Following our summer performance of Playground Business Ventures, our original sketch show for educators, we here at Improv Mining Co. were convinced there was more we could do for Helena’s schools and students. So in late summer we launched the Creativity Project.
The Creativity Project was designed, with guidance from the amazing people at the Detroit Creativity Project, to teach literacy and emotional intelligence to students in Helena’s schools through improvisation skills, games, and activities. We use these tools to help students connect with difficult subjects in a way that’s fun, engaging, and impactful.
In just the last two months we’ve already brought the project to almost 50 high school and middle school students, and amazingly, over 200 fourth and fifth graders, with many more to come.
One of the most inspiring elements of this project so far has been our partnership with Capital High School’s Niceness is Priceless Club. These students are fantastic. Their whole club is designed to make students feel welcomed, included, and to spread kindness through simple interactions and by seeking out opportunities to be helpful in their school.
These kids throw surprise parties for their janitor, take new students out to coffee, wipe off their peer’s windshields when it snows, and make an extra effort to hang with the students who have special needs in their school. They do all this, and more, on top of their commitment to perform random acts of kindness as often as possible. If that weren’t enough, they’re also committed to establishing Niceness is Priceless (or NP) clubs in all the elementary schools across the district. Which is where we come in.
For the past few weeks I’ve been partnering with these amazing students and their fearless leader, science teacher Christina Sieminski, to teach the NP Norms (Inclusion, Welcoming, Kindness, and Helpfulness) to fourth and fifth grade students around the district, in the hopes that these students can then model and teach them to the younger students, making each school in town a nicer place to be.
We’ve already been to Jim Darcy, Bryant, Four Georgians, and Hawthorn, with many more schools on the schedule. We’re planning a workshop for CR Anderson and a half-day intensive for the fourth and fifth graders that are most interested in leading these clubs at their schools as well.
So far, the elementary school kids have been extremely engaged and excited to participate. After one of our workshops a teacher told us, in the last hour she’d seen kids smile that hadn’t smiled at school all year. Part of that might be the fun improv games we use to disarm, welcome, and teach the kids, but chances are, most of that joy comes from hanging out with high school students who remind us that a little bit of kindness goes a long, long way.
We’ll keep you updated on the really fun work going on through the Creativity Project in the coming months. If you’d like the Creativity Project to come to your school or classroom, you can learn more here or get in touch with us through the link below. We’d love to work with you. Also, if you really like this project and would be interested in supporting it financially, get in touch. We’d love your help.
-By James Buscher