Circle Dash invites pairs of students to successfully, silently switch places in a circle before a center person can take their open space. This strategy encourages the development of non-verbal communication, risk-taking, making and accepting offers, and observation skills. It can also be used as a metaphor for other spaces in class or in life in which non-verbal communication, risk-taking, and strategizing are necessary.
Everyone stands in a circle. It may be useful to mark each person’s space with a small piece of tape or some other floor marker. Introduce the activity: We will begin by silently “switching places” with one other person in the circle. Explain that when two people agree to swap spaces they must both commit to completing the switch. Begin playing. After a number of switches have been made discuss strategies that were most successful. Any questions? Next, remove one space in the circle and stand in the middle of the group. Explain that while the group is making silent switches a person in the middle will try to get to an open spot before the people who are trying to switch make it to their new spot. The person left without a spot goes to the middle. Play the game. Each person controls the number of times they want to switch places. If someone is in the center too long the teacher can call out ALL DASH! Which means that everyone finds a new space including the person in the center. Last person to a space is the new center person.
- What did you notice about yourself as you participated in this game?
- What strategies did you use to get the attention of, or communicate with your switching partners?
- What strategies did you use to “out switch” the person in the middle?
- What does it take to make this game “work”? How might those things be useful in our classroom work?
- Be sure to make eye contact with someone before you try to switch places.
- Please be aware of each other’s bodies when switching places and moving through the circle.
- More than one pair can switch at a time – so make eye contact and go!
- Establish a rule that students cannot switch with the person next to them. This makes the switches a bit more complicated, which can help the center person get an open space.
- Establish a rule that each participant can only be in the center once. If a player gets in the center a second time, a new center person takes their place. When playing with this rule, it can be helpful to establish the “group goal” of giving everyone a turn in the middle the circle.
Theatre for Community, Conflict & Dialogue by Michael Rohd