Ask the students to recall the different ways they can change their voices: rate, pitch, tone, placement, and accent. (Projection and diction are important no matter what.) Write these on the board. Review each one. Tell the students the day has come to create a voice for their puppet!
Step 1: Next to each category, write the following. Accent: American Pitch: medium/normal Placement: mouth Rate: medium/normal Tone: normal Ask the students what is wrong with using this as your character voice. Answer: it’s one’s own voice, it isn’t different.
Step 2: Tell the students that part of creating their character voice is to use 3 of the 5 aspect of the voice. Ask the students for suggestions on which three to change to create a character voice as a class. For example, Accent: French, Rate: fast, Tone: Angry. Have the class practice each together.
Step 3: For those students have already created a voice for their puppet, show them how to work “backwards” in describing the puppet voice. Speak in a character voice, or ask a student to speak in theirs and have the class determining what aspects of the voice either you or their classmate used in the voice. Remind the students of the relationship between pitch and placement (high pitch, high placement, etc.)
Step 4: After practicing 3-4 voices, review the different aspects of the character worksheet. They will describe the voice, also the type of walk the puppet will have, as well as answer several questions about the background of the puppet (i.e. favorite color, number of siblings, age, etc). Give the students time to work on their worksheet (this takes most students 10-15 minutes). Remind them that it is due at the end of the class period.
Step 5: After 10-15 minutes give the students the second part of their assignment. They will get into groups of 2-3 people each and will create a 1-2 minute puppet show in which they will portray party guests. They must introduce themselves to each other and each must talk about three aspects of their background from the character worksheet. They need to use their puppet voice as they described it on the paper, as this is what they will be graded on. Tell them you will collect their worksheets before they perform, so they may want to write what they will say on a separate piece of paper. They have 10 minutes to prepare.
Step 6: Have the students repeat the different aspect of the assignment to you. Give them 10 minutes to practice. While they practice, go around the room and write down who is in what group
Step 7: Have the students sign up for the order they would like to perform. Students will turn in their papers before they present their show.
the students return their puppets to the box. Collect character worksheets that have not been turned in.
As they perform their show, check that each person is using their puppet voice the way they described it on the paper. Read through their character worksheet.