Where We're At was devised as a direct descriptive counterpart to the
MORE PEOPLE THAN PLACE games and in particular What Do You Think
You're Doing? which have a selected incident as their starting point.
However, the difference is only in emphasis. The game and worksheet can
equally be used to note the details for a poem describing an incident or
The worksheet originally went with a table game of squares lettered to
correspond with the boxes (e.g. A for Action) or marked D for Describe, so
that players filled in their sheet according to chance, and a version of the
board is available for work in pairs. However, this approach may be felt to
be too slow for general classroom work and it would then be more sensible
to get all the players to fill in each box in common order to allow for
supervision and to help solve shared difficulties. Players can still keep
the described place secret as in What Do You Think You're Doing? to allow
a guessing game.
Players are asked to select any location that comes readily to mind and to
think of one, and only one, time that they were there. Unless it is intended
that the work should be imaginary (set in space, perhaps, or derived from
say film, fiction or cartoon) it is wise to specify a real place. The players are
then asked to focus their attention, to think of themselves as a camera:
selecting a moment to hold, to freeze the frame, fixing the standpoint in
their memory before they start the description.
Usually players will start from the top left corner, with Objects, then
work around, making lists until each box contains some information. They will
then go over the whole sheet adding descriptive words. Players should be
encouraged to record thoughts and direct speech, to note small but
significant detail, to describe through comparison as well as adjectives.
Feeling should be understood in its tactile sense - but it allows, for
instance, the effect of externals such as wind or sun as well as personal
physical and emotional sensations. Some difficulty will often be experienced
in describing Smells, but it's worth pointing out that there is always
some smell present, even if faint rather than pungent.
When they move from the notes to writing the poem they should be
encouraged to begin the poem at any point that feels right to them, starting
from any of the contents of any box, adding any other, expanding and
revising until the poem begins to acquire a shape and purpose. They need
to be helped to feel that they can jump in anywhere, that a poem does not
have to start at "the beginning".
This game can be adapted to suit particular themes or specific activities:
such as sports or holidays.