A “flash mob” happens when a group of seemingly random strangers suddenly start dancing, singing or moving in exactly the same way.
For instance, a group of people in a mall may suddenly all start dancing to a Lady Gaga song, doing all the same moves. The rest of the people in the mall, who are not part of the flash mob, get treated to a surprise show. When the show is over, the people who were in the flash mob just walk away, as though nothing had happened.
There was a flash mob in Toronto last Sunday.
People were told to download an audio file onto their MP3 player. They were told to wear a yellow, red, blue or green shirt and go to Clarence Square in Toronto. They all turned on their MP3 players at 12:50 on Sunday, to find out what to do next.
The instructions told them to follow a person in a rainbow top hat. As the crowd listened to their MP3 players, they got more instructions. They were told to walk towards Metro Square in downtown Toronto. There, they met up with another flash mob that had started near the CN Tower.
Sometimes the flash mob froze in place as on-lookers walked by them, wondering what was going on. At other times, the mob was instructed to “hug a stranger” or “take a photo of someone wearing a different colour than you.” They also played Twister and freeze tag.
The flash mob was started by a group from New York called Improv Everywhere. It was part of an arts festival that took place in Toronto, called Luminato 2011.
At about 1:35, the flash mob was over as quickly as it had begun and the entire crowd simply walked away.
Here is the website where participants of the flash mob received their instructions.
Flash mobs have become more common and popular recently. Why do you think people started doing flash mobs in the first place? Why do you think they have become so popular?
If you were to create your own flash mob, what would it look like? Would it be a song, a dance or a group of events (like the one that recently took place in Toronto)? What music would you use? What costumes would people wear? Where would you do it? How do you think it would make both the audience and the participants feel?
Often when we read about something that is unfamiliar, we create pictures in our mind to help us understand. This is called visualization.
As you are reading the article, try to picture what the flash mob looked like in Toronto. What were they wearing? What were they doing? How was the crowd reacting?
How did your visualization help you to understand what a flash mob is?
Primary and Junior
Identify several reading comprehension strategies and use them before, during, and after reading to understand texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).
Identify several reading comprehension strategies and use them before, during, and after reading to understand increasingly complex texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).
Grammar Feature: Verbs
Flash mobs contain a lot of movement, so verbs (action words) are often used to describe them. Find and highlight all of the verbs in the article. Can you think of any more verbs that could be used to describe a flash mob?