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Level: Primary, Junior
Grades: K-5 | Age: 5-11 | Written by: Alice Cunningham
[Alice is a K-5 elementary art teacher for Cassadaga Valley Central School, in Sinclairville, NY.]

Students will read the Eric Carle book Animals, Animals. They will then identify different animals, research their chosen animals and write about their animals. This lesson incorporates social studies, science, technology, art and the writing process.


In the classroom and technology room:

Students will:

In the art room:

Students will:

What You Need:

In the Classroom:

In the Art Room:

What You Do:

In the Classroom

  1. Read the book Animals, Animals by Eric Carle
  2. Each student chooses an animal (we chose animals that live in New York State)
  3. In both the classroom and technology class, students research and write about their animal.

In the Art Room

First Lesson: Intro

  1. Watch video: Eric Carle, Picture Writer
  2. Define "collage" and demonstrate painting on tissue techniques.
Second lesson: Create Community Papers

Eric Carle does not create tissue papers with certain objects in mind so: have groups of students create painted papers that the entire classroom will later share. This way you will have a variety of colors and textures to share among all the students.

  1. Cover tables with newspaper
  2. Optional: Mix 2/3 tempera paint with 1/3 glue or corn starch, this will simulate acrylic paints, mix assorted colors.
  3. Spoon 3 or 4 colors of paint onto paper plate, place different color combinations at each table.
  4. Hand out several texture painting tools with plate.
  5. Pass out tissue; students apply paint with tools to tissue. Encourage overlapping of colors, but be sure students do not cover entire piece of tissue with paint (let background color of tissue be exposed). Remind students that tissue paper is very thin and will tear easily if too much paint is applied.
  6. Place tissue on clean piece of scrap paper and place into drying rack.
  7. Repeat process on a variety of colored tissue paper.
Third lesson: Create animal pattern and sketch
  1. Have students sketch their animal using pencils, onto 12 x 18 white paper (encourage very large and simple drawings).
  2. Students cut out the animal.
  3. Students trace animal pattern onto another piece of 12 x 18 white paper.
  4. Each student should have an animal cut-out (template) and an animal drawn on white paper.
  5. Students write their names on both the animal template and drawing. File for next lesson.
Fourth and Fifth Lesson: Create tissue collage

Organize the painted tissue papers according to background color; these will become your community papers.

  1. Pass out drawings and templates made during previous lesson.
  2. Mix glue and water (equal parts) and place into cup with brush.
  3. Students cut small sections off of their cut-out animal templates, one section at a time.
  4. Students select painted tissue from community papers with the color and texture they wish to use.
  5. Students trace their animal template cut-out piece onto tissue paper with pencil. They then cut the piece out.
  6. Students brush thin amount of glue onto their 12 X 18 animal drawing.
  7. Students place tissue pieces onto glue, gently smoothing out all edges until glued down.
  8. Continue the process until the animal is complete. Don't worry if there are white gaps between the sections.
Sixth lesson: Outline and background
  1. Students trace around their animal sections with oil pastels. This will fill in any gaps.
  2. Optional: students can add background with oil pastels, watercolors or crayons.
  3. Students can mount their pictures onto another sheet of paper, if you wish.

About Eric Carle

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. Find out more by visiting the links below.

Recommended Books/Products:

Animals Animals
In this thoughtfully selected collection of poems about animals, you'll meet creatures of every sort, from an ant to a yak.

Eric Carle - Picture Writer
In this video, the beloved artist-storyteller invites you and your children into his very own studio where he reads from: The Very Busy Spider, The Very Quiet Cricket, Draw Me A Star and shows how step by step he prepares his colorful tissue papers and creates brilliant collage pictures.

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