4th grade uses puppets to teach Jewish Values

ואהבת לרעך כמך

V’ahavta Lereacha Kamoacha -Love your neighbor as yourself

At JCDS, each class is responsible for teaching this value to the rest of the school. In order for 4th grade to teach it, it was important to break down the meaning of V’ahavta Lereacha Kamoacha.

How do we work together?

How can we bring this Value to life?

These two questions guided us in our journey to truly understand what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. “Treat others as you want to be treated” was a common answer during our discussions. It became clear that showing what this meant would be key in teaching it to others. This is a very special group of students who delight in performing in front of others. With this in mind, our 4th graders were introduced to Brown Paper Puppets. (click on link to see Master puppeteers teach how to bring these puppets to life)

The puppet requires three puppeteers to bring it to life. Three people must work as a team and maintain 100% focus on the puppet throughout their performance. This forces the audience to only focus on the puppet and not the puppeteers.

With the introduction of this technique, students began the long and hard process of learning how to create the puppets together then negotiate how the puppet and it’s puppeteers will move together in order to make the puppet come to life.

Using a text from Pirkei Avot 5:10 (Rabbinic writings from the Mishna titled Ethics of the Fathers), students wrote a script which portrays in Hebrew and in English, some of the character traits of human beings: a righteous person, a selfish person, an average person and an evil person.

Throughout this process, students were asked to write their reflections on each step of the project. After their performance, students wrote a final reflection which is on display in the lobby of our school.

By writing a script together then working in small groups to bring the puppet to life, students answered our essential questions. “We had to listen to each other.” “If we worked together, the puppet would stand up straight and look alive.” 4th grade successfully made this value come alive and taught the rest of the school what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

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The following video is the Wednesday morning performance debut of the paper bag puppets: