This self-paced, asynchronous online Professional Development course is intended for teachers and other educational staff, as well as parents and administrators who work with young people with special needs, ages 4 to 21.  Online participants will acquire skills in conducting creative drama and music activities for students who have a wide range of disabilities as well as abilities.  When you employ these newly acquired inclusive skills, your students will gain much improved communication, self-esteem, cooperation, and a sense of fun. 
















Highlights include Universal Design for Learning,

Multiple Intelligences, National Core Arts Standards, lesson plans, quizzes, and ongoing communication with your online instructor via the assignments.  This course was crafted by Leslie Fanelli, Executive Director of the Arts Education Company, Theatre in Motion, honored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and part of the Tony Award-winning team at the Paper Mill Playhouse as Master Teacher of the Creative Drama classes for Special Needs populations. 



There are several versions of the course:

  • 5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)  Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion.

  • 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)  Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion.

  • Non-Credit ... Participants taking the course as Non-Credit are welcome to do all the assignments, but will not turn them in to the instructor and will not receive a certificate.


What to Expect from this Course

Mission: to learn drama and music activities and applicable cognitive concepts. Target audience: Educators, parents, and others who work with youth with Special Needs, ages 4 to 21 years old.  National Core Arts Standards included.  

What is Creative Drama?

A definition:  It is comprised of many theatre activities that do not require a formal script and memorizing lines.  Music is often included.  More examination ensues.  

Multiple Intelligences

Study of The Theory of Multiple Intelligences and how it relates to creative drama and music. 



Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Overview

A synopsis of UDL and glossary of theatre terms that will appear in an ensuing UDL Chart.  

UDL Checklist Chart 

Detailed strategy options, applicable to the three brain networks of UDL construct: Recognition, Strategic, Affective.  National Core Arts Standards included.


Project One: Examine Your Own Learning

Self examination of cognition via the UDL Networks and Multiple Intelligences.


Suggested Stories for Creative Drama 

Several enduring tales that lend themselves to creative drama and music activities.  

Lesson Plan I: A Theatrical Poetic Sign Performance

An inspired sign performance that utilizes American Sign Language with broad, dynamic, theatrical expression.  

Lesson Plan II: “Stone Soup”

The traditional story “Stone Soup” with tangible food props, plus a few imaginary items.  

Lesson Plan III: “Abiyoyo”

The story “Abiyoyo” with all intangible, imaginary props.  Based on the story by legendary folk singer Pete Seeger.  

Lesson Plan IV: The Magic Clay

With mime (and sometimes sound effects), characters, animals, machines, or scenarios are created from imaginary clay.   

Lesson Plan V: Acrostic Poetry

Creation of poetry that features a vertical line of words derived from the first letters of a person's name, followed by derivative visual art.  Creative Drama tableaux ensue.  

Lesson Plan VI: The Geology Machine Improvisation

The geology of the New Jersey/New York City area (Northeastern United States) from 550,000,000 years ago to the present.  Other scientific "stories" also work for this Machine Improvisation.

Project Two: Create Two Lesson Plans

The six previous lesson plans serve as templates.

Resources, 4 Quizzes, and an Assessment Rubric

Included are a collection of resources, as well as four self-graded quizzes, and a Rubric Assessment to be used for assignment evaluations.

To register and take any course, you will need a gmail address, with which you contact instructor Leslie Fanelli at  Please write "Online Drama Interest" in the Subject Line.  Ask Ms. Fanelli  any questions you may have, and let her know which course you wish to take (5 CEUs or 3 CEUs or Non-credit).  After selection and payment, a digital invitation will be sent to your gmail address so you can enter this Google Classroom and work on it at your own pace, commencing any time you wish.  

It is easy to create a gmail address. Visit Create Your Google Account for Gmail.  With that gmail address, contact Leslie, sign up for and take the courses you select.   

You can pay by credit card by clicking below.




Or, payment can be made by check to:

Theatre in Motion, Inc.

A Non-Traditional, Non-Profit Company

245 Livingston Ave.

New Providence, NJ 07974

Note: The prototype for this course was funded by the J. M. McDonald Foundation.