One good role for the puppets, or for just one of them,
might be to act as your stooge or as the class mascot. This puppet answers
questions but doesn't always get them right. That way you can encourage
the children to correct him, thus highlighting common errors and reinforcing
accurate language. Kids love the puppet who makes mistakes, it takes the
embarrassment away from themselves and becomes a game.
If you want the kids to act out stories and dialogue
exchanges you could try the following procedure.
Puppets and balloon bubbles on the board:
1. Present the characters, putting a drawing of each on the board (draw
in advance on card and stick up if you are not so hot at drawing).
2. When your first character speaks, put a balloon bubble on the board
under/next to the character to indicate speech. If it is a question put
a question mark in the bubble. If it is an exclamation put a symbol in
the bubble and if it is a shout put lines darting from the bubble to indicate
anger and so on. You can build up the mood of the dialogue this way.
3. Run through the scene again, using the puppet and bubbles on the board
to prompt the children to either play one of the characters or repeat
4. Bring out one child to play the role with one puppet, using the board
bubbles and your prompts to help.
5. Bring out different pairs to act out with the puppets and bubbles.
This way you gradually move towards more interaction between students
and between the puppets and students.
6. If all students have similar puppets they can now practice in pairs.
7. The introduction of written words on the board will depend on the age
and approach introduced by the class teacher. The speech bubbles could
contain one word prompts like 'name?' and at the end you could write up
the whole dialogue for students to read if they are learning to read.
My children use cardboard or paper cut outs stuck to drinking straws or
ice lolly sticks. A paper bag with eyes and mouth can suffice or a simple
finger puppet. A toilet roll or even an empty yoghurt carton can suffice
for making a character. Younger kids enjoy making the puppets, even if
just colouring cut outs that you have prepared in advance (they can take
an age to make something from scratch !!) as this breaks the pace of the
lesson and they can personalise the puppet.
Puppets and stories
Plenty of interaction can be achieved with repetitive stories which involve
a tale which can come alive. Goldilocks and the 3 bears, The 3 little
Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood or the 3 Billy Goats Gruff. They have the
added advantage of snippets of dialogue that can be acted out by students.
You make large versions in card to tell the tale and students have their
versions to act out the wolf talking to the pigs etc. The tale you tell
then becomes a little play between groups of students with their puppets.
You can even have a theatre made from a large cardboard box so students
can put on their show for the class. I did something similar last year
with 5 year olds using Tellytubby characters and a theatre which was Tellytubby
land. Students in that class knew the series and I was even able to show
snippets from the videos. If your classes are older traditional tales
would most probably be known in their own language and that helps them
to develop the characters and understand the new language.
back to questions