Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Draw Me a Star

It's winter now and the nights are long, dark, and starry.  I found this lesson on the Eric Carle web site in the resource section called Caterpillar Exchange.  http://www.eric-carle.com/catexchange.html  There are a lot of lessons linked to Eric Carle books here and this one, based on Draw Me A Star, fit in well with my thoughts about winter and with the geometric shapes that my youngest artists have been looking at, working with, and thinking about this month.  The lesson is listed as a two day lesson plan, but it took us three days to complete. 
I did this lesson with grades K, 1 and 2.
To begin the lesson we talked about how to draw a star.  Some kids knew how to, some didn't.  We tried to decide if there was just one way to draw a star, or if we could draw stars in many different ways.  We decided there were lots of ways to draw a star.  We looked at the front and back cover of the book and noticed the different stars and then read the book.
After reading the book we looked at an practiced drawing stars.  Really young primary kids were really excited about learning this new skill.  Students were asked to practice a few different ways on one side of their paper.  I asked them to show me their favorite star and then told them to flip their paper over and draw their best star really big.  When they showed me a "keeper", a nicely shaped big star, they set their drawing aside and were invited to the painting station to take a turn at sponge painting a sheet of aluminum foil.  We have a set of those round dabbers and kids loved doing this. The beautiful foils were put on the drying rack.  When they were dry I cut them into strips on the paper cutter and gently laid them onto a tray.   
On the second day, kids selected a few strips and a piece of 9X12 colored paper.  The glue pots came out and kids snipped and glued the bits of shiny painted paper to their construction paper.  We started in the center and worked out toward the edges.  At the end of class these too were set on the drying rack. 
On the third day kids flipped their paper over.  They used chalk to draw a star on the back.  We could tell where the foil was because the paper was "puffy".  When kids were satisfied with their star they cut it out.  They chose a new paper color and glued their paper once again.  They made a "copy cat cut" around their star to add the little border, punched a hole, added a string, and went happily home.

Small note of warning.  Draw Me A Star does contain some very, very, benign nudity.  How you handle this will depend on your group.  I decided to read the book in it's entirety and it led to a very interesting discussion with K, 1, and 2nd grade students.  Their responses to the question "Why do you think Eric Carle chose to show the people this way?" were insightful, entirely charming, and sometimes very, very amusing.
 Stay tuned for some more star-work.


  1. Painting on foil is such a beautiful effect. Did you have to add anything to the paint to make it stick on the foil??? Love that book. I like how he talks about making a star in the Eric Carle movie too.

  2. We didn't add anything to the paint and it stuck just fine. Thanks so much for reminding me about the movie. You don't know how I've been wracking my brain trying to remember where I saw that clip. I've searched up and down youtube finding nothing. Mystery solved!

  3. Those are really pretty! Great project.

  4. Thanks Marcia. I love your blog and visit it regularly. I like to support as many art ed blogs as I can find by joining as a member. I don't know how I overlook you and joined today.

  5. Ha ha, I love the discussions with kids about nudity in art. In a week or so I'll be posting about a wonderful Dali/surrealism video and our discussion about the glimpses of nudity in the movie. The reactions were SO funny.

    Oh - a reply to your comment on my blog - I'm OK with driving, if the weather is passable, my directions are good, and I'm back in familiar territory before dark (old eyes). I was at the Clarke once a number of years ago, but I remember very little of the visit other than lots of impressionism, because what came after was SO much more memorable - mice in the car while driving home through the Berkshires. I'm rodent-phobic and it was quite the adventure, to say the least. I'm never been to the college museum though and would do either/and/or/both, or I also LOVE (depending on the exhibits) MassMoCA.

  6. One more thing (hope I'm not annoying) - I do have a handout from the altered books workshop with lots of details about what does or doesn't work and can email it to you if you'd like - but I'd need an email address.

  7. Phyl I couldn't agree with you more. Nudity in art is a sensitive issue, but also a matter of fact. Obviously, nudity was not the focus of this lesson, but the image did open the door to an interesting exchange. They were so cute though, and I have to respect the way they spoke and listened to each other without silliness. I knew I was setting the tone and it terrified that amusement would show on my face and I'd blow the whole thing.
    I'm going over to your blog now to leave my e mail and chat you up some more.