Saturday, May 24, 2014

Storytelling with Puppet Pals, Connie Amon, Librarian, Galileo Elementary School

The puppet center is the most popular place in the library during center time with the primary grades. Why not create and use puppets on the iPad? Having been impressed by the work of a colleague (thanks, Colleen!), I couldn’t wait to try Puppet Pals HD Director’s Pass. There are many versions of Puppet Pals, some are even free, why pay for Director’s Pass? In Director’s Pass, you can make anything a puppet, including your students!
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School is a cute retelling of the famous tale, with lots of repetition and a brave little cookie. After reading this book, second grade students drew their own gingerbread person on a half sheet of construction paper and created a school-related background on a piece of 11x14 paper. They did this at the beginning of the school year, and I kept their work, hoping that there would be money for apps… And then I received the REVITAL grant! My first app purchase was Puppet Pals HD Director’s Pass.
I pulled out their work from September, and students created a brief script between themselves and their gingerbread person. They then photographed themselves, their gingerbread person, and their background. Puppet Pals is quite easy to use, so in no time, we had these cute conversations with the gingerbread persons. Well, we had conversations, and some silliness. Some kids recorded for three minutes! Others created lots of action (but the original version has running and action, right?). What happened to those scripts they wrote? Some were tossed aside immediately, never to be seen again. Lesson? More structure was needed, or maybe not? What’s wrong with a little creativity?
My second adventure with Puppet Pals was also with the second grade. This time students had embarked on their first research project in the library on an endangered animal of their choice. After their research was reviewed and revised, they drew pictures of their animals and...wouldn’t it be interesting to share what we learned by having the animals interview each other? We could do it with Puppet Pals! So we did. More scripts. More lessons learned (by the teacher): Practice, practice, practice the scripts. Review, review, review expectations. Show examples of “good” projects. Be explicit.

Looking forward to applying the “lessons learned” next year!

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