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Integrated Lesson Using Puppets

Updated February 2008



A. February 5, 2008
B. 8 Lessons (30 min-1 hour in length)
C. Entire class and individual
D. Detailed Characters “Wild Things”
E. Second Grade
F. Miss Jena Al-Khal

1.3-Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Literature
1.3.3 B: Identify literary elements in stories describing characters, setting, and plot.

1.4- Types of Writing
1.4.3 A: Write narrative pieces including detailed descriptions.

1.5- Quality of Writing
1.5.3 B: Write using well-developed content that is relevant to the topic.
1.5.3 D: Write with an awareness using descriptive words and action verbs.
1.5.3 F: Edit writing using the conventions of language

1.6- Speaking and Listening
1.6.3 A: Listen to others
1.6.3 B: Listen to a selection of literature and identify and define new words and concepts.
1.6.3 D: Contribute to discussions

Science and Technology
3.3- Biological Sciences
3.3.4 A: Know the similarities and differences of living things

Arts and Humanities
9.1- Production, Performance, and Exhibition of Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts
9.1.3 A: Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities. (Theatre and Visual Arts)
9.1.3 C: Recognize and use fundamental vocabulary within each of the art forms.
9.1.3 E: Demonstrate the ability to define objects, express emotions, illustrate an action or relate an experience through creation of works in the arts.
9.1.3 H: Handle materials, equipment, and tools safely at work and performance areas.


 After reading Maurice Sendak’s, Where the Wild Things Are, and after listening and participating in a discussion afterward, students will not only expand their imagination, but also expand their outlook on the variety of physical and internal differences each person or “thing” has and is made up of.
Students will learn how to make paper mache puppets of their own “Wild Thing” or character of their choice from the book.
Students will have a more understanding of adjectives and the specific details that are put into stories, characters, actions, and emotions etc


 After introducing the book, the class will participate in a discussion about monsters and their different views on them, such as scary, funny etc. The teacher will also lead them into a discussion of different types of characteristics that makes up a monster and even a person, known as adjectives.
The class will be able to first identify an adjective is, share examples within the classroom, and then recognize further adjectives within the book.
After reading, Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, the class will participate in a second discussion, this time about their new perceptions on monsters, such as whether they appear to be scary, dangerous, funny etc. after the reading.
The students will make a list of their own adjectives that they learned from the characters as well as the setting from the story and use them to help create their own adventure story.
Next, each student will create his or her own imaginary “Wild Thing” or a character of his or her choice from the story using paper mache. Note: Some students may want to create Max or his mother from the story, which should be fine considering their views on how monsters are perceived have now changed.

After creating their own puppet, the students will write a small adventure story of their monster that they created and will be able to place themselves within the story as well, if they choose to.

Finally, each student will share and act out their story by using their paper mache “Wild Thing”.


1. My “Wild Thing” puppet
2. 20 toilet paper/paper towel rolls
3. 20 Styrofoam balls
4. 20 Styrofoam trays
5. 20 egg containers
6. Newspaper
7. Cotton balls
8. Aluminum Foil
9. 5 Boxes of Elmer’s Paper Mache Paste
10. 5 bowls for paper mache
11. 5 rolls of masking tape
12. 20 bottles of Elmer’s glue
13. 5 roles of Paper Towels
14. 5 bowls for water
15. Baby Wipes
16. Acrylic Paint
17. 20 Paint brushes
18. 20 scissors
19. pencils
20. markers
21. 20 scissors
22. felt
23. hair/fur
24. yarn
25. assorted shapes
26. assorted buttons
27. “googly” eyes
28. 20 old shirts/smocks


Purpose of the lesson
 I will motivate the class by having them gather on the carpet and first asking them something like, “How do you all feel about monsters?” and following their reactions with a question like, “Are all of the monsters you think about scary?”.
After hearing their reactions and answers, I will then introduce the book to them and continue with a discussion on how they perceive the different types of monsters.
I will then read the book to the class with using great enthusiasm and dramatic voice.
The class will then engage in another discussion about their new views on monsters after reading the story.
I will have the class explain what an adjective is and have them give multiple examples, describing the setting and characters, to write on the board which will help them when writing their own story.
The students will then create their own imaginary “Wild Thing” puppet out of paper mache and use their puppet while writing and also sharing their own adventure story to the class.

