Friday, 22 June 2018

Making Shadow Puppets - Grade 8 Drama

Last lesson, we made rod puppets . For our last class, we reviewed what will be on the final exam and then we finished making shadow puppets. Before we made our puppets we discussed the different types of shadow puppets - Hand shadow vs Paper shadow puppets.

We did a picture dictation exercise where I said one sentence to the students and then they had to draw what they heard. It's a literacy exercise that you can read more about here. 
My picture dictation was a hit, and students were able to use their drawings after to try and remember the sentences I had said - in turn, they learnt key facts about shadow puppetry.
Below are some of the student's worksheets:

We also watched some videos of  hand and shadow puppetry in the lesson prior. If you have a projector you can project a white slide of a PPT and let students have a go making hand puppet shapes. Or, just grab a torch or the torch on your mobile phone.

Here's some of my recommended videos: 

I just showed a little bit of this video, so students could see what it looks like behind the sheet - and they got to see a shadow puppeteer at work: 

Hand shadow puppets - animal shapes video: 

For those of you with the time, I highly recommend extending a shadow puppet unit to a performance. We performed with rod puppets but didn't have time to do much but experiment with shadow puppets. There are lots of cool shadow puppet theatre links online with instructions on how to make the stage for a performance.

Anyway, back to making puppets:
I got my templates for free from Education Asian -the site is so helpful. They offer puppet templates as well as some lesson planning ideas and history of shadow puppetry. The templates from their site are Indian puppets.

After downloading and printing the templates in black and white, I got some split pins and chopsticks (you can use wooden dowels instead of chopsticks). You'll also need scissors, a hole-punch or two and glue. I didn't have any card to print on, so I got students to glue their shadow puppet templates to another piece of paper to thicken them like card. Printing straight on to card would save time.

After cutting the puppets out and their limbs, we hole-punched where the circles are drawn on the puppet's body and arm pieces. In these holes, secure the split pins so that the puppet limbs can move easily. Then, at the back of the puppet tape or hot glue gun the chopsticks/dowels. The chopsticks should be placed strategically for puppet movement. So one chop stick in the centre of the puppet's body or at it's head. The other, on the arm that moves.

Below you can see how the chopsticks are secured by using layers of tape. If you have a hot glue gun handy it will be a bit easier and faster - but the students got the hang of the tape method fairly quickly. My split pins were too long, so when you buy them try for a shorter length.

It's actually very easy once students have got the idea. Just like the rod puppets, you can practice some conversation using puppets. We had fun with them, it was our end of year class so we just had fun with it. Have a look at our puppets:

Happy Teaching!


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