The following are ideas for using
Eric Carle’s books.
- Submitted by Judanne Smith
I had to create a bulletin board for my Children’s Literature class. I printed out pictures of the different animals which Eric talks about in his books and labeled them. I pasted them around the bulletin board and placed the titles of his books next to the pictures. In the middle of the board, I added a picture of Eric and a short biography.
- Submitted by A. Moon
We arranged an entire special event around children’s book illustrators. We arranged to have a children’s book illustrator visit our school and present his work to the children. We also established illustration labs to study and attempt Eric Carle’s style . In yet another group, we discussed the different styles of other illustrators. Every 45 minutes the groups rotated, until each group had experienced all three activities. After lunch, the visiting illustrator gave an assembly presentation. This event was planned for grades 1 through 3, but the completed pictures from the illustrations labs were given to the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to use as a writing assignment. They added text to the younger students’ illustrations. It was an exciting day and the children really gained a new appreciation of the work, effort, and talent needed to create a book.
- Submitted by Deb
After an author study on Eric Carle, I ask each student in my class to choose his or her favorite book. The children write down their choice and their reason for choosing the book on a square piece of paper. When they are finished, they draw a picture to go with their writing. I put the square pages together to create and Eric Carle quilt. I even draw in stich marks. This project has always turned out beautifully and it gives the children practive in giving evidence to support an opinion.
- Submitted by Barbara
My second grade students and I created an outstanding bulletin board to celebrate Eric Carle. Each child used watered down glue to paste their painted and torn papers onto a paper plate, creating layers of colors. We used all 24 plates to create a long caterpillar along the wall. I used an old Eric Carle calendar and spaced the pictures from it around the caterpillar, with a biography and picture of Eric in the top left corner. The whole display was mounted on large yellow roll paper! This was so much fun for the students, and our wall received great attention!
- Submitted by Karen
Here is an idea for Walter the Baker. Gather a red apron, a container of playdough, a rolling pin, and a cookie sheet. After reading the book, students can retell the story with the props in a dramatic play center.
- Submitted by Matilde Sacchi
As a teacher of English in an Italian Primary School, I have used books by Eric Carle to teach a great number of English words. I find his books useful because of the repetition of simple words and phrases. His books are also wonderful for new vocabulary: days of the week, parts of body, food, parts of the day, animals, adjectives, and so on!! Eric Carle’s books are wonderful for learning language skills.
- Submitted by Dawn Freeman
I use Eric Carle’s books to teach time, days of the week, reading, and art. Each year my class makes a picture by tearing strips of tissue paper. Each student picks a favorite book to illustrate. We create pictures by putting the strips on heavy white paper coated with starch. After coating the strips with starch, let them dry and then laminate. The pictures delight the students. From that day on they can tell me if a picture is an Eric Carle or not. It is a wonderful way to teach the meaning of the word illustrator.
- Submitted by Kerrie Marshall
I used Eric Carle’s books during the month of May in my second grade class, primarily as a launching pad for the study of character traits.
1. Brainstorm characteristics with the whole class. For example: kind, mean, generous, selfish, fair, unfair, etc.
2. Read the book together. The first time, for the story content, and the second time, for character study.
3. Identify the traits of main character (Walter the Baker: hard working, generous, kind, fearful, etc.)
4. Children must prove what they say using evidence from the story.
5. Make a mini book, using one page for each characteristic.
6. Illustrate the book using Eric Carle painted paper collage techniques.
I did this with four stories: Walter the Baker, Little Cloud, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me. At the end of the lesson, we had a firm grasp of character traits that we were able to apply to other readings and we had beautiful products that we were all very proud of.
- Submitted by Wendy Campbell
Our first graders studied Eric Carle. We discussed the fact that he includes a lesson in his stories. We read each of the Very stories and the students talked through the events and discovered the lesson in each one. We made class books about what we learned from Eric Carle. Each student had a page in the book describing what s/he learned with a picture of themselves. We all enjoyed the unit.
