An activity played in a circle, as a kind of visual Chinese Whispers; and an appreciation / observation activity

Participants

5-15

Time

5 mins

Energy Level

**

Individual

**

Team

***

Visual

****

Verbal
Physical

**

Teacher says:

“A volunteer, please, to make a facial expression – perhaps happiness or sadness or some other emotion. Now, holding that expression, turn to the person on your left. Person on the left, copy the expression as exactly as you can, and swing round to your left, and pass the expression on to the next person.

“Once you’ve passed it on, you can keep it or relax it, as you prefer.

“At the end of the round, the person to the left of the original volunteer starts a new expression, which is also passed round the whole group. And so on, until everyone has launched one expression – or more.”

Sidecoach

  • “Increase the speed.”
  • “Decrease the speed.”

Debrief

  • “What changes, if any, did changing your expression make to your emotional state?”
  • “Could you identify the emotion conveyed by the expressions that the person to your right was making?”

Development

Add a gesture to the expression and pass that round the circle. Then add a posture.

Appreciation Chain

Participants

6-21

Time

60 mins

Energy Level

*

Individual
Team

*****

Visual

*

Verbal

****

Physical

*

An activity that runs parallel with other processes during an event or part of it, allowing everyone to express appreciation of everyone else, resulting in a document of appreciation for each participant to take away.

Teacher says:

“Write your own name on the top of a sheet of paper, and leave that sheet on a desk or table where anyone can see it during the breaks.

“During the breaks, go round to these sheets of paper and write something that you appreciate about the person named.

“You may be the first to start someone’s sheet, or – most of the time – you will be adding to comments already there. You can read those and support them or start a new strand.”

Sidecoach

  • Remind people from time to time that the sheets are waiting to be filled.
  • “Allow yourselves time to think carefully about what to say, rather than rushing to write everything at once.”
  • “Write something different for each person and different from whatever anyone else has written for one person.”

Development

Insist that each comment is based on something observed directly during the current event.

Insist that each comment includes mention of a specific incident between the two people involved.

Debrief

  • “Would anyone like to comment on what has been written on his or her appreciation sheet?”
  • “Would anyone like to comment on anything they have written on the sheets?”

This article first appeared in Teaching Expertise, December 2005.

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