Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Elmer the Elephant

I don't know about you, but I LOVE Elmer by David McKee and I especially love the message that the book sends to children - it is GREAT to be unique and special!

I also purchased an Elmer the Elephant stuffed animal at Barnes and Noble.  Check him out in the basket below (left side).

So I took a Fine Arts Methods course this summer (a required class for my grad program) and it turned out to be my favorite class in the entire program!  The instructor was amazing and so inspiring.  She filled our teacher buckets with one great idea after another.  I want to share one of her ideas with you.

Start the lesson off by reading Elmer.  This story is especially great at the beginning of the year when you are building community and also when you are learning / reviewing colors.  After the read aloud, lead a discussion about how Elmer was different than all the other elephants and how he felt about that in the beginning of the story and again at the end of the story.  Relate that idea to the students themselves.

Okay, now here is the FUN part!  You are going to use an art technique called "Crayon Resist."  Here are the steps:

1 - Using a pencil, draw shapes, lines, designs...whatever your artistic heart desires!
2 - Trace over the pencil marks with a dark crayon, such as black.
3 - Fill in ALL the white space using various water color paints.
4 - Allow the paper to dry - though this happens quickly if the kids do not use too much water.
5 - Trace the outline of an elephant on the back.
6 - Cut your elephant out and SAVE the piece between the legs, since it becomes the elephant's ear.
7 - Fold the straight edge of that piece about a 1/2 inch or so and then apply glue.
8 - Stick that piece to the elephants head and you are done!

Check out these elephants that my Kinders made this year!

They did not exactly fill in all the white space, but they did a pretty good job, I think!  I suggest you make an example or two ahead of time to show them.  Have fun and let me know how it goes!


  1. After reading your post I pulled Elmer and the book out of storage and put them on a shelf at the front of my room! Thank you for sharing!

  2. So wonderful! I hope your kiddos enjoy Elmer as much as mine did. Have fun! :)


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