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Puppets help string youth along in learning
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Manteca educator Barbara Pinto-Choate has added the spirit and fun of hand puppets to educate her students in a summer school program. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Veteran educator Barbara Pinto-Choate is employing puppetry to get kids hooked on learning.
 As many as five children can be involved with one puppet educational program. While one child does the mouth of the puppet, another handles the hands and one speaks for the puppet following an educational script and yet another uses the microphone, Choate said. There are sessions in math, science and liturgical and non-liturgical scrips.
“The kids love it – funny thing when I started it with the churches, some people thought it was sacrilegious because we were using puppets – soon realizing the kids were getting the message…a children’s message teaches them life skills and the adults like it even more than the kids, with the integration of math and the integration of music,” she said.
Choate added that the teachers she is hiring are working teachers in the community.
Summer class registration is now open for Choate’s RENEW Educational Solutions & Bella Music Company. Classes are offered in two week-long sessions.
The first classroom session start June 26 and runs through July 7. They are for fourth graders through high school students in areas including Arts & Crafts, Class Voice, Drama primary, Drama, General Music, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry, Classes meet Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
The next session begins July 17 and runs through July 28. Students targeted range from second grade through high school. The topics include Puppetry, Class Voice, Drama-Primary, Drama, General Music, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry.
One class per day for three days in Math for two weeks runs $150 and breaks down to $20 per class.  Art, Music and Drama classes three days a week for two weeks is $120. Three classes a day for two weeks is $270. 
She also offers reading and math intervention for elementary school students called “Edgenuity.” The personalized intervention promises to close gaps to ensure that students are on a path to success, noting that solid literacy and math skills are key first steps toward academic success through the “Pathblazer” techniques.
Pathblazer is a supplemental online interventional program that helps move struggling learners up to grade level up proficiency in math and reading.  The program prescribes individualized learning progressions with fun, motivating content that addresses skill and concept gaps. Choate noted the endeavor is aligned with Common Core and state standards.
Classes will be held at the Manteca Presbyterian Church on North Main Street at North Street in Manteca.  Adult classes and high school chimes classes will begin in August.  The RENEW Educational Solutions & Bella Music Company office is located at 965 East Yosemite Avenue, Suite 20, in Manteca.  Call 209-234-7400 or fax 209-249-5318.  Email  The website:

To contact Glenn Kahl, email