Puppet and Puppet Show Lessons Part One: Making Puppets
Objective: To have students create puppets with clear differences and have the class later perform a play about accepting the differences.
Materials: Brown paper bags, long sheets of white paper (that fit onto the bags), scissors, glue, pencils, colored pencils, crayons
Prep: Create a puppet from a brown paper bag with a trait that makes the puppet unique. For this class, I made a princess with purple skin. Create the puppet first on a long piece of white paper that is cut to fit the bag. Once done decorating the puppet cut across where the puppets mouth is. glue the top half of the puppet to the upper section on the underside of the brown paper bag. Then glue the second half to the bottom of the paper bag. The puppet can now talk!
- Discuss the idea of differences to the class. Then ask the question, in everyday life is it easier to ignore people for their differences or accept people for their differences? What would the world be like if everybody was the same? Pretty boring, right? Say there would be no new ideas, no new video games, no new tv shows because everybody is already the same.
- Introduce the puppet you prepared for the class. Talk about the puppet in regular, relatable terms. “This is princess Belle, she likes to draw, she has blonde hair, she likes to play with her friends and spend time with her family.” Ask if anyone has any of these traits in common with Belle. Then ask if the class notices anything else about Belle. Most likely they will point out the purple skin. If not, you may bring it up. When this is brought up, reinforce the idea that students have things in common with this character, and they wouldn’t have known that if they judged her for her purple skin and didn’t get to know her.
- Tell the students it is their turn to create a character with a unique trait as you hand out white paper, pencils, colored pencils, and crayons.
- Give the students time to develop their character. Encourage them to add as much detail to the pictures and the character as possible.
- When you see students finishing up, hand out the brown paper bags, scissors, and glue. Instruct them to cut the character at the mouth and glue the two ends to the brown paper bag to allow their puppet to talk.
- Have students write their name, the name of their character, and what makes their character unique on the back. Encourage them to add as much detail as possible, even adding relatable characteristics such as “They like playing on the playground”
- If there is time have students hold up their puppet and introduce their puppet to the class.
- Collect the puppets at the end of class to use for the following week. IMPORTANT!
Puppet and Puppet Show Lessons Part Two: Making the Play
Objective: To have students not only recognize and accept the differences in their characters, but in other students’ characters. Then, based off this acceptance, have them create a play.
Materials: Puppets from previous class, one sheet of white computer paper per group, pencils
Prep: Bring the puppets that were prepared for last class to this one. Write a basic outline for students to follow for their play.
The outline provided for this lesson was
- Introduce each character by saying the character’s name, what they like to do, traits that are common and what makes that character different.
- Have each of the characters have something in common (like enjoying video games) or a common goal (that they all want to build a sandcastle).
- Have the character be hesitant to accept each other’s differences.
- Have characters realize things work better once we accept others for who they are.
- Refresh the class about what they did last week. Discuss differences again and reintroduce your puppet from the last class.
- Explain that this week they will be creating plays with the puppets we made from last week. Discuss what will go into the makings of this play. Bring up the outline and talk the class through it. Tell them they will receive a white piece of paper to write down their ideas and what they want to say for the play.
- Break the class into groups consisting of four students and have these students sit together. Hand back the puppets and give each group a white piece of paper with a pencil.
- Give the students time to work together and create a play. Some students will take more of an initiative and need less guidance while others may need to rely heavily on the outline that has been provided. Check in with each group as they go to make sure they are staying on task and are progressing with their play.
- With at least 25 minutes left, have each group come up and present their play. Some groups may need to rely heavily on their paper and others may be more comfortable going up and having fun with it. Just treat each with enthusiasm and encouragement. Make sure each group has the class’ undivided attention and respect, and applaud at the end.