8.14.2011

Power Line

Power Line is a terrific teaching tool to explore thoughts and feelings with your students as you help them get to know and appreciate one another. I've also used it quite successfully in trainings with adults! The brain boost participants enjoy as you infuse movement into their day is a bonus. Play this interactive survey game from Vicki Hannah Lein to help students accept one another's differences as well as to learn to be content and comfortable with their own opinions. You will need a space where all students can make a straight line from one end of the room to the other. Students will be asked to get up and find their spot in the Power Line after you explain the directions. 

   Designate one end of the room to represent "I love it!" and the other side to stand for "I loathe it!" Any area in-between is that degree of like or dislike toward the survey item. Start with some easy things like: broccoli, rollerblading, thunder storms. With each new survey prompt, kids respond by moving up and down the Power Line. As they move toward the side which best describes how they feel about that item, they talk with the people around them to find out if that's exactly where they fit. For example, someone who loves broccoli might move to the other end of the room when thunderstorms come up. Then they chat with the people around them to see which of them dislikes thunderstorms more so they can see if they should stand to their right or their left. Since you want the students on a continuum from love to loathe, a student whose opinions aren't as strong might stay close to the middle for all of the initial things surveyed.

   After each survey, ask one student toward the "love it" part of the line to explain why they love that thing. The whole class should listen to what that person says.  Before going on to the next survey, choose someone who is standing in the "loathe it" spot and find out what their story is.  Students start to realize that they all have different background experiences that form their opinions. They will also see that they are indeed different from one another and no one stays in any one spot for very long - not even best friends! Next, move the survey items up a notch. Try items like: willing to sing a cappella right now, would give his lunch money to someone who forgot theirs, would run for student council.
  
   These survey questions can be modified to fit the needs of your curriculum.  If you're studying the Civil War, for example, you might say, "If you see yourself siding with the north go to the right and if you are more likely to have sided with the south go to the other end." Then discuss, making sure that no judgments are put on the students' opinions. After you taken enough surveys for this session, settle students back into their seats and steer them through a reflective discussion about what they learned while participating in the Power Line. Help students come to the conclusion that one's spot in the line changes depending on the prompt. Remind students that just because someone doesn't agree with them doesn't mean that they are wrong. Everyone has a story that drives what they feel. This gives them a right to their opinions, not good or bad, just different! 


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