Hi there! The Teacher Crafter here, sharing one of my favorite ways to use picture books in the classroom. This month Ramona Recommends asked if I would focus on ART!
A big part of my teaching style is implementing art into all of our subjects. Each student has a sketchbook that we use regularly for all content areas. I start the year by using an amazing “art elements” definitions foldable from the blog “Art Room 104” to introduce the vocabulary we will apply all year long.
Naturally, we focus on some elements more often than others. So right now seemed like a perfect time to review all of those elements and their applications.
To do this, I used my trusty buddy Eric Carle. I brought out an arsenal of Eric Carle picture books, and had the students analyze the artwork inside.
We created anchor charts in their sketchbooks and on the board that organized our information on Mr. Carle’s use of the various art elements. I had students share out what they had observed, and then we moved onto the next piece…translating Eric Carle’s art style into our own content-specific mini picture books!
Students used a variety of “painted paper” techniques to create a wide variety of colors and textures on cardstock. Some things that were repeatedly pointed out about Eric Carle’s work were the texture of the paint and the variety of shaded used. This drove our color and “texture” choices as we created the painted papers.
Students also noticed that Eric Carle uses very flat shapes, but includes many sizes and layers to create feelings of depth and space. The students had to keep this in mind when designing their picture books. Some of the topics they are working on include photosynthesis, the systems of the human body, the causes of the American Revolution, and the things they learned from their recent Science Fair experiments.
The books are still a work in progress, but I was so impressed with the students’ application of our art element vocabulary when analyzing Eric Carle’s works. I can’t wait to bring in picture books from more illustrators to discuss!
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