Show Us is an activity that invites students to work silently individually or in small groups to create a visual representation of an idea, theme, text, event, or character using their own bodies. Students make sense verbally and kinesthetically in this activity as they place their understanding, represented via their bodies, in dialogue with others’ bodies.
Invite students to walk through a defined space without touching one another. Ask the group to create a silent, spontaneous individual or group image of a word on the count of 5 or 10. For example: In groups of three, show us Bravery. Once students have made their frozen images, make observations about the similarities/differences in the images: I see bodies standing open and strong. I see arms up. I see eyes look out to the future. Or, ask half of the students to unfreeze and observe the other students’ images, asking the group to describe what they see bodies doing in space. In this version, it is important to repeat the observation process for the other half of the student images. After observation/meaning-making is completed, either by the teacher or by the group, ask the students to resume walking through the space silently. Then, ask the group to explore another word or phrase through the same process.
- What kinds of images did we make? How were our bodies shaped?
- Why do you think we made these artistic choices? What similarities and/or differences were there between the images we created?
- What do our images tell us about our larger inquiry?
- Work quickly and silently to create your images.
- In a group, make sure you are building upon everyone’s ideas to create the image.
- Place students in different sized groupings for different images (single, paired, trios).
- Invite students to make a series of images to explore a concept over multiple images: family, royal family, royal family during times of war. See Connecting Images.
- Science: Have students explore vocabulary terms or concepts like proton/neutron/atom, evaporation, or cumulous cloud.
- Math: Have students explore vocabulary terms or concepts like perpendicular lines, or a rhombus.
- Social Studies: Have students explore vocabulary terms, concepts, or events related to the study of history or society like monarchy, equality, or the Civil Rights Movement.
- Reading/Writing: Have students explore vocabulary terms, concepts, or events like an inciting incident from a story, Romeo, or a key argument from reading selection.
Brian Edmiston, Rachel Gartside