Monday, June 1, 2015

Puppets here, puppets there, puppets everywhere.

I was introduced to using puppets in the classroom by Cheryl Morris (@guster4lovers) and Andrew Thomasson (@thomasson_engl).  I started to think about what ways could I possibly use puppets in the high school math classrooms.  "Puppets wouldn't get students excited, just like stickers don't," some of my colleagues would remark.  Ha! Nothing gets a student to more excited than giving them a sticker (especially scratch and sniff), and puppets did the same.

I did not create a project sheet, nor a rubric, nor anything else except a list of K-2 math topics and social issue topics.  Here were my directions:

Create a puppet, out of a sock, or any other material, that has to have:
  1. eyes (buttons, wiggle eyes, etc...)
  2. clothing. (the sock can't be just a sock...needs nudity in math!)
I also told the students that they will choose a K-2 math concept to teach.  These puppet shows will be shared with live elementary classes, so they had to be authentic.

That's it.

I did this project during the 2 week of our state testing, so, my students were just working on their puppets during class, and the evenings were to be spent studying for their state Biology test and their AP World History test.  All of my students have already taken the Algebra 1 test, since they are in my Advanced Algebra 2 class.  It was my way to allow my students time to relax and not stress over math during this very stressful time of the year.  

I listened, watched, and learned as the students worked.  I knew nothing about what program the kids would use to make their videos, or even how and where we would record the videos.  This all came about with the help of a great IT media specialist.  We made a closet into a video recording stage, and he recorded each period for my kids.  We, together explored programs, and since my students have mostly Chromebooks, we used We Video.  (Some did use iMovie on Macs).

The videos came out spectacular. 

It was a very rewarding project, and one that I can definitely build on and enhance.  I am so excited to share and talk about this process.

Here are the padlet links to the puppets (my colleagues are voting for the top 3 puppets in each class period, so that is why the Letter and Number) and also a link that has the video links if you are interested in watching.

Please let me know if you look at these and what your thoughts are.

I am thinking that next year, I will have the students build puppets earlier on in the year, and then use them as alternative assessments.  Not sure, and am still thinking through this, but there is certainly potential with using and #teachingmathusingpuppets.