The Attentionology Traveler

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Hi! I spent some time yesterday with a powerful attention catcher – keeper…


I pulled a puppet, Little Bear, from a (pretend) nap inside a golden gift bag at a Poetry Party I brought to 100 first grade students.

See if you could use this tool too…

I’ve written about Little Bear, shown in my blog pic below, in an earlier Attentionology post. As you can see in the pic, the focus of Little Bear’s first introduction here was on my using the puppet to help children learn Spanish.

Yesterday, I was reminded of the incredible teaching power that hand puppets

Hand puppets, like Little Bear, can help children learn more than languages.

possess in the hand of an educator willing to wear one.

I’m talking about teaching power that you can employ to teach not only a language but anything you choose to teach with them. Puppets are teachers’ “pals,” adorable attention-grabbers.

Simply said, children love puppets; they will listen to them and share with them in ways they are less apt to do with people.

Remember this…no theatrical background is required on your part to use puppets as teaching tools! Why? Because as soon as you hold up a puppet…behind a book like my blog pic shows…behind a piece of any large scrap of fabric…behind a large sheet of tissue paper folded over your arm…behind anything at all that hides your arm below the puppet, the children will immediately engage with the puppet, setting the stage for learning!

I offered the children a wide teaching range yesterday with Little Bear’s voice (higher pitched and sweeter than my regular voice) as I “made” the puppet answer their questions at the close of the Poetry Party!

I slipped Little Bear on my hand, held him behind a large piece of tissue paper that was in the gift bag, and I told the children that we had one more party guest to meet. “This is Little Bear,” I said, making one of the puppet’s paws wave to them. The kids eeewed and aaahed. “Awwwwwwwwww, isn’t he cute! “Hi Little Bear,” they said in unison.

I turned to Little Bear as if he were a real bear cub (imagination at work!) and turned back to the class. I told the kids that we had time for them to ask Little Bear questions.

Hands flew. Below are some of the kids’ questions (Q) and Little Bear‘s answers (A). The underlined words send an educational message…here’s the key…a message that’s obvious to us but NOT to the children. That’s the magical teaching power of puppets!

Q – What do you like to eat Little Bear?

A – I like to eat healthy food, like berries that I find.

Q – Do you watch TV, Little Bear?

A – I like to play outdoors with friends and read better than I like TV. But I have a few favorite shows that I watch. Bet you do too.

Q – What games do you play, Little Bear?

A – I play some video games, not too many, but my favorite games are word games!

Q – Do you have any friends, Little Bear?

A – Oh yes, friends are so special!

Q – Do you sleep with Ms. Barbara at night, Little Bear?

A – No, I have my own bed (do you know that bears hibernate in the winter?) but sometimes I climb up at the foot of Ms. Barbara’s bed. I like to cuddle!

Love is a wonderful thing, isn’t it. A puppet like Little Bear in the hand of a teacher totally radiates love for children...and in the process…entertains and educates them!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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