Out of the Box: Using improv in Special Education
As any special education teacher knows, one of the largest aspects of the job is finding creative and effective ways to address the unique academic and social needs of each of their students. Special education teachers are constantly thinking outside of the box not only to ensure that their students are able to access curriculum but that they are reaching and exceeding their educational goals as well. Why not throw improv into your creative teaching toolbox?
The Out of the Box professional development teaches improv techniques that address both academic and behavioral special education goals. The impact of using improv in special education is evident on multiple levels. First, improv creates a fun and safe environment for students who have traditionally struggled to practice necessary skills while enjoying the learning environment. Next, improv techniques can be used to address academic discrepancies by encouraging the development of well-rounded literacy skills. Finally, improv is paramount in building social skills for students with behavioral goals. Improv inherently develops listening, communication, and collaboration skills. In addition, students are able to practice coping mechanisms and appropriate responses when dealing with situations that are frustrating, overwhelming, or otherwise challenging.
Participants in the Out of the Box professional development will learn a variety of improv games and techniques to use in their own classrooms in order to create fun and effective learning environments. In addition, they will learn how to debrief with students, so students are able to connect the lessons hidden in the fun improv games to application in real life situations.
Katie Hammen holds a Master of Education degree in Special Education from Arizona State University. She is also a graduate of both the musical conservatory and general conservatory at The Second City in Chicago. Katie has volunteered and worked in education for nearly a decade in various capacities from teaching special education to writing curriculum. During the 2014-2015 school year, she was selected to pilot a unique special education classroom model that used a creative and therapeutic approach to working with students. Through this program, she researched and implemented the use of improv and theatre as therapeutic techniques that reduce anxiety and promote positive social skills.
ISSUES ADDRESSED: Collaboration, Creativity, Team-Building, Advance Improv techniques for classroom setting.
RUNNING TIME: Keynote: 60-90 minutes. Workshops: from 60 minutes to half- and full-day training sessions.
SETUP NEEDS: Open space, white board, good lighting.
Create a Memorable Day of Professional Learning
Combine keynotes with interactive, hands-on workshops to reach staff goals. A sample training schedule:
8:30-9:30 Opening Keynote
9:45-10:45 1-3 concurrent breakouts
11:00- Noon Repeat breakouts
1:00-2:00 Repeat breakouts
2:00-3:00 Closing keynote
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