Retelling through Shadow Puppets

Lee Pruette, Karen Downey, Jennifer Klyne, Sarah Chew

Student will be able to retell stories including the characters, settings, and major events. The students will create a shadow puppet based on a character from a book.


Poster board –large enough for each person to make a character that is about 6 inches tall
12” bamboo skewers for each creation-sharp ends removed with wire cutters
Colored art tissue
Glue sticks
Masking tape
Shadow puppet theater
A variety of fiction books at different student reading levels
Shadow puppets of Goldilocks and the three bears


Day 1 (in classroom)
1. Has anyone ever seen a puppet? Talk about different types of puppets. Show different types of puppets. At the end show a shadow puppet. Ask is this a puppet Why/why not?
2. Using shadow puppets:Teacher retells story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.
3. Ask students: What did you notice about how the story was retold. Guides students to mentioning, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end.

Day 2 (in media)
1. Place the students in groups of 4. Tell them they will be retelling a story that they read using shadow puppets that they will make.
2. Have student groups pick a book and read the book together.
3. Have students fill out a story map together with the characters, setting, and events.

Day 3 (in classroom)
1. Teacher reminds students of characters of a shadow puppet. Gives back story map
2. Teacher tells students they will create their own shadow puppet play of their story.
3. Have students decide on a character they are going to do.
4. Teacher explains and models process for making the puppets.
5. Teachers passes materials and explains how to make a silhouette puppet.
6. Students work to create their project
7. When students are close to finishing, teacher stops and tells students that when everyone is finished, they need to practice telling their story with their shadow puppets.

Day 4 (in classroom)
1. Students finish and practice again
2. Students share.

Differentiation Approaches

1. English Language Learners: books with clear pictures of characters, multiple examples of puppets
2. Students with ADD: written steps of directions for the activity (or picture form/examples)
3. Students with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome: written steps of directions for the activity (or picture form/examples), opportunity to share towards the end to be more comfortable, option to be a helper or a friend to create 1 character with.
4. Students who are differently abled: a partner
5. Students who complete the work quickly and carelessly: partner to check with, checklist including things such as clean cut lines, eyes for characters
6. Students who complete the work quickly and successfully: help others, create another character, part of a setting, introduce them to shadow puppets with moving parts.
7. Write out the retell of the story.


Rubric addressing each of the standards.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

Science: Students could use shadow puppets to show their understanding of different insect life cycles
Writing: Create shadow puppets to retell a story they wrote and use in the revision process
Math: act out story problems
Visual Arts: Create the backdrop for the story
Music: Create music/rhythms to go along with their story

Additional Details

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