Complete the Image
Complete the Image is a fast-paced activity in which students work with a partner or as a large group to quickly create a series of two-person images based on a theme, event, or situation. Complete the Image challenges students to use their whole bodies to make meaning as they explore proximity, shape, and levels in space through a series of images over time.
Teach the Strategy: Invite students to sit together and face the largest open space in the room or invite students to site in a large circle. Ask two volunteers to come up front or to stand in the middle of circle. Ask the volunteers to shake hands and freeze their entire bodies, including their facial expression. Process the image with the rest of the group: What is going on in this image, in this moment, between these two people? What makes you say that? What else could it be? Invite the group to make multiple interpretations. Then, invite a volunteer to come up and tap out one of the frozen characters while the other person stays frozen in the handshake. The volunteer then creates an entirely new frozen image by placing himself or herself in a new position in relationship to the already frozen person with their arm outstretched. The new person can make a physical connection to the person or they can be separate. Invite the group to make meaning, again, of what they see. What is going on in this image, in this moment, between these two people? After ideas are shared, explain the strategy: In a moment, our job as a group is to make as many different images as possible. We will keep subtracting and adding a person to the two-person image to make a new image as quickly as possible. The new person coming into the image will always make the new image. We can explore realistic or abstract images. Any questions? Students work together to create an uninterrupted flow of images. Encourage as many students as possible to play as often as they can. All image making is silent. The group does not make verbal meaning of the images.
Explore the Strategy: Invite the group to find a partner and create a frozen handshake image together. Then, all groups work simultaneously, in their own time, to create a flow of images rehearsed before. Introduce themes related to content (communication, jealousy, family, high school, fame, immigration) for students to use to inform their partnered images.
- How did it go? What did you notice about the images we created?
- How was it different to do this exercise in pairs as opposed to in a large group?
- How did the images change when a theme or idea was added?
- Explore the space (physical levels as well as the floor, walls, or doorways).
- Remember that your face and attitude is a large part of the images you create.
- Go with your first (appropriate) idea. Don’t think about it too much. Practice being in the moment.
- Reading/Writing or Social Studies: Invite students to explore themes from literature as part of reading comprehension or explore arguments on a key social issue as part of persuasive writing unit. Engage with complex moments in history at the top of unit as a pre-assessment or at the end of a unit to share feelings and discoveries about learning.
Augusto Boal; Michael Rohd