Kevin Hodgson – I’m lucky to be a teacher. No one will likely think it odd or strange that I have Muppet stuff all around my sixth grade classroom. It’s part my “quote creative end-quote” environment. Better still, I have long taught a unit around scriptwriting, which culminates in a collaborative puppet show performance of an original play with student-made puppets before a real audience of younger students in our school.
How do I get my students to envision the possibilities of puppets? The Muppets, of course. As the years go on, and the television show and feature films fade a bit into pop culture memory, I find it more and more likely that my students have heard of The Muppets but have never seen The Muppets, other than their Sesame Street cousins.
So, I do my duty and unleash the antics of Jim Henson and his gang of puppeteers on my sixth graders, and then we have a blast dissecting what we have seen on the screen:
- What kind of puppets were being used? Hand, body or string?
- How did the use of voice and dialogue create a sense of character?
- How did they use humor to make a point or tell a story?
- What design elements went into the actual making of the puppets?
- And more – much more
For me, though, watching The Muppets with my students brings me right back to my own childhood, when my family used to gather around the television for The Muppet Show, laughing at Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters and the others as they interacted with the puppets. I’m happy to use my time in the classroom to show my students how to be creative, of course, but The Muppets are as much a pleasure for me as they are for them.
If you would like to tell your Muppet story as a part of the Muppet Fan Testimonials series, email Ryan Dosier at firstname.lastname@example.org with your submission and it will be published on The Muppet Mindset!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier