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Drama Game: Shake It Off

Drama Game Shake It OffType: Warm-Up

Purpose: This is a popular activity that raises the energy of a group. I do NOT recommend using this to focus or calm down a rowdy group. Instead, I often use it just before a performance to get students energized and loosened up.


1.  Have the players stand in a circle.

2.  Explain that the students are to as a group count down from 8 while shaking out each of their limbs (In this order: Right arm, Left arm, Right leg, Left leg). Then they will count down from 7, then 6, etc. until they reach 1.

3.  They should do this getting increasingly louder and louder.

3.  So it will go like this:

Right arm: “8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Left arm: “8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Right leg: “8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Left leg: “8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Right arm: “7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Left arm: “7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Right leg: “7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Left leg: “7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
Right arm: “6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”
…etc. until….
Right arm: “1!”
Left arm: “1!”
Right leg: “1!”
Left leg: “1!”


–  In my opinion, this activity is over-used when I observe other teachers. If it’s used in every single class it’s a time-killer and doesn’t really do much to get the kids thinking creatively. So as I mentioned above, I recommend using it only as a way to loosen up and energize a group before a performance.

– Consider playing Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off during this activity and have them count in rhythm to the song.

–  For a super quick version of the game have the students count down by even numbers till they get to 1: 8…, 6…., 4…, 2…, 1!

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4 thoughts on “Drama Game: Shake It Off

  1. Heather Finley says:

    I used this to teach different forces of movement in Creative Drama/Creative Dance Class. Instead of forceful shaking each time, I varied the movement to glide, float, dab, press, punch, press, slash, and flick. When I wanted to increase group energy, I used more forceful, fast actions. When I wanted to slow things down, I used slower actions and a quiet, slow count.

    Works great!

  2. Kelly Holliday says:

    We play this game and call it ‘Rubber Chicken’. Just one note added- after the single shakes on each limb, students have to shout out Rubber Chicken! Rubber Chicken! and shake their entire bodies.

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