Lesson Plan:

Play It Again

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September 2, 2015
by Catherine Crider

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to retell stories through plays they have written, including key details and demonstrating understanding of their central message or lesson.


Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Begin the lesson by asking students whether or not they have seen a puppet show before. Ask them to bring up things they remember about it.
  • Tell students that in some cultures, puppet shows are used to retell famous stories and remind people of important lessons.
  • Inform students that they will be producing their own puppet shows today based on books they have recently read.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Have students list some of their favorite stories. Choose enough stories as a class to break students into groups of 4-5 students.
  • After choosing the stories, assign students to one of the story groups.
  • Once students have been assigned to a group, ask students what things they believe will need to happen in order to have a successful puppet show.
  • After students list all of the various jobs, tell them that they should write the script first as a group so that they know what characters, scenery, and props are needed.
  • Explain to students that they should think about all the key characters and events in the story. Explain that key characters and events are those essential to the story’s plot. Students will know that something is key because the story would be missing something important without the person or event.
  • Have students think about different ways they can make sure to include all of the key characters and events.
  • Students might suggest making lists of all the characters in the story, thinking about the beginning, middle, and end of the story, drawing pictures, etc.
  • Make a list of these ideas to post in a prominent place as students work on their scripts.
  • Tell students that one way to make sure all of these key details are included is to make sure they have answered: Who? What? Where? Why? When? and How?

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Using a story not assigned to one of the groups, have students help list all of the important characters.
  • Direct your students to practice starting at the beginning of the story and listing all of the different locations and key events.
  • Demonstrate to students that they can go back to the book to see what things were illustrated.
  • Tell students this is another way to check that they have included all of the key events and people.
  • As students list key characters and events, remind students that they need to tell the story in the same order the author did. Explain that it is important not to jump around or change the order of events.
  • Encourage students to also think about any messages or lessons the story might have included.
  • Tell students that these are important parts of a story and should be included when it is retold.
  • If possible, give an example from a book not assigned to one of the groups.

Independent Working Time (25 minutes)

  • Show students all of the different art supplies they have to make the sock puppets and scenery.
  • Ask if there are any final questions before groups begin working on their assigned story’s play.
  • Give your students time to write the script and create the sock puppets and scenery for their shows.
  • To save time, assign the students roles in each group.



  • Enrichment: Students who need a greater challenge can be assigned the role of group leader. Challenge them to design a special effect that draws attention to their favorite key detail.
  • Support: For students who need a little extra assistance, strategically pairing these individuals with peers that have complimentary skill sets is critical. Have your students demonstrate their understanding of key story details in any manner conducive to their skill sets. For example, students may dictate the key details they wish to include in the script to a scribe, or a student may design wardrobe/prop items that demonstrate knowledge of key story details.


Assessment (5 minutes)

  • Assess your students based on the number and quality of the key details they provide in their skits.
  • You can also assess your students based on their participation and contributions while preparing for the show. Level of contribution can be determined based upon reports of group mates or your observation.

Review and Closing (20 minutes)

  • Call students together.
  • Have groups perform their puppet shows for one another.
  • Ask students watching the shows what details they really liked knowing and if there were any areas of the show where they wanted more information.
  • Remind students that when they are retelling stories it is important to include key details and include the central message or lesson of the story.

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