what I did on 11-11-11

On November 11, 2011 (commonly referred to as 11-11-11), I spent over 6 hours in a high school classroom offering an experience of InterPlay techniques and forms to 6 different classes of students. I’m grateful to my co-teacher, Anita Bondi, who is a magnificent teacher and improviser. She responded to the students in the moment in ways that inspire me to continue to craft my teaching skills. I’m also deeply grateful to Susan Featro, the high school teacher who set up this opportunity and obtained a grant to make it happen.

InterPlay offers a great framework for allowing each person to connect with him/herself in authentic and sometimes surprising ways. It works with many ages of people and even intergenerational events. We used rhythms, speaking, movement, group and individual activities (InterPlay “forms”). One focus of the day was the idea of belonging to “circles” of people who… For example, we grouped ourselves as only children, having only sisters, having only brothers or having both brothers and sisters. These explorations of connections turned out to be a gem of an idea with the youth.

The most important thing I want to share with you is what these high schoolers shared with us afterwards. Here is some of their feedback and testimonials as they came to us, for your reading enjoyment and inspiration.

I learned a lot with body movement or body wisdom you want to call it. It’s really fun and I bragged to so many people. Thank you! You rock!

Thank you! I believe that interplay is need[ed] in our school! … We learned things about each other that we didn’t know. Interplay helps people think on our feet…

You were awesome! I had an absolute blast on Friday during the activity. It was one of the greatest experiences of my high school career and I will remember it forever. I sincerely would like to thank you for the experience!

My favorite part was being in the circle and noticing everything about our surroundings.

I enjoyed when we got in a circle where we noticed about ourselves.

Thanks for doing the rhythm thing with the clapping. I really helps you to concentrate better and like focus on things…

InterPlay lets you say what you feel without caring what anyone thinks.

…What I liked about it is getting in circles because you learn more about people…

Stan and Anita, Thank you for coming to our class and doing some interplay with us. Anita, you really made me realize that this is my body and I am in it. It also made me realize who I am as a person. I’m a pretty shy person, and you guys made me feel open, and I was ok with showing who I really am. Thank you…

Thank you Stan and Anita. I had a lot [of] fun. It showed me I could be silly and not care what anyone thinks!

Tamaqua High School turned out to have truly awesome students! I can’t think of a better way to have spent 11-11-11.

Playful blessings,
Stan

9 comments

  1. I’ve never heard of InterPlay before so I’m checking out your link in this post. Sounds like the students had a really good experience, though.

    1. I think your assessment is correct, Carolyn! It was a tremendous way to spend the auspicious day and at least some of the students appear to have gained some personal insight. That’s awesome in my book.

      Thanks for keeping the connection alive!

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

  2. That sounds fantastic, Stan! I’m so glad you and Anita had that experience. I decided recently that I’d like to do some writing work with local youth, I’m still exploring how I might go about that.

    1. It was fantastic, Patrick.

      I love that you’re exploring writing with youth. You might want to connect with Anita (again) as she has some experience doing poetry, storytelling, journaling, etc. with youth and some of it very recent.

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

  3. Thank you for spending 11-11-11 with us. You and Amita rocked, and my students are still talking about the experience! (That says a lot when talking about high schoolers.)

    1. It was a fabulous experience for me. I really got tons from it myself. The fact that the students got something wonderful out of it makes it 100 times better.

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

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