Rules of Inspired Teaching Improv | Hooray for Monday

June 26, 2023

By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President and Jenna Fournel, Director of Teaching and Learning

Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students.

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the hooray for monday logo: a rising yellow sun over the words Hooray For Monday in yellow font, which are above the Inspired Teaching logo

Tomorrow we will begin our Teaching with Improvisation Institute in Washington, DC. Research shows that teachers trained in the skills of improvisation are well-equipped to handle the rapidly changing nature of what’s happening in schools. Better yet, classrooms steeped in an improvisational mindset foster the kinds of engagement and feelings of belonging essential to school connectedness.

Today we’re sharing the Rules of Inspired Teaching Improv. They outline an approach to teaching and learning that you can practice this summer. They also map beautifully to our 5 Core Elements!

Rules of Inspired Teaching Improv 

Respect what others create. (Mutual Respect
  • Assume positive intent.
  • Look for their aspirations and contributions.
Say “Yes! And…” (Student as Expert)
  • Agree. Then build, don’t block.
  • Listen fully. Allow yourself to be changed by what you hear.
  • Stay laser-focused on where you want to go, but flexible in how you get there.
  • Be present so you know what to do next. 
Play big. (Joy
  • Allow your imagination to guide you.
  • Prioritize joy.
  • Practice failure.
  • Seek opportunities to learn from what goes wrong.  

What might the weeks ahead look like if you hold these rules as your guide? How might they change your relationships with others? How might they change your approach to problem-solving? Next week I look forward to sharing what our Fellows learned as they applied these rules in the Institute. May the week ahead bring you many opportunities to improvise!

What We’re Curious About

Each week a member of the Inspired Teaching community shares something that’s piquing their curiosity. Maybe it will spark yours too!

Art that Entertains and Challenges

Lance Kramer, DC-based filmmaker and co-founder of Meridian Hill Pictures

I’m really curious about what it looks like to be entertained and challenged at the same time and what kinds of art, in particular, can create that sensation of being entertained and also challenged in some respects, not necessarily in a painful way, but in a growing way.

What kinds of spaces can that type of art be experienced within?

It’s not something that I’m seeing nearly enough of. And I’m really curious about what it takes to create that kind of art. And I’m also really curious about what it takes to make the spaces to experience it.

I think about that a lot, and I don’t have the answers.

Teacher Resources

Seven Bikes

This activity combines observation and inquiry as learners exercise their imaginations to find multiple answers to the same question.

Automatic Writing

One way to stimulate our imaginations is to relax and let our minds flow uninterrupted. Automatic writing gives our minds the space to do just that. 

What Stories are Hiding in the Junk Drawer?

In this writing activity students find inspiration for stories in the random objects we stash in pockets, bags, and junk drawers.

Listen to This Issue of Hooray For Monday

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