A shadow puppet show provides different and delightful possibilities for collaborative projects.


Useful Resources:

Although this site has not been updated lately, it is an incredible resource. This site offers lots of classroom ideas, theater games, plays for performance and reference books relating to successful creative drama/story theater projects in schools.

This site provides ready-made scripts for different age-levels on a variety of themes, puppet plays, and even second language acquisition (French). You can also find teachers’ guides and packages for special topics like conflict management and anti-bullying. There is a charge for shopping on this site, but the $14.95 per script is a good value since it covers (a) one copy of the script sent electronically, and (b) a license granting you the right to duplicate the script within your school of purchase. Furthermore, schools pay no royalty fees when the scripts are used in your classroom for non-profit activities.


Youngsters enjoy using masks to depict characters as they share a story on stage.

Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss: Beauty & the Beast Storytellers.

Children Tell Stories: Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom, Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc., Katonah, NY, 2005.

This is the very best teaching guide I have found for school use. The current edition includes a DVD. These storytellers know their stuff!


Nan Rump.  Puppets and Masks: Stagecraft and Storytelling. Davis Publications, Inc., Worchester, MA, 1996.

This book is a winner when it comes to inspiration and the use of mixed media in a production.


Including puppets in a production is an opportunity for kids to experience a different art form, and solve the unique problems that come up when working with a small stage and tiny “actors.”

What is Glenda Up To Now?


On June 15th, I will be working my way from southern Arizona to Montana with several stops in between. I plan to spend extra time traveling through Nevada communities near Las Vegas and Reno. A longer stop is scheduled from June 27th to July 14th when I am booked to present my summer show, “Squirrely Shirley Makes Waves,” for the Timberland Library System.  From Olympia, Washington the tour will go east through Spokane, northern Idaho and on to Kalispell, Montana where I have more library bookings.  I expect to return to Arizona some time around August 15th.

What does this mean for you? Since my travel will take me through parts of Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, I am available to book my summer show en route at a significant savings to venues along the way.  With no added travel costs to consider, you can offer a special show to the children and families in your community for the same price I charge in my home town.

Don’t miss this opportunity to add my show of stories and puppet friends to your summer program line-up at a bargain price!

Call today to add your site to my travel schedule: 888-252-3033 (toll-free).


“Squirrely Shirley Makes Waves” features a wonderful little squirrel in a tree trunk. Squirrely Shirley and I interact with audiences, presenting stories and laughs while gently encouraging kids to read, read, read! For more information about this show, please check out the library page on my website:


I really enjoy taking my show on the road! My 2009 tour included a stop in Tennessee where I was one of the featured storytellers during “Haunting in the Hills Storytelling Festival” at the Big South Fork National Park and Recreation Area.


This set of the Australian Outback was designed and painted by students in Eureka, NV.
Story Theater Projects:  Exciting Ways to Demonstrate New Learning  

This issue will explore how to successfully approach story theater projects in schools. It is my goal to serve as a storytelling resource for you, someone you can count on to provide information and ideas about the art and practical application of presenting stories in a variety of situations.

My intent here is to rethink that monster end-of-the-school-year project. You know the one I mean – the school show engaging as many students as possible in a community performance to celebrate the end of another successful school year. As a rule, a project like this will have a tight budget, and come with the expectation of providing entertainment while demonstrating student understanding and application of as many learning standards as possible.
Sometimes a committee of teachers is in charge of this event. Sometimes, willing parent volunteers lend a hand, and once in a while the school has a grant to bring in an artist to oversee the project. No matter how it is approached, a story theater project can be a wonderful experience, if you are willing to be flexible. If you draw up a plan and intend to stick to it, no matter what, you will not have a good time, and no one else will enjoy the experience either. To keep enthusiasm high (both yours and that of others), think of the project as organic, given to change at any moment, and then go with the flow. You will greatly enjoy the end result.
Over the years, I have faced requests to coordinate story theater projects as diverse as the following:
(1) Teach every student in five 3rd grade classes how to tell stories, work in teams to present a story in front of classmates, and finally come together to do a school performance with every 3rd grader contributing to the production. (Learning standards addressed:  language arts and performing arts.)
(2) Bring the kindergarten class together with the 4th grade class to collaborate in an original story written by the students and presented in a special assembly. During the course of writing the story, the 4th graders proof the written text and work with the kindergarten class to make a book of the story to leave in the school library.(Learning standards addressed: language arts, performing arts, literacy skills.)
(3) Engage 5th graders to write an original shadow puppet show about an American history subject, and make shadow puppets to represent the characters in the story. This project helps students learn (a) the uses and limitations of working with shadows, (b) how a shadow puppet stage is used, (c) how lighting works to make the magic of shadows take place, (d) teamwork and (e) responsibility. (Learning standards addressed: language arts, performing arts, visual arts, history, science – optics.)
(4) Coordinate every student in a small rural school to come together to present an evening show on the theme of Australia for the entire community. A month-long project like this involves working with teachers, after-school counselors and volunteers to create a one-hour celebration using story, music, art, drama, costumes, set building and digital technology.(Learning standards addressed:  language arts, performing arts, visual arts, social studies, technology.) 
I have provided these examples to show how a story theater project can be widely diverse, and yet be designed to complement the curriculum. A story theater project is an exciting way for students to learn and demonstrate their understanding of new information in creative and unforgettable ways.


Students in the after-school program participate in the project by helping build and paint the set.

How to Approach a Story Theater Project

The following outline is provided as a suggested guide when considering a story theater project for your school. It is important to start planning six to twelve months ahead to ensure success.
1.  Discuss ideas for the project with a committee of key people.

2.  Identify the focus or learning desired for participating students.

3.  Talk about how the project can tie into the school curriculum.

4.  Select the primary (core) group of students who will benefit most from the experience.

5.  Review the school schedule to identify the ideal time for the project.

6.  Develop a time line with the desired number of weeks needed to ensure the success of the project.

7.  Determine space needed to accommodate project activities.

8.  Identify the person or group of people to oversee the project.

9.  Determine a budget, and apply for grants if available.

10.  Discuss how learning will be evaluated.

11.  Initiate a backward mapping process to serve as a guide to accomplish project goals and activities in the time allowed.

12.  Present the project plans to the staff to establish a level of understanding, cooperation and enthusiasm.


In a well-planned school story theater project, you can expect students to discover and refine new ways to approach and integrate skills essential for a lifetime of learning. Participating students developcritical thinking skills as they make choices about what they will do and how they will contribute to the production.Social and emotional learning skills are reinforced during every phase of putting on a show, since collaboration and cooperation are essential components in any group production.


Lesson plans to guide each group toward the final event are vital, but they must allow for the kind of changes that sometimes interrupt the regular school schedule. This is why I usually recommend that four weeks be devoted to a project such as this. This time commitment represents 80 hours of student contact throughout the school, with half of that time dedicated to the core group.


If you need more information about this subject, or if you would like my advice about a specific project you have in mind, I am more than happy to provide you with the benefit of my past experiences. When I am not at a school working with students, you can reach me by phone (toll-free – 888-252-3033).