Zany Characters (Exquisite Corpses)
Contributed by Yael Ben-Zion
To introduce teamwork by collaborating on a visual art piece.
- Before the activity, prepare papers divided into 3 equal parts with dotted lines, with the headers: HEAD, TOP HALF OF BODY, LEGS and FEET.
- Explain that the objective of the game is to collaborate in teams of three to create characters.
- Show the paper to the students and explain that each group will receive one piece of paper and each group member will draw a different part of the character body with one important rule: You CANNOT see what came before!
- Show examples and emphasize that students should go slightly beyond the dotted lines and then fold the portion of the paper they drew on so the next person cannot see it; encourage students to go as whacky as possible.
- Divide students into groups of three and ask them to decide on the order: who draws first, second and third.
- Give students 2-3 minutes each to complete their part of the character.
- When time is up, use a call and response to refocus students’ attention after they’ve created their character and before they share with the whole classroom.
- Create a small ceremony where each group reveals their character and presents it to the whole class.
- Reflection – what did it feel like to create different parts of something together? What is it like to see our different styles of art-making come together? Would the characters have come out better if we were able to see and communicate what we were making?
Transition into Activity
Transition into the activity with connection to past experience: “Usually we draw a whole character by ourselves.”
Transition out of Activity
Transition out of the activity with movement: “Travel back to your seat walking as the character you have created.”
- Prepare in advance paper to be used in the activity.
- Prepare in advance examples to show the students.
- Model with other TA and Classroom Professionals.
- Visuals should be described verbally to support students with low vision.
- Use visual timer or music to time the activity.
- It may be helpful to have the groups planned ahead of time, with the help of the Classroom Professionals.
- Paraprofessionals can be part of a group to support individual students.
Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals
- Can support students who have difficulties with drawing (what to draw, how to draw) or with the group setting.
- Can participate in modeling and art making.
Students can work in break-out rooms and follow the same process of assigning “parts” to draw. They can draw their section on their own piece of paper, and each group member can share on camera their piece of paper for the group to imagine what the character would like put together. Another option, using technology, would be for students to work in separate Google docs, drawing with the pen tool. They can cut and paste their section, and the group can put all three pieces together in one doc or slides. An educator could rotate between rooms to support this process.