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Not Even a Little Scary

Confront those scary fears of bumps in the night with this lesson. Students draw parts of monsters and reassemble in a collective artwork. When together, the piece appears silly, not frightening.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Prepare for this lesson by collecting boxes of similar sizes ahead of time; cut Crayola® construction paper to size of box sides.
    2. Using a classroom white board, view “Spider” by Louise Bourgeois. Create a dialog with the class to lead instruction: describe the piece. Why do they think this sculpture was made? Is all art made to look pretty? Is anyone afraid of spiders? Discuss other things they fear.
    3. Read the first half of, “A Not Scary Story About Big Scary Things” by C.K. Williams. This richly illustrated book will inspire emotion and ideas for the activity. Ask students when they think of a monster, what physical traits they typically imagine. Challenge students to think of textures, along with characteristics. Generate a list based on student responses.
    4. Using pencils and pre-cut paper, explain students will be working with a partner to draw a top (head), middle (body) and bottom (legs) segments that when assembled create a monster image. Each section should have a surface texture and monster features.
    5. Demonstrate how students can trace the original pencil lines with Crayola Construction Paper Crayons and fill in the interior space with Crayola Ultra Clean Markers. Crayola Construction paper crayons can emphasize surface textures.
    6. Work with student teams to adhere finished images on to side panels of boxes using Crayola Washable No Run School Glue.
    7. Gather students together again and finish reading, “A Not Scary Story About Big Scary Things”. Discuss unfounded fears and how often we allow our imaginations to create or exaggerate fears. Talk about how the boy in the story faced his fears.
    8. Show students assembled monsters as created by teams. “Mix-up” the monsters by rotating boxes. Does this make them less scary, maybe even silly? Discuss with class how to eliminate fears by talking and facing them together.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    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: Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

    VA: Engage collaboratively in exploration and imaginative play with materials.

    VA: Brainstorm collaboratively multiple approaches to an art or design problem.

    VA: Discuss and reflect with peers about choices made in creating artwork.

    VA: Describe what an image represents.

    VA: Interpret art by identifying the mood suggested by a work of art and describing relevant subject matter and characteristics of form.

  • Adaptations

    Compare the monster character from the book read in class with monsters in the book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. Create a diagram explaining differences in characters between texts.

    Have student teams create a name, and write a story about their character.

    Using animation applications create a short video that demonstrates all the various combinations monsters created by mashing and mixing class work.

    Create a dance that describes the various features of a monster created (i.e. long tail, scales and fire breathing).

    As a class or working in creative teams, have students write letters to their monsters explaining why they are not scary monsters.

    Use images to create a class flip book instead of adhering to boxes.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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