Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IMPROV-ing Students at ECC

Ms. Stasiak sails a student across the Lake in "Lake of Trust" Improv Game.
Over the course of the 2016-17 school year I have been working with several classrooms at the Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center on introducing students to the art of Improvisation. The idea behind incorporating Improv into the classroom is multilayered.  There are the obvious benefits like helping students with public speaking and allowing them to be creative, but there are also many underlying educational and social benefits as well.  For example, when students play the improv game “Lake of Trust” they are not only working on the ability to trust their classmates, but also on communication, collaboration and compassion with and toward their fellow classmates.
A student plays the Improv game “ABC race” in Mrs. Compo’s class.
Many of the Improv games we play at the ECC can be adapted to include content and can help students to work on information retrieval in a fun and safe environment.  The Game “ABC Race” has students gather in a circle and go through the alphabet as fast as they can.  The game is designed to help the students concentrate as well as learn their ABC’s, but it can also be adapted to include  addition, subtraction, vocabulary, etc.  

Ms. Jewell’s class plays “Frog In The Pond” Improv game.
Improv is a great way to put some “Fun” back into the learning process.  I’ve already seen vast improvements in many ECC students ability to “let go”, engage and just have fun with Improv.  I’ve had comments from several teachers about how a very shy student has been participating more and more each time we play.  Improv is a process and takes patience in order to see the positive results in students.  But, if you can stay diligent and keep Improv-ing you’re students will not only have fun, but will gain confidence in themselves and trust in their classmates.

If You're interested in starting Improv in your classroom check out The Godfrey-Lee Tech/Media team youtube channel or click this IMPROV VIDEO LINK. I would also highly recommend the book Drama Menu: Theatre Games in Three Courses by Glyn Trefor-Jones. Most of my Improv ideas start with this book. Also, be on the look out for Improv Videos from our ECC students.

Below is a sample video of Improv games you'll find on our Youtube Channel.


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