Knuffle Bunny Charades Activity

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Area: History and Social Studies, Language Arts and Literature
Grade Level: Middle School, Primary/Elementary School
Topics: Communication, Interpretation, Meaning, Philosophy for Children, Philosophy of Language, philosophy of mind, Thoughts, Words
Estimated Time Necessary: 1-1.5 hours

Lesson Plan

Objectives:
Thinking together about language and communication
To philosophize about the possible pitfalls, problems, and peculiarities with communication, language, and their various forms. To ponder about the usefulness and the dependency we all have on language and communication. To respectfully and appropriately  engage and respond in philosophical discourse and conversation with peers. Most importantly, to have fun with the mental exercise!

This activity is an excellent accompaniment to our book-based Knuffle Bunny lesson plan.

Activity: Charades!

“Does everybody know how the game of charades is played?

Explain it for those who do not know.

Model Charades if need be with the example “driving a car”

You may use teams to provide a reward incentive to the winning team which guesses the most cards correctly before time is up or you can have the entire group participate together in trying to guess the card as one student at a time acts out a card until the cards are all used up or time is up.

For participating children, give them one card at a time and ask the student to go up and act out what is on the card within the rules of Charades and have teams/the rest of the class try to guess what their card is.

Activity Card examples: Swimming, playing the guitar, eating corn, playing baseball, riding a bike, being a superhero, walking a dog, jogging, playing video games, lifting weights, being a conductor (train or musical conductor), being a photographer, using stairs, being a zombie, etc.
Object Card examples: drum, scooter, clock, blanket, hula hoop, chair, bread, laptop, airplane, shoes, firetruck, pillow, birthday/christmas present, banana, jello, door, lamp, bridge, ballon, etc.

After each child acts out their card and before the next child goes up, ask:

“What gave their card away?” “What was it that he/she did in their acting which gave you an idea on what they were communicating?”

Use as many cards and play charades as long as time allows and as you see fit. Then, start a discussion. One way to transition would be to say:

“We have had a lot of fun playing Charades and playing with the difficulties of attempting to communicate certain activities and objects without using spoken forms of communication. Let’s now think about why Charades can be difficult and why it is that we may run into similar difficulties in everyday life, like Trixie had in the story.

Post-Activity Discussion Questions:

What were some similarities among the ways in which we all communicated our cards to everybody else?

Mouthing? Pointing? Hand gestures? Acting it out?

Were any methods more effective than others?” “Why or why not?

Did we always guess the cards correctly the first time?

Why might that be? “Is it easier or harder to communicate through symbols/symbolic gestures?

Focusing on Trixie’s situation and/or our friends’ personal stories, why do you all think the attempts to communicate failed or went askew?

In these examples or in hypothetical ones, how would you go about solving the communication problems?

How do we express new or complex thoughts to one another?” Would using multiple forms of communication be useful or not?

How can you be sure that what you are communicating is understood by another in the exact same way that you understand it?

Some words or concepts can have multiple meanings or interpretations, does that play any role in possible miscommunication?

How do we come to know what a word means? Do we all learn words in the same way?” Do personal experiences factor into our meanings and understandings of words or concepts?

Are our thoughts in any way formed or framed by language or other forms of communication?

Can emotions, outwardly expressed or inwardly felt ones, communicate anything? If so, are they effective means of communication?

Can art, like a painting or a song, communicate something?

Does one have to have thoughts in order to have mind? Could you have a mind without any language?

If there were only one person in existence on Earth, would language or communication of any kind exist?

Meditative take-away question: Is our inner stream of consciousness/inner dialogue a form of self-communication?

*Author’s Note: Use as much or as little of this lesson plan as you see fit for your students/group. I designed this lesson plan for an hour long session with a 4th-6th grade combo class, and while this worked great for me, do not feel as though you must strictly adhere to what is on this lesson plan in order to have a truly philosophical discussion. And keep in mind, in that hour long session I did not ask every question on the lesson plan, I used certain ones when relevant and useful to bolster the conversation which the children were leading.

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Discussion Questions

  • Why do we communicate?
  • Does communication serve a purpose or need?
  • How does communication fit into everyday life?
  • How could we define communication without using the word itself? What are some forms and examples of communication? (Examples include: Speaking, Writing, Drawing, Mouthing, Pointing, Hand gestures, Acting it out)
  • Are any forms of communication easier than others? When would you choose to use one form over another?
  • Do these forms of communication work 100% of the time? In what instances would communicating be difficult? Can you think of cases of communication breakdown?
This lesson plan was contributed by: Zachary C. Richardson, Current CSUB Philosophy Major Undergraduate .