Cut Text

Take a copy of a text.

Joker asks people in a group (or individually) to cut out paragraphs, sentences, clauses, words, until only the most essential content is left.

At each step the person cutting has to justify her/his choice to the others in the group. If they are not convinced, the cutter has to choose something else to cut.

Or, take a text, cut it up by paragraphs, shuffle them and ask groups to re-order them. (It may be possible to find an order that is different from the original, but still valid.)

So you mean...

An idea for an activity based on the game Um, what is...?. I got this idea from Yurie Kumakura.

In pairs, one person tells a story, or makes an argument. The listener stops her from time to time to confirm his understanding. "Okay, so you mean....?" If the listener is correct, the speaker confirms this and moves on. If not, she repeats or clarifies. This can be done in a serious way -- confirming the other person's argument -- or in a silly way, confirming (or misconstruing) the most obvious details.

Something's going right here

Idea for an activity...

In pairs or trios, have one person perform/write/speak/etc.

Others have to observe carefully and identify what is going right.

The idea is to listen/read supportively and to place feedback on a positive foundation. Also, to practice saying yes twice to a text. (Derrida)

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.

Fierce Urgencies of Now (Campos de Fuerza)

In this activity from Técnicas Participativas para la Educación Popular participants form a collective understanding of the most urgent problems they face today and the main strengths or positive factors on which they can draw. The goal is to get the group to form a common understanding of their strategic position at a given point in time. This can be helpful for groups of people involved in different projects, or working in different parts of a project.

The Flow:

What's better than that?

This is a game in which the group builds an idea by accepting and adding to the previous idea (yes, and...).

The Flow:
In a circle, small or large group.

  • Joker asks the group to think of something good.
  • When a player has an idea, they start the play by naming their good thing -- e.g. "A cup of hot coffee."
  • Next player adds to it, to make it better -- "A cup of hot coffee on a cold morning."
  • Third player adds -- "A cup of hot coffee on a cold morning in the mountains."
  • And so on. Continue adding as long as the energy is good.