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Classroom Exercise: Fear In A Hat

One of the keys to Classroom Management is getting students to work well together.

Group work is tricky if students don’t know one another. Why should I share something with this guy who doesn’t say two words in class?

Over the next four weeks the Saturday Exercises will act as building blocks toward a more cohesive group through activities that will help your students learn about each other.

Exercise: Fear in a Hat

Students often feel their particular fears are singular to their experience. Because of this, they’re afraid to share their fears. Nothing bonds a group together quite like the knowledge that their fears are shared. Everyone is in the same boat together.

There are many variations of this exercise. It’s a great activity for students to express their “what’s going to happen in drama class” fears in an anonymous way.

  • Hand out slips of paper with the following sentence starter: In this class I am afraid that…
  • Each student must complete the sentence.
  • Tell students that the exercise is completely anonymous, so they should avoid writing anything that would reveal their identity. Also direct students to be sincere.
  • Collect the slips of paper, fold each one in half, and put them in a hat.
  • Pass the hat around the class and tell each student to take out one of the slips.
  • Students read out the fear on their chosen piece of paper. They then respond by saying what they think the person who wrote the fear was feeling. What what they say to that person?
  • Maintain a level of respect in this exercise. Don’t mock or laugh at the person or the fear.
  • This exercise can lead to a discussion about what students expect or think will happen in the class.
  • Let students know that they do not have to divulge their fear and that you’ll be shredding the pages after class.

Fear Reflection: Have students reflect on the exercise – what was it like to write down something you fear? What did it feel like to discuss the fears? Describe fear using the five senses. Re-iterate to students that they don’t have to divulge their fear.

Alternative: If you want to change the focus of the exercise, use a dream sentence starter: My biggest dream is to…

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