When your books become tattered, don’t throw them away! Instead, cut them up and create a series of stick puppets to use in retellings, dramatic play, and as a tool for creating new narratives.
Puppets make lessons whimsical, bring a bit of levity to the classroom, and provide opportunities for writing, communication, and social interaction. These particular puppets have the added benefit of being really easy to make and having applications across grade levels.
Too often puppets are used only in elementary classrooms, but we encourage teachers to try them in middle and high school as well. For older students they might be used to teach about dialogue, to practice using figurative language, or to introduce or explore a complex topic (e.g., photosynthesis, electoral college) in a humorous way.
For more differentiation ideas for K-12 classrooms, check out From Text Maps to Memory Caps [Paul Brookes Publishing].