- Submitted by Beth Harbon
I recently created and implemented an inter-thematic unit on insects. I wanted to incorporate art into the unit and did so via a hands on lesson using Eric Carle literature as the basis. I read as many Eric Carle titles that had to do with insects to the students. As we read the stories I asked the children to look at the artwork that created these beautiful illustrations. We discussed collage. I shared with them a large brochure that I have from The Art of Eric Carle explaining his technique. The next step was the fun part. Each child had a large piece of white paper. We used bright colored tempera paint to cover the white paper. Each child covered their paper in the color of their choice. I reminded them to cover the whole surface and to leave texture in the paint. These were set aside to dry. In the afternoon each student chose a different color of paint and then texturized or created a pattern on top of their first color. The colors were beautiful! The papers then dried overnight. The next day I cut each sheet into smaller pieces. I explained that this was a class project and we would be sharing our beautiful papers with each other. I laid them out on the floor and the sight was breath taking. Each child first chose four pieces of paper and then after everyone had paper they came and got more if needed. We reviewed the parts of an insect, six legs, three body parts, antennas and wings. The children went to town creating wonderful insects. There were butterflies, dragonflies, caterpillars, beetles and more. They glued down their pieces onto white paper which made the colors look spectacular. I was hopeful that they would do a good job but I was not prepared for the awesome creativity that I saw. Their final products were magnificent. I was so pleased and so were they. We displayed them in the hall for everyone to see. I could not believe the comments that we received about this project. I was most happy that it was a literature based project based on Eric Carle.
- Submitted by Teresa Goodman
Our Kindergarten class in Fairfield, CT thoroughly enjoyed reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar during our Author Study of Eric Carle. When we began to study dinosaurs, we decided to revisit our old favorite and to create a new favorite: “The Very Hungry Dinosaur.” During Language Arts, we made up new text and used class time to illustrate our new story. Armed with our “planning pages,” we headed to the lab to make illustrations using Hyperstudio. With parent helpers, we typed in our text and recorded our voices reciting the words for our particular page. At the end of the school year, we had a show for the parents. Grown-ups and kids alike were delighted to see their illustrations and hear their voices coming out of the computer! We used the digital camera to take a class picture for the “About the Authors” page at the end!
- Submitted by Teresa Goodman
While studying Eric Carle books with my pre-K class for two weeks I always made sure to point out his art technique. Frequently I would ask my children how they thought he made certain pictures. Then I began noticing changes in my children’s artwork. At first they would do either all paint or all collage pictures. Then they started blending the two. For a final project, we made a huge class mural which now proudly hangs in our school’s entrance. First, we painted the top half of the paper in shades of blue to represent the sky. The bottom half we painted in shades of green for grass. While the paint was still wet, they used paint scrapers to make patterns and designs in the paint. Over the next few days, they tore tissue paper and glued with watered down glue to represent all kinds of animals, trees, clouds, a sun and rainbow. 100% success!
- Submitted by Jeanne Ruiz
This hands on activity is good for all grades. How do insects see? Simple eyes have only one facet or lens and can distinguish no images, only light and dark. The complex eyes have dozens to thousands of facets. They cannot move or focus any of their eyes. To get an idea of what an insect sees, try this: Cut a toilet paper tube along one side so that it opens. Stand 24 flexible straws together on a flat surface, flexible sections up. Wrap the flexible ends with the tube and secure with tape. Hold to one eye, close the other eye (like a telescope) and observe moving and stationary objects. Where are the eyes located on a caterpillar? Butterfly? How does the location help the insect?
- Submitted by Stacy Nunn
My Kindergarten class recently took part in a “Pretty Paper” workshop that was set up in my classroom. We had several stations set up and several tools at each station. The kids loved the various tools and really enjoyed the spatter painting. I allotted a hour of time to make paper and the students each did at least two pieces of paper because it was so exciting. We will use the paper to make book covers in the next few weeks.