Puppets can be a fun and interactive way to add excitement into your school counseling program. Marissa Rex, author of Elementary School Counseling Blog, shares how she uses a puppet named Tim to impact her school and community.
by Marissa Rex, Ohio
Tim is my very good puppet friend. He is a Hiawatha TIMberwolf, just like the rest of us at my school. Tim is from England, so he sometimes needs help learning how things work at Hiawatha, so it is our job to help teach him.
I pick one positive school behavior every 3-4 weeks, such as walking quietly in the hallway or keeping your desk clean, and catch students who demonstrate these behaviors. I then email my picture of the students and Tim to the classroom teacher(s) to share. Many teachers use the picture as their desktop background, which is visible to students on the SMARTboard. I also include pictures in my monthly newsletter to staff.
Also, there have been some unanticipated uses for Tim. When students experienced an illness or tragedy, we used Tim in our videos home to help cheer the students up. One of these videos was featured at a school board meeting.
You just need a puppet and a camera. You could make your own puppet, use a puppet you already have, or buy a fancy one like I did from FAO Schwarz. Those cost $99.99.
I saw how students of all ages responded to my puppets and thought it'd be a wonderful way to engage my students and school as a whole. Even my 6th graders thought the pictures and videos were funny and asked to watch them.
How Tim impacted my school:
Tim brought our school closer together. He also gave teachers an additional way to motivate their students.
I also had students with Autism who loved Tim and were excited to show good classroom behavior if they could spend time with and take a picture with him. Since Tim says "cheerio" instead of "goodbye," we called one student's reward bucket the "cheerio bucket." It was highly engaging and motivating for that student.
"Adventures with Tim" also just won a 2012 Promising Practice Award from the Character Education Partnership.
For videos and pictures of Tim in action, check out Marissa's blog!
- Using a puppet can be an affordable way to add excitement to school. I love that Marissa gives suggestions of making or buying a puppet. Although Tim may seem like a pricy puppet, the way he has impacted her school has been priceless. I saw some hand puppets on Amazon for under $15. If you are on a tight budget check out thrift stores and eBay.
- I love that students help teach Tim positive school behavior. Making students feel like experts is a great way to engage them and show how much they already know.
- Tim helps students be publicly recognized for their positive behavior. If you have a Positive School Wide Behavior Program at your school, a puppet or stuffed animal friend could make a great addition. At my school we used a giant stuffed leopard to "spot" positive behavior at our school.
- Even Tim's name is part of the school (Timberwolf). Sticking to a theme makes your program cohesive and memorable.
- Marissa gives Tim a lot of credit for bringing her school together. I have a feeling that Tim has had some help from Marissa! ;) Her passion and dedication to making her program engaging is evident!
Do you use puppets in your school counseling program? Share in the comment section.
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Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via email, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.