Introduce the puppet theater by using a pre-made paper mitt puppet to fit your topic.
Demonstrate how the puppet is made and how to use it.
A paper mitt puppet is:
Give students guidelines for the puppets you would like them to create. They could create puppets of characters from history, animals from ecosystems you are studying, math symbols, characters from a book you are reading, the students themselves, or ANYTHING your class is learning about.
Give students 20-25 minutes to fold, staple, and draw their puppets. If they only need one puppet, they can draw on one side, but the puppets can also be reversible if you want them to create two characters.
For example, students might draw a lion on one side and a mouse on the other, in preparation to perform Aesop’s fables. Or, students may draw a Pilgrim on one side and a Native American on the other.
There are many ways to perform with these puppets. For a quick performance, students may perform improvised puppet shows by making up dialogue while they are performing. If you want an extended project into writing, you can have students write their own puppet shows and then perform. Students can perform individually or in pairs. Or, as in the case of the accompanying video, you can have students perform a poem they are memorizing.
The one important thing with these simple puppets is this: they do not have a mouth. This means it is hard to tell which puppet is speaking, unless the puppeteer adds some movement. Encourage your students to move their puppet any time their puppet is speaking, whether it is a small wave, a wiggle, a bounce, etc. Students are also behind a cardboard barrier, so remind them to speak LOUDLY and CLEARLY when performing.