Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Puppets?

My dad has always been good at building just about anything.  It occurred to me a couple years ago that I needed to have something built by my dad that would always bring him to mind, especially since he was
in his late 70's (now 80).  So I came up with a simple plan on paper for a puppet stage.  I've always loved
puppets and toys and knew that somehow, I'd figure out a way to make use of it in my classroom.  So one
summer on a visit with my dad in Tennessee,  we shopped at Home Depot for the makings of a puppet stage! And together we built it.  You'll see a picture below.

So now I'll fast-forward to the puppet part.  I had seen songs, raps and poems written to teach reading and other skills.  So I decided to write puppet scripts that would teach reading skills.  Last year was my first year to try to put these into practice.  I was at a heavily bilingual school, so I had a teacher friend who translated my English scripts into Spanish.  So we were able to perform the shows in both Spanish and English.  I held auditions and chose 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to work the puppets and to serve as host and hostesses.  The kids basically ran the show.  We invited the whole school and they came to our show (which was located in a classroom) one and two classes at a time.  There was music playing that related to our topic as they entered.  Our hostesses seated the classes and began the show.  There was a hostess flipping pages on a flip chart during the show so that "audience members" (students) could read along. Students left with bookmarks and magnets to remember the lesson by.

The skills that I have scripts for so far are:  Text Structure, Main Idea, QAR, and "What Does Real Reading Look Like?"  I plan to add several to this list in the coming year.  Classes could present these shows for themselves, or just sit and read the scripts together using puppets in a less formal way.  I will download the scripts on this site at some point and I will try to make the "Text Structure" show available soon by video link, as it was filmed.

Sorry for the abrupt ending.  Sort of.  It's Monday.  I've got LOTS to do! C ya...

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