About the Games
How the Games Work for Kids
The games give kids an opportunity to practice AND FAIL FABULOUSLY at the behaviours we want them to learn. Each game is an opportunity to practice social emotional skills, while mainly being a FUN brain break for the kids. They don’t even know they’re learning anything important. They just are.
Children learn through play. Maria Montessori successfully created an entire academic model based on that idea, as did Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.
Improvisation was specifically designed so people — children — could practice feeling different ways in different situations and learn to feel comfortable in group situations.
i2i — Joy in Learning
The games work because they’re easy to learn, easy to play, easy to implement into classroom life.
People need brain breaks to work and learn at their optimal levels. These games take fewer than 3 minutes to play, yet pack a wallop of learning without ever saying so.
Before an instructional block transition, a teacher says, “Put your reading away, take out your math, and then come to the circle for a quick game.” The teacher begins coaching the game after about 30 seconds. The kids who are ready join the circle. The rest finish their tasks and join as they are ready.
Why the Games Work For You
It’s easy out of the box! You can work Improv2Improve games into your day, not work your day around them. The games are short, needing as little as 1 to 3 minutes, perfect for a Brain Break between more mentally taxing activities in your classroom. It’s componentless — no need to find pieces, make copies or bring anything but yourself and the right mindset. Play freely without constant assessments.
Improv for the classroom was created by Viola Spolin in the early 20th century. It’s not a new idea; it’s just repackaged and reimagined for the 21st century with easy-to-use game packs and aligned standards that drive SEL behavior.
Easily integrated into your day
You’re busy and we get that! Improv 2 Improve’s SEL games are unique because they don’t ask more of your time. We know there are a lot of great SEL programs out there, but the best of them want time you don’t have.
Effortlessly work Improv 2 Improve games into your day, not work your day around them!
Unlike other SEL programs, Improv to Improve is easily scalable, working for a classroom, a cohort, a school or a district. Because it’s componentless, that scale is affordable. While the packs include online training, you can take advantage of our exclusive KKIT program (Zoom or in-person). SEL programs abound, but there’s nothing like i2i.
The Green and Purple Packs contain all games necessary to implement the pre‑K through 12 scope and sequence for CASEL standards.
The Green Pack
Express and Engage
Green Pack Games are filled with group dynamic fun that also teaches important self-control and self-management skills hidden beneath the surface. Rather than focusing on just one situation, children are able practice improv behaviors in the ever-changing situations the games naturally provide.
The Purple Pack
Laugh and Learn
Purple Pack Games focus on interpersonal relationships and problem solving. The games provide an opportunity to hone speaking and listening skills in a non-judgmental environment. The games use language to create fun, releasing students from the pressure to be “right” or clever.
i2i was created out of the need to break up the 90 minute literacy block in Lisa Poskanzer’s kindergarten class.
Lisa knew that she was feeling pressure and anxiety for the 5 year olds to make the mandated learning gains set by the school, district, state, and nation. She also knew that tension wasn’t good for her or for her students. In order to release her own tension, Lisa, with friend Paulette, began taking improvisation classes with Kathleen Kenny at Bob Carter’s Actors Workshop.
Playing improvisation games with Kat immediately made Lisa feel better. There was laughing and silliness and ridiculous fun with other grown ups. Lisa began to feel free to just let loose and give up the need to control and direct and micromanage every moment. If only for the hour each week when she could just play and fail fabulously, it was enough.
Immediately, Lisa brought the fun games of her improv class back to her kindergarten classroom. The games turned out to be the tool necessary to keep her 5 year old students connected and engaged through the long academic instructional blocks. Over the next several years, Lisa incorporated the “circle games” into all classroom routines. Lisa’s students knew there would always be a game at the end of the hard work. “We work hard and we play hard,” taught Lisa. “Both.”
And so it was.
The children learned how to control their urges during stressful times because they knew it was only a matter of time until they would have a chance to play. The feeling of joy and release of tension was enough. Just those little brain breaks of fun made the hard parts of school better for Lisa’s students. That would have been enough.
The first most important and exciting thing Lisa noticed was how well improv games taught communication and language skills. Lisa’s students came from mostly immigrant backgrounds. The games helped hesitant speakers speak for the first time. Playing the games gave real world practice for oral language, vocabulary, and grammar.
But the second most important thing was really the most important. The games in Lisa’s class also taught the children how to get to know each other, how to play nicely, how to take turns, create solutions, resolve conflicts. The games helped shy children communicate their needs in their way, while giving the larger-than-life children an outlet for all that has to stay bottled up all day.
Getting out of Lisa’s class
The confluence of world events gave Lisa, Kathleen, and Paulette the impetus to take the idea of using improv games in the class out of Lisa’s one classroom. The three worked together to write the curriculum.
They created i2i as a way to teach teachers how to play. First with each other, to feel their own joy and release of tension. Then, to teach them how to incorporate the i2i games into their own classrooms.
Improv to Improve takes the idea of play.fun.joy and puts it right back center stage with children of all ages.