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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Character Puppets

 This project was a great way to incorporate writing with art!  3rd grade students designed puppets and wrote a short story about the characters they created.  Before we began, I read them a story with beautifully detailed pictures and descriptions of the main characters.  We talked about how the students could think about a character they would want to create- What would it look like?  Would it be an animal, a person, an alien, etc....?  Where would it live?  How old would it be?  Would it have a job?  What kind of adventure could they dream up for their character?
    After brainstorming ideas for our puppets, we began with creating the head of the puppet using about a golf ball size amount of Model Magic that we attached to the end of a handle we made by rolling up the long side of  a 9" x 12" piece of construction paper and gluing it closed.  I demonstrated ways the students could mold the clay to make the facial features and hair, by either pulling out the clay from the piece or adding to it.  Once they completed their heads, they were set aside to dry until the next art class, when they would paint them and add other details like google eyes if they liked.
While the heads were drying, the students could work on decorating a paper bag that would be their puppets' body.  We used metallic and Gel FX markers that showed up well on the brown paper bags.  In our next art class, the students added arms and legs using either construction paper or paper bag scraps.  We cut a hole in the top of the bag (which is actually the bottom of the bag) and inserted our handle with the head in the hole.  When the bag was opened up, the students could put their hands up inside of the bag and hold the handle to play with their puppets.  Once the puppets were assembled, the students wrote the short stories about their characters and pasted them on the back of the bags with a glue stick.  It was so much fun when the students shared their puppets and their stories with the class!  This was a project that really tapped into their creative thinking and it showed in the results- their puppets were fantastic to look at and their stories were imaginative and humorous.  Sharing their art work and their stories was also a part of our learning with this lesson- the students were reminded about how to be a good audience member and be respectful of each others feelings.  Only positive comments were allowed.    It was great to see how the students were so encouraging with one another and found ways to compliment each others work.  This project was definitely a big hit!

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