In the ever-evolving landscape of education, technology plays a vital role. However, amidst the digital revolution, we mustn't overlook the timeless magic that puppets bring to the classroom. When I moved to Dubai to teach, I transitioned from a Year 6 to a Year 2 class, I was pleasantly surprised by the genuine fascination my young learners developed for these enchanting companions. However, during my time in Dubai, I transitioned from Year 2 to Year 6 and soon realised that puppetsaren't just magic with younger children.
Building a Connection:
To introduce my pupils to the world of puppets, I shared the story of how we first met. It was a humbling moment when one astute young observer pointed out the puppet's hidden secret – a hole in the back of its head, where I controlled its movements. From that day on, a bond began to form.
This video shares a story that I've used with my class in the past:
Class Buddy and Mascot:
As my students forged a connection with the puppet, they took joy in revisiting prior lessons and teaching it new concepts. This not only served as a unique assessment tool but also encouraged critical thinking and logical reasoning as they corrected the puppet's occasional missteps.
Bloom's Taxonomy and Creative Storytelling:
Understanding the capabilities of your puppet is key. Can it move its limbs? Can it speak? Utilize these features to enhance your oral storytelling sessions. While whimsical voices can captivate, encouraging the puppet to whisper key details back to you adds an interactive twist that keeps the children engaged and eager for more.
In my international school, where English is an additional language for many, puppets prove invaluable in reinforcing correct pronunciation. Reading sessions with our furry friend during quiet times are met with eager anticipation. Last year, my Year 6 class relished hearing stories from the puppet, and this tradition continues to inspire a love for language.
The puppet serves as a gentle reminder for good behavior throughout each lesson. Its special ability to choose a student for a coveted task encourages a positive learning environment. For exceptional behavior, the puppet awards special privileges, reinforcing the value of respect and responsibility.
Supporting Mental Health:
In a world where mental health awareness is paramount, puppets become trusted companions for children experiencing negative emotions. Much like a cherished teddy bear or pet, caring for the puppet offers a sense of comfort and control. For those struggling to articulate their feelings, the puppet becomes a safe channel for expression.
Tips for Puppetry Success:
1. Familiarize yourself with your puppet's capabilities.
2. Share the story of how you and the puppet became companions, building a genuine relationship.
3. Simple puppets can be just as effective as their pricier counterparts.
4. Use the puppet strategically to captivate interest and stimulate learning, rather than relying solely on it for instruction.
5. Embrace the moment, take a deep breath, and most importantly, have fun!
These are just a few of the ways in which puppets have enriched my students' educational journey. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing a detailed guide, diving deeper into incorporating puppetry into your classroom routine. I hope you find these tips useful and that you and your students enjoy the magical world of puppetry in your classes!
To find more information about how I use puppets in my classroom check out the video below.
If you're in the process of becoming a teacher and want further support with. how to go about the interview process, check out the guide below: