Lesson Sequence

Day 1:

  1. (Whole Class) Start by reading the introductory paragraph to the children.
  2. (Whole Class) If you have some, share puppets that you have collected.
  3. (Whole Class) Read a story that deals with puppets.
  4. (Small Groups) Have students experiment with operating a puppet and talking at the same time. They could practice retelling the story you just read.
  5. (Whole Class) Ask, "What do we already know about puppets?" List ideas on chart paper.
  6. (Whole Class) Ask, "We're going to learn about many different kinds of puppets from all around the world. What do you want to know about puppets?" List ideas on chart paper. Tell students we'll look for answers to these questions as we explore the world of puppets.

Over the next few days, you will take students to different cultures to learn about their puppets and plays. Be sure to preview all sites prior to visiting them with children so that you will be able to paraphrase the information contained therein. It is not necessary for the class to visit every single site; select those which are most appropriate for your time constraints and grade level.

For each culture, list on chart paper characteristics of the puppets, student observations, important information, etc. Post these on the bulletin board with pictures of the puppets (see printing images in teacher suggestions). Use these questions to prompt student discussion:

  • How would you describe these puppets?
  • What makes these puppets different from other puppets you've seen?
  • How are these puppets made? What are they made of?
  • Why do you think they made the puppets this way?
  • How are the puppets operated?
  • What kind of music or storytellers are used with these puppets?
  • What kinds of stories do these puppets tell?

Day 2:

  1. (Whole Class) Our first trip is to Japan to learn about bunraku puppets. Use the resource list for bunraku puppetry. Ask students questions from the boxed list above and chart responses as you visit the sites.
  2. (Triad) Students can explore the Japanese culture by:
    1. pretending to be bunraku puppeteers. Have students practice manipulating a large doll with three people. They can practice making it walk, ride a bike, do jumping jacks, dance, etc. You may even have a student be the puppet!
    2. using choral speaking or readers' theatre to explore voice inflection, discord, etc.

Day 3:

  1. (Whole Class) Today we are going to visit Vietnam and find out about water puppetry. Use the resource list for water puppetry. Ask students questions from the boxed list above and chart responses as you visit the sites.
  2. (Individual/Pairs) Students can explore the Vietnamese culture by:
    1. drawing a picture of how water puppetry works and labeling the parts of it.
    2. exploring the principles of floatation and designing a float that will hold a small clay replica of a water puppet.
    3. singing stories; discuss how song and voice reflects mood, events, etc.

Day 4:

  1. (Whole Class) Today we are going to visit the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia and find out about shadow puppetry. Use the resource list for shadow puppetry. Ask students questions from the boxed list above and chart responses as you visit the sites.
  2. (Individual) Students can explore the Indonesian culture by:
    1. cutting out silhouettes to learn about shadows and how they're cast
    2. making paper dolls with joints using brads and laying them on the overhead projector to simulate shadow puppetry
    3. putting on a shadow "play" using their bodies to cast the shadows with a sheet and overhead projector to provide the stage and lighting
    4. listening to instrumental music and discussing "what it sounds like", what action or event does it suggest.

Day 5:

  1. (Whole Class) We have been to three different countries to see puppets. What have we learned about puppets? List student responses on chart paper. Guide students to compare and contrast information.
  2. (Individual) Have students draw/write a journal entry about their favorite puppet and why it was their favorite. Prompt them to use descriptive vocabulary to describe their puppet.

Day 6-10:

  1. (Pairs) Let's make our own puppet show now! Divide the class into pairs. Have them create puppets and plan a puppet show with them. This can be a written script or simply discussed and practiced.
  2. (Small Group) Those who finish early can help create the puppet stage(s) necessary for the performances.
  3. (Whole class) Present puppet shows as students are ready.

Closing Activities:

  1. Reflection:
    (Individual) Have students draw/write a response to: "What did you enjoy most about this unit?" Share as a class.
  2. Information Literacy:
    (Whole Class) List the tools you used to learn about puppets. This may include laser discs, CD's, videos, books, Internet.
  3. Conclusion:
    (Whole Class)Our trip was very short but we learned about puppets and people in many different parts of the world. Are all puppets the same? Are all people the same? What's the best thing about having different people all over the world?
  4. Evaluation:
    (Teacher) Did students demonstrate an appreciation for other cultures through their discussion, journal entries, artwork? Did they incorporate ideas from the cultures in their own puppets?


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