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March 7, 2021

Virtual Puppet Shows Anyone?

Let me first tell you the B.C. (before covid) version of this activity...

In a normal year, during the end of the Causes of the American Revolution unit, my grade level usually has students get into groups to act them out. The idea of students teaching it meaning they really understand it. We have a total of 12 teams - 3 groups per class, about 10 kids per group - where students creat a backdrop for their cause, and a short skit to act it out. They would come to school dressed up and with props.  It would be like a wax museum.  On show day, parents would line up outside my door, and they would walk through the 4 connected classrooms to view all 12 scenes - scenes being in the correct timeline. 

A narrator would lead each group from one to another. The scene would start frozen, then would come to life for about a minute, then freeze again. Families would stand in the middle of the room and turn to view all 3 scenes before moving on to the next room.

Last year the world shut down before we got to do it.

This year has been kind of hard... it's understandable.

But I wanted to still have the kids do something that required them to act it out.  We need to have some fun. They need to have group time. I need to see their creativity and how they work in a group situation, 

We have gotten used to using specific channels in TEAMS for our group projects.  I have 28 students, so the kids formed 7 teams. They chose their groups - we combined some of the causes to cover more ground.  For a week they discussed, chatted, and I started meetings in their skit groups - about 15 minutes per day.

I gave them these directions and showed them these screenshots of puppet ideas.  I just did a quick google search of puppet ideas.  

I added their specific article over in the channel for them to reference. I highly recommend the articles from Collaboration Cuties: Cutesy Clickables.

It was simple - talk with your group about your specific cause.  How can your group teach the class about that cause?  Create a character using a puppet - sock or stick - and during your skit have your puppet act and speak as part of the scene. How would your character feel?

I stuck popsicle sticks into our class’ office crate in case they were needed.  They were so creative. Lots of sock puppets! They went from brainstorming, to creating a script, to choosing parts, to practicing and performing in 5 days. Each person had to participate. 

On Show Day, I called a specific group.  Everyone turned to large gallery option and had cameras off.  The 4 actors turned on their cameras and pointed them up a little high so we could only see the puppets on the screen.  They taught us about the cause (which was really review for the entire class) by acting it out, and had their characters speak and show emotion. 

Then as we always do, each actor was able to call on an audience member to hear a compliment. I was so proud of them. Not only did the actors do a great job but the audience came up with specific feedback to show they were paying attention.  :)  Now onto the next group project... 


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