Build a Location
The Basics, Game One:
Split the group in half and have each group on either side of the performance area facing each other. The first player runs into the playing area and announces to the group "I am a..." and then calls out an object and a location that the object is in. That player then becomes the object within the space. Then, the player on the opposite end of the classroom runs in and declares him/her self another object from that same location and then becomes that object. This pattern repeats itself in rapid succession, going back and forth down both lines, until all the players are objects within that location, revealing a rich and diverse setting!
The Basics, Game Two:
The first player goes up on stage and, without words, mimes a character within a location. Once this player has been given time to establish "who" and “where” another player joins the first player, becoming a different character within the same location. This continues until the setting has every possible person in it! At the end of this game the leader might ask each player, in reverse order, where he or she was and what they were doing as sometimes players will misread what other characters were doing and will be in a totally different setting. (The checkout person at the grocery store will all of a sudden find herself as the keyboard player in a rock band...)
The Basics, Game Three:
One or two players enter the center of a circle sit on a chair and close their eyes. This person is the audience. A location is selected and one by one the players in the circle makes a sound from that location, this should create a rich environment created entirely of sound. Some groups may need a conductor to bring players in and out of the mix, and balancing the sounds.
In the Moment:
In all of these games players are encouraged to think deeply about setting. A jungle, or a park or a hotel lobby are very complex places!
In game one speed is key! Have them jump in as fast as they can. Then in the end make sure they can marvel at their creation!
Game three is slower, and can have players simply add to the scene when they feel it is their turn.
Depending on the goals of the game, the leader or the group can choose a location before hand or let the location just happen.
Game two can at times develop into a "telephone" game, where the first player thinks he is at the beach, but the next player thinks they are at a garden, while the seventh player thinks the location is a store. This can be part of the fun, but you may also encourage students to adjust what they are doing if they discover that a new player misread the location.
Writing: Setting is a very important concept for any story. These are great ways to inspire writers to deepen their mental image of the setting and perhaps become more descriptive! Great way to set up a writing prompt!
Reading: These games are a great way to bring a text alive and give students an opportunity to engage with the text. It can be a pre reading activity, where the teacher gives them a setting from a book they are about to read, or a review activity where readers can recreate the sound and feel of a place they just read about! Having a rich image in your head of the sights and sounds of a book is what many people love about reading. This can introduce this idea to students who may not read often.