Explore characteristics of proportion, design, colors, and shapes, problem solving, connecting ideas, and world culture. There are so many options! Carefully chosen elements of puppetry can teach standards and enhance understanding and retention of the subject.
Every workshop is unique, based on teacher and student needs and preferences. Generally, we start with pen and paper for design. Then piles of new and used materials for sculpting, costuming, painting, whatever the need may be. These transform into characters. The characters are given life through theater games, sound, and movement. A performance may be involved, but the workshops are process-based. Visual arts skills, as well as drama skills and standards are used. Creative writing, sound, and movement are incorporated to the degree needed.
3rd – 5th Grade:
Social Studies and Puppets: (including SC History, of course) – Students bring history to life as they create historical figure puppets, then they work in groups to write and perform short skits for each other. They will remember these historical men and woman forever!
ELA and Puppets – Creative writing, paragraph structure, and poetry can all be integrated into a puppetry workshop. Through Puppets and Poetry, students use simple mouth puppets and hand movement to learn alliteration, haiku, and other poetry forms. Motivation for creative writing is heightened when students are planning a play! Think Peter Pan for paragraph structure. “Hook” gives us the first line; supporting characters each improvise supporting sentences, while Peter Pan offers a conclusion.
Science and Puppetry – Properties of light and shadow are easily taught through Indonesian Shadow. Some Australian Backlight can be incorporated as well.
Math and Puppetry – Construction of characters, scenery, props, and staging lend themselves well to teaching properties of proportion, shape, measurement, etc. A workshop can be designed around specific mathematics concepts for hands-on learning. Example: a Transformation workshop with characters that show translation, reflection, rotation, and dilation, through shadow puppetry or rod puppets.
6th- 8th Grades:
Social Studies and Puppetry- Through glove puppets, like Punch and Judy, marionettes, shadow, or virtually any other form, historical events, cultures and even government are easily integrated with puppetry. In fact, most world cultures have their own unique form of puppetry!
ELA and Puppetry – A natural fit – Greek Mythology – Imagine filling your classroom with recreations of Medusa, Pegasus, and Icarus, or any other figure your students choose to research and present!
- Alice in Wonderland – For a literary performance idea, Lewis Carroll’s fanciful characters are designed to perform along with a real human student playing Alice. Do your students play in the band? They can create their own sound effects and musical accompaniment for the performance. Your students fill all the roles on stage and behind the scenes to learn how to put on a play.
Science and Puppetry – Animal Classification, Life Cycles, Ecosystems, and Environments are taught through creature building and creation of habitats. Group work is fun for this. Students analyze, research, and discuss characteristics and how to incorporate these into their creatures.
- Cell anatomy can be taught through shadow puppetry and mini presentations.
- Through creature building techniques, the classroom can be turned into a galaxy!
Math and Puppetry – Construction of characters, scenery, props and staging lend themselves well to teaching properties of proportion, shape, measurement, etc. A workshop can be designed around specific mathematics concepts for hands-on learning.