CLI Strategy of the Month

This Setting Needs...

What Is It And Why Use It?

In This Setting Needs... students build an environment with their bodies based on the teacher's prompt. By embodying objects/people/animals/actions in a space, students explore the many characteristics and aspects of a location, setting, environment, or event.


Invite students to sit together on the floor or in chairs as an audience, facing a large empty space. Introduce the strategy: Today we will create an environment or setting using only our bodies. If needed, help students to construct a shared definition of the word "setting" or "environment" as a place or location where an event takes place. Next, invite students to build a familiar setting. The first setting we are going to create is a playground. Everyone take a moment and think of the different things and people that you would find on a playground. Offer a few examples, like This Setting Needs a swing. Then become a swing set or become a person on a swing. Encourage students to make specific physical choices that they can hold for a few minutes. Build each setting until 5-10 students are on the stage. Once the image is built, ask questions to the audience: What do you see in this setting? What clues do the actors give you to help you understand who they are/what they are doing? If you had to give this setting a title, what would you title it? Repeat the activity, this time inviting the group to create an image of a location, setting, environment, or event tied to day's inquiry.

Reflection Questions

  • What settings did we create today? How did we use our bodies to show the setting?
  • What actions did we see in the settings? What relationships did we see?
  • How does creating and interpreting these settings together help us to think about (different environments, our story, the way we infer to make meaning, etc.)?

Possible Variations/Applications

  • Have each student create the setting silently without explaining what he or she is doing.
  • Reading/Writing/Social Studies/Science: Choose a moment in history, a scientific cycle or process, or a place associated with a writing prompt.

CLI Shout-out of the Month!

To Ms. Combs for getting creative during her Academic Enrichment time! Bravo, Ms. Combs!
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