Here are two free practical resources that may be useful in the classroom for you, as they were for us when we were coming up and testing our own programmes.
Exercise 1 – Recognising Changes
Pre-exercise explanation: The facilitator explains that changes happen in all of our lives and recognising what these changes are physically is as important as the way that it makes us feel. Then it is explained that this game is about ‘surprise changes.’
Preparation time: None.
To prepare: Ask the students to stand in a circle.
Game: When the students are stood in a circle, everybody closes their eyes. One student is asked to leave the room. This person is the ‘inspector.’ The facilitator then asks three students to make changes to their physical appearance… (One student might take their hair out of a pony tail, One student might unlace their shoes etc.) These changes should be more obvious to start off with and then grow increasingly more challenging as the exercise continues. The job of the inspector is to guess the three changes that have been made to their peers’ appearance.
Debrief: Very importantly, the ‘inspectors’ are asked in front of everybody, how it felt when they were trying to work out what these changes were. As the game has become more subtle, the likelihood is that it caused very mild levels of angst, frustration, nervousness and the feeling of being ‘under pressure’ and in ‘the spotlight’ in front of their classmates. The facilitator can then explain that sometimes when changes happen in our lives, it can bring about these same ‘feelings’ in a very different way. If somebody gets poorly we might be ‘nervous’ or ‘sad’ or ‘worried’, if our bodies change it might make us ‘frustrated’ or ‘angry’ because we feel like we’ve lost control etc. Exercise 2 – What will my day be like?
Pre exercise explanation: The facilitator explains that this game is about what we might like to achieve in our adult life and to get students to think about future and put their dreams to paper.
Preparation time: 5 minutes.
Preparation: Put a blank sheet of paper and a pencil in front of everybody. Have some tranquil music on standby if available. Ask students to sit in a place where they won’t feel distracted.
Game: Ask the students to close their eyes and to relax as much as possible (they could lay down for this in a drama studio or a hall but there is always the danger that somebody may fall asleep.) Put on the tranquil music if you have any available and switch off the lights in the hall. Try and change your voice slightly from the teacher that they are used to hearing day in, day out. This may seem a bit silly but it has much greater impact. Explain that this game is about imagining what life will be like in the future, make clear that this is not supposed to futuristic (time travel, Dr who or robots) but about what they feel like they might want to do or achieve in their lives.
- Ask the students to imagine themselves in a corridor. There is one door on either side and one big white door at the end. Every person feels SAFE in the corridor and it is decorated in their favourite colour.
- The students have to very slowly walk down the corridor, as they get to the first door on the left they see that on the door it reads ‘At Secondary School’. When they open the door, they see an older version of them, five years from now. They are sat at a desk working. They can walk up to where they are sat, look at the work they’re doing, see the books that they’re working from, look at the expression on their face, are they working hard? After a while they walk out of the room and close the door.
- On the other side of the corridor, the door is marked ‘One special achievement.’ Ask the students to picture, before they go in, one thing that they’d love to do in their life – e.g. learn to play the piano, be in a film, climb a tall mountain, cycle hundreds of miles, run the marathon and when they have a clear picture in their mind, they open the door and can see themselves doing whatever it is and having a wonderful time in the process. After a while of ‘observing the feeling of what is taking place’ they walk out of the room and close the door.
- The final door at the end reads ‘My dream job.’ They think before they go in about the sort of job they might want to do when they’re older, then they walk into the room and not only see themselves dressed ready to do the job that they’ve dreamed of but all of the other ‘special’ people in society around them. Other doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, bus drivers, teachers and a host of others playing a part in the community.
- After a while, they leave the corridor and slowly drift back into the classroom.
The task now is for them to write down some key words and sketch ideas from what they saw when they were dreaming about their future and what they wanted to achieve. They might want to split the page into three, or just sketch random ideas everywhere.
Debrief: The facilitator will obviously include the students feeding back what they saw in the corridor. This debrief should clearly illustrate why it is important to have goals and dreams and explaining what ‘ambition’ is. You can delve deeper by discovering what you need to do to set goals and how you can plan ways to complete them (work out how well you need to do in exams, what you have to do to learn an instrument, what you’d have to do if you wanted to run a marathon in later life.) I hope these two exercises are useful to you, if you would like more information about our ‘Growing Up’ programme which covers the entire KS2 PSHE curriculum in just 50 minutes, you can download a brochure by entering your details here http://keystagetheatre.co.uk/growing-up-2/or for a no-obligation chat just give me a call on 01483 306899.