Muppet Puppets: The Children’s Bill of Rights 2-3

On Sesame Street, adults use Jim Henson’s muppet puppets to teach pre-kindergarteners their ABCs and 123s. In this lesson, second graders will make muppet puppets to teach adults about the Children’s Bill of Rights – specifically, how to keep kids healthy and happy. Students will break into pairs to write their scripts, then each will make a muppet version of himself or herself. This lesson can end with each group either performing their puppet shows in class for their classmates and teachers, or after school for their parents.

To teach this lesson, you will need: tube socks, markers, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, hot glue guns, paper, pencils, and some type of puppet theater. You will also need a class that knows how to read and write.

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Big Idea: Children’s Rights

Essential Questions: Can kids teach adults, or can adults only teach kids? What are rights? What is the Children’s Bill of Rights? What do adults need to do in order to keep kids healthy and happy?

Vocabulary: Rights

Skills: Writing Scripts, Puppetry, Performing

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Artist_Reference________________________________________________________________________________________

Most students will have grown up watching Jim Henson‘s muppets on Sesame Street and be familiar with the concept of using puppets to teach and inform:

However, students probably don’t know how the Muppets are puppeteered. In this lesson, students will be making sock puppets that resemble Muppets (large eyes, wide mouths, bright colors), but don’t actually work like Muppets. Their Muppets will be most similar to how puppets like Grover work:

   

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Social_Justice________________________________________________________________________________________

This lesson empowers children by teaching them to stand up for their rights. It promotes peace, cooperation, and respect between children and adults:

In 1996, several hundred children from around the world drafted The Children’s Bill of Rights. The Bill lists the rights that all Children have so that they can grow up free from abuse, thrive in the world, and participate in influencing the shape of their future.

Some of the rights listed include the right to inherit a better world, the right to participate in decisions affecting children, the right to education, the right to leisure and play, and the right to be protected from all forms of maltreatment by any adult. Learn more about the Children’s Bill of Rights at http://www.newciv.org/ncn/cbor.html.

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Procedure________________________________________________________________________________________

Length: Eight 40-minute periods

Day One: Introduce the concept of the Children’s Bill of Rights, and explain the assignment: we’re going to break off into pairs and write a puppet show with our partner that teaches adults how to make kids happy and healthy. Then we will make “muppet” sock-puppets and perform the shows in class!

Days Two and Three: Start writing the scripts. Each script must include an introduction to the two puppets, the reason why the puppets wrote this script, and three things that adults can do to keep kids happy and healthy. Encourage them to present their serious subject in a funny way.

How to write a script:

Days Four, Five, and Six: Pass out tube socks to groups who are done with their scripts so that they can start making their puppets. Remind them that they should make their puppet look how they would like to look if they were turned into a Muppet. Pass out markers, and have a hot glue station set up with the pom-poms and pipe cleaners nearby. By the end of day six all scripts and puppets should be done.

How to make a Muppet sock-puppet:

1). Color their muppet puppet in solid with washable markers, plus color in the mouth.

2).  Hot glue on the pom-pom eyes and nose.

3). Stab their pipe cleaner arms through in the sock at armpit height, and back out again  (students may need help with this step). Twist the two sections together so it won’t fall off, then bend them into an arm shape:

     

And you’re finished!

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Days Seven and Eight: The puppet show performances!

Option A: In Class Performances

On day seven, have students rehearse privately in their groups while you walk and critique them. Coach students on their voice levels, keeping their puppet held up high and the heads down, etc. Perform the puppet shows in class on days eight and nine, and invite their homeroom teachers to watch. Have the puppet theater set-up, and each group’s scripts, backdrops, and puppets in a separate pile. Have students arrange their chairs near the puppet theater when they arrive. Call up a group randomly (or by how well they are behaving, etc) and have them perform their puppet play behind the puppet theater. Remind them to speak loudly, keep their puppets up and heads down, and help them change their backdrops if necessary. At the end of each performance, have the group stack their materials in a neat pile. Aim to get through half of the class’s puppet shows each day.

Option B: After School Parent Performance

Invite parents to come on a night after school. Have a formal rehearsal in class on days seven and eight to prepare for the parent night. Have students stand behind the puppet theater, and run through the program. Coach students on their voice levels, keeping their puppet held up high and the heads down, etc. Use clip-on microphones if available. If microphones are not available, perhaps have a powerpoint with the words of each script off to the side of each performance.

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Student Work:

    

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________________________________________________________________________________________

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Elements and Principles: Performance

Objectives: Students will: 1). Write a script in pairs covering three things that adults need to do in order to keep kids healthy and happy. 2). Create a muppet puppet of themselves using tube socks, markers, pipe cleaners, and pom-poms. 3). Perform their puppet shows in front of their teachers and classmates.

State Standards: 26.A.1b Drama: Understand the tools of body, mind, voice and simple visual/aural media and the processes of planning, practicing and collaborating used to create or perform drama/theater. 26.B.1d Visual Arts:  Demonstrate knowledge and skills to create visual works of art using manipulation, eye-hand coordination, building and imagination. 27.B.1: Know how images, sounds and movement convey stories about people, places and times.

Literacy: Students will write their own scripts and read them with their puppets. 

Adaptations: If a few students in the class are still lacking in writing skills, pair them with another student who knows how to write. Scripts could potentially be written and performed in a different language, and translated for the audience. Another possibility is to pair an ESL student with a bilingual student. In cases of crippling shyness, the student can use a microphone, or they can whisper their lines into the teacher’s ear for the teacher to repeat loudly. They still need to go behind the puppet theater and use their muppet to mouth the words.

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2 Responses to “Muppet Puppets: The Children’s Bill of Rights 2-3”
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