About the Authors

Carrie Lobman and Matthew Lundquist are the Authors of Unscripted Learning: Using Improv Activities Across the K-8 Curriculum.

Carrie Lobman, EdD is Assistant Professor of Education at The Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University. She is the director of the Developing Teachers Fellowship Program at the East Side Institute. Send an email to Carrie

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Improvisational Learning

I have been doing improv activities with my classes for the past two years. It has served as a great tool to develop a sense of team among my students. My school (Primary K-2) also has an
Aesthetics Program, in which students chose or are enrolled in an elective course once a week for the semester. Using the games from Unscripted Learning, I have developed an "Improvisational Learning" Aesthetic for this year.

In the way the description was written up in the school handbook, teachers enrolled students in the course who they identified as students who would benefit from relationship building. After 7 course meetings, I am so happy to report that is what we are developing.

I have been so blown away with how this course has impacted the relations of 8 first and second grade students who, other than in this course, do not know each other. The relationships that are being built seem quite genuine as we play games such as "The Clapping Game', "Woosh", "Yes, and" and many more. Even more in the debriefing discussions we have!

It is a completely different experience for me from how we use improvisation with my class of students. While this "team" does not see each other everyday or are involved in each others' academic growth, I see that they are very much a part of each others' social development. They are learning from each other, and through these games, ways to develop social skills to develop relationships with students in their own classes (exactly what their teachers hoped they would gain).

It is incredible how each of the individual personalities in the class have contributed to and benefited from each other. The excitement from the girl who always enters the class angry, the intent look on the face of another girl who loves to talk as she listens to her teammate share, the smile on the face of the excruciatingly shy boy after he "takes a turn." Improvisatonal learning brings creates this for these students.

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