Puppetools and School Readiness an Adult workshop

 
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Suzanne Hale



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Ottawa, ON Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:24 am
PostPost subject: Puppetools and School Readiness an Adult workshop
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I am doing a workshop tonight on school-readiness, and it is dawning on me, what a good place to use/bring a hinge puppet. And perhaps get the participants to make one. the workshop is already very content heavy...but as the presenter...it is my perogative to tweak...

MIght anyone have any suggestions for puppets - (or perhaps they are already listed on the site) - that I can show/use with the parents or caregivers on the theme of school readiness. The overal workshop message is that 'physical health, social skills, and self-esteem' are really the most essential elements for a child to take to school. 'that the cognitive skills develop over time, etc.' and that learning styles are very much worth recognizing.

maybe I can have the caregivers/parents make a 'school buddy' which can be a preschool-expert on what it is like going to school, someone, or somethng that the children/caregivers can interview ...?
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papertalker
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Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 206
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:23 pm
PostPost subject: Adult Workshop Readiness Buddies
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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts before your presentation. You are right : There are so many applications here:

    the message to the parents through the puppets they see you use, as well as the ones they make, that play is an important bridge between home and school.

    By asking the puppet what happened at school today, they can get very different answers from your child who is making the puppet talk.

    a buddy in the form of a folded hinge with eyes, a tooth, and a tongue can be squeezed into a pocket--a pal who can help keep the child company during transition from home to school.

    such a buddy can help shy kids give answers when the kids might not want to

    reading stories with an interested third party who asks questions and points interesting things out on the page is an excellent model parents can use to help motivate the child to participate in school.


Parents will feel more confident and engaged with their kids because they are familiar with a simple, creative communication tool in their tool kit.

I hope these ideas are helpful Please share more about your workshop in a follow up!
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Suzanne Hale



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Ottawa, ON Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:03 am
PostPost subject:
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Thank you for the ideas Jeff.

As for the actual result...I did bring and use and puppet in the School Readines workshop, and I printed up a page about puppets and stories, and I looked on the site for more ideas etc...and - actually when I did the workshop - it didn't really work - in the sense that - I was not able to enrich or take the discussion in a new direction.

The workshop is already so full of content, that I didn't change things enough to properly integrate or use the puppet to animate. I mostly just brought her out at the end.

People enjoyed the puppet, they laughed and commisserated with her - which is good...but they didn't engage with little Julia, or interact. No doubt this is my responsibility.

And for me, this was interesting too. Sometimes things not working can be just as useful.

Here is why I dont' thinkg it worked: School Readiness is a huge subject area, and we had 1.5 hours of discussion and brain storming.
Then at the end I brought in the puppet - Julia - 4 1/2 years old, who had been in school for 42 days. LIttle Julia was funny but the adults didn't really want to interview her.

I think for a variety of reasons - suddenly I was using another voice, that of a child, (although I tried not to make it too grating...or young..)
when for the whole workshop I had the role of an adult facilitator. I wonder if she was an adult puppet if the response would be different. Also...I introduced her at the end,
as a kind of add-on, and everyone was a little weary. For another occassion I would try to integrate her more fully. If she was about using books, then I would have had a better section on using books - or whatever points she was there to make, I could have made sure that to elaborate them a little more.

Mostly this workshop is about recent research and how school readiness is defined. Actually, I love the idea of having a child puppet help to inform or add to the discussion, but I didn't adapt the workshop enough to incorporate her presence. Adding little Julia on at the end was not enough. In hindsight if she had even the smallest things to share from time to time throughout the workshop it would have given greater scope for her interaction, and probably helped to build more trust...so that would be more interaction. In a way, this puppet could become like a mascot.

Not sure if the challenge of voice...of the faciliator changing voice in the workshop is insurmountable or not.

I say the Assessment Wizard Video...(In the library section) and wow - it was wonderful! I loved how Bodhi the puppet, and Dr. Peters the teacher worked together, and how Bodhi got to take ideas and risks...just a little farther then Dr. Peters in her role as teacher.

Not sure if anyone else out there has tried using Puppetools with varying results. For me, in conclusion, next time I am working with adults I will give more time to whatever puppet wants to come along - and focus on what they can contribute to the body of the workshop. There is so much potential that is greater than just an add on at the end.

oh the learning , the learning!
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papertalker
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:21 am
PostPost subject: Readiness: Jump Into Play
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Suzanne,

There's a lot here to consider--thankfully!

You questions and experience are normal--and you are commended for sticking your neck out. This is what a little creativity requires--stumbling and bumping around. This is not to make excuses or to smooth over. You have already recognized your hesitance to introduce Julia waiting until the very end, the concern about voice, the group's understandable readiness to leave as part of their unreadiness to play or respond to your effort to be creative or play pretend. Sometimes simple timing is important: especially with busy adults.

Check out Nicole Olfiesh's, The Wizard of Assessment, which involves a puppet being used in a teacher education classroom to get some perspective on this.Teachers are the toughest customers. This will help you move to a different level, finding ways to smooth into it without all the burden on you.

Correct: there wasn't time to take the discussion into another realm. And for that to happen, in any case, will require some structure yet room for improvisation--something that I can assist you with in preparation.

For example, defining one or two roles for the puppet's participation at key moments throughout the session would have helped prime your own creative engines, and at the same time would have served to model the process without requiring the group to participate--you don't need to force it. One strategy is to just use the puppet for yourself in small ways, and that in itself may prove inviting enough for one or two to jump spontaneously. This is what kids do. This is the Tom Sawyer effect.

Keep in mind that you simply waded in, and that doing this provided you with valuable information--your own feedback system? But of course--like going to the manual to solve a technical problem after it has occurred--the resources will help you, too.

About voices: they are overrated. A simple shift up or down register, speeding it up or slowing it down, does the job.

Check out the readings in Communication in the Workshop.

Thanks for exploring!
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