Improv 4 Kids / Improv 4 Teens Starts School Off with Team Spirit! We have already worked with a few teams of teachers and our first schools shows of the year start next week. Since 2004 we have performed over 5000 shows for families and K-12 student audiences at our Times Square theater or touring schools, camps and community centers.
Looking for a great class trip? How about assemblies for your K-12 school?
Whether at our Times Square Theater or at your school, our shows, workshops, residencies and professional develop with bring the laughs and change the conversation. In addition to teaching creativity, community and leadership, Improv programs create psychological safety for your students and staff. Not only does this address anti-bully agendas, students and staff open up to better create and learn.
“A production you and your children don’t want to miss!” – ABC NEWS 7 NY
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- Field Trips to Times Square
- After School
- Show, Workshops, Residencies, Professional Development
“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.”
There are so many reasons why Improv 4 Kids and Improv 4 Teens should be in your school. Teachers, Parents and Students will tell you it is the most fun ever had.
Perhaps the most important is how much fun students and teachers both have at our shows. We create original songs and skits every show. I have no idea what this show will be about because your students direct us with suggestions of their favorite books, movies, toys, and things that happen in their lives (At school, home, vacation, etc). Many students participate on stage making silly sound effects, telling the pros what to say and posing for funny picture from famous historical events.
- CULTURAL ARTS
- LANGUAGE ARTS
- CHARACTER BUILDING
Lisa Palotti (Speech Teacher) to John Renner (Principal) from Summit School Queens regarding shows, workshops and residencies – “Here’s my report: OMG it was awesome! Truly one of the best activities I’ve ever seen take place here at Summit! We gave them a very large group of kids to work with, and they handled them wonderfully. The way that they related to the kids was terrific, and the activities they led worked on so many pragmatic language skills in SUCH an effective way, including increasing the kids’ awareness of their bodies in space, body proximity, eye contact, voice, and generally how others perceive them from their non-verbal cues. They also did word association and one-word stories that involved verbal expression and required kids to follow a story line. Almost all of the kids looked like they were having a fantastic time, and it was an activity where the shy kids could get to interact with others in a very structured (hence comfortable) way. At the end I spoke to the three members of the improv group and raved about how great they were and told them the specific ways that the activities helped our students. They asked me a number of questions, such as regarding how to handle various students’ behaviors, and we talked about upcoming activities.”
Improv is theater, and with our show you get also get music, clowning, and even some dance. The cast is filled with pros from TV, and even sometimes from Broadway, Opera and Film. The show’s musical numbers include Broadway, Irish Jigs, Jazz and even Madrigals. We often include spoken word. For many of our shows we include a talk back session to get to know the artists and how we became professionals (Hard Work, College study).
Improv is Story Telling. The shows alone teach how to put a story together. We create characters, settings, and plots on the spot.
Improv is a team sport. In order to create a show on the spot, a cast must respect each other. Further, the cast will support each other. We also teach “Have fun, but never at anyone else’s expense.” In many shows we hit home with the anti bully themes and include a talk back session. We inspire self-confidence, which we believe is a major factor that leads to kids becoming bullies and easy targets as victims.
The shows with our study guides alone inspire and introduce creativity, critical thinking, team/community, public speaking, self-confidence, respect, listening, eye contact, focus…
ADD A WORKSHOP and increase educational value ten fold!
Sometimes as much fun as the show, these workshops get the students on their feet and playing theater games under the direction of our teaching artists.
Every session starts with a warm-up to prepare individuals and the whole team to work. We are having so much fun most forget to be afraid to share in public. Instead teachers and parents regularly tell us how surprised they are when certain students volunteer and participate. Games like ZIP ZAP ZUP get us focused. The simplicity of the action and vocals allows us to get students to project. All you have to do is listen, focus and follow the energy around the circle. When it’s your turn, belt out your word as you clearly pass to the next player by making eye contact and pointing in same direction.
Then a game like ONE WORD STORY begins the process of story telling. But we still have to listen, focus and follow the story around the circle. We tell students “this game is so simple, that all we have to do is listen to be successful.”
In these early games we make it very clear, “If you ‘mess up’, who cares.” There is no wrong. So don’t fear mistakes or failure. If anyone else messes up, who cares. Correcting someone for saying “ZAP” when they should have said “ZIP” takes far more time and energy than auto-correcting. More importantly, we are on the same team. Making someone feel bad because such a simple error is mean and unnecessary. Dropping all fears and judgments allows us to have fun together.
More games that follow teach students to create fun characters while working together to create the WHO (relationships) WHERE (Setting) and WHAT (Plot/Action) in our stories and scenes.
WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY
I wanted to take a brief moment to discuss a very cool concept. The idea behind this is not new to me. I was introduced to this when GOOGLE revealed a four year study of teams. They investigated many angles and their final finding was completely different form their initial hypothesis.
Teams with a psychological safe place to work thrive, regardless of the background of the team members.
There was no magic formula as to who was on the team. You did not need a certain balance of introverts or extroverts. You did not need the right balance of concept and detail oriented.
All you needed was to make the weakest link feel at home, welcomed and valued.
For the past ten years I have done this in my classes. The result? Students feel safe to create. They thrive. Some of my teen students have even become interns while in high school and employees after graduating.
While most schools engage us for a show or two – and many keep us around a couple hours for workshops – a few invite us into classes and after school for a residency program.
We have two basic types.
- Introduce IMPROV to your entire student body and staff. In one week (for most schools) a single teaching artist can deliver 45-60 minute workshop to all of your students. For bigger schools we offer longer programs or book 2-3 teachers for the single week. We introduce “YES! And…” philosophy which is the core behind team thinking in Improv. We not only support a team mates choices, we support the team mates as well. We cultivate the beginning of psychological safety. We start with a professional development workshop, introducing these programs to your staff. We teach the students basic Improv games, but the teachers can cultivate long after we leave.
- Present a progressive program to a smaller group of students. These programs mimic our public classes. Students learn many games and prepare for a showcase. These students will be come your student leaders. They will have the best attendance records as they actually like school now . They stop acting out in class because now they have an outlet. They overcome all insecurity of public speaking and will participate more in other classes.
John Hopkins did a study and found that humor in the class room lead to better test scores. Humor increases alertness, creativity and memory. Other studies have found direct links to health – stress, blood pressure. MORE…
Well imagine your entire staff better equipped to lead classroom study. A teaching body that completely engages students and inspires learning.
Professional develop via Improv Comedy helps in three ways:
- Team Building. We build a staff that works together. We present these same workshops for Morgan Stanley, Twitter Marketing Teams, Johnson & Johnson Managers, Louis Vuitton sales managers, and even auditors form US Medicaid offices. We break down walls and build relationships. Planning meetings become productive. We help you create a psychologically safe work environment.
- Public Presentation Skills. Just like with students, we teach teachers to be better public speakers. We help unlock creativity.
- Using Improv in Class. Like with corporate teams starting a boring and/or stressful meeting, imagine starting math class with a few laughs. Imagine using Improv to act out characters from a book, history or even famous scientists. Turn the horrible test taking world of core into a palatable place to learn with just a 2-3 minute exercise. When your students are engaged they will learn so much faster. They will be interested in what the teacher says. They will participate in discussions and absorb material more effectively. They stop memorizing and actually learn and retain value long after the need for test regurgitation.