The following includes a few of the tips and twists from The Chiji Guidebook for getting even more from Chiji Cards. These ideas come from experiences that we and others have encountered while exploring Chiji moments.
• There have been particular times when we let participants keep their cards. Most participants are not going to find strong attachment to an image on a card, but every once in a while, someone is deeply touched by a particular card. For whatever reason, the card takes on personal meaning. At that point, it makes good sense to give the card to the person to keep. Your deck will work just fine with a missing card or two. If you give away a half dozen cards over a course of a year, be thrilled that your program is making such impacts on people, then break down and buy a new deck, keeping your old deck for additional giveaways.
• If the group chooses to focus on a particular card, use the card to represent or identify the group. For example, “Okay, you Eagles, let’s get together in a circle,” or “How would the Eagles deal with this problem?” or “Instead of calling it a sharing circle, how do you feel about calling it an Eagle’s Nest?”
• Use Chiji Cards selectively. We use all of the activities in this book, but seldom do we use more than two or three of them with any particular group. We do not want to use the cards so often that participants start rolling their eyes when the cards come out. An exception might be when we have the same group for an extended period of time. Both of us, for example, are university teachers, so we have the same students for an entire semester. In that situation, we may use Chiji Cards up to a half-dozen times over a three-month period, and familiarity with the cards actually contributes to the continuity of the course.
• Substitute other prompts for Chiji Cards. If you want to use several of the activities from this book, but not overwhelm participants with repeated Chiji sessions, use another tool in place of Chiji Cards. Author and experiential educator Jennifer Stanchfield of www.experientialtools.com uses postcards, charms and other small objects, and catch-phrase buttons in the same way that she uses Chiji Cards. Michelle Cummings of Training Wheels, www.training-wheels.com, uses plastic body parts (eye, ear, hand, heart, etc.). One educator at a workshop told us that he uses the front panels from breakfast cereal boxes, creating an extra-large set of picture processing cards.
• Casually leave the Chiji Cards laying around. If you have a group for an extended period of time, especially if there is a fair amount of down time, have your deck of Chiji Cards out for participants to pick up (e.g., when a cook group on a backpacking trip is preparing dinner and those not in the cook group are just sitting around). Don’t push the group to use the cards; don’t even mention that the cards are available. Simply set them out where they might be noticed. Occasionally a handful of participants will spread out the cards and process or play on their own.
We hope you have enjoyed the excerpts from The Chiji Guidebook in these last few Friday Lessons.
2010 © The Chiji Guidebook: A Collection of Experiential Activities and Ideas for Using Chiji Cards, Wood ‘N’ Barnes Publishing, 800-678-0621