Creating Vocal Character in Puppetry Unit, Lesson 3

Lesson 3


TH:Cr1.1.6 c. Explore a scripted or improvised character by imagining the given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.
Standard 7–8.T.CR.3: Use form and structure to create a scene or play with a beginning, middle, and end that includes full character development, believable dialogue, and logical plot outcomes.


Enduring Understanding:

Stories are carefully constructed so that they build towards the climax. Character choices that are made based on a script are strongest.


Essential Question:

What are the essential parts of structuring a story?
Do my choices for my character need to be backed up by anything?


Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of plot structure, playwriting, and character development by filling out a storyboard and character worksheet.




Storyboard worksheet (see pdf file on unit page)

Character worksheet

Student pencils


Announcements, hook, and roll (5 minutes)

  1. We’ve been learning about tone, pitch, rate, diction, and projection.

    1. Pair two rows together and have them think about one of the vocal terms above.

    2. Have each group explain their term to the rest of the class. They should pick one


    3. Take roll while they are doing this.

  2. Reminder that NEXT CLASS we are making our puppets. You can bring any of the following:

    1. A brown paper bag, a sock, or a popsicle stick.

    2. If you will not be here next class, come see me and I will give you a small bag of

      supplies so you can create your own puppets at home.


Guided Practice (10 minutes)

    1. Come up to the stage with a pencil, but put it on the front of the stage.

     2. Pass the Word
          a. Have students sit in two large circles and they have to pass a particular word or phrase around the circle each taking turns to say the word.

          b. E.g. If the word was ‘hello’ the task is to say it in as many different tones/ways to affect meaning. (Hello, Okay, I’m fine, It’s nice to meet you, I’m glad you’re here, What’s going on?, What’s that?)

  1. Have students discuss with the people next to them.

    a. What different tones did you hear? Pitches? Rate?

    b. How did the meaning change based on the way that the phrase was said?

  2. Have students clump with the people next to them into groups of 5ish. Try to remember the hand gestures and names for the 6 parts of a story.

    1. After a minute or two, have someone show me the class one at a time.

    2. Exposition, Inciting Incident, Rising Action, Climax, Falling action, Resolution.


Teaching Presentation (30 minutes)

  1. “Everybody mix up in the circle.” Stand by someone you don’t know yet. (If they aren’t mixing have students do a little bit of cross the circle if a certain prompt applies to them).

  2. We are going to start a puppetry unit and we will be writing our own 1 minute to 2 minute scripts.

    a. I’m going to give you 2 minutes to come up with two main characters and a setting that your story could take place.

    b. Give them 2 minutes to come up with a conflict that could happen for their characters.

    c. Give them 2 more minutes to come up with a beginning, middle, and end for their story.

  3. You are each going to create a storyboard for your story. This worksheet has 7 boxes. You should fill the first box either with words or with a picture for the beginning that you brainstormed and the last box with your ending. Pick the fifth box for the climax where the conflict gets most intense. Start with filling in these boxes first, then we will get into the details.

          a. Have students find their own space sitting with their partner. Have one partner get two         worksheets (one for each student) and the other partnership get two pencils (one for each student).

  1. Hand out the worksheets. And give them 5 minutes to fill out those boxes. Have students share their story with the partnership next to them to make sure that the story makes sense.

  2. Give the students another 5 minutes to fill in the detail boxes.


Guided Practice – Character Development (10 minutes)

  1. Everybody stand up and pose like the character you will play in your puppet show.

    1. Have students close their eyes and think about how their puppet character would


    2. “Everyone on the count of three, say “Hello, my name is _(your character’s name)_” practicing using tone, pitch, and rate.”

  2. Character work (5 minutes)

a. Fill out the back side of the worksheet with what you are going to do for your vocal choices.

  1. Tell me a little bit about your character – describe them and tell me about who they are.

  2. Think about how this will affect tone, pitch, rate



1. If there is extra time, have all students get a blank piece of paper on which to start writing their script for their scene.

  1. Your script needs to be at least 1 minute long.

  2. Both of you need to be talking in first person throughout the script.

  3. If one of you dies, it can’t happen until the end of the script.

○ Correct formatting for a line in a script looks like this

  • Bob: blah blah blah.

  • George: blah blah blah

  • Bob: blah blah blah

  • George: blah blah blah

● Students who move quickly throughout the rest of the lesson can also move on to this.


Closure (2 minutes)

  1. Homework is to finish your script.

  2. Collect their storyboard/character worksheets

  3. Need to bring a puppet body next period.