For All Teachers

Three Things

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  1. Circle the entire group.
  2. Everyone chants “Three things!”
  3. The first player challenges the next to come up with three things on a topic, such as “Three things that are red,” or “Three planets in the solar system,” or “Three kinds of cheese.”
  4. The next player must quickly say three things that fit that topic. The point is to keep this going quickly around the circle. You do not want to take time to think. If you can’t come up with three, spout something nonsensical, such as making up names for planets or cheeses, or even saying a random word. Always have an answer and act happy about it, whatever it is.
  5. After the player says three things, the entire group chants, “three things!”
  6. That player then gives the next person a topic.
  7. Continue around the circle for as long as you’d like. This is more challenging than it sounds because you don’t have time to prepare answers. The person next to you in line asks and you must answer immediately–then you must immediately come up with a new topic for the next person. This is not an elimination game–it’s better to say something nonsensical than nothing.

TIP: Start out with by giving the next player topics they can answer easily, like “Three colors.” As the game progresses, give topics you think will be difficult, such as “Three elements from the periodic table.” So at first you’re being cooperative, then challenging.

IMPORTANT TIP: This is a great way to practice being OK with whatever you’ve said, even if it makes no sense. When Players make what they think is a mistake, they tend to look sheepish and visibly show it. But in improv, mistakes are more productively seen as gifts. So if a person says something “wrong,” they are better off acting as if what they said was perfectly correct. By doing this, players avoid making the other players (and the audience) uncomfortable and keep the action moving.

VARIATION “Things Three” is the opposite of “Three Things.” Here the first player gives a list of three things to the next. For example, “Taco, Buick and tennis ball.” The next player must now come up with a topic that connects those things, such as “Things a Californian teenager with a pet dog would have. Or “Keyboard, Snowshoe, Guppie,” and “Things a roving amphibian computer programmer would have.”

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