I have a pretty reluctant second period class with a few vulnerable students and some who don’t quite click with the whole spontaneity thing that we try to cultivate in theatre. We played the following game yesterday with enormous success.
They were in groups of three, standing in a circle. Extra kids in groups of four works.
I handed out INDEX CARDS with the names of animals on them, having made enough so that each group could choose between two animals. Illusion of choice is key here, because scared teens often behave like toddlers, so just giving them the illusion that they are making a decision can be very effective.
Each group makes a sculpture of their animal with one person in the middle as the face and the other on the sides as ears or legs or whatever. Example is “elephant” where one makes trunk, other two make ears.
Each group then performs their sculpture and teaches it to rest of class. Groups huddle and make sure they know a few others.
One person goes in center of circle. They can either point to any random group of three and say the name of an animal, in which case the group has 10 counts to form it, or say “Deer in Headlights” in which case all three must stand stock still with their eyes wide open.
If this doesn’t happen fast enough or happens in an unclear manner, the person in the center switches with that person and the game continues.
Fast, friendly, and ridiculous. Every class loved it. Give it a try!