Thursday, November 25, 2010

"The Line Game"

I am currently running three groups using the Girls in Real Life Situations curriculum. The curriculum is great! I especially like the Girls in Real Life Situations curriculum because it allows for flexibility. One of the activities in Girls in Real Life Situations is an activity, where girls stand on a line when they can relate to statements read by the facilitator. An example of a statement includes, "stand on the line if you like the color red." The purpose of the activity is to show similarities and how the girls are connected in different ways.

The line activity in the Girls in Real Life Situations curriculum reminded me of "The Line Game" from The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruewll. In Freedom Writers, the movie version of the Freedom Writers Diary, Erin Gruwell (played by Hillary Swank) facilitated "The Line Game" with her students. She instructed students to "stand on the line" if the experience she stated related to them. The statements progress from general to more sensitive subjects. Some of statements included, Stand on the line if you... "like rap music," "got detention at school," "feel safe in your neighborhood," and "ever heard gunshots." I work in an inner-city school with high level of poverty and violence in the community.  I felt like this activity would really resonate with my students because of their life circumstances.

I facilitated "The Line Game" in the second session in all of my G.I.R.L.S. groups. The girls really connected with it. (One of my groups actually wanted to do it more than once.) It is a very powerful activity for many reasons. It helps students realize that they are not alone in their experiences. Students are able to see that many of the issues that they are facing other students are facing as well. They also see that some students may be experiencing hardships they have not experienced. It also allows them to talk about tough topics in a safe environment. I have the The Freedom Writers Diary Teacher's Guide, which has a wealth of great activities! It includes instructions and statements for "The Line Game." You can also view a guide for "The Line Game" activity for free by clicking on the link.

For me personally, "The Line Game" opened my eyes to the magnitude of violence my students face. Before doing the activity with my group I read over the statements to myself and thought about which ones they might stand on the line for.  It was disheartening to see my predictions come true. I am glad the girls felt safe and comfortable enough to stand on the line in front of their peers and in front of me.

The group of girls who wanted to do this activity more than once said that it was their favorite activity they did in the group.  Although they were not able to articulate why exactly they felt it ways their favorite, I believe it was because it validated their experiences and made them feel less alone. At the request of the girls in my group, we did "The Line Game" a final time for our last group session.

How will you use "The Line Game" with students? Comment below, email me, tweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

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