Chain Gang Activity
Students form a large circle and the instructor leads by standing in the middle of the circle. The instructor should model by introducing himself or herself and sharing an experience they have had that challenged them. Someone is then asked to start by making a statement. Someone who shares that experience will then come to the middle of the circle, link arms with the first person, introduce themselves, and state a struggle they have faced themselves. This process continues until all students are linked together to form a chain.
Before beginning this activity students should be aware of the objectives that the teacher has for the community. The specific objectives for this activity are to find commonalities between students, connect through listening and sharing and introduce individuals to the group. Students will be expected to listen well, hold the link throughout the activity and should try to never let someone stand alone. After the activity, students should have the opportunity to comment and reflect as a class.
What is the Objective?
To break barriers between students, surface commonalities and help students get to know each other and their instructors.
ULLG: Cultural understanding and effective communication
CCSS: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Why is This Important?
This activity emphasizes the fact that people are all connected through commonalities and struggles. The aim of this specific icebreaker is to show, through the physical connection, that students share backgrounds, experiences and challenges in order for them to being to form a community of practice with their peers.
This activity is a part of the Diversity in the Making workshop as part of the Beyond Insights workshop series. This workshop seeks to offer all students participating a chance to understand the uniqueness of their own and others’ Diversity. Students engage in an assortment of creative, collaborative projects, ranging across a variety of media to surface their commonly shared struggles, languages and cultural assets.
The workshop’s guiding question is:
How do we come to create together a classroom and a school climate where all of us matter and are valued equally?
This activity was created and run as a part of the Beyond Insights workshop series. The series, done in partnership with the Creative Exploratory at Michigan State University, brings 100 Lansing 6th graders to MSU’s campus one day a week for five weeks to encourage students to explore creativity, innovation, arts, and culture. The experience also encourages students to interact with the local university community and consider college as an option after high school. Students work with MSU Faculty, Creative Exploratory Fellows, the MSU Writing Center, and the MSU Center for Language Teaching Advancement in order to build a holistic understanding of creativity through design and communication, storytelling in writing and video, culture and identity, and digital media. All of the activities were created and run by preservice teachers and MSU faculty with the input of the students’ classroom teachers. More information about the workshop can be found at the link below.