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Young Audiences / Arts for Learning

2600 North Howard Street, Suite 1300
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
(410) 837-7577

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Improving Classroom Culture and Communication with Improv

Artist: Baltimore Improv Group

Type: Professional Development

Michael Hartwell is Baltimore-based educator, improviser, and facilitator.  He is the Education Director for the Baltimore Improv Group, a Teaching Artist for Young Audiences of Maryland, and an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, teaching improv to science and engineering students.  He has taught improv to adults and children since 2013.  Prior to his current work, Michael was a Teach For America corps member and Baltimore City Schools middle school teacher for ten years.  He is a member of BIG’s main stage troupe Gus, along with special projects PUMPS and After School Grandma. Outside of improv and education, Michael is an avid reader, dog lover, music snob, certified Master Gardener, and uniformly disappointed Buffalo Bills fan.

The pillars of improve—Listen, Agree, and Add—are essential to effective collaboration in and out of the classroom. In this interactive workshop, teachers will learn improv strategies to prompt risk-taking, acceptance of others’ ideas, and exploration of individual communication styles.


-The workshop will be highly interactive with participants activating prior knowledge first to the art of improv and then will be lead through a series of strategies that will engage their communication skills.

-We will reflect after each activity as to how these strategies can apply to their own work– in the classroom, after school, or in their community. All strategies will be accessible and be able to be applied immediately after.

Strategies will include:

-Improvised drawing

-Risk taking/failure celebrating

-Support and agreement of others ideas

-Techniques for effective discussion with argument


*All workshops longer than 90 minutes include an on-site orientation meeting.


Audience Limit: 50 Teachers

Program Length: 90 minutes

Appropriate for Grades:
All Grades


Assembly Price: NA

Assembly Back-to-Back Price: NA

Workshop Cost per Day: $500 for 90 minutes, $815 for full day, plus mileage

Workshop Materials Fee: NA

Travel Fee: Mileage fees may apply

Technical Requirements

Smart board or projector and screen
Large open space with room to stand in a circle with chairs on the perimeter.


Curriculum Connections

21st Century Skills
Common Core-aligned