Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Using Puppetry and Theater to Explore Character Traits
I listed the following character traits on the board: sly, timid, selfish, cowardly, boastful, impatient. We talked about the meanings of the words and I asked for examples from literature of characters who had these traits. I was impressed how the students could come up with perfect examples - Emma gave the example of King Midas for selfish, Arvid mentioned the Wolf in the Three Little Pigs as impatient, and Adrian told us that the Gingerbread Man was definitely boastful.
When I was sure that all understood the definitions of the words, I picked two finger puppets and assigned a particular trait to each one. I did a short impromptu skit with dialog between a sly butterfly and an impatient dragon. The kids clapped politely, but I was sure they were all thinking, "Boy, I can do better than that!"
Each child then got to pick two puppets, and I told them they could work out their scene by themselves or with a partner. After 5 or 10 minutes, we started our presentations - hysterical! The audience members were challenged to guess what character traits were chosen by the puppeteers. It was so rewarding to see each child rise to this challenge - each demonstrated complete understanding of the concepts, learned new vocabulary words, were attentive and focused, and enjoyed being both the actors and audience. We didn't get through all the skits this morning, but we will by the end of the week.