Lesson 1 (30 minutes)

Introduction:  After the class has gathered onto the carpet, I will begin by posing a question out to the class such as, “How do you all feel about monsters?” It is likely that the students will have anxious reactions and facial expressions after hearing the question. I will follow up their reactions by asking the students if all monsters are scary.
It is likely that majority of the class will agree that when they envision a monster the creature would be hideous on the exterior. Then I will mention that like people, monsters come in all different shapes, sizes, moods, personalities etc. I will give the class an example of a familiar monster that they should recognize, such as the Cookie Monster on Sesame Street. Their reactions may change and they may discover that the Cookie Monster’s humorous behavior could be found in other monsters as well.
Then I will ask the class to explain to me what an adjective is. After having multiple definitions said aloud, I will then explain to them that an adjective is a word that is used to describe the noun that is being talked about. It is important to point out the many different kinds of adjectives that are used to describe people, places, and things. I will point out that many people, like the monsters, are different, and then point to various students in the class, commenting on their different hair color or texture, shirt color, voice etc. I will then tell the class that like the various monsters on Sesame Street and the different people in the room, there will be many different types of monsters in the book that we are about to read, and also to be aware of the different adjectives that describe the monsters or even the setting that they are in. I will show the class to the puppet, mentioning to them that the puppet will only come out to quiet noises, which will hint to the class that they must stay quiet and not act up when seeing it.
I will read aloud to the students the fictional story, Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. In order to maintain their attention as well as the effect of the book, it is important to read the book with great enthusiasm and voice for each of the characters in the story. I will also use my puppet of one of the “Wild Thing” characters to help read along when that character is speaking in the book.
After reading the story, the students will participate in another discussion, this time about their new perceptions of monsters. I will ask them how they now see monsters and if they are still scary to them or if they have changed. I will use examples and turn to the pages in the book, such as the songs and dances they did with Max, in order to show the different feelings and personalities the characters had.
After testing the students’ comprehension of the book, I will ask them to share some adjectives of not only the different types of monsters or characters in the book, but also on how they viewed the setting (bedroom, island) to be. I will also raise the puppet to explain the various adjectives that can be used to describe its texture, color, voice, shape, height, etc. I will ask questions to the class on how the puppet sounds, by making different types of squeaky, high-pitched voices, as well as deep voices. By doing so, it is a good way to have the students find joy and humor in the lesson by making them laugh, but to also teach them that adjectives are not only used to describe physical characteristics. I will then write down the different answers they share on the board so that they will be able to use them later for their own creative story.
Once the students’ have shared their adjectives, I will explain to them that they will be creating their own imaginary “Wild Thing” or character of their choice. I will also explain how they will be writing their own creative story to go along with their puppet, which will be used as the main character in their story.
Note: The students may also choose to write themselves along with their puppet in their writing assignment.
Question and answer:
At this time I will ask the students if they have any questions about the book or the upcoming lessons such as the creative writing assignment or the paper mache puppet they will be making.
To end today’s class I will briefly explain to the students what we will be doing for the next few days and ask them to continue to think about their stories for their in-class writing assignment.

Lesson 2

Studio time:
After mentioning the puppet, I will then ask the students to clear their desks so that they will be able to have a clean space to work. I will ask them to take out a piece of paper and a pencil. I will tell the students that it is important to make a sketch of something so you will be able to use it when making a paper mache puppet, because even the best artist need something to refer back to and to look at. Although the students will not be using the sketches as their final copies, I will explain the importance of “whisper lines.” To do so, I will use a quiet voice while telling them that when we use “whisper lines” we want to draw lines so lightly to the point where we almost can not see them, and not too dark, while saying it a deeper, louder voice, so that when we erase we do not see them and we can color over them.
It is important to anticipate students to finish earlier than others. Those who do finish early, they will be able to color their sketches with crayons or markers. I will also make sure to walk around to monitor each of the students’ works as well as their conversations. I will also encourage students to help one another, for example, if they need an idea.
As it gets close to cleaning up, I will tell the students that they have about five more minutes to finish what they are doing so that they are able to finish their last thought. When it is time to clean up, I will ask each student to put their sketches away and ask one person from each group to collect any markers or crayons, if used, and to put them back.
Question and answer:
Towards the end of the lesson period, I will ask students if they have any questions on their sketches or on the lesson.
At the end of the lesson, I will review what we will be doing the next few days. I will tell the students to finish anything else they wish to add to their sketches and bring it in to begin their paper mache. I will also remind the students to bring in any other materials to use if they wish to use anything else besides the supplies that I have for them. Although I will have smocks and t-shirts, I will also ask if any students would like to bring in their own to wear, but also tell them that I have shirts as well.

