That Person Over There made it's debut as a no-prop activity in, The Empty Bag (Hammond & Cavert, 2003 - Find it Here). I added Chiji Processing Cards (shown above) to the next version for the activity in The Chiji Guidebook. In this first Chiji version of That Person Over There, everyone picks a card that represents a characteristic of themselves (e.g., for me I could pick the Turtle card and say I'm self sufficient). As the cards are exchanged, people are sharing the characteristic of the person that belongs to the card they are holding. Sharing one characteristic with others is fairly (but not always) easy to remember - so a pretty easy challenge.. In the newest variation I ask my participants to share a bit more about themselves in order to take the learning a little deeper.
That Person Over There: Stories I ask my participants to choose a Chiji image card (all the cards are spread out on a table or on the floor) that reminds them of an uplifting/happy story in their lives - a story they would be willing to share with someone else. When everyone has a card (with a story in mind) I ask them to find another person in the room and share their story (if they need someone to share with just tell them to raise a hand up and look for someone else doing the same thing - get together and share).
After each person shares their story with their partner the two switch cards. Each one then goes off to find someone else to talk with. When they meet up with a different person they will be sharing the story of the card they are holding and pointing out the person the card (story) belongs to. For example, if I have Katie's card I say, "This card belongs to Katie, she's over there (I point to Katie), the one in the blue shirt. She chose this card with a present on it because she loved Christmas time as a child - and still does." Then. my partner would do the same - point out the person who belongs to her card and then share the story. After we both share we exchange cards and go off to share the new story we are holding.
As I'm sure you can surmise, this activity is like the game Telephone. Messages have a tendency to change the more they are passed along. So, after about three minutes of exchanging stories I ask everyone to stop. Then, go find the person that is connected to the card in their possession. Have them tell the story they know about the card and find out how accurate it ends up. If there are some inaccuracies the true story can be shared between pairs. Everyone is asked to circle up after they get their card/story, back.
Powerful Lesson I'm sure it's obvious to you what major lesson can be drawn from information that changes as it's passed from person-to-person (e.g., gossip) - basically, you might not be able to believe all that you hear because of this dynamic. For me, there is a more powerful lesson from this direct experience. I end up asking the question, "Did anyone check with the person that told the original story about a card you received?" Everyone was milling around in close proximity to each other. It would be easy to check with anyone in the group. So, why didn't we do this? (And, why don't we do this in our everyday lives?) I've had some great conversations around this question in the recent past. It seems to boil down to, "We don't think about asking the person." Why is that? And, what do we want to do about this situation?
Note: Many of you know I'm partial to Chiji Cards, but any image cards can work, even pictures cut out of magazines. My next favorite sets of images are on the Climer Cards.
Let me know how this one goes for you!
All the best,
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.