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Guest Blogger: Aleia Nay

Visual Art Specialist at Oscarson Elementary School, Piute School District

The 3rd and 4th grade classes, under the supervision of BTSALP Visual Art Specialist, Aleia Nay constructed Flashlight Shadow Puppet Narratives. This is a combination  classroom since Oscarson Elementary only has 35 students in their school. 

STANDARD 3.V.CR.1: Elaborate on an imaginative idea and apply knowledge of resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art making process. The students have been learning about the properties of light in their science unit. 

Materials Needed: 

  • flashlights
  • paper
  • black colored pencil
  • sharpie
  • visual aids
  • projector screen

Each student partnered with a second student and chose two shadow puppet figures to create a narrative. Previously, all the students practiced making shadow puppets in front of the projector screen and decided on what characters they wanted to use. It was exciting for the kids to interact with shadows when the classroom lights were off. We talked about how light and shadow work together to make a silhouette on the screen. Once students decided on their figures, the pairs got to work.

They taped a piece of paper onto the board. One student held up their hands and their partner traced around the shadow. Students found that it was hard to keep a shape when drawing because hands would move, lighting would move, and you would have a  whole different look to your drawing. Students were encouraged to roll with the challenges. Their eyes followed the lines, hands, and shapes when this happened.  This helped quite a bit. 

After one student had two figures on their paper, they would switch places and do it again.  This ensured that everyone in the class had their own set of characters for writing a speech bubble narrative.  Students chose the story the shadow puppets story would tell.  They used jokes, common greetings, and small stories. The classes discussed how shadows would look on paper – colored in, tight shading, full color and no white pockets – and why this was important for the finished product. 

Not just for kids . . . 

BTSALP specialists spent an afternoon creating and experimenting with Shadow Puppets.  Check out the video clips below to see the “grown ups” at play! 

Trish Saccomano
Trish Saccomano
Trish is the lead Professional Development Partner for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program - University of Utah region. She works with the visual artists and elementary school students. She is also on the faculty of the Consumer and Family Studies Department at the University of Utah.

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