By now you know that I believe strongly in emphasizing a healthy classroom community. I use many techniques to accomplish this: Morning Meetings, Sharing Time, Class Books, and Movement Breaks to name a few. Another fun way to build community is by establishing a class mascot.
I created a video for you where I share a few of my favorite class mascot puppets and some tips for using a mascot with your children. After you watch the video, read on for a few more tips.
Tips for A Class Mascot Puppet:
1- Start with a silent puppet if you are new to puppets. This is the easiest and most non-threatening way to begin.
2- Use the puppet as a classroom management tool. Tell the children that he/she will only come out if they are quiet and in control. If they start to get too loud, put the puppet away quickly and make it clear that the puppet will only be brought out when they are meeting behavior expectations. You can also motivate the children by telling them that the puppet will be able to come out for a visit if they finish their work/ show appropriate behavior/ tidy their desks, etc. It’s up to you!
3- Find ways to engage the mascot in your teaching. Perhaps the children can teach the mascot what they have learned about letters or numbers. Maybe the mascot will leave comments for them in their writing folders. Could the mascot award stickers or small rewards to students who have a tidy cubby or positive behavior for the week? Maybe the mascot could bring in his/her favorite book each week for a read aloud. (The book automatically becomes a favorite!) Use your imagination and think of how to integrate the puppet into your daily routines and teaching. There are so many possibilities!
4- Think carefully before you send the mascot home with the students. I love to have a stuffed animal or puppet that travels home on weekends. Students are THRILLED when their turn comes and they can record their adventures in a journal to read to the class on Monday. It’s a great hook for writing. However… sometimes these stuffed friends get lost, spilled on, etc. I usually have a different “friend” who travels home with the children- maybe the mascot’s first cousin, sister, best friend, etc.? That way we avoid disaster with our precious mascot.
In my next post, I’ll share tips for using a “talking” puppet as a class mascot. This works well with all ages but is especially good for older students. I also have some posts coming on how to make specific content connections with puppets, so stay tuned.
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