How it’s done
Explain that the facilitator will offer the beginning of a sentence and whoever is completing the sentences will come up with as many ways to answer that sentence as they can.
This concept is unusual so demonstrate it. For example: “I like ice cream because… it’s cold and sweet. I like ice cream because it sticky and gets all over your fingers. I like ice cream because it reminds me of my childhood…” and so on.
Point out that each time you return to the beginning of the sentence (the “sentence stem”) and begin again: it is a quick exercise so folks don’t need time to think ahead. It is a creative exercise without a lot of rules: whatever comes to mind is fine. Ask questions for clarification.
If done in pairs, get the pair to pick one person to be an A and one person to be a B. A’s go first and finish the following sentences (introduced one at a time). Then B’s will do the same thing.
Each time, give time for participants to finish the sentences over and over again (that’s usually one to two minutes). The group may need to be reminded of the task.
For example, an action group used sentence completions to brainstorm creative images for puppets ahead of a major civil disobedience action. They used a series of sentence stems:
- One reason I’m joining the protest next week is…
- One picture or idea that comes to my mind of what I stand for is…
- A way those pictures could turn into a puppet is…
This activity often stands by itself and does not need to be debriefed or talked about but instead can be information for action planning, relationship-building, etc.