Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Curb Violent Behavior Copyright © 2006 Education World

These days, it's hard for young people to always know how to respond to the conflicts in their world.

Urban Improv actors give students a chance to try out solutions to real-life problems in a safe setting.

They portray a situation, and then allow students to participate in or comment on stages of the conflict and the resolution, so they learn different and less-aggressive ways of solving problems. The Boston-area-based group also offers workshops for teachers on topics such as dealing with bullying, peer pressure, and prejudice in elementary-school aged children.

Toby Dewey, Urban Improv's artistic director, talked with Education World about the group's mission and the impact it's work is having on urban youth.

Education World: How is Urban Improv different from other improvisation troupes?

Toby Dewey: Urban Improv is not a troupe that is about entertainment. It is a proven violence prevention program that uses structured theater improvisation to address issues close to the everyday lives of young people. Our company provides interactive workshops that challenge students to deal creatively with major issues in their lives. Using professional actors, Urban Improv's work teaches violence prevention, decision-making, and impulse control. Through the improvisational process, Urban Improv develops the skills of problem-solving, conflict resolution, cooperation, and leadership.

Urban Improv actors open every workshop with a song around the theme of the day, and then move into a staged real-life scene. Our director will freeze the scene at various points and call on students to express how they think characters might be feeling in the situation. At the height of the conflict, students are invited in to take the place of an actor and to make the pivotal decisions that affect the outcome of the scene. In this way, students have the opportunity to play out the consequences of their actions in a safe, nurturing space, to discuss the decisions made by their peers, and to learn how to positively deal with these situations.

EW: What kinds of activities, if any, do you provide for teachers to use in the classroom?

Dewey: There are a range of activities and assignments that have been specifically developed for our fourth grade curriculum that include games and read-aloud activities on issues such as fairness, friendship, imagination, family, conflict resolution, peer pressure, and fear. There is also a middle-high school curriculum on VHS that comes with a teacher's resource guide that explores issues such as prejudice, racism and stereotyping, violence, conflict resolution, bystander issues, bullying, teen pregnancy, sexual harassment, and homophobia.

EW: Where do you get the material you use in your scenes?

Dewey: The material from our scenes comes from our own personal experiences, ideas that teachers and principals have given us, and suggestions from the students. The Urban Improv ensemble creates the scenes in rehearsal. We spend a lot of time making sure we have an understanding of the topic and then through improvisation, we create the scene. We discover what works and what doesn't work very quickly, since the students coming into the scenes will always let us know if the scene is unrealistic.

EW: Are there particular topics teachers ask you to cover in your workshops?

Dewey: A wide range -- from bullying and peer pressure to issues around violence. We have also done assemblies for schools and the most common request is around bullying and scapegoating. Other requests have been scenes around sexual harassment, substance abuse, depression, anorexia, homophobia and racism.

EW: What do you hope youngsters who have been involved with an Urban Improv presentation take away with them?

Dewey: Our hope is that the participants gain a better understanding of who they are and what alternative choices are available to them in specific situations. We think of Urban Improv as a rehearsal for life so that students can see firsthand the consequences of their actions and explore a variety of other ways to handle a situation. By developing these life skills the students are able to gain confidence in problem- solving, decision-making, cooperation, and leadership.

EW: What type of feedback have you received from students about applying Urban Improv lessons in real life?

Dewey: The results of an objective multi-year evaluation with the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute showed that children participating in Urban Improv have dramatic differences in behavior as compared to peers who did not participate. Teachers report an increase in pro-social skills -- such as self-control, cooperation, and positive self-assertion -- that are essential for children to resolve conflicts without violence. The physical experience for students of walking in another's shoes, making decisions, and deconstructing why we hurt others, builds social and emotional skills that allows them to be more respectful, empathetic, and to face high-pressure situations in life with greater confidence.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Intervention program for “Reaching O’ level targets"

ESQID carried out an intervention program for “Reaching O’ level targets” at Ha. Huvarafushi and Dhihdhoo on the 31st of July and 2nd of August 2010. Senior management members, teachers, parents, students of grade 10-12, school board and PTA members participated in the program.
The goals of this intervention program were to
 Increase the pass percentage of students sitting in 5 subjects or more (A-C) in the GCE/SSC exams from 32% in 2009 to 40% in 2010.
 To reduce the percentage of ‘U’s in the GCE O levels/IGCSE/SSC by 5% in 2010.
 To increase the pass percentage of students sitting in 5 subjects or more (A-C) in the GCE O levels/IGCSE/SSC exams to 60% or more by 2013
The main objective of the meetings held in the two islands was to include all the stakeholders to develop a plan that would raise the results of O’ level exams.
In the meetings the current status of the schools, issues, the interventions taken so far were discussed. All the stakeholders made future plans to raise the standard.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Learning Environment

The school should provide a friendly, stimulating, and safe environment that promotes social, physical, and intellectual learning needs of all students.

To achieve this:

Principal, staff and teachers can smile and demonstrate that they enjoy being with children.

Classroom should provide shelter from sun, rain and wind and outdoor space should be free of litter and hazards for play and sports.

School compound can kept clean, safe, environment friendly and attractive in natural and physical layout.

Classrooms and other learning areas (library, computer room, and school laboratories) should be well ventilated.

There should be adequate lighting for reading and writing.

Shelves in classrooms and learning areas have to be organized and labeled for students to access and put things back safely and independently

Wall displays of students’ work have to be evident in each classroom. The posted displays must be attractive, updated, relevant, educationally stimulating, and kept at eyelevel of the students.

Classroom furniture should be comfortable for the age and size of the child.

School staff must provide support and care for all students and understand the significance of high quality interactions and communication.

LESSON PLANNING ARTICLE : Mysteries in the Bag by: Cara Bafile


Students will

  • Examine and identify the contents of a bag.
  • Formulate a story that includes all contents of the bag.
  • Create a logical mystery that includes the 5Ws (who, what, where, when, and why).


Mystery, writing, evidence

Materials Needed

  • several paper bags
  • common items such as pens, wrappers, receipts, and other objects
  • paper and pencils

Lesson Plan

Some of the most creative writing is sparked by a simple thing. This language arts activity based on common objects can be done as a whole group activity, or with students working individually, with partners, or in small groups. Preparation for the activity includes gathering many common items like pens, wrappers, and receipts. Put five objects each in several paper bags (as many as will be required for your students or their groups). Vary the contents by including things like a rubber band, lipstick, and any other small objects that may be appropriate.

Put 3-5 small items from the classroom in a small paper bag and pass it around the classroom. Allow students just a few moments each to imagine what might be in the container without opening it. When the items reach the last student, collect the container. Invite the students to share their ideas about the container's contents. Then open it and discuss each item. Have the students help you tell the story of the objects. Where did each object come from? Who owns it?

If desired, place students in groups or allow them to choose partners. Distribute a bag to each student or group. Explain that this is a "bag of evidence" from a crime scene. The students' job is to write a mystery story that includes the objects as "clues" to solve the mystery. Each story must follow a logical pattern and address the questions who, what, where, when, and why.

Extension Activity
Create "radio mysteries" by having students read and record their work. These will be even more effective if students write their papers in play form.


Have students read their stories to the class and collect their work. Listeners can note the answers to the 5Ws for each story read. Evaluate the written work according to classroom writing expectations.