Guide to Improv in the Classroom
Most people know The Second City as an innovative school for improvisation that has turned out leading talents such as Alan Arkin, Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey. This groundbreaking company has also trained thousands of educators and students through its Improvisation for Creative Pedagogy program, which uses improv exercises to teach a wide variety of content areas and boost skills that are crucial for student learning: listening, teamwork, communication, idea–generation, vocabulary, and more.
The scores of ready–to–use exercises offered here can be used to teach a wide variety of subjects including language arts, math, science, and social studies as well as to build classroom community and develop cooperative learning skills. All of the lessons are linked to current national standards for the United States and Canada, and have been proven particularly effective with kinesthetic learners and students with attention difficulties.
Praise for The Second City Guide toImprov in the Classroom
"This lively book reminds us that both real teaching and real learning are essentially exploratory, empowering, and downright fun."
Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, author, Imagining to Learn and You Gotta BE the Book, winner of the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in English Education
"The book offers wonderful resources for teachers interested in differentiating instruction and expanding the range of possibilities for students to think by visualizing, creating new possibilities, connecting and deepening meaning, sensing and feeling."
Donna Ogle, Ed.D., professor, National–Louis University and past president, International Reading Association
"The methods provided by McKnight and Scruggs are tried–and–true and have proven to be extremely successful with students of all ages."
Jessica Rogers, National Board Certified Teacher, Daniel Boone Elementary School, Chicago
About The Authors.
CHAPTER ONE: It Begins with Play.
Montessori s Connection Between Play and Learning.
Spolin s Connection Between Play and Learning.
What Has Happened to Play?
Why Improvisation Works in the Classroom.
The Second City Connection.
Overview of the Book.
CHAPTER TWO: Improvisation as a Pedagogical Tool for Engaged Learning.
Connections Between Improvisation and Authentic, Engaging Teaching and Learning Experiences.
Teaching and Learning Experiences.
Improvisation for Engaged Teaching and Learning in the Diverse and Inclusive Classroom.
The Brain Connection.
Building a Community for Engaged Teaching and Learning.
CHAPTER THREE: Literacy Learning and Improvisation.
Potential Impact on Literacy Skill Development.
Improvisation and Reading Links.
Improvisation and Writing Links.
Improvisation Links to Speaking and Listening.
Some Concluding Thoughts.
CHAPTER FOUR: Explanation of Improvisation Exercises.
Time for Improvisation.
Sidecoaching and Refl ection.
Beginning, Middle, End.
Bippity, Bippity, Bop.
Deck of Cards.
Give and Take.
Panel of Experts.
Parts of a Whole.
Pass the Clap.
String of Pearls.
Take That Back.
Who Started the Motion?
Zip Zap Zop.
CHAPTER FIVE: Skills and Teaching.
Lesson: Lights, Camera . . . Re–Action!
Story Generation Using Beginning, Middle, and End.
Conducting an American Revolution Review.
Speaking in Songs.
Math Gibberish Translator.
Building a Relationship.
Geometric Object Work.
One–Word Story, a Many–Word Story.
Physicalizing Cell Structure.
Ten Days in a Madhouse Human Slide Show.
String of Ideas.
Tableau Activity for Analytic Geometry.
Picture Book Tableau.
In–Class Field Trip Using Tableaux to Explore the Role of Perception in Communication.
Throwing Math Light.
CHAPTER SIX: Engaging Students in Learning.
Authentic and Engaged Learning.
The Literacy Connection.
Some Final Thoughts.
Katherine S. McKnight, Ph.D., associate professor at National–Louis University and an onsite consultant for the National Council of Teachers of English, is coauthor of Teaching Writing in the Inclusive Classroom and Teaching the Classics in the Inclusive Classroom.
Mary Scruggs is an actress, director, playwright, and educator. She is currently the head of writing and education programs for The Second City Training Center in Chicago.