Erica Marx

Go! with Name Game

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Group awareness


From Ted's blog

Here’s a great head-spinner to get folks moving and peripheral senses sharpening. Standing with the group in a circle, one person (A) starts by saying another person’s (B’s) name. Without moving, B responds to A, saying “Go.” A then slowly moves across the circle to fill in B’s spot. While A is moving B says another person’s (C’s) name. B stays in place until C gives ‘permission’ to move by saying “Go.” On that permission, B moves to C’s spot and the game continues in sequence. For the first round or two, it’s best to make sure everyone gets a chance to say “Go” and then move. You’re building up the game’s rhythm for the more challenging rounds to come. After a few rounds of “Go,” pause everyone and let them know you’re getting to the “Plus” stages of the game.

This time, create a pattern that moves from you to another person in the circle, from them to another, and then to another until it returns home to you. Initiate the sequence by choosing a category (“types of shoes,” for example) and then pointing to that first person on saying something that fits in that category (like “saddleshoes”). Unlike in Sound Ball, the recipient need not repeat what you sent, they only need to pass the pattern on to someone else, naming a different item in that category (like “pumps”). Eventually, the pattern returns home to you. Try that pattern a few times to make sure it’s well-established: each time sending the same item (shoe type, in our example) to the same person you sent to in the original go-round.

Then, clear those decks and establish another pattern with a different category (perhaps “international city,” or some such). Again, make sure everyone’s in the sequence and that the pattern comes back to you at the end. Once you feel confident folks have that pattern down, re-introduce the original pattern you created, executing both at the same time.

Lastly, when you’ve got both of those down, weave the “Go!” element back in. Now, you’ve got two patterns moving around the circle while people are also changing places and saying names and “Go!,” all at once. If the full-blown game sounds chaotic, that’s an appropriate read. When it works though, with kids and sounds breathing in and out of the circle, the game becomes a thing of beauty.

Insider tips:

When establishing the patterns for the “Plus” part of the game, have those who have been included in the pattern put a hand on their head so those choosing where to go next who’s still available.

Make sure that everyone establishes the patterns by sending to different people for each of the “Plus” rounds or it will get really confusing really quickly.

If the group is strong, try introducing multiple versions of each pattern at the same time. You might have one “Go” going, two “shoes” patterns and two “international cities,” for example.

Variation -- 
Add a second person, Have multiple people going at once

Variation with Name Game

Start with just names & gestures

1. Mime something you enjoy doing every day
 -- Name + Gesture + name
 -- Group copies in unison (name + gesture + name)

2. Anyone does gesture
Group responds: name + gesture + name (then that person’s turn)

Introduce Go! game... Now you’ll move…. 

3. Person 1 does gesture + name to the person whose name it is
Person 2 nods (or responds w correct name & gesture)
Person 1 moves to their place as person 2 calls the next person

4. Now smaller and smaller gestures, quieter name calling

5. No gestures, no names. Until just eye contact.

Debrief notes from Go in session lab


The debrief for this game can come as soon as the group fails for the first time (when a person tries to enter a spot before the person in the spot is told to go).

Accountability: Ask the group about fault. Who's fault is it that the group failed? Is it the person walking, that was told to go? Was it the person who couldn't get anyone to tell them to go? Is it the whole group for not making eye contact and telling the person who is stuck with someone heading towards them to go? It's no one or everyone"s fault. There is no single blame. Explain that as a team they succeed and fail together and everyone has something they can add to the group for it to be successful.

Strategy: How is strategy important in this game? What happened when you walked towards someone that was too close to you? How did you fix this?

Communication: Ask the group about the difficulty of getting a person's attention across the circle. If they could not talk (besides the word "go") how were they able to do their jobs?

Seeing what's not happening: Explain how complicated it is to not focus on the person walking and to focus on the person that needs assistance that is stuck in their spot. In this they must focus on what is not happening and leave what is happening alone as it does not involve them.

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