This activity explores character development, verbal persuasion skills and craft improvisational dialogue. It is safe for a teacher to use without any prerequisite knowledge.
Bus Stop -Improv
Ask for two volunteers. One student sits in a chair and one stands.
Students are at a bus stop and the goal is to get the sitting student to give up his/her seat. The standing student must persuade the other student to relinquish his/her seat. For example, “Can I please have that seat? My legs hurt.” The standing student is not allowed to use physical force to move the other student or to “bribe” the student with money, candy, etc.
Begin improvisational scene. Coach the standing student to use creative techniques of persuasion. Coach the sitting student to refuse to give up his/her seat unless he/she honestly feels persuaded to by the student’s argument. “Oh my back and legs hurt so much I need to stay here and rest.”
Continue scene until the standing student persuades the sitting student to give up the seat. Invite a new student to be the “standing student” and continue.
Remove chair and have two new volunteers stand in front of room “on stage.”
One student names an object he/she finds valuable (pendant from mother, watch from grandfather, etc.). Give that student a random classroom object (eraser, yard stick, etc.) and say, “Pretend this is your valued object.”
The other student is responsible for persuading the student to give him/her the valued object. Remind them of the rules - no physical contact and no bribery.
The students can either act as themselves or choose to be a character. If you decide to use characters it is a great opportunity to introduce characters from a novel or text.
To further extend the activity, designate a setting and a relationship between the characters (students are sisters in a laundry mat that just witnessed a fight between their parents). Basic rules of the game still apply, but improvisation scenes can explore other themes/ideas.