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The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning Paperback – May 9, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0787996505 ISBN-10: 0787996505 Edition: 1st

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The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning + 101 Improv Games for Children and Adults + Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher's Handbook
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787996505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787996505
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Guide to Improv in the Classroom

Most people know The Second City as an innovative school for improvisation that has turned out leading talents such as Alan Arkin, Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey. This groundbreaking company has also trained thousands of educators and students through its Improvisation for Creative Pedagogy program, which uses improv exercises to teach a wide variety of content areas and boost skills that are crucial for student learning: listening, teamwork, communication, idea-generation, vocabulary, and more.

The scores of ready-to-use exercises offered here can be used to teach a wide variety of subjects—including language arts, math, science, and social studies—as well as to build classroom community and develop cooperative learning skills. All of the lessons are linked to current national standards for the United States and Canada, and have been proven particularly effective with kinesthetic learners and students with attention difficulties.

Praise for The Second City Guide toImprov in the Classroom

"This lively book reminds us that both real teaching and real learning are essentially exploratory, empowering, and downright fun."
—Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, author, Imagining to Learn and You Gotta BE the Book, winner of the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in English Education

"The book offers wonderful resources for teachers interested in differentiating instruction and expanding the range of possibilities for students to think by visualizing, creating new possibilities, connecting and deepening meaning, sensing and feeling."
—Donna Ogle, Ed.D., professor, National-Louis University and past president, International Reading Association

"The methods provided by McKnight and Scruggs are tried-and-true and have proven to be extremely successful with students of all ages."
—Jessica Rogers, National Board Certified Teacher, Daniel Boone Elementary School, Chicago

About the Author

Katherine S. McKnight, Ph.D., associate professor at National-Louis University and an onsite consultant for the National Council of Teachers of English, is coauthor of Teaching Writing in the Inclusive Classroom and Teaching the Classics in the Inclusive Classroom.

Mary Scruggs is an actress, director, playwright, and educator. She is currently the head of writing and education programs for The Second City Training Center in Chicago.


More About the Author

Katie is a former middle and high school teacher for ten years who went on to receive her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading, Writing, and Literacy. Currently, she is associate professor in secondary education at National-Louis University and is also an onsite consultant for The National Council of Teachers of English. http://www.ncte.org/consultants/mcknight

Katie regularly presents at local and national conferences, and publishes in education journals. Her book Teaching Writing in the Inclusive Classroom: Strategies and Skills for All Students, focuses on creating a rigorous writing program that meets the needs of all students. In addition, Teaching the Classics in the Inclusive Classroom: Reader Response Activities to Engage All Learners was published last October and addresses strategies for teaching the classics in the inclusive classrooms in the high school. Her most recent book, The Second City Guide to Improvisation in the Classroom, was published in May, 2008.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lotus Ink on June 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a new high school teacher, I'm always searching for interesting ways to deliver my material. The last thing I want to be labeled as is "boring" -- a description I admit I've been accused of in my first year, and boy did that sting. But I used some of McKnight's improv techniques during my last day of class, a week after I got this book, and the students absolutely loved them. My teaching partner and I immediately agreed we'd incorporate many more of these techniques next year in our class. I also just signed up for Second City's Creative Pedagogy class this summer.
LOVE this book! Will refer to it time and time again in the coming years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kelly arthur on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful book full of ideas to really get kids to open up. Perfect for any teacher or counselor working with children. Teens let go of social stigmas and get into character....so equalizing! I'll use it a lot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Belkov on June 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I used many of the techniques described in this book with my eighth grade students and they loved it! They came into class the following days asking to "play more games". Students are tricked into learning with these fun and exciting teaching methods. Even students that were often disengaged or disruptive became involved in the lessons. McKnight and Scruggs introduce innovative methods for teaching important material. I am very excited to incorporate these ideas into all of my future classes.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
The chairs and desks were empty. The whiteboard was empty. Pens, notebooks, computers, and projectors were out of sight. Conversation, sweetened with chuckles, filled the room as students mingled. From the outside, the scene must have seemed chaotic, uncontrolled, and teacher-less, like recess. But this was 9th grade Oral English, and the students WERE learning.

The unit was about body language and non-traditional forms of expression and communication. The socializing was part of an activity. Students were randomly given one card (Joker, K, Q, 8, or 2), which they had to keep secret, and told to act like that card. For instance, one student had a K, so she was trying to get others to bow to her. Another student had a 2, so he was begging everyone for money. Afterward, by deduction, students figured their classmates' cards. The point of the activity was to interpret body language, but it also sparked an intriguing and informative discussion about perception and socioeconomic status.

This activity is one of many found in McKnight's and Scruggs's "The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning" (2008, 185 pages). The book's cover claims it is suited for "Grades K-8," but I easily adapted it for 9th graders and believe it could even be adapted for undergraduate and graduate students. Despite the grade level, this resource can be applied across the curriculum--and should be. Every teacher must own one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George S. Lauris on March 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am grateful that time was taken to create all of those lists which are essential if one wants to be successful as a teacher of Improvisation. In other words, you don't have to re-invent the wheel each time out.
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