Count Up-Count Down
Students sit in a circle. As a group they count out loud and in unison from one to ten. However, when they say one, they say it very quietly and small, and then the volume and energy increase with each number so that by the time they get to ten they are jumping and yelling it. Then they go back down. Starting at the loud and crazy “ten” and counting down to a clam and quiet “one”.
In the Classroom:
At day three of an improv class for teachers, a kindergarten teacher came in with this game that she found the night before on the ImrovEncylcolpedia.org website. She came in almost unable to control her excitement about this warm-up, while the secondary teachers in the room looked at her with a "why is this a big deal" expression on their faces. She then explained that this was a skill that she struggled with every year: How to get kids to monitor and control their level of their excitement. The challenge of bringing kids down from a frenzy, or having them hold off on reacting until the right time was an extremely difficult issue. (Every secondary teacher in the room was thinking "I could never be a kindergarten teacher" while she was sharing this story!)
Secondary teachers have the opposite problem, however. By the time kids get to high school they have learned this lesson so thoroughly that they would never think of actually expressing an emotion in front of other people. This game gives those kids permission to do so! And maybe reminds them that showing some emotion is not a bad thing!
It is also a nice “energizer” for older kids and adults.
ImprovEncyclopedia.org is an incredible resource for improv games and information. It’s the ultimate clearing house for all things improv. A website put together by people with an obvious love and passion for Improv, and a ton of time on their hands! Its biggest problem is that there is so much there, so many games available, that it can become overwhelming.