Students will learn about the shadow plays of Bali and Java. They will learn about the Ramayana, a popular story that is traditionally performed in Wayang Kulit (leather shadow puppets). Students will be assigned a part from a reader's theater play and create a puppet using cardboard for the character that they have been assigned. Finally, students will perform their own play using their puppets.
read the book Rama and the Demon King: An Ancient Tale from India or Rama and Sita: A Tale from Ancient Java. The illustrations in Rama and Sita are excellent examples of Wayang Kulit, but the text is a little high for grade three. Rama and the Demon King is clear, accessible and brief. Sometimes I show the illustrations from Rama and Sita and read the text from Rama and the Demon King.
Assign students a part from a Reader's Theater Play.
Design the puppet in a sketchbook. I have found that it works best to have students only have a moving arm that is articulated at the shoulder and the elbow. Many students want to have a wagging tail or a moving mouth, but if you have a large class size (like I do) it can be difficult to coach the students to make parts for these ideas that are large enough to put a paper fastener through without ripping the puppet. Model a few designs on the board and show how to make a face in profile.
Draw the puppet on a piece of cardboard and color with Gel Effects Markers. Paint on highlights with gold tempera paint.
Cut out the puppet and assemble using a screw punch, cutting mat and paper fasteners.
Atatch a wire to the body and a wire to the hand so the puppeteer can move the puppet.
Perform your puppet show with a sheet hung up in front of an overhead projector.