Learning with puppets

Third-grader Kinley Soine struggled to force a threaded needle through the layers of felt.

“You have to put some muscle into it!” said her teacher, Robbijo Morgan. “Honey, I know you can do it.”

Hand-making their own puppets was one part of a lesson that has lasted most of the year. The felt puppets that Kinley and her classmates sewed will be the stars of a puppet show put on for their parents this Thursday. The children also wrote the script for the play their puppets will star in.

“They always call me Light Bulb and my name is Lightning,” explained third-grader Gabriel Johnson, talking about his puppet character. Lightning the Puppet stars in a humorous scene.

Kinley said the scene her puppet appears in is about how to end bullying. At the end of the scene, the bully and the other kids become friends. Her section of the play is an example of realistic fiction.

Morgan said the children have been studying about different genres all year and the stories they will tell are all examples of those different genres.

Different puppets are needed for different parts; the fantasy genre calls for a dragon puppet, while the fable genre will feature a kitty cat, a bear and a tiger.

The children had to work collaboratively to create the finished product and that required some compromising. Morgan said it was a lot of work to put together but the lessons the children are learning are valuable.

This is the fifth year Morgan’s class has put on the puppet show. It’s a popular lesson. Morgan said her students from past years still remember the assignment and kept the puppets they made at the school.