I show students our Chinese lion puppet and we choose a name for it. My favorite so far is "Lena" although the boy who suggested "Hello Kitty" got lots of laughs.
Next we read the book, Chinatown by William Low, which is written in first person about a boy who travels through Chinatown with his Grandma. I have each student take a turn holding the puppet on each page. The story has the two walking so the students have to walk the puppet and do what is on the page. I insert the name the kids gave the lion so it sounds like Grandma, Lena, and I travel together through Chinatown. On the page where the main characters meet the cobbler I have the students say "hello" in Chinese and English. At the end we say "Happy New Year" in Chinese and Cantonese.
The Chinese Librarian, Rose, overheard us and said she wants to expand on the story and do even more with Chinese words with the students connecting the story to the Mandarin curriculum. She explained that the students just had a guest puppeteer and are making puppets in Mandarin classes. Next they will tell stories using the puppet stage. She wants to connect with that lesson. I have quite a few hand puppets - maybe they can make up stories using the hand puppets. I'll have to talk to the kindergarten teachers. Let me know if you have a good puppet lesson. They sure love puppets!