I heard you fired your boss...

This game is a variation on the "Yes, and yay" improvisation game I learned at Kani Club. The purpose is to be playful and free with language, using a standard form of interaction creatively. Like most games, it can be thematic or simply fanciful. (In any case, it needs to be fanciful.) Finding the creativity and play in each other is an important gain for people working together in groups. Just as we need to re-invent the wheel periodically when it comes to our strategy, we also need to re-discover each other from time to time.

The flow:

Picture thinking

Hegel criticized "picture thinking" (vorstellung) as opposed to conceptual thinking, for some good reasons, but learning finds a good foothold in the creation, description, and analysis of pictures. I think this is because we find in drawings elements produced unconsciously, accidentally. And the drawings we create become objects in common -- something we can look at and to which we can refer in our conversation.

This simple activity can be the opening of a long investigation.

Feel free

This is not so much an activity or technique as a policy. But, it has implications for facilitation and for participants' actions.

At the outset of a course or workshop, as part of my self-introduction, I explain that there is one general rule that is very important to me, that is that everyone should feel free. (This is constantly evolving as I learn more about what feeling free can mean.)

The spiel:

People should feel free to be comfortable:

  • to stand up if they need to stand up,
  • to leave the room if they need to leave the room,

"This sucks, this is my heart..."

This activity is a variation on "This is Not a Pipe" and Se Murio Chicho.

Standing/sitting in a circle.

The joker starts the game by pretending to pick up and hold in his/her hands an imaginary object. S/he considers the object, then declares, "This stinks!" and wrinkles his/her nose.

My People -- poetry activity

Not a new idea, but a particular use of it that has worked very well. The activity revolves around a close reading of a poem by Langston Hughes, using an eraser…

In this activity participants memorize/study the following short poem by Langston Hughes.

My People

The night is beautiful.

So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful.

So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.

Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.


  • write the poem on a blackboard
  • ask everyone to read it silently