Exploring Curriculum

Improv Games can advance curriculum goals.  They can preview and review vocabulary, enable students to engage with and explore text, promote deeper understanding of facts and concepts, provide opportunities for students to demonstrate and use their knowledge and provide experiences that can be reflected on when writing or creating.  Also, the games are interactive, verbal and physically active making them ideal for the diverse classroom.

 

Vocabulary Games!

Expanding vocabulary is very often at the core of what happens in a classroom.  These games provide opportunities to explore, share and interpret new words.  The interactive, verbal and visual nature of these games make them perfect for kids that might struggle with language acquisition.  

Sound and Action Pass:

This game starts out as a silly warm-up, but can quickly turn into a way to learn or review several words!  It is a great way to preview vocabulary before reading a challenging text.

Tableaus or Human Statues:

Groups of students physically interpret rich vocabulary and concepts.  It is a great way to inspire thought and discussion about a limited number of words.

Story Line:

There is one version of the Story Line game where each player is given a word and then must use that word in the story.  Using vocabulary words is a great way to get students to use the new words in unexpected ways!

Creative Writing!

Improv creates an atmosphere of creativity and spontaneity that is perfect for creative writing!  At its core, improv is a story telling medium.  By having them tell stories in groups, it takes kids out of their comfort zones and can provide inspiration for fresh new ideas. It also provides for a safe place to make mistakes.  It is interesting that all the stories that teachers share in classes are polished and published final drafts, but we learn best from watching and experiencing mistakes.  Improv games provide teachers with open opportunities to discuss every possible miscue and mistake that beginning writers make!  Lastly, by making scenes visible and active, they see and feel things that will inspire them to be more descriptive in their writing.

Circle Stories:

A safe, fun and all inclusive way to review the structure of a story.  Here is where the class as a whole can explore what makes stories effective, and what takes them off track!

Story Line:

Similar to circle stories above, these games provide great examples of creativity in action!

Bus Stop:

This game focuses the players and audience on one aspect of a character; mood, occupation, age, what ever the group chooses.  This creates a great exercise in descriptive writing, as students can then be asked to describe the actions and facial expression and body movements of an angry person, for example, rather than just saying they were angry.   (Show, don't tell!)

Build a Location:

This quick, high energy warm-up can get kids to think deeply about all the various components that make up a setting for a scene.  

Math Games! 

It seems that whenever any artist or performer is giving an example of boring, inflexible, dogmatic teaching it is always math class.  Knowing that I too have this tendency when providing workshops to teachers, I try to find at least one math game per session as penance. Here are a few!

Circle Equations:  

Circle equations are a variation on Circle Stories.  After all, an equation is in fact a story in number form!  See the full description under "curriculum connections" on our Circle Story page!

Human Tic Tac Toe:

This is perhaps the most popular review game I have ever encountered.  It is a fast paced game that rewards speedy calculation and recall, but requires strategy and teamwork.

Fraction Action:

A great way to practice and solidify the concept of fractions with a team performance!