Dialogue : Where We're At

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 individual.

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.

For further information on this sort of game click on games listed under DIALOGUE in the INDEX side bar.

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Windows Workshops Dave Calder, The Windows Project ,1997,1998,1999,2009