The concept is simple: take a group of students, and expose them to the rich history and magical qualities of puppetry. Introduce new skills to help them explore an academic subject. Teach them to make their own puppets, and combine their efforts to produce an original dramatic presentation, which they can perform for their fellow students, teachers, family members and friends.
Young people love to watch shows that feature puppets. And they especially love to make and perform with puppets. It's the thrill of being in front of an audience, to pretend, to have fun and to "bring to life" characters that may be as simple as decorated old socks or brown paper bags. It's so wondrous that even the most reserved and reluctant child gets caught up in the excitement. But staging a show takes effort, concentration, patience and practice, so these four concepts are an integral part of the process, as well.
This multi-faceted, several day program involves simple hands-on puppet-making, the rehearsing of a short play, and that final performance. Every student is given an equal opportunity to participate, and it has been applied to both large and small groups: a single classroom, a complete grade, even an entire school. It is also designed to cover a wide range of subjects. Previous workshops have explored forest ecology, the four seasons, urban and suburban communities, world folk tales, and life under the sea.
The project has the additional benefit of encouraging creativity and self-expression. It also guides young people to learn to work together toward a common goal, and reinforces their understanding of mutual respect.
Each daily lesson is filled with enthusiasm, accomplishment, laughter and learning. It also conforms to current Common Core Learning Standards.