It takes a village to create a rainforest

above: testing puppets on the whiteboard

Tomorrow, Young Kindergarten will present their shadow puppet celebration of the rainforest.

The show promises to be dazzling, but the behind-the-scenes research they've done is even more stunning. The project was a collaboration between their classroom teachers, Ms. Leveille and Mr. McLane, and librarian Ms. Martindale, who is working with them in person this trimester. Along the way, they made full use of all the resources Gordon had to offer, drawing in their work over Zoom with their science, music and visual arts teachers.


above: students documented their work in writing throughout the process

Ms. Leveille explains:

"The project began with a science lesson with Mr. Terry, on light and shadow."

"We chose the rainforest as the theme for our work, because this group is very interested in animals, and plants, and the natural world."


above: less formal literacy moments came up every day, as with this work order submitted to the Buildings and Grounds staff

"Ms. Martindale brought us dozens of books from the library to research the rainforest. We also watched a number of videos, listened to recordings of the howler monkey, and brought in more multimedia. All that time, Ms. Martindale kept bringing us books from the library."

"Ms. Tonsgard provided us with some new art materials we hadn't used before: black construction paper, and rods, and colored paper to create some of the more vibrant colors."

above: the parrot as a sketch

"Students created the outlines of their puppets. First they did animals, then they did plants."

"We tested the puppets out with flashlights, and then with the overhead projector, and we went back in and made adjustments. Maybe a leopard needed more spots, or something simple, but nothing big."


above: the jaguar as a puppet

"Then came time to start planning our performance. Ms. Baird brought us musical instruments, and we watched a few videos of other shadow puppet shows to get some ideas for how it might flow."


above: the jaguar as a puppet

"The finished product is meant to be a tour through the forest. Without words, using only shadows and music, the students will take you on a journey through everything they've learned about the rainforest."

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