Puppetry and the Classroom
Puppetry often gets pigeon holed, but it can be used in so many facets; not just entertainment, but education as well.
From actually using puppets to teach all the way to having the students write plays, the whole concept of puppetry is made for education.
Average classrooms nowadays generally run 20 to 30 students, so it may seem like a big task to use puppetry in this environment, but it really isn’t.
One Bite at a Time
Break it down into 20 minute segments each day, then move on to other topics so that it becomes routine, but doesn’t take up too much time. Just the concept of writing puppet plays is a great exercise in creative writing.
Each day that you work on the play, concentrate on different aspects of the play, such as one day create the synopsis of the story, then the next day create the story, then break down the story into a play and create the characters to be used.
The Classroom Objectives
As the educator, whether using common core or any other teaching procedures, they all have similar objectives to be reached in the classroom based on the state standards, so work these standards into the program.
It depends entirely on the grade level as to how advanced you get, but in this class you can cover writing skills, dialogue, narrative creation, presentation all the way up to videography and advance presentation skill for older classes.
Lead by Example
Incorporate visual examples of what you are trying to accomplish. A common way to get the ball rolling in some classes is to assign an old fairytale and have them rewrite it so that it is more modern or has a twist that they create.
Make the Grade
Grading is going to be pretty easy, just let the class know how the grading is going to happen ahead of time. Participation is key. Some have he entire class work on a single project while others find it better to split up into groups.
Starting off, I would suggest small groups of two or three, give grades on the project as a whole, but also give individual grades on participation and the level of input they placed in the project.
Put it to a vote
You could start off by having each student come up with their own idea, then vote on a story to do, then the whole class work on the stories voted for.
Once a set of plays are chosen and created, the students could then practice and perform their plays for each other, other classes or at a school function.
Build on What You’ve Started
Along with writing plays, set design and building can be a fun way to practice math skills such as fractions all the way to trigonometry if you want to get advanced with it.
There is virtually no end to the subjects that could be taught by using puppets in the classroom. This is true for grades 1st through high school.
I have never personally taught a class on puppets in a classroom, but I have had some students of mine who were elementary teachers who went in with both feet to incorporate puppet performance in the class.
I haven’t even touched on actually using the puppets as the educators. This works great for the younger students. If you are an educator looking for new ways to teach children, try puppetry in the classroom. In the middle ages, puppets were used by street performers to teach valuable lessons, morals, etc.