Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of Leader Resource 2, Animal Posing
Preparation for Activity
- Print out Leader Resource, Animal Posing. You may wish to think ahead of additional living beings, poses children can do to portray them and things the living beings might say, if they could talk. Jot your own ideas on your copy of the Leader Resource to use during this activity.
- If the group has made masks of the story characters and other living beings in Alternate Activity 3, Living Being Masks, you may like to ask the children with the appropriate mask to come to the center of the circle as you call out a name. Once these children find their poses, invite the others to imitate the pose(s) and add their own ideas of what this living being might say. As in the regular version, shift focus to a new character or living being by calling, "In our web of life... " As you call out characters or living beings not represented by any masks, allow any volunteer to come to the center of the circle.
Description of ActivityIn this activity, children explore empathy by pretending to be human and non-human characters in the story, "We Are All One," and other living beings. You will guide participants to stretch their innately human perspectives to imagine the perspectives of other living beings.
Gather children in circle, in a large floor space where they have room to move without touching one another. Say, in your own words:
Just like the ants in the story, all living beings might have things they would want to say to people if they could and if we could understand them. We can't really know what other living beings are thinking, or even if they think at all. But by watching them carefully and by using our imaginations we can have ideas about what they might say to us.
I am going to call out a character from the story or say the name of another living being. You will make up a motion or pose to become that character or animal.
Using the list provided in Leader Resource, Animal Posing, say the name of a character in "We Are All One." Once children have found a pose or a motion to represent that character, invite them to call out things the character might like to say. For example, if they are being the ants, they might say, "Help! We're drowning!"
You may allow all of the children to call out at once. Or, ask them to go around in a circle. If you go around in a circle, start in a different place each time so the same children do not always go first or last.
When it seems to be time to move on to a new character or animal, call out:
In our web of life...
Instruct the children to as quickly as possible re-form their circle, hold hands, and respond:
We are all one.
Then, give the group another character or living being to act out.
If the group is large, you may prefer to select two or three volunteers to demonstrate a pose or motion in the center of the circle for each story character or living being. Only these volunteers will speak as the character or living being you name. Instruct the volunteers to be ready for you to say "In our web of life... " and quickly rejoin the group holding hands in the circle. Choose new volunteers to act and speak as the next character or living being.
As a practice round, have everyone pretend to be the woman searching for the healing herb. Show them the suggested pose (Leader Resource, Animal Posing) of placing a flat hand above the eyes, as if searching for something. Once the children are in the pose, invite them to say things that the woman might have said in the story. Model using first-person language, speaking as the woman; for example, "I hope I can find the herb," rather than "The woman wants to find the herb." After a minute or two, say "In our web of life... " and guide the children to respond, "We are all one."
When you've finished with the characters in the story, give the group other living beings to portray. Use the suggestions on Leader Resource, Animal Posing, or come up with your own living beings and poses. Once the children have gotten into the swing of the activity, invite them to think of their own living beings to portray. When it is time for children to say what theirs might like to say, if it could, prompt with these questions:
- I wonder what this living being loves or hates?
- I wonder what it needs?
- I wonder how this living being would like to be treated by humans?