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Imagination - the Cool Quality

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To look at the importance of imagination.

Preparation and materials

  • The presentation of the material included in this assembly should be like musical speaking and be delivered at a fast pace. It's best performed by four members of a tutor group - preferably extroverts - who have practised in advance. The words can be accompanied by a drumbeat or an improvised instrument, tapping out the rhythm, but this should be carefully rehearsed as the faster and more slick the presentation, the more effective it will be. 
  • You will need a leader and four readers. The readers can be boys or girls. A group of students who became committed to this piece in rehearsal could also plan their own appropriate mimed or other movements to fit the beat. The overall effect should be humorous and thought-provoking.
  • Think of a story from your own experience of teaching your subject that you can mention at the appropriate moment in the assembly showing the conflict between you wanting the students to use their imagination, but the syllabuses or exams meaning that you have to stick very closely to the instructions. Take care to keep it brief and not vent your frustrations too much!
  • You will also need a baseball cap for Reader 3 to wear while saying the line indicated, preferably in a good American accent.
  • Some further drum or similar rhythmic music, either live or recorded, could be played at the end of the assembly.

Assembly

Reader 1:  Use your imagination.

Readers 2, 3 and 4:  Imagina-tion, imagina-tion, imagina-tion.

Reader 2:  What does (she or he) mean?

Reader 1:  Use your imagination.

Readers 2, 3 and 4:  Meaning, meaning, meaning?

Reader 1: Use your imagination.

Reader 3: Use my imagination?

Readers 1, 2 and 4: Bi-ig deal, bi-ig deal - big deal!

Reader 1: Use your imagination!

Reader 4: What is imagination?

Readers 1, 2 and 3 (whispering): Is-imagine? Is-imagine? Is-imagine?

Reader 1 (loudly whispering): Use it or you'll lose it  . . . 

Pause.

Leader: Teachers often say to their classes, 'Use your imagination', but the syllabuses or exams often mean that the teacher and the class have to stick very closely to the instructions. Not much room for imagination. I know when I'm teaching  . . .  (give prepared brief personal example of this conflict from your experience). 

Start drumbeat again, keeping it going fast - the Leader joining in should make this humorous!

Reader 1: Not much room for imagination  . . .

Readers 2, 3 and 4: Imagin-ation, imagin-ation, imagin-ation!

Leader: Yes, and imagin-ation as well!

Reader 2: American Library Association - 50 years ago - told the nation  . . . 

Reader 3  (donning the baseball cap and speaking in an American accent): The computer is a fast idiot, it has no imagination; it cannot originate action. It is, and will remain, only a tool to humankind. 

Reader 4: Is that true - true for you - are we fast idiots, too?

Pause. 

Reader 2: Or do we  . . . 

All: Use our imagination!

Reader 1: I like fast food - does that make me a fast idiot?

Readers 2, 3 and 4 move to the side of the performing area, dragging Reader 1 with them. Drum starts again and perhaps the Readers can finger-click in time with the drum, too.

Leader, speaking the words in the bouncy manner of rhyming poetry: Let's all think for a minute or two, just what our imagination can do  . . . 

Reader 4: Look at how (he or she)'s speaking rhyme and (he or she)'s even keeping time  . . . 

The next four lines are to be called out.

Reader 1: Can we imagine Buddha sitting GCSE Religious Education?

Reader 2: Or the world's greatest artist creating a painting and being given a mark?

Reader 3: Or your favourite musician going to an evening class to learn how to write music?

Reader 4: Or God being asked what he thinks about human attempts to prove or disprove his existence?!

All readers: Imagin-ation, imagin-ation, imagin-ation!

Pause.

Leader: Imagin-ation  . . . 

Reader 1: Helps us dream dreams and see visions. 

Reader 2: Tells us life is more than homework, exams, TV and PC. 

Reader 3: Gives us something to hope for. 

Reader 4: Makes us laugh.

All: Thank God for our imagination! 

Time for reflection

Pause for a period of reflection. Some further drum or similar rhythmic music, either live or recorded, could be played after the pause before or during the dismissal.

Song/music

Chosen drum or similar rhythmic music 

Publication date: November 2015   (Vol.17 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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