Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Improv Game- What are You Doing?

Every Wednesday I am going to label as Wacky Wednesday. This is day where I bring you one of my favorite Improvisation Games, Warm-ups or Brain Breaks. These are a must if you are a theatre teacher.  They are also great to use in the regular education classroom to get kids up moving and get the creativity flowing.

Improvisation: AKA Improv- I teach my kids that Improv is acting without a script. There are several rules you should teach regarding improvisation. We will cover these in a later post. 

Today I simply want to give you a fun game to play with your kids that helps foster creativity. This game is also great for teaching students the importance of say "Yes" in improvisation. One of the huge issues I have at the elementary level is students don't want to accept what is happening in an improv scene. For example one kid will say "Hey there is a scary Pirate Monster over there" the other student will then respond with "no there's not" UGH. This is so frustrating when this happens. And it happens way to often in my class. This game helps teach kids to accept what is said on stage.

Improv games, brain breaks, and warm- up in the theatre/drama classroom

Material: there are no materials for this game! It is free and easy to set up.

Time: This game goes very quickly. The first time you play I recommend going through the game at least twice so that everyone can get their creativity flowing (most kids are pretty conservative the first time they play) after that, this game takes as little as 5 minuets. A great brain break for students!

Before the Game: Divide your students into two even groups. Have the students line up on either side of the playing area (stage). I like to remind students about classroom appropriate behavior at this point. In my class if you say something inappropriate you are automatically out of the game, this usually keeps kids in the safe range. Make sure that you have already defined what counts as inappropriate behavior in your class (I don't allow any "bathroom" humor or play hurting/killing in my class). Then start the game.

Rules: For each round students must follow the below script. Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible with their responses. Once a student has performed they go to the end of the line (or sit down).

Student A begins the game by asking Student B "What are you doing?"
Student B responds with some type of creative activity: Water skiing on an alligator, Eating 10,000 jellybeans, Fighting a crazy shark. (Whatever silly idea they can come up with.)
Student A must then begin acting out whatever Student B said (how silly would you look trying to water ski on an alligator?) Student A must continue to act out the idea until they leave the stage.
Student B leaves stage,
Student C walks on stage (this is the next student in B group) Student C asks "What are you doing?"
Student A must respond with a new silly, creative action.
Student C begins performing Student A's action. Student A walks off stage
Student D enters from A team and the game continues back and forth.

Alternative Rules: I don't typically keep score when playing this game. It is fun enough without worrying  about who wins.  However if you want to add more variety to the game here are some great ideas.
Creativity Points: Give out a point for each student on the team who gives a very creative answer.
Acting Points: Give out a point for each student who commits to really acting out the action (facial expressions and full body movements needed to get the point).
No Repeats: Anyone who gives a similar action must sit out or loose points (eliminates the I'm Fighting a Crazy Shark, I'm fighting a crazy moose, I'm fighting a crazy dinosaur)
Time Limit: Set an amount of time students have to think about their response (for example you only get 30 seconds to respond). This moves the game along very quickly. I do not recommend adding this rule until your students are very comfortable with the game. This rule will stress out some of your students.

I am sure there are other adaptations you can add.  As I said before this game is great for getting students moving. It also helps improve students creativity. Be mindful when playing this game, that this is suppose to be a short fun game. It should not replace basic improvisations that you use in your theatre class. Do you play this game in your class? How does it work for you?

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