Presentation: Social Emotional Learning through Drama

Categories: Curriculum Ideas

Ugh I had a major technical fail this morning – I was presenting at a workshop and had been obsessing about making sure I had an extension cord long enough for the projector. I even brought 3 just in case. Once I got there however – I realized I had forgotten I needed a 3 prong cord! Ah yi yi – I hope my break out sessions didn’t mind watching my videos from the laptop!

Any-who, other than the my little extension cord misstep, the rest of the presentation went really great! The conference was the Chicago Foundation for Education’s Teachers as Leaders and Learners Workshop. I received a small grant last year from the Chicago Foundation for Education that gave me the opportunity to create an entire unit to work on the skills needed to be a good friend with one of the staff from the Chicago Children’s Theater’s Red Kite Project (a subset that is designed to involve children with autism in the arts).

I’m going to let my info packet do the talking today! I provided a ton of info on what my classroom uses Drama Time for, how we set it up, and the Friendships Unit. I cannot say enough how amazing this program has been for my students! If you would have asked me 4 years ago if my student would be working on such complex concepts as jealousy and standing up for their friends – I would have laughed at you, but we are! I have had students who have gone from having full meltdowns when they are mad to now saying, “I’m frustrated.” This project has helped them develop the language to express their emotions appropriately. Click here to download the Drama Packet for Children with Autism for full summary!

Here is a little about the project: Here is a little about drama time. We do drama time once a week into of morning group. It’s a really nice change of pace!

Here is what we worked in the friendship unit:

Please, please let me know if you have any questions about this if you are interested! It has made such a difference for my students!



  1. So glad the drama units have helped your students! I will have to try some of the activities. Do your students ever do the activities with typical peers? I am trying to promote positive peer interactions between my students and their general education classmates. Thanks for any additional ideas!

  2. I think that would be GREAT! That was my original idea for the drama unit but unfortunately the general education classrooms seem to have so much pressure on them with testing that they often don’t have extra time to participate. I totally get it but it’s kind of a bummer. We have a longer school day this year so I’m hoping to try again this year. I think drama is the perfect time for inclusion! Plus all kids could work on social skills and problem solving 🙂 Let me know how the drama activities go with your kids!

  3. This is such a great idea! How did you find out about the grant?/How did you find out about this opportunity?

  4. It’s a grant for Chicago Public School teachers – but there is a cool website to look for grants in your areas – I talk about it in this post:

    Hope you can find one! I’m grant obsessed, haha!


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