Activity time: 8 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Think of an example you can use to demonstrate "I Object!" - something that really bothers you, which children will be able to relate to.
Description of Activity
This activity will give all participants an opportunity to be heard while they voice their opposition to something that bothers them.
Form a circle. Explain, in your own words:
Most of us have noticed something in our world we think is wrong. We might think it's wrong that we have to do homework. We might think it's wrong that people drop litter on the ground, or that there is war. Or, like Maria Cook, we might think it's wrong to keep people quiet just because they are girls and not boys.
Maria objected. She did it without screaming or hitting. She did it by standing up and speaking out. We are going to try that now. Each person who wants to will have the chance to come into the circle and say "I object! It is wrong that ... ."
When the person in the center has stated their objection, together, the rest of us will ask "Why?" Then we will listen carefully as the person in the center explains why they object. We are giving each other practice in standing up and speaking out. And we will learn what some of us believe is wrong.
When the person is done, we will ask, together, "What would be better?" The person in the center can then say what they think would be better.
Model entering the circle to voice an objection. A co-leader can prompt the group's unison parts. You might say:
I object! It is wrong when people drive bigger cars than they need.
Direct the children to ask you, "Why?" You might say:
Big cars use a lot of gasoline, which contributes to global warming. Then everyone on the planet suffers because of some people's cars. And big cars take up too much room on the roads and make it hard for little cars and bicycles and people walking.
Direct the group to ask you, "What would be better?" You might answer:
People should buy more fuel-efficient cars. Car companies should only sell cars that get reasonable gas mileage. People who do not need a really big car should get a small one, or not use a car. People should drive less and walk or bicycle more!
Including All Participants
Children who may be uncomfortable speaking in front of the group can actively learn as they listen and respond to others in the circle. Avoid putting anyone on the spot; ask for volunteers rather than going around the circle and asking each child to take center stage.