Crossing the Line
Props/Materials Needed: Two ropes or masking tape, large room (Big enough for entire group.)
Step by Step Procedure:
1. Put two ropes (or tape lines) in the center of the room on the ground, so they are parallel, about 3-4 feet away, and also span the length of the room.
2. Line up your participants on one side of the line you placed on the ground, so everyone is on the same side of the room, facing the line.
3. Tell your participants that they are going to do an activity and that this activity requires these three things; respect, sensitivity, and quiet. Go over these three things with the students. Also tell the students that this activity is about them; not their friends, or people standing next to them, but about them.
4. Once you have covered the “rules” to the activity, tell the students that once they are able to be quiet, respectful and sensitive, they can cross the line. Once they have crossed over the line then there should be no talking and we will start the activity.
5. Introduction to the activity: We are going to do an activity that has to do with people’s feelings. Sometimes when someone hurts another person he is just being mean or maybe she is being careless—or maybe they feel pressure from their friends to join in when other people are teasing someone. Other times, people are mean to someone just because of who they are—just because of the color of their skin, or their ethnicity. We are going to do this activity in complete silence. You might have some strong feelings during this activity—sadness, anger. So we need to be very respectful and caring to one another. No laughing, talking or even whispering, so we can all feel safe.
6. I am going to call out a group and if you belong to that group or identify with that group, please cross the line and turn around to face the other students on the other side of the line. (Give an example at this point, “if you are a boy, please cross the line” “if you are in the fifth grade, please cross the line”). Tell the participants that if they don’t feel comfortable crossing that they do not have to. Also remind them that this activity is done in silence and is also an individual activity. They are not to judge other people and they can make the decision to cross the line by themselves.
7. After each of the “cross the line” categories, you will pause until the participants who have crossed the line have turned to face the other participants,. Say out loud, “Notice how it feels to cross the line; look who is with you, look who is not with you and cross back over.”
8. Crosswalk prompts:
Page 2 Crossing the Line
The goal of this activity is to help break down the barriers between children that perpetuate acts of unkindness. Children become aware that others face many of the same insecurities, fears and challenges that they do. They learn that showing your feelings doesn’t make you a weak person, rather it takes courage. They learn that other children can be appreciative and supportive when they reveal those feelings. Be careful not to be judgmental or shaming in this activity. Be supportive and accepting. Everyone in the program will probably have a reason to cross the line. Many children will need your support in realizing that they might be modeling behaviors that they have seen or passing along treatment they have received. With help and guidance children can change such hurtful behaviors.
Resource: Making the Peace, Training-Wheels.com