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Carle Creatures

Eric Carle’s story, From Head to Toe, is brimming with his timeless textured collage animals performing a multitude of actions. Let these images be the inspiration for a class book exploring animals and their habitats in splendid color and texture.

  • Grade 2
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Read “From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle. Allow students to perform actions as you read (optional).
    2. Discuss the characters in the book. Talk about the techniques of collage and texture that Eric Carle uses to create his illustrations. Ask students to brainstorm other possible characters and actions/body parts. Prompt students to phrase their answers using the same rhythm and repetition as Eric Carle uses in the book.
    3. Explain to students that they will be making a class book in the same style as Eric Carle. Have students research an animal of their choice and make a list of colors, shapes, motions and habitat details they will need to add to their art.
    4. Set up tables for painting with Crayola© Washable Watercolors, Crayola watercolor brushes, water, salt shakers, modeling tools for sgraffito, bubble wrap, sponges etc. Demonstrate different painting techniques to create texture (layering colors, sponging, using fingers, brush ends or tools to etch lines, using salt for color diffusion, altering brush strokes, etc.).
    5. Give each student a piece of white construction paper measuring 9”x12” (2.86 cm x 30.48 cm). Have students divide paper into 4 parts. Instruct students to paint two sections the main color of their animal and the other two sections with accent colors (e.g. alligator= 2 greens, 1 black, 1 brown). Each section should use a different texture making technique that was demonstrated.
    6. Once dry, students can add more texture and depth of color by adding some Crayola Pastels to their papers. Students cut and assemble their collage animals on another piece of 9”x 12” white or colored construction paper. Encourage students to swap scraps for other colors or use the back of their papers for white. Students can use a black marker to add small habitat details.
    7. Take photos of each student’s work and assemble as a book for the class library or to present to other classes.
  • Standards

    LA: Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem or song.

    LA: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting or plot.

    LA: Participate in a shared research and writing project.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    SCI: Make observations of plants and animals to compare diversity of life in different habitats.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

    VA: Students will demonstrate that art communicates meaning through sharing their work and the work of others.

    VA: Students will use criteria when responding to art.

  • Adaptations

    Read other stories by Eric Carle, focusing on comparing and contrasting writing styles (repetition, alliteration, etc.). Discuss which books students prefer and why.

    Make puppets or dress up and present book as a show for another class.

    Have students work together in small groups to sort the class’ animals in at least three different ways and explain why (e.g. by habitat, by color, by size, by biological classification).


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