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Level: Primary
Grades: K-2 | Age: 5-8 | Written by: Martha Butcher
[Martha teaches art at First Flight Elementary School in Kill Devil Hills, NC]

Students will work individually and as a group in the creation of a wall mural inspired by Dr. Suess.

  1. The students will work individually and as a group in the creation of a wall mural.
  2. The students will use scissors appropriately to cut a variety of shapes from black paper without the help of the drawn line as a guide.
What You Need:
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Get large pieces of bulletin board paper for the mural for each class.

  2. Cut some large angular pieces in other colors and glue them to the main large sheet. (I usually use light blue, orange, light green, and white paper, and I kind of try to make the mural background look like some of the pages in the Dr. Seuss book.)

  3. Find a place on an empty table or a space on the floor where the mural paper can be and place 7 or 8 glue bottles around.
What You Do:
  1. Gather students together and introduce and read the book to them. In introducing the book, get them to guess what the main idea is about the book. Stress that everything has a shape. Question students about the book when finished reading.

  2. Have teacher scissors and black paper ready, and cut out shapes, both nameable and organic, and large and small. Tell the students that for this lesson they will not use a pencil to draw the shapes. They should just cut and see what they get - a boot, a cave, a house a sun, a person, a triangle, etc.

  3. Take one teacher made shape and the students to the area where the mural paper is, and glue your shape somewhere on the paper. Instruct the students to go to their seats where they will get black paper and scissors to cut shapes. Ask them to go to the mural paper to glue each shape as they cut it, otherwise there will be chaos at the end of the class. While you have the class's attention, establish a top and bottom of the mural. (Some will go to the "top" to glue and put it on upside down.) Ask the students to leave the glue at the mural site for the others who come behind them.

  4. Monitor student work and give lots of praise for all of the great shapes they are making and how smart they are.

  5. Give some time after cleanup to look at the mural and to discuss.

  6. Ask the students for ideas for a good title of their mural.
After Class:

Before hanging the mural, write the name of the class and the title of the mural in large enough letters so it can be seen. You may also want to credit Dr. Seuss for the inspiration.

Recommended Books/Products:

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff: Dr. Seuss's Surprising Word Book
by Dr. Seuss
Subtitled "Dr. Seuss's Surprising Word Book," The Shape of Me and Other Stuff certainly lives up to its billing. In this delightful book, first published in 1973, kids are encouraged to ponder shapes they may never have considered before: "Just think about the shape of beans and flowers and mice and big machines!" Dr. Seuss's illustrations are in silhouette (for the purpose of accenting the outlines of figures), but are nonetheless up to par with his usual wacky, amusing style. Soaring well beyond the mundane arena of circles, triangles, and squares, here we are challenged to consider "the shape of camels... the shape of bees and the wonderful shapes of back door keys!" Kids will love the silly rhymes and funny pictures, and parents will appreciate this original take on the largely untapped world of shapes.

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