To begin with, Trixie thought we were going to do something with flying dragons--she reached into the puppet bag for a dragon marionette (one of the goals was to introduce the students to various kinds of puppets). It took a while to convince Trixie that we were going to talk about dragonflies, not flying dragons and not dragon's flies.
Even the school therapy dog got in on the residency today. She got some good pats while I was talking.
I asked the kids what they knew about Monarch butterflies, because another goal was to underline what they already knew and to compare butterflies with dragonflies, in preparation for their trip to the Baker Wetlands.
The students knew quite a bit about butterflies. Some of them mentioned metamorphosis, some talked about how the males have black spots on their wings, others brought up the fact that they're poisonous to birds. They knew the stages of the lifecycle and what happens in the chrysalis.
From there, I brought out two of my dragonfly fingerpuppets and showed the lifecycle (another key concept) from egg to nymph to adult. The kids had made their own puppets and so we all practiced zipping, zooming and hovering. Oh, and eating mosquitoes from our other hands.
We played with having our puppets nod and shake their heads. We played with different voices and the importance of keeping in character.
I showed the spider glove puppet and we sang "Poor little bug on the wall" together with different emotions so they'd get the idea of conveying various moods with their puppets.
The sessions were extremely participatory, with lots of questions and answers. I'll meet with the 2nd graders again in November, after they visit the Wetlands and before they go to the Mermaid Puppet Theatre show of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." More on that when it happens!