Books for Guided Discovery: Crayons

Use a book to kick off a Guided Discovery lesson or to reinforce learning from it. A great read-aloud can open children’s minds to the magic and possibilities of the material you’re exploring.

Take crayons. Most children have seen them or drawn with them. They may even think they know everything there is to know about them. But an engaging Guided Discovery lesson, coupled with reading a picture book that involves crayons, will help them see crayons in a new and exciting light. And that, in turn, will inspire richer, more thoughtful work with crayons throughout the school year.

Here are a few of my favorite “crayon books,” along with some ideas for how to use them for Guided Discovery:

  • Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson. This magical book shows the power of art through a deceptively simple story and pictures. With only his giant purple crayon, Harold creates his own new world, complete with adventure and sustenance. Read this book before your Guided Discovery lesson. When you reach the section of the lesson when you explore what to do with crayons, ask, “How could we use our crayons as thoughtfully and creatively as Harold did? What could we create with them this year in our classrooms?”
  • My Crayons Talk, by Patricia Hubbard and G. Brian Karas. “If crayons could talk, what might they say?” asks this whimsical picture book. (“Purple shouts, ‘Yum! Bubble gum.'”) After exploring with crayons, children will be intrigued by this book. You might have them choose a crayon, imagine what it might say, and create a class book of all the ideas.
  • How Is a Crayon Made?, by Oz Charles. With child-friendly but accurate, detailed explanations and photographs, this book takes readers on a virtual field trip to learn how crayons are made. Read it before a Guided Discovery. Then, as you share a new box of crayons, have students take a minute and remember all the steps that led to the contents of the box.
  • The Art Lesson, by Tomie DePaola. This autobiographical story is a testament to the importance of and power of creativity. Before going to school, Tommy fills his home with pictures he draws with crayons. Once he begins school, he looks forward to meeting his art teacher. He is appalled when she begins her lesson by asking the students to copy her pictures, something his aunts have told him that “real artists” never do. Ultimately, Tommy’s teachers realize what he needs. This book might inspire a class discussion of how everyone’s ideas are valuable and how creativity comes from thoughtful and hard work.
Want to learn more about Guided Discovery?

Margaret Berry Wilson is the author of several books, including: The Language of Learning, Doing Science in Morning Meeting (co-authored with Lara Webb), Interactive Modeling, and Teasing, Tattling, Defiance & More.

Tags: Guided Discovery, Language Arts