Welcome to our Puppet Workshop Forum where you'll find lesson techniques, puppet and stage set up suggestions, resources, a puppet manual, and more. Specific Bible story-related lessons using puppets are found by Bible story in the Lesson Forums. Be sure to check the Lego &Storytable workshop and Drama workshop forums for other storytelling ideas.
What if your puppet 'show' is only a few minutes long?
Make puppets, please!!! It's so much better than just handing a child a puppet to use. There are so many possibilites. Look through the puppet techniques topic in this forum and you'll get lots of ideas. Find resources and look through them. They don't need to take more than half of your time -- provide materials, instructions, and boundries.
Anne: You asked what to do with your time if the skit was short -- how about repeating the skit? Allow different children to work the puppets while others take their turn as the audience. Another possibility - videotape the puppet show and play it back for the kids. Hope this helps. --Carol
Sitting with the class, go through the script and have each student come up with MOVEMENTS for the puppet that they could use to express certain ideas (Even if it isn't their character's emotion/response).
For example, "How would you move the Prodigal Son to show how he reacted when he saw his dad running towards him? Let's take turns trying some different movements/poses."
Do a "Wrong Version" of the Story after doing the right one. For example, what would have happened if Joseph had decided to make his brothers pay for what they had done.
After the play, create several "WHAT IF" situations to be acted out by puppets
Example: What if the victim on the road to Jericho later met the Priest who had passed him by.
And as others have said, definitely VIDEOTAPE and replay. It's another chance to repeat the story and ask more questions.
There are many ways to use puppets. Take your cues from the Bible story itself and whatever script you may have.
ONE WAY TO DO A PUPPET WORKSHOP:
1. Assign and pass out puppets to each student before reading the story. Tell them about their character in the story.
2. Have them put the puppet on their hand and go through "puppet exercises" !!
-How to look angry, sad, happy, surprised, forgiving, gracious, proud, angry.
-Practice walking and talking, and exiting the stage.
-Practice speaking in "puppet voices". This is a great way to loosen the kids up.
3. Read the Bible story or script together with puppets in hand so that students can begin to feel what their puppet may need to do and say.
4. After reading through it once, read the story/script again, this time, PAUSING at each key element in the story and asking the students to move their puppet according to the needs of the story/script.
5. Now work on "blocking" the story. Who stands where, entrances and exits.
6. Role Tape and Action!
Sometimes it takes two or three "TAKES". In between each one, discuss what the puppets should be doing or how they could better express an idea.
7. Relax and show the videotape.
8. Reflect with puppets
Puppets can pray. Puppets can ask questions of other puppets.
Depending on the story and the type of puppets we were using, sometimes we'll make a puppet they can use in the script and take home.
If the story has many scenes, we may make a little bit of scenery. I've even had my kids write 'keywords' on the scenery which can be seen in the video.
If I don't have enough puppet characters in the story for my kids. I might split into to two performing puppet troupes doing the same skit, one after the other. OR, I might assign certain kids to carry a sign across the stage announcing various scenes or key ideas during the script.
Think creatively beyond the characters mentioned in the Bible story ! Example: Give two kids small branches from a tree and tell them they are in the background of the story, and will be asked to summarize the story after they have witnessed it. "What did the trees think?"
I like to have my puppet team do two scripts on the topic, one scripture-based and one a modern life-application, then give the kids an emphasis around which to improvise puppet skits. I usually have a third script, maybe four if I think we'll need it, then songs.
Instead of having children do puppet shows from a script (especially difficult for younger early readers), really discuss the story and then let them reenact the story in their own words, creating dialog which is often absent in the Bible. The teacher would act as narrator/coach to keep the story moving from scene to scene in sequence.
Then, talk about what was missing or what could be improved and then do it again.
Also, include some time for warming up -- practice manipulating the puppets to show emotions and actions appropriate to the story -- this way, everyone gets to be David throwing the stone or Jesus praying or Zacchaeus in the tree or whatever for a few moments.
By creating their own puppet show rather than reading a script, the children internalize and understand the story and the motivations much better.
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