Devise and create a puppet performance
For as long as I have been teaching drama to children and young people, I have included the use of puppets in both games and performances. In the latter, puppets can provide characters that may otherwise be difficult to act or represent. (I once used puppets as Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example.)
In games and exercises, puppets can help to give a voice to students who are sometimes too shy or self-conscious to act or speak in front of the rest of the class, and they can also be helpful in calming the influences of overly confident, outspoken or dominating individuals. They allow students to see a clear and obvious separation between themselves and the character they are playing/puppeteering, which can be incredibly useful when trying to bring alive or explore a particular story, theme, issue or situation. This scheme of work is a very practical, hands-on one – including the devising of a story, the making of some simple puppets and the delivery of a devised performance.
However, it can also easily be adapted to explore a specific text that the class is reading or studying, and to extend the areas of DT and art and design that are covered. It could also be used to enhance a strand of work in PSHE or to reinforce a cultural or historical learning topic. As with most drama schemes, speaking, listening, and group discussion and interaction are naturally explored, and I have also made suggestions for written exercises that could accompany the project.
Teachers who really embrace the performance element of this scheme of work may even wish to explore creating a musical soundtrack with the class, linking to the creating and developing musical ideas section of the National Curriculum.
By the end of this scheme the students will:
- Be familiar with a range of puppets and puppeteering techniques
- Understand the way in which a story may be devised and shaped from scratch
- Be able to work in small groups and as a class to develop a storyline idea
- Be able to work together in pairs on a design-and-make project
- Be able to work together in pairs to effectively puppeteer and bring to life the puppets they have made
- Be able confidently to use dramatic techniques such as thought tapping and tableaux to explore storylines and characters’ points of view
- Be able to deliver an informal puppet performance
Number of Lessons: 8