- Gather and collect new or recycled materials students can use for puppets, props and scenery/stage.
- Determine if students will work together as a class on the puppet show or in small groups on different shows.
- As a class, generate topics that connect to central text themes.
- Introduce students to the Do Something Student Planning Guide. Instruct them in mapping the steps necessary to complete puppet show scripts.
- Share the sample rubric or adapt it into a checklist for students. Refer to the rubric to define expectations.
- Have students come up with a story line or scenario and write a script that reflects themes and topics from the central text. Students may choose to set their story in the past or make it contemporary. Whether the storyline is fiction, nonfiction or historical fiction, students should develop the plot, setting and characters, conducting research to inform their script if necessary.
- Consider providing graphic organizers with story boxes to help students plan out the storyline and parts of script. Provide students with the assembled supplies and support them in creating puppets and props or provide puppets for students to choose from as characters in their production.
- Decide who will perform which parts. Provide ample time to rehearse prior to the final performance.
- Decide on a location for the puppet show based on your school community, resources and schedule. If possible, invite families, other grades and community members. It would be especially valuable for students to perform for younger children, who can both learn from and be entertained by the stories.
- If the puppet shows are performed for audiences beyond the class, puppeteers can engage in a Q&A with the audience.
- Ask students to reflect on the shows orally or with comments on sticky notes in the scripts.
- Students can self-assess their work using the rubric or checklist.
- Students can journal about how their puppet show reflected central text themes. Some suggested reflection questions include:
- What topic or theme from the central text was included in your puppet show?
- What important message did your puppet show express to your audience?
- How can puppet shows be a form of social action?
English language learners
This task provides several ways for students to demonstrate their learning through modes of expression that are not solely language based. In addition to working collaboratively with peers on the script, students can demonstrate their learning through the art created for the puppet show and through their performance. This task engages linguistic, interpersonal, spatial/artistic and kinesthetic learning modalities.
Connection to anti-bias education
Puppet shows allow students to creatively demonstrate their learning to an audience other than their teacher. Students contribute individual perspectives and ideas to the project, which enriches the assessment process and encourages students to learn from one another. Students must have a solid understanding of the content and be able to “think outside of the box” to adapt their themes and ideas into an original script.