Angie pointing to Max the Puppet

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How To Use Puppets To Teach Classroom Rules

Teaching With Puppets

Using puppets to teach classroom rules can help your students engage, remember and follow directions. Using a puppet is a simple and effective tool especially when you use  it to teach (and reteach) classroom rules. 

Puppets Are A Classroom Must Have

There’s a reason puppet shows have been around for hundreds of years. They are entertaining. Puppets are a must have tool for the classroom. One way to use a puppet to teach in your classroom is when doing classroom rules.

 

Teacher Angie holding Max the Puppet in an early primary classroom explaining how to use puppets to teach

Don’t Make Classroom Rules Boring

If you want your students to remember the classroom rules you have to think of a way to engage them while teaching. 

Classroom rules are inherently a pretty boring thing to teach. You are going to lose your students’ attention pretty quickly.

How To Use Puppets To Teach And Keep Them Engaged

When you throw a puppet on your hand you have just turned it into a puppet show. Have you seen kids during a puppet show? There could be an earthquake and they wouldn’t know.  Puppets have magic.

What Materials Do I Need To Teach Classroom Rules?

One thing to consider when answering the questions of how to use puppets to teach classroom rules are the materials you need. Well, the good news is you don’t need much when teaching classroom rules.

You do however need to be a little silly, animated and willing to talk to a puppet.

Having your classroom rules visible for reference is a good idea too.

Max the dog puppet open mouth- best tips for teaching with puppets

When Should I Teach Classroom Rules?

A lot of teachers make the mistake of going over the classroom rules on the first day of school and then never refer to them again until there’s a problem. 

Sure you should teach the classroom rules at the beginning of the year but they should also be part of your morning routine. 

Keep It Short

When you are teaching the rules it’s a good idea to keep the lesson short. Like 5-8 minutes short. Slip on the puppet and let the puppet whisper in your ear the rule of the day. “Translate” to your class what the puppet said about the rule. “Max says the rule for the day is ‘Take Care Of People First’, What does that look like in our classroom”  Max will listen and watch as a few students give their ideas. Then it’s time for Max to go back on the shelf to look out for kids who are really good at demonstrating ‘Take Care Of People First’.

teacher Angie reaching for Max the puppet. Teaching with puppets

To Talk or Not To Talk- Puppet Problems

As I talked about above, Max the puppet whispers in my ear. I tried giving my puppets a voice but I’m just not that coordinated. Plus, I’ve learned that when Max is whispering in my ear the class is really watching the “show”. They want to know the secret too. They can’t wait for me to tell them what Max said.

Classroom Rules the First Day and Everyday

I really think it’s important to make talking about the rules part of your daily routine. Then you can keep the expectation high everyday. Most of the time I was the one that needed the reminding. When we picked a rule a day to “watch” for it made me more aware and consistent with my classroom expectations.

Teacher Angie using Max the dog puppet to teach classroom rules

Rewarding Good Behavior

I know this is a controversial area. Some teachers don’t reward good behavior. Kids should just do what’s right. I, on the other hand, feel like noticing and acknowledging someone’s hard work is beneficial. We all want to be noticed. Noticing and feeding the positivity and appropriate behavior in my classroom was highly effective. I used a marble jar and I NEVER NEVER NEVER took out a marble if students misbehave.

How To Use Puppets to Teach Rules By Giving Your Classroom Rules A Movement

Another way to keep teaching rules fun and effective is to add a movement to the rule. Max helped us think up movements and watched while students modeled the movement. Max could even do a few of the movements himself.

Adding Movement To Classroom Rules- Pro Tip

Pro tip. When you add a movement to a rule then you can silently remind students about appropriate behavior without having to use your voice.  Just doing the action with a little eye contact reminds the students about appropriate behavior and expectations.

Teacher Angie pointing to Max the dog puppet in an elementary classroom

My Classroom Rules For Puppets

When I used puppets in my classroom I had some pretty strict rules.

The biggest rule was no one but me could use Max. My students had their own puppets for classroom use but Max was special. If I let them use Max, Max would lose his magic. 

Second rule was that Max didn’t come out a lot. He was for special conversations. These talks usually revolved around student behavior. He could notice and “talk” about behavior in our classroom without any real judgment. 

Puppets Are Easy To Talk To

Third rule (and it’s not really a rule but more of a special job for Max) was that kids couldn’t use Max but they could hug him (while on my hand) and they could write him notes about anything that bothered the student. I remember once when a student wrote to Max about how another student always “hogged” the markers at the table. I hadn’t noticed the power struggle. Yahoo for Max. He was a safe way for kids to talk about other students without tattling to the teacher.

Video button over teacher Angie holding Max the puppet. Teaching rules with puppets

Don't Miss Max The Puppet In Another How To Use Puppets To Teach Video

Today we say hello to Max again. If you didn’t catch him in his first video on using puppets in your virtual classroom here’s the link: https://youtu.be/PQoHTLltWSQ  

Looking For More About How To Use Puppets?

Here’s a great blog post on how to use puppets in your classroom.  10 Ways To Use Puppets In The ELT Classroom 

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Angie K

Angie K

I love to help teachers create an amazing teacher life.
I've taught for 25+ years and I want to help you find joy and energy in each day.

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