Lesson 3

To begin today’s lesson, I will remind the students that we will be creating our armatures today. Since they should be unfamiliar with the word armature, I will explain to them that in order to make our puppet, we first need to build it from the inside out. I will demonstrate how our body will look without a skeleton and explain that the armature is like the skeleton for the puppet. By holding up my “Wild Thing”, I will explain that inside is its skeleton which is made up of the materials that they see in front of them. I will make sure that the desks were split into five groups, with four students at each, and that all the supplies are arranged neatly as well. I will show them by holding up the paper towel roles, Styrofoam ball, and newspaper, that they will use these items to construct their skeleton. I will hold up each supply and ask the students which supply is used for what part of the body.
Studio time:
To begin studio time, I will explain what paper mache is and how they will use it to build their armature. However, before putting on the paper mache, together as a class we will be putting the Styrofoam ball to the paper towel role. I will have each student hold up their own paper towel role and Styrofoam ball, which was placed at their desk before the lesson, and tell them how to use the masking tape to attach the head to the body. I will also place a role of masking tape at each group table and show the students how to rip their tape into smaller pieces holding their fingers close together. I will make sure that a couple of pieces are already taped to the desks so that the students can use them already. I will ask the students to raise the body into the air, which will have them reach for the paper towel role. I will tell them to keep it close to their stomach, and demonstrate how they can place the Styrofoam ball on top and tape it. I will make sure each student is given enough time to correctly tape the ball to the roll. At that time, I will make sure there are enough sheets of aluminum foil, newspapers, paper towels, and cotton balls on each table. When each student is finished, I will then explain that the sheets and cotton balls will be used to make the arms, legs, and parts of the face of their armature. I will ask them to place a finger on their face and feel around, so that they are able to realize the different dimensions of their face and that their “Wild Thing” can have similar features as well. At this time, students should have an assembled head and body, and a few parts of the body built for their armature.
At the end of the period, the students will place their puppets on the given trays after labeling their trays with their names. The students will be called by their groups to place their armatures on a dry, clean table. I will also assign one person in each group to make sure all scraps are cleaned from the desks, while another student organizes the table. I will make sure the paper mache glue is out of the children’s way and will not ask them to place them in a certain area.
Question and answer:
At this time, I will ask students if they have any questions on the techniques of building their armatures, or if they are having a difficult time doing so.
At the end of the class, I will ask the students what are the different techniques that we use to when working with all the different types of supplies. Since the students will not be far on their armatures, I will remind them that all body types are different. I will demonstrate how someone has larger eyes than another, someone’s arms are usually shorter than the legs etc.

Lesson 4

To begin, the students will immediately sit and begin working on their armatures. I will quickly demonstrate how to paper mache the body and other body parts if needed, but also remind them to cover the entire armature with paper towel. I will demonstrate by dipping in the strip of paper towel, and using the two fingers to take of excess glue. I will tell the students how important it is to cover all of the body parts with the paper towel so that it will be easier to paint over, by saying it will be a bright white when it dries.
Studio time:
To begin studio time, I will call the students by groups to get their puppets from the table. The students will go back to their seats, where there will already be the strips of newspaper and paper towels. I will already have uncovered and placed one bowl of paper mache on each of the five group tables. Once the students have finished adding newspaper to their mache and starting to add the strips of paper towel, I will go around to remove any scraps, and unused paper towel. I will also come around with wipes if students need to clean their hands, first reminding them to dry themselves first with paper towels.
When the students are finished covering their armatures. I will again call them by group to place their puppets on the table. I will also assign one person to collect any scraps left on the table and another person from the group to organize everything on the table. While everyone is cleaning up, I will ask the students to sit in their seats when they are finished and I will come around with baby wipes to help them clean their hands.
Question and answer:
I will ask if there are any questions about what we did today in class. If they feel that they are behind, I will make sure that they are able to catch up during free time, lunchtime, after school etc. I will also ask students how they feel about the lesson and if anyone feels frustrated or rushed, if so, I will be able to improve the lesson, by inviting parents or volunteers to help assist the students during the lesson.
At the end of the period, I will remind the class to start thinking of how they will be painting their armatures and what colors they will be using. I will make sure that the students who are behind get caught up before the next class period, so that they do not feel behind or excluded while the rest of the students advance.

