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Level: Primary, Junior
Grades: K-5 | Age: 5-11 | Written by: Rebecca Engelman
[Rebecca is an art specialist at Cathedral School in Bismarck, ND.]

Using the book, Harold and the Purple Crayon as inspiration, students will use shapes to stimulate their imaginations to create a unique image.

What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. Read the story, "Harold and the Purple Crayon" to the students. Discuss Harold's amazing imagination. What is an imagination and what can we do with it? Have you ever looked at a cloud and thought how it reminded you of a certain object? Place several large shapes on the board and have the students suggest what they could be. Try several different combinations.

  2. Give each student a piece of black paper and each group a pile of purple shapes.

  3. Ask the students to take several shapes and lay them on their black paper, arranging and rearranging until they begin to develop a picture. What do they see in their shapes? Should they try some different shapes? Could some shapes be bigger or smaller?

  4. Some students will ask to cut their shapes to better fit their idea. Try to keep cutting to a minimum. Tell students that they will get a chance to add details later.

  5. When the students are happy with their ideas, have them glue the shapes to the black paper using a glue stick. Demonstrate for the students how to use the glue stick to "walk" around the edge of the paper shapes twice before putting in place on the black paper. Encourage them to "smooth" the edges of the shapes to the black background.

  6. Pass out purple crayons or oil pastels to draw in details. Ask the students to press hard! Supply purple beads, buttons, etc., for the students to add with white glue. Purple glitter squeeze paints may be used as a final touch.
Recommended Books/Products:
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Crockett Johnson
Crockett Johnson's understated tribute to the imagination was first published in 1955, and has been inspiring readers of all ages ever since. Harold's quiet but magical journey reminds us of the marvels the mind can create, and also gives us the wondrous sense that anything is possible.

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