Puppets in Education

"Turn off that TV! Stop playing those video games!" Now there are two comments heard over and over in today?s homes. Based on the premise that there are viable entertainment alternatives to the monotony of TV and video games, eight teachers at the New Egypt Elementary School (Plumsted Township, Ocean County) created P.I.E.: Puppets in Education, a project that uses puppets, drama, and communication with students in a Mexican school to broaden their students? view of the world, encourage their use of imagination and creativity, and provide them with a positive outlet for self-expression.

Led by project coordinator Scott Jacobs, Bonnie Vella, Lisa Rajeski, Karen Brown, Jennifer Chiariello, Marney, Hatch, Jennifer Gerber, and Rita Williams submitted their project to the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education and received a $9,960 grant for the upcoming school year. This is Jacobs second grant from the Hipp Foundation.

Through P.I.E., 150 students and their families, more than 400 in total, will increase their reading, writing, and vocabulary skills in English and Spanish as they read, summarize, and retell folk tales in both languages. Through e-mails to Mexican students, they will learn about the Mexican culture, the country, and its literature.

In addition students will learn the elements of design and form in art classes as they make puppets, scenery, and props for family night performances at a spring open house.

Professional support from a special effects artist with puppet making experience on Broadway, television, and in movie productions will help students create stick, hand, and marionette puppets.

Through their Language Arts classes students will create plays based on stories and books read during the year. Letter-writing skills will be enhanced as students correspond with professional puppeteers in Disney?s Lion King.

Students will learn more about the dramatic use of puppets when a professional puppet company visits the school.

The program?s elements will be shared with all K-5 teachers through an in-service program provided for all staff.

For further information, contact:

Scott Jacobs
(732) 840-1513