Lesson 5

Before beginning the lesson, I will remind the students that they will be painting their armature today and that they must wear a smock to protect their shirts. If students have not brought their own, I will have extras for those that were not able to bring extras. By seeing the amount of students that brought their own, I will also be able to see if I should send out a note to their parents remind them the next time I teach the lesson. I will show the students the different paints that are arranged on their own group tables. I will make sure that there is enough paint for each student in each egg carton. There will be one paintbrush per student on their tables. Before they begin to paint, I will bring out my puppet and also demonstrate the different colors I used for its face and body. I will emphasize the importance of creativity, and that they are designing their own “Wild Thing”, therefore the color, texture, design of their puppet can be any way they imagine.
Studio time:
The students will now begin to paint their armatures. Once again, the students will walk back to the table in their groups to receive their armature. They will put on their shirts before starting and will make sure which supplies are their own. If the students need to wash their paintbrush to paint a new color, I will place a small bowl of water in the middle of each group, and continue to walk around to monitor and also refill when needed. If some students finished before others, they will be asked to clean up only the scraps around them and place their brushes into a bin where I will clean. They will also place their puppet onto the back table to dry and place their shirt into a bin, where they will all be kept. At that time the other students will be asked to begin cleaning up.
I will give the students about five more minutes to make any last details on their puppets and ask them to begin cleaning up. I will again call each group to place their puppets at the back table. While each student is at the back, I will take all paintbrushes from their desk and place them into a bowl where I will later clean. I will then ask the students to come with their groups again one by one to hand me their trays to the back table, where I will arrange so that they are able to be reused once again. The students will be given wipes so that they are able to clean their hands as well as any messes they made elsewhere. I will ask them to put their scraps of wipes onto a pile so that I can easily collect them while they take off their shirts and by groups place them into the bin. The students who have finished earlier will be asked to help any students who needed extra help cleaning up, such as taking their tray up or helping them wipe off their areas.
Question and answer:
If students have any questions about painting their puppet, I will try to get the entire class to help me answer a question or for an opinion. However, I will encourage creativity again, and that the colors, textures, designs, can be anything they want to be.
To end the lesson, I will acknowledge the class’s hard work and praise them for their behavior and effort. I will mention that the next lesson we will be creating the outside features of our “Wild Things”. I will remind them to bring anything else they wish to put onto their puppet that I will not provide them with. However, I will mention the supplies that I do have for them to use, such as fur, buttons, shapes etc.

Lesson 6 (30 minutes)

Today the students will be working on the outside features of their “Wild Thing”. They will be making clothing out of felt, or adding fur to the bodies that were made out of newspaper or aluminum foil. I will encourage students to use their imagination and to remember the different types of adjectives used when we describe the various monsters within the stories.
Studio time:
The students will be asked to come back to the table and get their puppet. Before they work alone, I will demonstrate how to use the material that will be set out for them. They will be able to gather the materials they need one by one, that will be placed on another table. At their desks will be their own scissors and Elmer’s glue that they will use to cut their felt, yarn and glue them to the body.
When the students are finished with their puppets, I will assign leaders in each group to pick up any scraps of fabric and place them in the box on the back table. I will also assign another leader to make sure all glue bottles are closed and another leader to organize everything on the table. The students will then bring their finished puppets back to the table in groups.
Question and answers:
I will ask the students how their puppets are coming along, and if anyone needs extra time to make any last finishing touches on them, which will give me an idea on how to arrange the desks and items for the next lesson.
I will end the lesson by telling the students that they will have enough time to put any last finishing touches on their puppet if needed. For those that are finished they will be asked to begin writing their creative writing assignment, which I will briefly explain that the beginning of the next class.

