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More Puppetry: Writing With Puppets Lesson Plan

Author: Cassie Walker

Year: 2015

Artform: Drama

Subjects: Language Arts

Grade: ALL

Duration: 45 minutes

Overview: This is a follow-up to Puppetry 101: Reading with Puppets. Students write their own puppet shows -- on any topic you choose -- and perform them for the class. We’ve seen these puppets become weather reporters, geologists, teachers and students, friends saying “no” to drugs and alcohol, parents and children, friends showing conflict resolution, and even characters from Greek mythology and other literature! This lesson will bring your core standards to life in the puppet theater!

Standards and Objectives

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE
All Grades: Speaking clearly and audibly

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS
Syllables
PUPPETRY, VOCAL SKILLS
All Grades: Diction, Projection
With partners, students will write a short dialogue exchange, then perform it using proper puppet technique.


TEACHING AND TIMELINE

INTRODUCTION

Warm-Up:

(2 minutes) Use “No Bananas In the Sky,” “Apples and Bananas,” or another silly song or chant to warm up voices and mouths. Try it slowly while using the puppet mouth, matching hand movements to syllables. Make sure the hand OPENS on each syllable, not closes!

DEMONSTRATION

Quickly model/review correct puppet technique: (3 minutes).

  1. Wash hands first
  2. Pull puppet on, not push
  3. Operate the mouth using the thumb of the dominant hand
  4. Operate the arm rod using the non-dominant hand
  5. Hold puppet on lap, straight up, head up
  6. Nothing goes in its mouth
  7. Don’t touch the head, or play with clothes or hair
  8. No fighting, no biting

Reminder: Students who misuse the puppets will lose puppet privileges!


Instructions:

(5 minutes) Gives directions for writing the dialogue. In the end, students should be writing dialogue for 2 puppets to perform on a topic of the teacher’s choice. The puppets could play the parts of a teacher and student, two scientists teaching the class, two students talking about what they’ve learned in class, characters in a book, etc.

Example:

Requirements: Write 4 sentences of dialogue about the water cycle. Use 2 water cycle vocabulary words.

Puppet 1: Water molecules are always moving around the earth.

Puppet 2: They evaporate into the sky and form clouds.

Puppet 1: They return to earth through precipitation, rain or snow.

Puppet 2: They collect in lakes and oceans, then evaporate again!

WORK PERIOD

Practice:

(15 minutes) Groups of 2 write puppet dialogue according to the teacher’s directions. When they are finished writing, they will practice slowly using their “puppet mouth” hand.

The teacher will monitor the classroom, facilitating cooperation and on-task behavior in each group.

CLOSURE/SUMMARY

Performance:

(20 minutes) Each group performs their puppet show for the class. The teacher assesses using the requirement checklist (see “Assessment” box below).

 
 

Pull this lesson into your studies with syllables. Every grade works with syllables in some way; younger grades need syllables to decode words, and older grades need syllables to dissect words into roots and affixes.
  • How can I best care for this instrument (the puppet)?
  • How can I make the puppet look like it is really talking using syllables?
Additional essential questions depend on subject matter
Adapt as necessary for students with individual abilities and needs.
  • Puppet
  • Arm Rod
  • Syllable
  • Diction
  • Projection
Puppetry had its origins in ancient Asia, spread through Europe, and influenced many countries in the world leading up to the present day.

These kinds of puppets are more recent, as made popular by Jim Henson and The Muppets.
PERFORMANCE CHECKLIST:

  • Did each group include the required vocabulary words?
  • Did their puppet shows have the required facts and information?
  • Could the audience see the puppets well?
  • Could the audience hear and understand the puppeteers?
  • Did the mouth movement match the syllables?

SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT AND RESOURCES

  • Puppets : Any puppets with mouths for this lesson. Gather enough puppets to split the class into groups of 2 or 3 students to one puppet. (thepuppetstore.com is a great place to get puppets)
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Puppet Theater (even a desk or table on its side will do)