
The jokeri starts the game by pretending to pick up and hold in his/her hands an imaginary object. S/he considers the object, then declares, "This stinks!" and wrinkles his/her nose.