Activity 4: Drinking Gourd Role Plays
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Leader Resource 1, Drinking Gourd Role Play Scenarios
- Ladle (preferably wooden)
Preparation for Activity
- Download Leader Resource 1, "Drinking Gourd Role Play Scenarios." Select scenarios for the group and/or create your own, and print them out.
- Create an area for an audience and a space for the role plays.
Description of Activity
Gather participants in the "audience" area. Say, in your own words:
Just as enslaved people followed the Big Dipper toward freedom, we can imagine that the Big Dipper and the North Star can guide us to act in loving ways. We will try this by doing some role plays together. For each role play, there will be an unfair or unkind situation. One person will hold the ladle (the drinking gourd) and act as the witness to the situation.
Ask if the children know what a witness is; affirm that a witness is someone who sees something happen. Explain that the role-play volunteers will have a few moments to act out the scene, then you will raise the ladle and call out: "Follow the drinking gourd!" The performers will freeze, and you will ask the witness to offer ideas for how they could help the person who is being treated unkindly or unfairly.
For each scenario, assign two volunteers to be the role players and another volunteer to be the witness. If the group is large, invite two or three children to share the witness role. Read the description aloud. Give participants a chance to ask any clarifying questions and then begin the improvisational role play.
When the role play reaches a point where the unfairness or unkindness is very clear, raise the ladle and call out "Follow the Drinking Gourd!"
Invite the witness(es) to suggest actions they might take to stop the unfairness or unkindness. Then invite the role players and audience to share ideas. Guide the group to articulate a few possible actions. You might ask how difficult each action might be, or how much courage it might require. Then, invite each role-player to debrief the scenario. Ask how they felt, acting in their role. Invite the role-players to leave the role they were playing behind by spinning in place and then returning to the audience.
Role play as many scenarios as you have time for.
Including All Participants
If you know children in the group have bullied or been bullied in real life, do not ask them to play that role in a scenario.