Students will be able to identify the various aspects of the CROW principle and apply them to their performances by playing “Freeze”.
Play “Location, Career, Death” in three different groups. After the groups are done, go over physicality’s importance once more with the students, discussing what worked and what did not. Remember to tie in the other elements of storytelling!
Step 1: White the word CROW on the board. Inform the students that this is an acronym in the improvisation world. It stands for the most important things one must be able to identify early in whatever game is being played. Ask them to think about what elements of storytelling they just reviewed and how they might tie into this idea. Ask them to guess what each letter represents and write the correct word on the board vertically (under the corresponding letter). They are as follows: • C = Character • R = Relationship • O = Objective • W = Where The students will hopefully guess the C. R will probably be brought up with the idea of “yes, and…” or working as a team. O may be brought up with what is going on or what you want, or perhaps the plot/conflict. W will be brought up with setting. If it helps the students to remember, write the following in parentheses beneath the words: • Character (Who are you?) • Relationship (How do you relate to your partner?) • Objective (What do you want?) • Where (Setting) Go over each word of CROW and discuss its importance, being sure to tell the students that no element is more important than another–they should all carry equal weight.
Step 2 (Instruction): Teach the students how to play the game “Freeze.” This game is played in a large group, the class creating a circle. In the middle of the circle are two people, who are given a setting (W!). The two in the middle must come up with a scene and act it out, making sure to use the elements of CROW and use their physicality well. At any point, someone who is watching from the circle may yell “Freeze!” and the people in the middle must freeze in whatever position they are in at that time. The person who yelled freeze comes into the circle and taps one of the people out (and that person takes the tapper’s previous spot). The person who just entered the circle takes up the person he or she just tapped out’s exact frozen position, and then uses that position to create an entirely different scene, which the other person must use the “yes, and…” principle in order to join and help continue. Remind the students to respect their partners and their audience by keeping the content of their scene school appropriate, as this game as a reputation in older groups to get out of hand very quickly thanks to its quick-thinking and very physical nature.
Step 3 (Class Practice): Play “Freeze” as a class, making sure that all of the students have participated. Make sure you let the students know that each person must participate before you begin. You may have to coax some of the students. If it becomes necessary, freeze the scene yourself and ask the students to enter who have not. As you feel you can, freeze the scene and ask students (by cold calling names) what elements of CROW they have heard in the scene, then allow the game to continue. This should take at least ten minutes, as students tend to deeply enjoy this game and are still just learning it at this stage.
Step 4/Informal assessment: Once the game has picked up and students seem to be understanding the principle of CROW and showing it, ask them to split into three smaller circles. Instruct the students that they must have every student participate at least once within the circle and that they must still be responsible for CROWing. Give all three groups the same setting to start out with (such as a carnival) and then monitor the games, keeping track of who has entered the circle and who has not. If students have not entered the circle, their participation points will be lost for the day.
Before the bell rings, ask the students to return to their seats. Ask students to share some moments of CROW that really worked in their circles.