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City Block Painting

City Block Painting
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Students will use lines of all kinds to create a painting of a city block using tempera paint.

By Emily Coffey [Emily is a teacher at Edmonton Elementary in Edmonton Kentucky]

What You Need:

  • the book ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon
  • enough string pieces for every child
  • colored construction paper
  • tempera cake paint sets (6 or more)
  • brushes
  • water
  • paper towels
  • pencils
  • newspaper to lay down on the painting surface for protection and/or aprons if desired

What You Do:

  1. Have students gather around you in order for you to point things out in the book ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’.
  2. As you read each page, either have the children identify a line that Harold draws or for younger learners, point out each line and name it. Then have them identify that same line on another page of the book.
  3. Next, hand everyone a piece of string and have them create each line type as you call it out (or you can have them call out a variety of lines) with their string.
  4. You can send the students back to their tables and have each small group, combine their string to create a longer version of the basic lines.
  5. Next, pass our colored construction paper, water and brushes, tempera cake paints and pencils.
  6. Ask students to write their names on the back of the paper before they start painting.
  7. Explain how tempera cake paints are dry until you add water to them and if you start to paint and you only have water on your paper, to put your brush back and get more paint.
  8. Have students use their white tempera to create a city block of at least 3 building of varying heights, widths and designs. Be sure to ask them to use each line type in their building design.
  9. Because this type of paint dries very fast, students can fill in each section of their building with the other colors in their tempera cake paint set to create a colorful city block with lots of lines in the architecture.

Harold and the Purple Crayon
Crockett Johnson

Crockett Johnson’s understated tribute to the imagination was first published in 1955, and has been inspiring readers of all ages ever since. Harold’s quiet but magical journey reminds us of the marvels the mind can create, and also gives us the wondrous sense that anything is possible.

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