ONE WORD LETTER WRITING
Purpose: Development of writing and collaborative skills.
Divide the group into teams of two people. Each team has one piece of paper and two pencils. When the leader starts the clock (a two minute time limit is suggested), the teammates are to write a single letter between them, each of them adding only one word at a time. They are to write as quickly as possible, not going back to re-read anything but the last word added.
No attention should be paid to grammar or spelling. Punctuation should be added only as it is needed for the sense of the letter. There is no need to complete the letter. The team should focus on writing one letter to anyone they wish, in any format that emerges. After the two minute period, each letter is read aloud to the group.
An interesting sequence of events emerges when this game is played more than once. At first the letters tend to be nonsensical. This "scribble stage" should not be discouraged; besides, the abstract sense of the ridiculous can be very entertaining. As the game is played more often, the letters will become more cohesive.
TELL ME ABOUT THE TIME
To tap Into intuitive communication skills, verbal dexterity, to increase the ability to speak in front of a group with confidence.
A chair or stool is placed in front of the assembled group. The leader then points to a player and asks him to "Tell me about the time"-that some absurd or fantastic thing happened to him.
"Tell me about the time you sold rat poison on the moon," "Tell me about the time you financed Gary Hart's presidential campaign," etc.
The chosen player has a count of 5 to get from his seat to a position standing behind the chair (he's not allowed to touch, lean against, or sit in it) and to begin telling everyone the story of the time he did whatever the leader has asked about. He keeps talking, expanding on the story until he is released by the leader.
Shyer players may be asked additional questions by the leader to draw them out and to keep the story moving along.
This is a version of the improv game called Silent Take. Use this activity towards the end of the quarter when the students know each other well. It is a little complicated to explain, but here is how it works:
This takes some time (appx. 20 minutes with 20 students), but the students have a lot of fun with it and even those who are not exactly right will often be very close. It does a great job of illustrating how much information we get from nonverbal clues.
Note: YouTube has many examples of improv groups performing this activity (without the gibberish). Search for “Silent Take” if you want to see one.