Quiet Coyote Grabs Attention
There’s a lot going on whenever you bring a group of people together for a game. Some people will be nervous. Some people will be angry. Some people simply want to shoot the bull with their friends.
In order to have a successful group experience you need to get everyone on the same page quickly and as naturally as possible. With younger children you can use a “Quiet Coyote” (see above) or “when the hand goes up, the mouth goes shut” approach to focus redirection.
My group likes to argue about the focus device – is it a Coyote? A Focus Fox? What about Silent Spiders? And off they go into the woods again. In this case, getting them up and moving them to another location is a good way to get everyone into the same head-space.
Here’s a simple event flow that brings people together around your activity:
Fast, fun hilarious stunts capture attention, get people laughing and loosened up. If you have energetic, enthusiastic song leaders then a couple of songs can bring people together socially and spiritually.
This is a transitional move designed to focus attention on the main event. You can have people move to tables, fill out a questionare, make name tags. If your learning experienced is themed, this would be a good time to introduce theme music, dim the lights, don costumes or whatever is appropriate.
Here is the main event where everything works to reinforce the emotional state of the experience. For instance, if your learning experience has to do with the Israelites’ 40 years in the desert, here is where you turn on the halogen lights and turn up the heat. Do your best to get everyone into the essential experience of the lesson.
Debriefing and Decompression
Essentially your group has just taken a hero’s journey. You’ve gotten the goods, now is the time to return to the real world. Spend the last 15-20 minutes of group time talking about the experience, the emotions and feelings that came up and practical applications in the real world.
The temptation for an educator is to feed the flock, stuff them full of information. But when everything goes well your group will be lit-up, and eager to do it again. Your job is to send them out into the world hungry for more.