For Schools

Drama Frames

Program Overview:

Childsplay’s professional development model, Drama Frames, was developed and tested over three years through the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with the Washington Elementary School District. Drama Frames trains classroom teachers to incorporate drama techniques to help develop literacy and language acquisition in students.


Scope of the Program: Year-long program paring of one Childsplay teaching artist with each classroom teacher, for a collaborative learning experience throughout the whole school.


Sample Program Flow:  Each semester has three units. A unit takes place over a 3 week period, with sessions occurring once per week, and focuses on one drama and curricular pairing (a drama frame): 

  • Model Lesson, in which the Teaching Artist (TA) teaches a lesson in the classroom that demonstrates a drama and literacy lesson.
  • In-Service, in which teachers gather in grade level teams with teaching artists to learn about the drama strategy and to practice implementing techniques that will lead to successful implementation and student learning
  • Team Lesson, in which the TA and Classroom Teacher (CT) co-teach a drama and literacy lesson
  • Planning Meeting, in which the TA and CT sit down together to plan a solo lesson
  • Solo Lesson, in which the CT facilitates a drama lesson in the classroom by him/herself with the TA and dedicated research observers watching
  • Reflection Meeting, in which the TA and CT meet to debrief about the Solo Lesson, both in terms of facilitation success and student response


The unit of learning is repeated six times with a new drama frame each unit.  The year begins with eight hours of a whole staff introductory Teacher Institute. 


What teachers say:

“I have a mixture of students in my class - and the ones who I saw the most growth with were my special education and language learners. They participated more than I expected them to, and actually had a better product when they were done than they had at the beginning of the year.”

“One of our last drama [sessions] we did a panel and they were all animal experts. And I saw my lowest kids shining and being able to answer questions and really taking on a new persona and becoming confident in standing in front of the class, which is something at the beginning of the year I didn't see.”


Budget: All of Childsplay’s programs and budgets are customized for school’s individual needs and goals. The cost of the program starts at $3,000 per classroom , which includes over 50 hours of PD per teacher. Childsplay works with schools and districts to assist in obtaining grants to help support collaborations.