Wednesday 9 October 2013

Puppet Power: The Teachable Moment

Earlier this week we had a guest performer present a puppet show to the whole school in the gym.  What an unexpected and awe inspiring treat!  The performer was a world class talent and his show was without any "flash" just him and his puppets, some as simple as just his hands and a cloth.  The whole school was engrossed in his unique creative storytelling; it was incredible.

We saw this before recess so I quickly scrapped the original day plan and gathered materials for making puppets from the art room.  I'd seen in a magazine a kids craft for spoon puppets that I remembered after having seen the puppet show.  So a handful of plastic spoons, some felt scraps, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, felts.. and we were off.  I showed the kids some examples from the magazine picture.  That's all they needed! They were thrilled to be making puppets and wanted to make more and have fun with them.  Some of them are so creative, and it really was impressive to see what they came up with.

The next day we finished making our puppets and got into groups to write a short play to be performed with their puppets.  We had a class discussion about our target audience to consider while we were writing our scripts, (the grade ones) and what that might mean for how we structured our writing.  We then discussed the goal of the story: to teach a positive lesson to the grade ones.  We brainstormed a list of about 10 ideas, things like: include don't exclude, sharing, name calling/kindness, etc and wrote these on the board to refer to.  They were then given time to write their scripts together.  There was total engagement, and they were happy to be working on this project.  They practiced the show when they were done.

The students performed their show for the class and then we invited the grade ones to come join us and watch the positive lessons the big kids had to teach them. The show went well and we performed for both grade one classes.

It was an unexpected teachable moment that led to several really good classes for our students.

Post courtesy of Kent Percevault

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