Written by YIA Mentor Artist Hannah Dworkin
This was my first year in Michaela Mirsky’s lower elementary special day class at Edna Maguire elementary in Mill Valley, and it was extremely rewarding to watch the growth of these students over the 10 weeks. There were several who were extremely resistant the first few weeks, and we were all extremely impressed with their level of participation by the culmination of the residency.
I engaged these students through the use of puppets and songs, a technique that was new to me. The level of engagement and calm throughout the class was evident immediately once they saw my “magic puppets” emerge from their bags. Some songs that worked well with puppets were: “Three Little Monkeys” with an alligator puppet and three monkey puppets, “Buzz Buzz” with Bee finger puppets for each child, and “We are the dinosaurs” with various dinosaur puppets.
I also used frog percussion instruments for the section of the class that was devoted to rhythm. They loved hearing the croaking sound they could make with them, and they were listening so closely that I heard distinct rhythmic phrases, something that I had never heard when I asked them to clap.
It was a fantastic time, and I am incredibly grateful for discovering the magic of puppets!