Monday, November 4, 2013

The world of puppets

Why are puppets useful in the EFL classroom?

Some time ago, I started using puppets in the classroom. Some of them were simple socks and some others were more sophisticated as I bought them. However, after seeing that my students thought puppets were silly, I put them aside.

This year I met (virtually speaking) Juan Alberto Lopez Uribe who showed me how important puppets are in the classroom. He shared some wonderful videos and interesting blog posts so I decided to bring puppets back to my class.

Also, when I participated at RSCON4, I listened to Sam Pattersen who also works with puppets. He showed funny puppets in action and some days ago, I listened to him again in another webinar by "Classroom 2.0" talking about... puppets!!

Why are puppets useful in the EFL Classroom? Because they can be used in stories, songs, chants, roleplay and pairwork. They provide motivation even if the students think they are silly.

Puppets are fantastic for meaning, for fluency, for communication, for cross-curricular activities. They are great to teach vocabulary, to teach language and of course, to evaluate.

My experience with puppets this year has been awesome.

First of all, I have to thank my dietitian because she sends my lunch very well wrapped in paper bags. As I have tons of those paper bags, I decided to recycle them by creating puppets. I browsed tons of websites to see how I could make them. I pinned them and then I let my creativity run!

The original paper bags - My 1st puppet

When I taught "animals" to my 6th graders, I told them they had to make a puppet so as to round up our term. They loved the idea immediately. So I gave them the paper bags and they came with lovely "puppet animals". It was such a success what they did, that I invited the kids' parents to attend a "puppet show" in the classroom. My students had to describe their animal to three different parents. It was an incredible day as both parents and students got surprised with all the English they had learnt in 3 months!!!!

Students talking to parents in our classroom
I also did the same with my secondary students. My 1st year students had to talk about pets so... I told them that they had to create a puppet and I was going to evaluate them with the puppet. The kids did beautiful puppets and the test was oral, of course. Our school principal congratulated them because they could produce tons of vocabulary.

So... give puppets a try! You'll surprise with all your students can do and say!

Thanks Juan! Thanks Sam! You have inspired me a lot!! Smiles for you both! :)

Thank you for reading :)


  1. What great ideas, Maria! I'm definitely going to try them out. Thanks also for the great links to resources :)

    1. Hi dear Barbara! Thanks a lot for your comments, they mean a lot to me as you are such a great teacher!
      I guess we should all give a 2nd chance to puppets!!!
      Tons of smiles, Maria :)