Posted in GAP News, Mississippi Art News

ARTSEDGE: Supporting Individual Needs: Using Puppets in the Classroom

This week’s featured lesson from ArtsEdge, the Kennedy Center’s educational media site, explores how using puppets in the classroom can assist students in building their self confidence and ability to communicate. This is an extra exciting feature because this fall Mississippi Teaching Artist Chuck Galey will be presenting workshop on Saturday, August 20th that will demonstrate how to create connections between books by using puppets. Check out some of their other Fact Sheets on their How To section.

Puppetry is a useful tool for teaching speaking and communicating skills because students can use their puppets as their voices. Using puppets can help melt away trepidation for reluctant speakers. I’ve used puppetry in many circumstances, from depicting stories from the language arts reading curriculum to original puppet shows on themes like bullying or immigration. Unique to puppetry (and theater) is that students can become someone or something other than themselves. A shy student can try on the role of the mighty lion, or the outgoing student might play the meek old woman.

Students’ filters with regard to their communication skills are often dropped when they have a puppet in front of them. Since it is no big deal for the puppet to have an accent or hesitate with a word, students often feel much more comfortable and are willing to practice verbal communication via the puppets. It is an engaging activity that can help develop students’ language skills, confidence, and self-esteem. It also teaches students valuable lessons about the arts—including the roles of discipline and practice—and specific theater skills, such as creating character, projecting one’s voice, creating setting, interacting with other actors (puppets), and performance skills.

Both poetry and puppetry can provide children with creative tools to inspire and apply learning in a meaningful manner. Using these artistic tools builds students’ confidence as they gain new vocabulary. You don’t need to feel confident yourself as a poet or puppeteer to open these techniques to your students. However, once you begin to work with your students, and write your own poems or perform with your students in a puppet show, you just might surprise yourself with your creative abilities.

via ARTSEDGE: Supporting Individual Needs: Using Puppets and Poetry in the ELL Classroom.



The mission of the Greenville Arts Council is to promote the rich cultural heritage of the region and stimulate and encourage cultural activities, arts appreciation, arts education, and the creative works of artists. Some of the responsibilities that help define the Greenville Arts Council as the primary promoter of the arts in our area include offering art classes to children and adults, organizing community events, presenting an ongoing series of free exhibits featuring visual artists from the area and the state, and coordinating educational programs which teach arts-integration in local schools. The Greenville Arts Partnership between the Greenville Arts Council, the Greenville Public School District and our three community arts partners, Delta Center Stage, Delta Symphony Association and the Delta Children’s Museum, is focused on full arts integration in the GPSD elementary schools. Plentiful research documents the value of the teaching in and through the arts to help students understand core academic concepts on a deep level. The partnership was the first in the state of Mississippi accepted into the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program in 2003, joining over 100 other partnerships between school districts and arts organizations across the country. The partnership provides professional development for teachers, arts experiences for students and resource and referral on arts integration issues. Professional development has been provided in two ways, through workshops with Teaching Artists from the Kennedy Touring Roster and grade-level and/or discipline-specific professional development with our local staff. We present a series of model demonstration lessons to teachers in grades K to 6, demonstrating connections between Partnership free arts programming and required state frameworks. The partner arts groups present a series of live performances allowing each elementary child in the GPSD to attend at least once each year. The groups work with the Arts Council staff to develop accompanying curriculum-based educational material for distribution to teachers prior to each performance. Over the years, we have succeeded in providing basic arts integration training district-wide as well as in-depth professional development to allow groups of teachers to increase their level of mastery.