Professional puppeteer experience is not required to incorporate puppetry in your teaching arsenal. A basic puppet is easy to operate and grabs the attention of preschool and elementary students. Puppets can help you teach social skills and academics in your regular curriculum. Students can take a turn at using puppets to work through problems or demonstrate knowledge.
While any teacher can handle a puppet, giving yourself some prep time makes the puppetry easier and more effective. Consider how the puppet might talk and act to make it interesting and easy for the students to relate to. Practice moving the puppet while talking. Use a mirror so you can see how you look. Don't forget to alter your voice to give your puppet its own personality.
Puppets work well for teaching almost any concept in the classroom. Instead of presenting the information yourself, let the puppet do the introductions. If you're introducing verbs, the puppet might explain what a verb is and demonstrate by doing different actions, such as jumping or dancing. Using a puppet can also help you discuss social concerns in the classroom, such as bullying, sharing or solving a problem. The puppet can help kids work through their feelings on a topic or serve as a mediator if students aren't getting along. If you don't mind handing over the puppets to your students, let them provide the voice and movements. Have students use the puppet to share what they know about a topic you're studying. You can also send the puppets home with the students so they can show their parents what they've learned using the puppet.
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