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Creative Expression: Making Puppets

Inspired by Indonesian Puppet Play with Gamelan Jamie M. Wincovitch, Acting Head Kindergarten Teacher This lengthy project was inspired by a field trip to see an Indonesian puppet play at the University of Pittsburgh that was supported by a full gamelan. A gamelan is an ensemble of percussion instruments including gang-type instruments (both hanging and horizontal), metallophones, and cyclic forms. The University of Pittsburgh Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble, working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Weintraub, produced the performance. The performance was very engaging as they allowed the students to move freely throughout the performance, including full access to the stage, which provided them with a very different perspective. There was only one puppet master who manipulated all of the characters and embodied their voices. She was supported by a full gamelan with over 20 musicians. As the plot thickened, the children's interest grew as they sat tantalized throughout the performance. Implementing a Meaningful Extension With such an engaging field trip with a high level of interest, it was imperative to extend this study into a more detailed focus on culture. This particular group of children focused on the origin of the gamelan and the actual puppets, yet there are many avenues to explore following this trip depending upon the interest level of your individual class. Some areas of interest many include the geography of Indonesia, the making of the puppets, creating a puppet show, and/or a closer look at the instruments of the gamelan. I have provided some background in order for you to use this piece as dictated by the interest level of your children. Geography of Indonesia (as relevant to a K-3 child)

* Location. Southeastern Asia between Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean (show map and relate this to known locations on the world map)

* Area comparative. slightly less than three times the size of Texas

* Climate. tropical (hot and humid) * Natural hazards. floods, droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes,

volcanoes, forest fires

The Making of the Puppets Discuss the various types of puppets

* Marionettes * Hand puppets * Sock puppets * Finger puppets * Papier-mch puppets * See lesson plan

Creating a Puppet Show After studying the origin of these puppets and making our own puppets, the interest level of the students remained high. Due to this continued interest, I decided to continue this study and have the children produce their own puppet shows. We began by choosing five different themes based on each of the puppet's designs and the interests of the group. For example, if one child's puppet were a knight, he would join the puppet show about castles. After all of the students were in groups, we had them work through learning stations that would help to form their puppet show. These learning stations included making props, drawing their background, and writing the script. Learning Stations

* Making Props. At this art-based learning station, the children were given materials (paper, glue, scissors, Popsicle sticks, and markers) in order to create props that were needed for their puppet show. They were expected to work as a team and think about props that would enhance their performance.

* Creating the Background. This art-based learning station enabled the children to create a backdrop for their show in order to set the scene (materialslarge sheet of butcher paper and markers).

* Script Writing. At this literacy-based learning station, the children were asked to create a script together, and then write (or dictate for younger children) their script on paper (materialspaper and pencils).

Instruments of the Gamelan

* Kenong. Horizontally mounted gong * Kethuk. Horizontally mounted gong * Kempyang. Horizontally mounted gong

* Kempul. Large gong * Bonang. Double rows of gong chimes mounted on a frame * Saron. Bronze Metallophones * Slenthem. Bronze Metallophones * Gender. Multi-octave metallophone * Kendhang. Double-headed drums * Suling. Bamboo flute * Rebab. Two-stringed fiddle * Celempung. Cither * Gambang. Xylophone

After studying the various instruments used in a gamelan, reproducing these instruments would be an appropriate activity if the interest level remained high. Some examples of recreations include:

* Kenong, Kethuk, and Kempul. These could be made using aluminum pie tins that can be pierced with a paper hole punch and hung by a string. A stick could be made from large Popsicle sticks.

* Rebab. This could be recreated using a shoebox and rubber bands. The child could cut down the sides of the shoebox on opposing sides and stretch the rubber bands across. When strummed, it would make sounds that mimic the fiddle.

Philosophy of an Integrated Curriculum As it is obvious when reading this lesson plan, the focus is on the child and his/her interest level. This is done in order to sustain learning with many avenues to be explored in many academic areas. It is also obvious that an integrated curriculum approach is honored when the focus is on language arts, music, and art simultaneously. The lesson plan will also teach using a multicultural approach in a very unobtrusive way. It guides the children to appreciate diversity as they enjoy a piece of art from another culture. It also encourages interactions with other cultures and helps them to accept each other as unique. These rich experiences will eventually help children to develop a deeper appreciation for others in their class and communities. In addition to exposing children to these rich experiences, it is also important to remember to create materials and activities in the classroom on a regular basis that authentically represent diverse cultures. While focusing on this, it is recommended that the teacher not introduce only holiday and traditional celebrations, as these do not represent a culture in its true sense. Teach daily life instead.

Lesson Plan: Making Puppets Grade Level: K-3 Subject Area: Art and Music Lesson Objective(s): Students will be able to express themselves creatively after participating in a meaningful experience. Big Idea: Students will appreciate the time and effort put into a production, as well as experience and respect cultural differences. State Standards Addressed

* 1.2C. Produce work in at least one literary genre that follows the conventions of the genre.

* 1.3B. Identify literary elements in stories describing characters,

setting, and plot. * 1.3E. Identify the structures in drama (e.g., dialogue, story

enactment, acts, scenes). * 1.5A. Write with a selected focus.

Planning for Teaching Materials:

* 18 empty 12-ounce soda bottles (with bottoms cut off) * Masking tape * Plaster of Paris * Shallow tins with water (one per table) * Aluminum foil * Paint * Paintbrushes * Fabric pieces * 18 smocks * Small cups filled with water * Paper towels * Glue * Googly eyes * Craft/synthetic hair

Grouping: Children will work individually and in small groups.

Lesson Opening Introduction: Attend field trip to watch an Indonesian puppet show with musical accompaniment (Day #1). Time: 1 hour During the Lesson Sequence of lesson events: Day #1

* Attend Indonesian puppet show (field trip to Bellefield Auditorium at the University of Pittsburgh).

Day #2

* Discuss Indonesia, locate on map, and point out cultural similarities and differences.

* Discuss types of puppets used and talk about materials used to create these.

* Demonstrate how to make own puppets.

* Tape bottle to table so it does not move during work.

* Form the shape of the head with aluminum foil. * Attach the head to the bottle with masking tape. * Wet pieces of papier-mch and cover aluminum foil head,

smoothing it out as you work. * Ensure the head is securely attached to the bottle. * Put aside to let dry for 24 hours. * Allow children to begin work on their puppets. * When complete, have them bring to the designated drying area

and clean up their space. Day #3

* Bring puppets back to tables. * Supply each table with a plate of paint colors, paintbrushes,

paper towels, and a cup of water. * Allow children to paint their puppets as desired. * When complete, have children return their puppets to the

designated drying area and clean up their space.

Day #4

* Bring puppets back to tables. * Show children the selection of fabric

pieces, hair, and eyes available. * Dismiss the children by tables to

chose their needed materials and encourage them to begin their work on their puppets.

* When complete, allow the children to bring the puppets back to the designated drying area and clean up their space.

Day #5

* Allow the children to share their work with the entire class and discuss the costume and design of their puppet.

Type of Instruction: Direct instruction, self-discovery, and cooperative learning. Monitoring and Assessing Learning:

* Input during discussion of Indonesian culture and puppet show. * Ability to follow directions through puppet making. * Cooperation during collaboration with group to form a cast. * Writing exhibited during scripting learning station.


Day #1 = 1 hour Day #2 = 1 hour Day #3 = 30 minutes Day #4 = 40 minutes Day #5 = 30 minutes Closing the Lesson Lesson Closing: Closing of this lengthy lesson will occur as each student shares their individual puppet with the class and performs their puppet show with their peers. Time: 30 minutes