Great Mini-Grant Programs

African-American Shadow Plays

Jill Waltz, Teacher
Geeter Middle School
Memphis, Tennessee

The Geeter Middle School packed a lot of culture into its Black History program, with students adapting African and African-American folktales into shadow plays and performing them with puppets and sets they created themselves. A project this multidimensional takes vision on the part of well-organized, knowledgeable and dedicated educators.

The program wove many strands of culture, history, language and visual arts, culminating in filmed live performances. Sixth- to eighth-graders studied the African storytelling tradition and learned to do a literary analysis of folktales in order to adapt them into plays. Then they made shadow puppets for their characters and produced and performed their plays, first as part of the Black History program and again for the community.





Watch the students shed light on the shadow puppet process