IMPROV helping students cope in classroom and life learning valuable life skills and experiencing laughter itself!
“Humor and creativity work in similar ways,” says humor guru William Fry, M.D., of Stanford University “by creating relationships between two disconnected items, you engage the whole brain.”
A Scientific Case For Laughter
For years we were all about being the most fun a school ever had on a field trip or at an assembly. Then in more recent years (since about 2008), thanks to feedback from teachers and parents, we realized we offered so much more – inspiring and teaching creativity(writing, critical thinking), community (team, respect, listening) and leadership (public speaking, focus, self-confidence).
When we pitch the show, we discuss how the laughter gets students attention so we can teach other valuable skills. But now science tells us that perhaps our greatest gift to the students is the laughter itself!
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
- Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
- Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
- Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
- Defend against respiratory infections–reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
- Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores
- Improve alertness, creativity, and memory
In children social play is critical to the development of social skills and emotional intelligence. Restricted play results in deficient social skills which can lead to life-long physical, mental, emotional and social problems. Laughter promotes childlike playful behavior. New research shows that playful adults continue to learn social skills and improve their emotional intelligence. Learning requires that one lower what linguists call the “affective barrier.” You can’t be uptight and learn much. You have to ease up and laugh to create.
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We introduce our programs with a hilarious show. Many students participate on stage while the entire audience is engaged with providing suggestions for the scenes and songs. The show features professional talent from stage and screen. Topics range form the classics to pop culture news. The energy is edgy but the material is always age-appropriate. At the same time the shows elevate rather than talk down to kids. This is why parents and teachers love our shows so much.
Most schools engage the cast for a workshop or two. Now the students get to play. One of our teaching artists leads a class in warm-up, technique and theater games. Immediately we encourage the shyest student to participate. The program is so much fun this is easy. Students are instructed to project so all can hear and speak clearly so all can understand. Students listen with intense focus throwing eye contact to the speaker. Then, as student engage team skills to create original scenes and stories.
Students become leaders when they take a full session. In most schools our residencies run 8-15 weeks, with a week in school or after school class (60-120 minutes). Sometimes we will run a 1 or 2-week session (20-30 hours/week) Each school/camp program is unique in its timing and we try to be flexible to meet your needs.
Progressive Classes – our most popular program, students master a series of games and prepare for a performance showcase. We go deeper into Improv and performance technique.
1- Week Survey Residency – Our teaching artist(s) works with guidance, social studies, Language Arts or Fine Arts and delivers the basic program to the full student body.
To truly get the full effect, getting the entire staff involved is key. We can only do so much 1-2 hours/week (/year in many schools). However we can teach your entire staff to communicate better and use these games in the classroom. On one level this is great corporate team building for your staff. A staff that communicates and works as a team can solve any problem. We also teach how to bring these games into every classroom. Try offering a ZIP ZAP ZUP before a big test or lecture. Get the blood flowing to the brain and a few smiles wake up the serotonin. Make school a fun place to be with just a few small fixes that anyone can employ.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO Check out PRESS from ABC, CBS, NY POST, Time Out NY http://www.eightimprov.biz/Press
EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH presents 400-500 K-12 shows every year. In 2009, 8Improv Artistic Director, Walt Frasier, became Director of Instruction for Comedy Hall of Fame. Last year 1000s participated in workshops and master classes, while 300+ participated in progressive classes and residencies (Many receiving DOE Graduation Credit).
For More Research on Benefits of Laughter Click These Links http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114617.htm http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200304/the-benefits-laughter http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/laughter.htm http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/health-benefits-of-laughter.aspx http://ririanproject.com/2007/10/26/10-benefits-of-laughter-and-how-to-use-it/