Puppets as ASSISTANT “Teachers”!

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Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 8
Location: San Bernardino, CA 92404

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:16 am
PostPost subject: Puppets as ASSISTANT “Teachers”!
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For years I volunteered to take student teachers, asked for teacher aides, used parent volunteers, high school and middle school students, upper grade and peer students as “assistant” teachers. All these extra people allowed me to do more individualizing and small group work. It gave my students surrogate parents and big brothers or sisters. It gave me many more sets of “eyes and ears” to know each student from different perspectives.
The disadvantages were that it meant I always had to be prepared to use these extras and keep them occupied. If I didn’t they became separate problems. And, when they didn’t show up I had to be ready to move from what I had planned for them to do to something else quickly or problems would arise. It was worth it though.
Puppets can offer some of the same advantages. Once puppets are conceptualized as entities with personalities and attributes, even if they only are fingers, a tongue depressor, or a pipe cleaner, they can become an extra teacher.
One strength of Puppetools is the variety of puppets easily available and easy to make. You can have one for grammar or for parts of grammar. You could have some for reading in phonics, fiction, nonfiction. There could be specific ones for various aspects of math. For science and social studies puppets have endless possibilities.
Then, either the student could use them to talk him through a review of a lesson or an “assistant” you select could talk to him using the puppet and reteach the concept. The puppet, being a separate entity, deflects any criticism or remarks the “assistant” makes and focuses it on the puppet. This can keep the relationship from quickly disintegrating or affecting its positive effects..
Those of you who understand and appreciate the importance of oral language could use my free plays (fairy tales retold) to make puppets of each character. It is fun way to do a first or cold reading and potential cast members feel more comfortable using the puppet than being themselves. It is one easy way for rehearsals until you’re ready to begin having them actually begin to practice without the script. Of course in my plays I use an onstage narrator so if a student forgets his line, the narrator quickly tells him his line. In most of the plays the narrator actualy becomes part of the action.
Puppets free each child to explore and express his creativity. This means he has to analyze, synthesize, and reorganize information you have taught in ways that develops more than regurgitation, but the highest levels of thinking.
The wonderful thing as Jeff keeps saying is it’s all done in the spirit of healthy PLAY.
Dr. Rose, satellights@aol.com javascript:emoticon('Laughing')
Dr.Rose has spent his life trying new methods, theories, and techniques to improve his and others' teaching. His web site has many free materials, including plays for students.
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