The Storytelling Circle introduces story games which help break the ice for any new group, and allow people to get to know each other. Moreover, these games are commonly used by teachers during the first week of school, but can continue several weeks into the school year. The information below was found at the following at the Detales.net, Module 2 – Digital Storytelling, The Storytelling Circle online website.
The word ‘game’ should be used with caution at the start of the storytelling circle, as some participants can feel intimidated, threatened or just turned off by the idea of playing games. Once the confidence of the group has developed, then the word can be introduced more.
Props for the Storytelling Circle: The Teacher should provide: Pens and paper, A bag containing household objects (game 4)
- Interview the person next to you (Ice-Breaker)
This is a useful way of getting to know people within the group and helps provide more information about them than would normally be gleaned if people introduced themselves. It is easier to share information about someone else than it is to talk about yourself. This interview is a good way for the group to relax and feel confident enough to tell their story.
- Remembering Names (Ice-Breaker)
This game is particularly well suited for a younger age class.
One member of the group introduces themselves and provides one fact of interest they wish to share, the person sitting next to them then repeats this information and adds their own introduction and shared item. By the time the last person is reached there will be a lot to remember – the Trainer may choose this role for themselves.
Example: John says “your name is Mary and you like golfing, you’re Pete and play the drums, you’re Janet and you make fancy dress outfits and my name is John and I don’t like spiders”.
- Mystery Objects
Each member of the group is asked to randomly choose an item from the memory bag provided by the Teacher. They are then asked to share the memories or feelings that the object conjures up. If a member of the group cannot think of anything to say, choosing something different may make things easier for them. The Teacher should provide help and encouragement when needed so that everyone is able to connect with the item.
Objects may include: a toy car, a remote control, a watering can, a tin of soup, a train ticket, anything that may evoke memories.
The Teacher should point out which parts of the story work well and asking questions may help to reveal themes of interest that the storyteller may wish to explore. Careful questioning by the Teacher reveals a more interesting aspect to the story.
- A childhood toy or game
This can reveal a lot about the storyteller. Allowing them to dwell on childhood helps expand the memories and emotions that were important in shaping the way their lives have become. It may show a rebellious streak, a passive nature, the adventurer, the leader of the pack or perhaps illustrate that for the older generation toys were not that easy to come by and so were very precious.
- Make Your Mind Up
Participants are asked to write about a time in their lives when they made an important decision. They are free to describe it as they wish, but they are limited to exactly 50 words. This game fulfils two purposes. Primarily it looks at the theme of important decision making in life and the resulting feelings that were created. Secondly, it attempts to instil in them the value of tightly edited text.
- The First Time
The storyteller spends 10 minutes writing about an occasion when they did something for the first time and how it made them feel and the impact it possibly caused for others. The story is then shared with the rest of the group.
Each participant creates a list of 10 things they love and 10 things they hate, and they read these out to the others in the group. This is useful as the list may produce a topic for a potential story and allows the Trainer to explore the themes more fully. The Trainer then encourages them to re-read the list with emotion and feeling assisting with the range of tones and inflections in their speech which will be useful when it comes to recording their story.
With the assistance of the Teacher one of the themes explored as a result of playing about three of the above games could be expanded to become the basis of their own Personal Story.
The participants are invited to read out their first drafts to the rest of the group. Feedback is given by the teacher, and supporting comments given by the other participants. The storytelling circle can catapult the quality of the final stories to a new level, emphasizing the need to incorporate a few simple tricks and techniques to produce a strong final script.