K1 Activity 3 – Speak Up, My Friend: A Mutual Empowerment Game


As students begin to understand ways in which they may be powerful within the classroom community, it is also important to help them to notice and appreciate that WE ALL HAVE POWER. In a caring community, there is a beautiful balance that allows members to use their power individually and together for the good of the community. We call this “mutual empowerment.” You will find that most of the IM4U activities promote this powerful gift.

Social interaction and self-expression are key ingredients to movement activities because they are more fun when everyone works together. You can think of these activities as not only an opportunity for students to express themselves creatively, but also a way to practice pro-social skills.

This game based on the classic “What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?” game employs these key social emotional skills. In this version, students say to the leader “Speak up, my friend,” and the leader answers with directions for what they have to do to move closer to the leader. Get ready for some fun!


Students practice social interaction and self-expression in this fun movement activity as they learn the value of shared empowerment.

Principle Overview

What does the word “power” mean to you? Some people associate the word “power” with control or authority and even destruction. It is essential when discussing the word “power” that it is seen in the IM4U context as the ability to affect positive change in the world! Exploring the “ripple effect” analogy of WE ALL ARE VALUABLE, students can see there is power in understanding that their abilities, interests, and personality can create positive change. Because we all have an effect on each other, WE ALL HAVE POWER.


Goals and Objectives:

  • Listen to each other and share ideas.
  • Explore their own creative movement.
  • Collaborate to create a community game.
  • Kindergarten and first graders love to learn new, big words. They can learn the words “shared empowerment” or “mutual empowerment” when they are introduced to them in the context of this activity. Choose what seems most appropriate for your class.
  • Prepare a large, open space for this fun movement game.
  • If time permits, view the Speak Up music video.
  • As a follow up step, watch the Speak Up puppet skit video and continue the discussion about mutual empowerment as it relates to how Martin and Sammy worked together to find a solution to their situation that worked for both of them.
Being aware of a certain situation or experience and then being able to give language to it and speak it out loud is a powerful life skill. Teaching students to speak up for themselves begins with helping them be independent and competent in their communication. They will then be better equipped to master life’s skills and handle life’s challenges when they use their power of speaking up.

  • When working together as a group, use agreed-upon strategies for speaking up, which will help students, communicate better with others. Remind students to use either the following steps or the ones created together from the Speaking Up skill builder.
    1. Use a person’s name.
    2. Look him or her in the eyes.
    3. Use nice words with a big voice.
Skill Builder
Use these visual resources to enhance the student experience in this unit.

View In Resources

Activity Steps

  • Connector.

    Write the words “mutual empowerment” on the board. Ask students if they recognize a familiar word within the words. Some students will see the word “power” in “empowerment.” Explain that the words are a special kind of power that comes when everyone (mutual) works together to create something or play a game.

  • Connector.

    Invite students to suggest activities they do in class that work best when they use the power of working together. Write their ideas on the board.

  • Connector.

    Move students to a large, open space, inside or outside. Tell students that they are going to play a mutual empowerment game called “Speak Up, My Friend,” and that they will need to use their “speak up” skills.

    Game instructions:

    Players stand on one end of the space while the game’s friendly leader stands on its opposite. (Be the initial leader to help students understand the game).

    The friendly leader will clap their hands twice, prompting the players to say “Speak up, my friend.”

    The leader will answer with a movement and/or a sound instruction that the players must make as they move closer to the leader. For example, using the meowing kitty cat in the Speak Up song as inspiration, the leader could say “Crawl like a meowing kitty cat until I say ‘Stop.’”

    When the leader says “Stop,” the players must freeze in place until the leader claps twice, the players respond with “Speak up, my friend,” and a new movement instruction is given.

    Encourage students to work together to create their movements with directions, such as “Hop with a partner,”or “Skate with two friends.”

    When players are close to reaching the leader’s side of the space, the leader says “Shout it,” prompting all the players to run back to the starting point, chased by the leader.

    As the game continues, give students the opportunity to be the friendly leader with their own creative movement instructions.

  • Connector.

    After the game, gather students together to reflect about the experience. Ask:

    How did you feel when you were moving together with your friends?
    Did you notice the movement that other people were doing?
    How did it feel to create your own way to move together?
    What was challenging?

    Help students focus on the experience of using their self-awareness skills to become mutually empowered as a group!

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