Have a puppet from the past i.e. George Washington come into your classroom. Your puppet doesn't have to look like George. A few props might help. Convincing the kids your talking piece of cloth is real is 50% of the fun. Have George ask questions about the modern world...compare it to his world of the past. Your puppet can help the kids relate to the past in a real fashion.
Puppets Help Teach History!
Create a scenario for your puppet...he wants to be every character in history...the only problem is that he doesn't know anything about his idols. Encourage the kids to ask questions to discredit him.
Through their puppets have the kids react to a historical happening...try Crazy Horse vs General Custer on Native American rights.
If you are in for a big project have the kids recreate, as accurately as possible, an event from the past. There are few experiences that will teach history as completely or as excitingly. Assign a research session, have the kids learn as much as they can about the survival patterns of their particular piece of the past. Tell them you want their puppets to tell a true story. Have them learn about the dress, food, weapons, festivals, religion, government and realities. Once the information is collected, begin helping them write the play puppet script writing. Help them, don't do it for them and don't expect them to do it themselves. They will need your unobtrusive guidance to keep them going forward. Start them working on puppet construction. The skills they will learn will be invaluable: sewing, painting, sculpture. Most important though they will get to see the actualization of their own concepts. Remind them to retain authenticity. Begin stage construction. Get help from a high school shop. But don't let the shop do it all. Include your kids in both the planning and the construction. Once you have gotten the puppets, the props, the play and the stage completed begin rehearsal. Don't let the kids get bored. They will be ready to perform before you will think they are ready. Let them perform....for everyone you can gather...parents, other grades, shopping center shoppers, they all make great audiences. Now test your students for retention if you must.
Do you have any great stories or suggestions for using puppets to teach History? Please e-mail them to us. We would love to include them on our site. Submit Hints & Stories.
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