WAAT for big groups.

Got this great e-mail from Dan Allen of the Loopen Experiment.

Here’s a cool mutation of word-at-a-time that I tried with great success the other night.

So you start off with Johnstone’s all-in Word at a Time in a circle. (You create a rhythm for the story, by collectively clapping or tapping. One-day-I-went-for-a-walk… and so on around the circle to the same beat)

Then I added a competitive element. If you stuff up, ie your word makes no sense or you lose the beat, you’re out of the circle (ala Story Story Die)

But I’m a secondary school teacher, trained in the ways of occupying kids and keeping down-time to a minimum. What to do then with those who are out, and waiting around for the rest of the group to be knocked out? Solution: Those knocked out start a new circle, Circle B. After a few minutes Circle B is getting to be as big as Circle A. Now, if you stuff up the story in Circle B, you join Circle C and so on and so on ad infinitum until the entire room is filled up with fractitious circles all telling different stories and using different rhythms. The sense of activity and joy in the room after 5 minutes is seriously cool.

– It works best if there is a stern judge operating to ping the mistakes (ie the tutor) or if everybody has taken an oath that they will happily change circles if they make a mistake. The more people change circles the better.
– It may be best if just one person in each group taps out the beat, otherwise the noise in the room can be deafening.
– Skills honed: Listening, spontaneity, rhythm, story, logical steps… the list goes on!

1. This is a great time to teach the students about Chivalry!

2. I love, love, love games where everyone is involved all the time. While there are times when it’s good to sit and watch a scene together, most of the time I’d rather have everyone up and doing.

3. Anther option for these kinds of games is to have only two groups, and have people going back and forth. Whatever works for you.

Thanks Dan!


2 Responses to “WAAT for big groups.”

  1. jill bernard Says:

    How do the people just joining the circle know what already happened in the story or doesn’t it matter?

  2. improbable Says:

    Well, hopefully Mr Allen will chime in with his thoughts.

    Here are some possibilities that come to my mind.
    -restart the story whenever someone screws up. New players wait for someone to screw up before joining.
    -a new story starts every time a new player joins. It might be frustrating because you’ll never get anywhere. But it could be quite exciting if when you got out you have to run to the next circle and shout the first words of the new story.
    -new players just have to try and bluff their way through. Kind of harsh, but I think games which are grossly unfair are great for developing chivalry.

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