children learning english

More on puppets in upper primary lessons

I’ve been away from this blog for a while due to varied work projects and some volcanic ash travel interruption!!

As visiting teacher I’ve continued connecting English with art and maths content.   The children in the class – 10 to 11 year olds – are all Bear fans so he is the link that brings content and language together.   As part of this work the class decided to make a range of clothes for Bear – jackets, scarves and hats were plentiful.

Bear is  now a member of a football team – the legendary Bears United – so he got a supporter’s scarf and a new top with the team name and his number.  Numbering on the bears’ team is different. He is 19. The boys decided that Bear should have the skills of two favourite players – Fernando Torres, Liverpool number 9 and Lionel Messi, Barcelona number 10. So putting them both together – 19!

Obviously Bear is delighted – his football skills are now outstanding!!

I am also pleased since it’s another example of something I am always saying. Children in upper primary will work with you in creating a life for your puppet.

Their involvement in Bear’s life and adventures is based on their interests and comes from a genuine enjoyment of joining with you in an imaginative creation through language.

When working with upper primary children I have used their personal interests, their learning in other subject areas and in life generally to encourage them to create a world they imagine for Bear.  His main job remains the same – to increase exposure to an additional language in school – and to encourage children to use this language appropriately.

As well as new clothes for Bear this class also made their own speaking sock puppets. The results – as you can see from the photos below – were just great.

Apart from the enjoyment that making something of their own gives to children, after they have made items such as the clothes or puppets they can write about the making experience and

  • list materials they used,
  • describe how they worked
  • explain why they wanted their creations to look this way

When they make puppets they can

  • give each puppet a unique personality
  • work in small groups to make up a situation
  • write out dialogues to suit the situation they’ve created

A live performance can follow involving not just language preparation but co-operation, team work, resourcefulness, responsibility, planning and practice – skills for life.

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