Re-shuffling the roles

On index cards, one each, write tasks, roles, resources, decision-making, access to information that go with each position in the organization. E.g., the production worker in the coop, the manager in the coop, the union steward, etc.

Draw one card for each position: steward, president, member, etc.

Line up the roles, resources, etc that belong to each position.

Then, re-distribute the roles, etc. in teams -- what is the best way to distribute roles, responsibilities, why? Are new positions needed? Are some existing positions superfluous?


I got this idea from a TedX talk by Chris Lonsdale: "How to learn any language in six months."(

The concept is simple: create a simple 3x3x3 matrix of three nouns, three verbs and three adjectives. Make sentences using one of the nouns, one verb, and one adjective. The goal is to make as many meaningful combinations as possible.

The players should feel free to add other words and parts of speech, but the basis of the sentence should be three words from the matrix.

One sentence symphony

As a child I remember playing a game in which one person made a repetitive mechanical movement, with a sound to match. The next person added a new movement and sound, and so on, until the participants had assembled a big, clanking, wheezing machine.

In this activity, the first player says one word, again and again, establishing a beat. (1, 2, 3, 4 --> The, The, The, The...) The next player adds a word and another rhythm. (1, rest, 3, 4 --> time, --, time, time) Each successive player builds the sentence and the sound.

Roles and Positions

Take the checklist of actions and think about who does what? Then think about roles -- which actions are grouped to form roles? And positions -- how do positions and roles overlap (or not)? E.g., as a teacher, I have an institutional position that is material and ideological. Some roles are built into that position, others are assumed but can be removed or redistributed. The point is not to drop the roles or powers, but to redistribute them, to reconfigure the relationships.

How is protagonism a gathering of roles? What roles are needed to constitute protagonism?

Thinking out loud (for someone else)

I'm sure this has been done before, but it occurred to me as well. (It's like the Kani Club activity "Words from the Heart" where the players add side commentary, sharing their true feelings out loud as if only the audience could hear them.)

Four people improvisation game.

Two people are the players, the other two are their shadows.

The two people meet each other for the first time. (The audience can choose a place beforehand.) They improvise a conversation, starting with a greeting.

Benshi narrators

In the old days, silent films were often shown with music and a voice-over provided by live players. In Japan, the narrators were called benshi. (Akira Kurosawa's brother was a benshi, a leader of the benshi union until talkies came in and he committed suicide.)

Verification -- je vous salue

Verification is a key concept/practice for Jacotot's ignorant schoolmaster. Often it is a question of verification through reference to a shared object of study. ("I see ten people in this picture." -- Really? I see six, let's check...) But verification is also about testing mutual understanding between individuals, and, as such, about recognition.

I have a letter, aka, Fruit Basket

This well-known game is great for language learning, for modeling participatory learning, and for stimulating thought about a theme.

The flow is easy: the joker stands at the center of a circle of seated people facing in. The joker says, "I have a letter for everyone who..." and adds some description. For example, "I have a letter for everyone who has glasses." The people with glasses then have to move to different chairs. The person who ends up without a chair becomes the new joker.

Drawing for the audience

Adapted from the judging technique used in the Kani Club performances.

Using the same procedure as in One line drawing, teams compete. However, instead of pleasing the judge, they have to please an audience. And, instead of waiting to the end to get the feedback, the audience votes each round. After each vote, one audience member tells the artists what s/he wants to see next. This way, each round should make the drawings incorporate the desires or ideas of the audience as well as the artists.