Summarizing with Sock Puppets

Brainstorming for the script

I recently blogged for the Georgia Library Media Association about using the Sock Puppets app on the iPad.  Since that post, I introduced the app at a faculty meeting.  I recorded a quick, light-hearted puppet show to introduce our faculty meeting.  Then, a couple of teachers came up and did an impromptu puppet show to show how easy sock puppets is to use.  We finished by having teachers think about how this app might be used with their students.

During the faculty meeting, Mrs. Freeman emailed me to collaborate on a summarizing lesson using sock puppets.  Her 4th grade class has been working on summarizing skills during reading, and she thought that the 30-second time restraint of this app would encourage students to carefully think about how to summarize a story.

Checking in with Mrs. Freeman

We read Spork by Kyo Maclear.  Students worked with partners to fill out a graphic organizer to help them think about summarizing the story.  The organizer included setting, characters, beginning/middle/end, and conclusion.  On the back of the organizer, partners created a script for their sock puppets.  I encouraged them to be as creative as they wanted to with the script, but that the one thing that had to be in the script was a summary of the story.

Most groups wrote scripts that had the puppets talk back forth in this manner:

Sock puppet 1:  What are you reading?

Sock puppet 2:  Spork.

Sock puppet 1:  What’s it about?

Sock puppet 2:  It’s about….

Other groups had the puppets do a summary but then ended with the sock puppets getting into an argument or singing a song.  Other groups tried to get the sock puppets to become actual characters from the book and act out the events of the story.  Each group had their own take on how to weave in a summary while still being creative with their scripts.

Before each group could get an iPad to begin recording, students showed their script to an adult:  Me (the media specialist), Mrs. Freeman, our instructional coach, and two paraprofessionals.  Finally students recorded and saved their sock puppet stories.  While they were recording, I walked around and gave tips on features of the app that students were forgetting to use.

Recording the script

At the end, we sat in front of the smart board and used an adapter to display the puppet shows.  We had fun and laughed together, but we also pointed out things in the puppet shows that could be improved for next time.  Students noticed how background noise affected the recording and how the pitch of each student’s voice affected the way the sock puppet talked in the end.

All in all, I felt like it was a creative, successful lesson that we learned from for future lessons.  I loved that students were creators of new content and that their work had an immediate audience ready to give feedback.

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