What is it?
In this game, players work on concentration and body control, which supports their ability to move around the classroom, to freeze in a focused way, and to maintain personal space. Level two supports the development of cooperation, as well.
If you would like to use a variety of movement Writerly Play games in your classroom, this is a great foundational activity to introduce key skills needed for success (concentration, body control, etc) in a fun way.
How to Play:
Begin by asking the players to spread out across the playing space. For young or particularly lively groups, preset carpet squares or masking tape x's to streamline the process of finding well-spaced spots.
Players should strike a pose. The facilitator is the museum guard who strolls through the "Hall of Statues." When their back is turned, players can move as much as they like, but when the guard turns to look at them, they must be completely frozen. If the guard catches a statue moving, that player is sent to the audience to watch as the game carries on.
Level two adds a cooperative challenge. The statues must move a small object across the room without being seen moving. Establish a clear starting and ending point for the object before beginning the game. There are a couple added rules in this version:
- If the player with the object is caught moving, the object resets at the beginning.
- No player may carry the object for more than two steps.
- All the players win if the object makes it to its destination. (Sometimes the best thing a player can do is to move and get caught to distract the guard, for instance.)
With a large group, the audience can get antsy when waiting for the last players to be seen moving by the facilitator. Consider:
- Playing until about half are "out" and then trying again.
- Playing until about half are "out" and then awarding crowns for specific winners, such as "most daring," "most unusual pose," "most impressive freeze," or "best able to hold in a laugh."
- Playing in a non-competitive way, where all players are attempting to move across the room (or move the object across the rom) and sending anyone who you catch moving back to the starting line.
Instead of taking on random statue forms, players can take on specific characters—from a story they're writing, from a story the class is reading, etc. Movement and frozen poses should be as "in character" as possible.
Instead of taking on human forms, students can choose objects that fit into a setting, such as a forest, a busy city, or an amusement park. This approach can be used to introduce a new subject matter, as well. Facilitators might use a set of index cards from which players can choose so they are better introduced to the kinds of objects that might be in a rainforest, a science lab, or a candy factory.