Lesson 7 (1 hour)

In the beginning of the class, I will remind the students that they will have to write a creative writing story to go along with their puppet. I will tell them that the puppet will be the star to their story, but they will also be allowed to place themselves into the story as well. I will encourage them to use the list on the board to help them with adjectives in describing the lifestyle and features of the puppet. I will tell them to answer such questions like, “Where does your “Wild Thing” live? What does it eat? Does it have fur? Is it slimy, scaly, or soft? Does it make noises? What is its voice like? Does it even speak?” Etc. I will tell the students that are finished working to begin working on their writing assignments, and the students who need to finish will be given some extra time.
Studio time:
For the students who need to finish their puppets, I will have already arranged a smaller area for them to work on, because I will already have known who needs to finish from the pervious class. If there are more students who need to finish than there are who are done, I will have a separate area for those students to work on their stories. Other students may choose to help other students by being an apprentice to them, which may first be allowed by the student who needs the help. After all the students are finished, they will be asked to one by one go back and place their “Wild Thing” onto the table and to clean up any scraps left behind. If there is enough time at the end, they will be asked to begin working on their creative writing assignment. I will remind the students that the stories will be a one-page assignment. I will go over the rubric with them so that they have an idea of what to mention in their story.
Although there are no art supplies to clean up, I will ask the students to stop working on their assignments and put them away.
Question and answers:
I will ask the students if they are finished with their writing assignments, and if they are not to finish them for homework. I will also ask the class if they have any questions on what write about and make sure to have in their story.
I will then tell the students to bring in their writing assignments for the last day of the puppet project. I will tell them that the next time we will be gathering in a circle on the carpet to share our stories with one another.

Lesson 8 (1 hour)

Today is the last day of the “Wild Thing” project. The students will gather onto the rug to share their stories.
Studio time:
The class and I will gather in a circle around the carpet to share our stories and our puppets. The students will go around the circle to read their story and act out some scenes if they choose to with their puppet. They will also have a chance to describe the various details they put into making their puppet and list adjectives when describing their puppet. The class can also share their ideas of the various adjectives that may be used when describing their classmate’s puppet.
There will be no clean up required for this lesson. Once the students have submitted their writing assignments, they will be allowed to take their puppets home to share with their family and friends.
Question and answers:
At the end of the lesson, I will ask the students to go around the circle and have them share their favorite part of the days of activities. They are also free to share what they least liked about the assignment and what they found challenging to help with future lessons.
I will end the lesson by thanking the students on a wonderful activity, and for the great effort and imagination they put into their puppets.

* Armature
* Puppet
* Paper mache
* Rubric
* Skeleton
* Apprentice
* Adjective
* Setting
* Mood
* Character

 I will make an effort to best accommodate my lesson for diverse learners in my classroom, such as ESOL and IEP children. I will contact the student’s parents to make sure that the lesson is being talked about before and outside of the class as well. I will go over the lesson with such children prior to the rest of the class so that they have an idea of what to expect. During studio time I will remind them not to feel rushed and to take as much time as needed and that their effort is just as important. By contacting their parents beforehand, they will expect the student to bring home any unfinished work. For the creative writing assignment, I will make sure that all ESOL students will have the project explained to them one on one and ask any specific ESOL teachers to assist the students with their writing.


In order for their effort to be positively displayed, I will take a picture of each student with their puppet and place it on a bulletin board with their adventure story outside in a hallway. I will again thank the class for such a great effort and behavior when working on the assignments. I will make sure to review the important vocabulary terms that the students learned and reviewed throughout the lessons.


There will be no official homework assignments for the project. However, if students have not completed their sketches or writing stories on time, then they will be asked to take them home to prepare for the next day of lessons. They will also be given time to come in out of the class time to work on the puppet if they are behind.


 The paper mache puppet and the creative writing story will be evaluated using two different rubrics..


 For each lesson, I made sure the students were given enough time to work slowly and not feel rushed. I also wanted to make sure the directions were not overwhelming, but humorous as well so that I can relate to the students as much as possible. In order to save class time and commotion, I made sure to set up the supplies each day, according to how far the students left the previous lesson. Throughout the lessons, I made sure to get enough feedback to not only use during the next lesson, but for further lessons with the class and with future students. I also asked the students how they felt about the project as well as their own opinion on the time, which was positive feedback to use for future lessons, such as using volunteers.



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