Puppets are a fantastic tool for the elementary music classroom. They can be used to teach a variety of concepts, and kids love them. However, the large and fluffy puppets you find online can be expensive and difficult to store if you have limited space. Stick puppets are a cheap alternative that are easy to store and just as easy (and cheap) to replace if broken or damaged.
Today, I’ll be sharing how I made my own stick puppets, and how you can use them in your classroom to teach mood and improvisation.
CREATING STICK PUPPETS
Start by printing out your templates and laminating them for longer use.
The templates in the picture are from my store, but you can download the free template below to create your own. Just download, insert your own images and text, and print.
Next, you’ll need to gather popsicle sticks and double-sided tape (hot glue would also work). One of my readers who uses stick puppets had the great idea of using velcro dots so that she could switch them out as needed!
Finally, just fold the template over the stick and press. Done!
TEACHING MOOD WITH STICK PUPPETS
Below is an idea for how to incorporate movement, mood, and art music into your elementary music lesson. In this example, the stick puppets are used as an assessment tool. Here are the steps:
- Choose several art music pieces that differ in mood (happy, sad, excited, etc.)
- Edit each piece to about a minute in length and create a playlist that includes all the shortened segments.
- Pass out the stick puppets, one for each student.
- Tell students to move to the music, just as they would in a game of freeze dance/music freeze.
- When each segment ends, students should stop and hold up the stick puppet that shows the mood of the piece they heard.
- Continue until you’ve played through the entire playlist and each student has had a chance to hold up their puppet.
IMPROVISATION WITH ARIOSO LAND
If you follow the Feierabend method, then you’re familiar with Arioso Land. This is an imaginary place where students go to create their own tunes. Lomax: the Hound of Music Curriculum (inspired by the writings of Feierabend) does a good job of explaining the sequence and purpose of Arioso:
“Arioso” is vocal exercise that has children spontaneously create tunes. Just as children develop a repertoire of words and are able to create sentences to express themselves based on those words, children should be encouraged to make up original tunes and songs. The more tunes and songs that they have learned and the more opportunities they have to make up tunes and songs, the better their “Arioso” attempts will become.
Early Arioso attempts may not sound much like tunes, but with experience these attempts will take on more song-like qualities.