Customized School Programs

Barry Residency

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    Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop offers three distinct opportunities to incorporate theater into the lives of your students.  We can tailor fit our programs and specifically meet the unique needs of your school in the Chicagoland area and Western Suburbs.  We enjoy being a part of a school’s community and enthusiastically partner with staff and administration to ensure the process is a fun and educational experience for everyone!

    In-School Residencies Options

    • Strengthen your existing theater program OR let's work together to design and create a brand new one
    • Single workshop, multi-week or year-long options available
    • We specialize in integrating drama into your existing classroom curriculum to enhance student learning in subject areas such as science, social studies, math, language arts, creative writing and more. (Sample residencies are attached)
    • We offer various stand-alone drama classes that build theater skills such as Creative Drama and Movement classes for Early Childhood, Musical Theater or Story Creation for Elementary Age classes, as well as Improv and Devised Theater for Middle School students.
    • Other popular theater curriculum is designed to meet social-emotional goals including icebreakers, teamwork, confidence building, creative learning, exploring techniques for healthy self-expression, community-building, etc.
    • Productions that can coincide with your students’ curriculum
    • The sky's the limit! If you have an idea to integrate drama into your school day, please let us know.

    Sample Residencies

    • Social-Emotional Skill Building through Story Dramatization: As students act out stories, they journey through obstacles, resolve conflicts and learn valuable lessons right along side their favorite characters.
    • Creative Drama and Movement: An age appropriate approach to exploring themselves and the world around them using movement, music, stories, games and more!
    • Feelings Unit: Students explore their own feelings and recognizing emotional signals of their peers. They “try on” different feelings and learn healthy ways of expressing themselves.

    • Collaborative Performance: What better way to celebrate a successful year then with a show highlighting their growth and accomplishments? Students reflect on the units they explored throughout the year and develop a show sharing what they have learned.
    • The First Grade Play: Start a new tradition at your school that will knock everyone’s socks off! You won't believe the talent and the confidence that comes out during the rehearsal process of these age-appropriate 30-minute musicals. Involve your parent community too!

    • An Earth Day Carol: This is a simple play that highlights the importance of “being green”. A great addition to your Earth Day Celebration!
    • Fractured Fairy Tales and Fairy Tale News: Now that your students are familiar with Fairy Tales as a genre, lets mix it up and find creative ways to play with the stories.

    • Team-building Exercises: Put a positive spin on your “anti-bullying” program by replacing it with a “community building” program. Encourage students to take part in building a classroom and school environment they can be proud of.
    • Planets Play: In this interactive rhyming play, students play planets who are trying to win the “best planet” award. Students learn facts about the planet while having fun on stage!

    • Creative Writing Dramatization Celebration: Let's act out students’ original stories!
    • Self-Empowerment Programming: Using formats such as “I am” poems and “I believe” statements as a jumping off point, we encourage students to explore their individuality and together we create an original performance piece celebrating our value and self-worth.

    • Improvisation as an Elective: Middle school students love Improv because it is fun and funny. It is also a positive way for students to push their boundaries in a safe and supportive environment at this delicate stage in their adolescent lives.
    • Devised Theater: Students collaborate to devise or create their own performance piece based on a chosen theme.
    • Creative Newscasts: This is a great way to engage students in current events where they themselves get to be the reporters and people “at the scene”. Commercials are a great compliment to this unit. Students invent “new” products and market them “on air”!

    Professional Development

    • Let Dream Big’s master teaching artists work with your staff and coach them in ways they themselves can incorporate acting skills and creative drama activities or cross-curricular extensions into everyday lessons.
    • Give our teachers your benchmarks and goals that you would like us to address and we will build a meaningful curriculum that your teachers can implement in their classrooms right away.
    • Go even deeper and invite our professional development team into your school for an ongoing teacher training program that builds upon itself throughout the school year.


    After School Programs

    • Tuition based and/or school funded after school programs for students in PreK-12th grades.
    • Popular themes include but are not limited to: Musical Theater, Improv, Story Drama, Creative Drama, Shakespeare, Devised Theater, School Productions, Theme-based workshops and more!


    Benefits of Integrating Drama into Your School's Curriculum with Dream Big:

    Dream Big's staff is led by Lisa Lang, a former classroom teacher, who understands the educational needs of a school and staff as well as implementing diverse teaching strategies and curriculum that responds to each student as an individual.


    Our Classes Provide:

  • Project-Based Learning Opportunities that foster creativity, self-expression and teamwork
  • Diversified Curriculum
  • Student-Centered Learning Projects that allow us to focus on students’ passion and interests which help to ensure your students’ buy-in, autonomy, ownership and overall engagement, leading to growth as a learner
  • Creating an environment in which everyone can contribute and be successful, no matter what type of learner they are. This can be life-changing for some students who may need alternative outlets and access points to their educational repertoire
  • Cooperative Learning Environments
  • Programs that address Howard Gardner’s research on Multiple Intelligences. We naturally gear our programming to the various learning styles of students including: Visual-Spatial, Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Linguistic, and Logical-Mathematical


How We Approach Assessment:

Since Theater Arts requires an active approach to learning that is oftentimes unconventional due to it’s evolving nature as students contribute their own ideas and artistic attributes to the curriculum, it requires an unconventional approach to assessment as well.  Our student-centered assessments ask open-ended meaningful questions that force learners to reflect and synthesize what they have learned, demanding that students access higher orders of thinking. Oftentimes these personal reflections, in which students apply story contexts and themes as well as characters’ journeys and emotions to their own lives, are incorporated into their final products and performances. We also consider and gauge students’ participation, contribution and behavior throughout the process as we find diversified ways to engage all students at their individual level, interest and expertise.


What We Need from You to Get Started:

  1. Let us know your general goals for bringing a Theater Program to your school.
  2. Give us as many parameters as you already know for implementing your program including:
  • Number of students we will be serving
  • Days, dates and times devoted to this residency
  • A budget range you would ideally like to stay within
  • Will their be a performance?

3.   We will provide you with an initial proposal.

4.   Let’s meet to flesh out all of your ideas, goals and visions for a successful program and we    will entice you with concrete ways of realizing your vision! We will also set up a plan for following up throughout the residency to make sure everyone’s goals are being met and we continue to stay on the same page.


As of September 2016, Dream Big's educational programming now falls under our newly organized non-profit. Part of Dream Big's mission has always been to make our programs assessable to all children. Under our new non-profit, DREAM BIG EDUCATION, INC, we are working to support under privileged communities and under funded schools with supplemental funding including grants, corporate sponsorships and private donations. We are a proud recipient of 8 Ingenuity Creative School Fund grants over the past 3 years. To learn more about this funding opportunity and others, please contact us today.

Contact Us!

Siobhan Maycraft, Education Director