The Marshmallow Challenge

Haka Variations

Use the haka form to practice the body language of other emotions and attitudes: instead of intimidation, how about love, shame, flattery...?

Use it with language, as a kind of competition -- each side having its players say something in English, different for each player, showing off their language skill and clever ideas.

Use it with sounds, each side taking turns making one sound or word, like my name "Matt." The leaders can coach their teams and tell them which word is next.

Three by Four

Adapted from "Two by Three by Bradford" in Augusto Boal's Games for Actors and Non-Actors.

Team of three. Player one says, "One". Player two says, "Two." Player three says, "Three." Player one says "Four." Repeat the sequence again and again, picking up speed.

Once the team is smooth, the joker introduces a sound in the place of "one." The teams play again, this time using the sound in the place of "one."

Once the team is smooth again, change the sound into a word.

Repeat until all four words have been replaced by words and the team is saying a sentence.

Reverse Google Translation Poetry Slam

Idea for an activity:

Take a text, in another language, that you love (poem, song, whatever).

Use Google translate to translate it to English.

If the result is sufficiently strange, copy it, reduce it, and perform it like a poem at a poetry slam.

If the result is too normal, try translating the translated version into a different language, then from that language into English, or into another language -- repeat until you have freed the words from the original text.

Dating Game

The idea is to start a discussion of a famous person (or text, artwork, etc) using the Dating Game format.

There are three roles: the Joker (emcee), the player, the potential dates.

The flow:
The player sits separated from the three potential dates.
The joker introduces the player.
The joker then asks the dates to introduce themselves in one sentence that will be attractive to the player.
The player then proceeds to ask questions, to one date at a time, trying to find the one who sounds best.

Using FB in class

For a few years I have been using Facebook Groups in my university courses. One technique that has been especially useful is to have students post comments for homework, then, in the following class, read and respond to others' comments, using their smartphones. I also participate, provoking discussion and reflection. It becomes a kind of instant writing/reading process and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun.

If money did not exist

I learned this from Jon Ander Musatadi, a young cooperative entrepreneur from the LEINN program at Mondragon University in Euskadi.

The idea of this activity is to help participants focus on their "Why?" -- the dream or aspiration that drives them -- and give them support from their peers.

The Joker asks participants to write on a piece of paper the answer to this question:

  • If money did not exist, what would you be doing right now?

Worst is best

I learned this from my friend Jon Ander Musatadi, a young cooperative entrepreneur from Euskadi.

The Joker asks participants to think about the biggest problem they face in their work and write it on a piece of paper.

Then, in groups, the participants come up with two solutions: the best solution and the worst. The worst solution is like a nightmare scenario.

Which would you rather...?

Play the game "Which would you rather be?" (have, do, see, eat...)

Do it first for fun, making the questions challenging, surreal, random, etc.

Then do it thematically: which would you rather be: a boss or a worker? A capitalist or a cooperativist? The questions should be real, not rhetorical or testing people's adherence to a political line.

The boss of your brain

In pairs, one person is the Engineer the other is the Robot. The engineer gives the robot instructions. The robot does exactly what z is instructed to do, if possible in the spirit of "yes, and...". It is okay for the robot to fail to perform an action -- that requires the engineer to adapt the instruction. This will be most interesting if the instructions are creative: write a poem, pretend to eat ice cream, explain the meaning of life...