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Storytelling with Texture

Students extend the story in the book Extra Yarn by placing themselves into the storyline.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. How do you turn drab into delightful? Add color and texture with yarn. That’s what Annabelle did in the book Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett. This award winning book is about a young girl who transformed her community with a box of magical yarn. Read this charming story to the class.
    2. Review the story of Annabelle’s yarn by taking a ball of yarn and holding the beginning string in your hand. Pass the ball to a student and ask him what Annabelle knitted first. That student continues to hold onto the string and passes the ball to another student who states the next thing Annabelle knitted. Continue this until you have gone through the entire book. It’s a fun way to review the story.
    3. Next, students create one more knitting project for Annabelle. They place themselves into the story. Students create a story extension of themselves with Annabelle. What will Annabelle knit? Will the student knit? Where does it take place? What colors will be used?
    4. To create a story with texture, students will use yarn and Crayola® Washable Paint to make sheets of patterned paper.
    5. Cut several pieces of cardboard into 2 in. x 4 in. (5cm x 10cm) rectangles. Wrap a piece of yarn around each cardboard piece in various patterns.
    6. Cover work area with recycled newspaper. Pour a drop of Washable Paint onto a paper plate. Use a paintbrush to spread the paint on the plate. Press one side of the yarn wrapped cardboard into the paint and then stamp onto a piece of white paper. Continue this process until the paper is full. Experiment with mixing colors and patterns to create colorful, textural papers. Allow the papers to air-dry.
    7. On another piece of white paper, the student will draw with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils the scene they developed with themselves and Annabelle. To keep in the style of the book, make the scenery in black and white so when the painted paper is added it stands out.
    8. Use Crayola Scissors to cut out shapes from the painted paper. Attach the painted paper in the appropriate places of the scene with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    9. Students write a paragraph explaining the extended story.
  • Standards

    LA: With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.

    LA: With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

    LA: Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

    LA: Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).

    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: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

    SS: Show how groups and institutions work to meet individual needs and promote the common good, and identify examples of where they fail to do so.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Another option in creating a story scene is to glue yarn directly to the picture instead of stamping with paint. Students can use techniques used in Mexican yarn painting to create the colorful sections of their scene. Explore further and discuss the yarn paintings of the Huichol people of Mexico.

    Compare and contrast the books illustrated by the same illustrator. Extra Yarn was illustrated by Jon Klassen. He has illustrated other books, and written and illustrated books as well. Compare the style of his illustrations and how they are related to the content of the book. Create assessment categories and fill out a chart to compile data. Write a paragraph summarizing the findings.


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