Monday, April 6, 2015

Puppetry Arts in the classroom

The last couple of weeks, I have watched stoned faced students erupt into giggles when being hugged and kissed by puppets. For blind children, it is important to get to touch the mouth of a hand puppet as it opens and closes, and shake hands with a puppet arm. They each got to try out several kinds of puppets and listen to silly my voices. I showed an episode of the "Muppets" and talked about how someone has to invent each character and make it by hand.

When it came to art production, my elementary students began at the beginning, which for me is the paper bag puppet. No childhood is complete without making at least one.

It didn't take long for me to sew dozens of little finger puppet bodies, which these kids took to new heights. It's important to discuss lots of ideas and offer a variety of materials before students come up with a solution that will work for them. I was surprised at some of the ideas they had, like feather for hair and a goat-tee, or a yarn loop to make a girl's hula hoop.

Older students watched power point presentations on puppets and video clips of amazing giant marionettes to ancient shadow puppets. They then made their own shadow puppets with two pieces of black paper, wire, and metallic markers. Dowels and brads work too for moving parts. But I am saving our dowels for another project.

The marionette project used paper towel rolls (we still have plenty left over from all of our toilet paper roll crafts), paint, string, and Popsicle sticks.

Puppets and marionettes marry visual arts with literacy and performance art. We wrapped up our unit by taking a trip to the Center for Puppetry Arts to watch an amazing performance about "The Diary of Anne Frank."

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