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Jackie Baldwin jackie@story-lovers.com
Kate Dudding kate@katedudding.com

Innovative Projects

Puppeteer Helps Troy Create Its Own Story

Originally published in The Missoulian (Missoula, MT), May 24, 2007

Keywords: elementary school, art, personal storytelling


School principal Lance Pearson said the whole school year had been about stories, and kids had listened to many tales through the winter months. International travelers had shared stories. So had American Indians. By the time puppeteer Beth Nixon showed up, funded by a Pew foundation grant, the students were ready to tell their own stories of their town of Troy.

Nixon listened to the 230 students and realized that she was hearing about a place where people identify themselves by way of their relationship to their shared landscape.

The script by the older kids, using Kipling's Just So stories as a model, had the locals of Troy (moose, deer, ducks, fish, miners, loggers, and snowboarders) convincing three visitors that Troy was a fine place to put down roots.

“The puppet show was the grand finale of the year,” Pearson said. “It was a great opportunity for our kids to get some good art instruction from an expert in the field,” Pearson said.

“This is who we are,” Pearson said. “This is what we do here.”

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Copyright 2007 by Jackie Baldwin and Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.