Puppets are the way to go!
Since puppets were so successful last semester, I decided to incorporate them again this semester, even though many of my students are veterans of my class. In fact, I’m not sure that they’re even signed up for the class, they just come because they came last semester, liked it, and continue to show up twice a week at the same time! I don’t have the heart to turn anyone away, not even the kids who come with 1 or 2 younger siblings in tow. Today I ordered 30 juices for my students (TYO gives the children a healthy snack every class) and had to scrounge around for 3 more! I take it as a sign that they are enjoying the class.
For Monday’s class, I had the students make puppets, and they produced some adorable miniature people. Some were in suits, some were in sparkly dresses, and all had a major amount of character. For Wednesday’s class, I was going to have them perform little skits with their puppets in the puppet theater! Where was my puppet theater?
Last semester, as you’ll remember from the photos posted on this blog, I created a puppet theater that I was immensely proud of and that the kids enjoyed playing with… perhaps a bit too much in fact because it was nearly destroyed within days of its introduction and even after one repair attempt. For the day’s class I was going to built another one, but my sage friend and fellow teacher Doris offered some wonderful wisdom: why not just let the kids make the theaters?
I managed to find about 5 or 6 boxes of suitable size and have them ready for class. I was able to divide the students into five groups, each headed by a volunteer, and each with a bit of cardboard to cut, paint, sticker and glue into their very own puppet theater.
With all of my kids and volunteers engaged, I was able to assist a student of mine who has been acting out lately. He is a great kid, very funny, but tends to get alienated and wander off with his yo yo. He and I built our theater together and in our next class we’ll put on a show with it!
At the end of the class, most of the groups had time to tidy up their space a bit, though some will have to finish their project next week. I handed each a juice box and said, “shukran! ma salaama!” (Arabic: Thank you, goodbye!) and they headed home.
If one out of every ten classes goes as wonderfully as today’s, I will be immensely happy!
Bieta is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.