Classroom Activities: “Shape Up” (Identity)On August 9, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
>>BLACK: My name is Talisa Black, and I teach in Georgia, and I teach at a school with the ages of 6th to 12th grade. Yeah, this is a one-room schoolhouse, where all these kids are together, and they’re learning that their voice matters. The first thing we’re gonna do is the greeting activity. And what the kids will do is that they’ll partner up and they’ll greet each other three different ways.>>STUDENTS: High-five. Low-five. Fist bump.>>BLACK: Okay. And with those, you’re gonna say “hello…” All while they’re doing that, it’s saying each other’s names like “Hello, my name is Madison,” or “My name’s Talisa.” And then after they do that they’ll take some time to, you know, share three things that they have different– see or have different with each other, and then they’ll show three commonalities that they share the same. We’re gonna do a couple activities. One thing you’ll see is that there’s times you can start to see like you and somebody from the outside can see like “oh my gosh”… The next activity that we’re gonna do is a Venn diagram, which the kids will have two circles that overlap and they’ll put each other’s name– one on top of each circle, and then that the part that overlaps, they’ll write the things that they share in common. So now, we’re gonna move to the Venn diagram. Now with this, you’re gonna take a piece of paper. And so, on the outer circle– Can I see one of those? So, what you’re gonna do is– so like, for instance, like Madison and Noah– so on one side, you’ll write Madison. And on the other side, you’ll write Noah. You understand that?>>STUDENT 1: So like, on this side–>>BLACK: You’ll put your name on one side– And then, on the outside, where the circles don’t overlap, they’ll write the things that they have that are different or the things that they see different about each other, where whether one’s the first born and one’s the baby of the family or favorite colors red and orange.>>STUDENT 1: I’m not a twin, and she is a twin. We’ve both been to Colorado. We both like to play tennis. The oldest out of all our siblings. And both have some siblings.>>STUDENT 2: I’ve played sports, and she hasn’t. My favorite animal is an elephant, and hers is a unicorn.>>BLACK: And then the last activity we’re gonna do is the shape-up activity. In the activity, we’ll start off by having– dividing the groups up into the four, five, or six people in a group. I’m going to give you a blindfold, and you will be blindfolded. Everyone will be blindfolded but the leader. I’m gonna draw a shape on the board and the leader in the groups– your job is to direct your team in how to make that shape through just giving instruction only, right? The first shape we’re gonna make is a triangle. The leader’s job is going to be to give them the instructions, so when they’re blindfolded, that leader will tell them you know, “Okay, we’re gonna make a circle,” so they’ll tell– they’ll tell the person, “Hey, Malachi. You take two steps back, and Joey, you take a step to the right and shift your hand over just a little bit,” so they’ll be the only one that can actually see the shape forming, and then the others will just simply follow the instruction of the leader. You definitely have to be willing to follow, and so, this will give them an opportunity to see like hey, I can’t see what’s happening, but I have to be willing to listen and follow the person that can see what’s happening. Some of the leaders that could see just shared this– how difficult it was to not actually physically move each person. What are some things you saw happen when you were given instruction or what was some things you ran into?>>STUDENT 1: When I said somebody else’s name, the person that I didn’t ask would step back. But–and it was really hard for me not to touch them and like move them.>>BLACK: But I noticed that over here, where there was a couple times that everybody was blindfolded but Gracie, but specifically Ty’shawn and Noah were like telling everybody “Use one finger. Don’t use one finger. Use one hand. Don’t use one hand.” And I was like, how do you– I think somebody said how do you know– Ethan was like “How do you know we’re not supposed to use one hand? How do you know? We’re all blindfolded.” One thing I loved was that when the kids started to really look at their differences and their similarities, they didn’t— there was– I don’t remember anyone saying “Well, you’re black and I’m white” or– we can focus so much on what how we’re different that we can miss the things that we have in common that really, you know, as humans, and as people that we just love to do– whether it’s eat a hamburger or ride a bike or dance in the park or draw. You know, those are all things. And so I think that was a big one, and then another was just like really learning how to lead and looking at someone else and saying “How do I help this person get to where they need to be?” from their point of view as opposed to trying to– I need you to come be where I’m at. I think these activities really give us a great opportunity to teach the kids how to communicate and also give them understanding of where someone else could be coming from or even a sensitivity to stop and look at somebody else’s point of view instead of just saying this is what I think should work or this is what I think we should do, but really being able to stop.