Although many might only associate puppets with entertainment, puppets can be a great classroom management tool. There are many uses of puppets in elementary school classrooms. The following are some of the ways puppets can be used in the classroom:
- Puppets can ask students questions to check for understanding. The puppet can ask questions that students can answer. The teacher can also ask puppets questions (the puppet will always be wrong) and students can correct the puppet to demonstrate understanding.
- Puppets can help shy or timid children participate. A child puppeteer might feel safe “behind” a puppet. The puppet will be one “talking” and the student my feel less scared to share thoughts through a puppet.
- Puppets can discuss things in a non-threatening way, since they are a third party. If there are conflicts or intimidating discussion topics, the teacher can use puppets. Puppets are not threatening, so they can help bring down anxiety within students.
- Puppets can encourage enthusiasm, or be the class mascot. Puppets can be silly or overly enthusiastic, while still maintaining the dignity of the actual teacher.
- Puppets can serve as cheerleaders to encourage students.
- Puppets can get student’s attention to make announcements such as homework, changes in daily routine, and birthdays (as well as lead the birthday song!).
- Puppets can ask bold questions that the students want answers to, but might not want to ask. For example, an introduction of the class restroom policy might sound like this:
Puppet: What do I do f I have to go to the bathroom?
Teacher: Well you can raise our restroom card quietly and I will see you.
Puppet: Why can’t I just ask you out loud?
Teacher: That can disrupt the class and disturb others who are working. I will nod to let you know you may go.
Puppet: Oh, okay. So I should quietly raise my bathroom card and you’ll see me and nod that I can go?
Teacher: Yup! You got it!
Puppets can be an effective tool to manage a classroom. Puppets can keep students entertained and can take some of the pressure off of the teacher and allow the teacher some room for fun and creativity.