Cornwall students get a primer on puppetry

CORNWALL — Students at Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School on Thursday, May 10, put the finishing touches on some colorful, fanciful puppets they fashioned under the expert guidance of folks from the No Strings Marionette Company.
Led by Barbara Paulson and Dan Baginski, the 10-day program saw K-6 students build puppets, create soundtracks, and perform their work, according to Bingham educator Valerie Calzini.
Before the No Strings troupe arrived, Bingham kindergarteners wrote a new version of “The Little Red Hen” that will serve as a script for a production featuring the puppets they built. They will use a puppet representation of one of Cornwall School’s own chickens as the main hen character. The youngsters altered the story to include lots of animal characters that embody principles of the International Baccalaureate Program, to which Addison Central School District students are transitioning.
According to Calzini, first- and second-graders performed an adaptation of the Doreen Cronin story called “Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type” to share their understanding of being communicators. Third- and fourth-graders focused on sharing their learning of marginalized people in history and how those people embodied learning attributes. Fifth-graders incorporated aspects of their studies about ecosystems and fair trade economics into their performance. Sixth-graders used the program as an opportunity to share the story of a team of women African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.
The school landed three grants to bring the No Strings group to the Cornwall School: $2,210 from the ACSD’s Gilligan Fund, $2,500 through the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, and $1,000 through the Addison Central Educational Endowment Fund.

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