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Art Smart

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 1
Speaking and Listening Standard 5

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Grade 1
Speaking and Listening Standard 4

English Language Arts Grade 1
Speaking and Listening Standard 6


Utah LessonPlans
Grace Wayman


Students will learn how colors can show emotions.


For each student:

  • 8 1/2" x 11" white copy paper
  • 9" x 12" colored construction paper
  • Clear contact paper cut to 9" x 12" size
  • Colored tissue paper (a variety of colors, including black)
  • Black or colored permanent markers

Additional Resources


  • Glad Monster Sad Monster--A Book About Feelings, by Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda; ISBN 0-316-57395-7
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster!, by Ed Emberley; ISBN 0-590-34118-9
  • My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss; ISBN 0-679-87597-2
  • The Art of Eric Carle, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0-399-24002-0
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0-590-03029-9
  • The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0-590-42566-8
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0805047905
  • 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0399230130
  • The Very Lonely Firefly, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0399234276
  • The Very Quiet Cricket, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0399226842
  • The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0-590-31227-8
  • I Can Draw People, by Ray Gibson; ISBN 0-439-31640-5
  • I Can Draw Animals, by Ray Gibson; ISBN 0-590-63173-X



  • Church, E. B. (2004). Playing With Paper. Parent & Child, 11(4), 53-54.

Additional Media
If you would like to have your students write to Eric Carle, his address is: P.O. Box 485, Northampton, MA 01060.

Background for Teachers

Eric Carle is a famous children’s author/illustrator. He was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929. When he was six years old, he moved to Germany, attended and graduated from art school there. In 1952, he moved back to New York and worked as a graphic designer for The New York Times. He also worked as the art director of an advertising agency for many years. One day, author Bill Martin Jr., asked Eric Carle to illustrate a story he had written. The story was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? This was the beginning of Eric Carle’s new career. He has written and illustrated many books, including 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Lonely Firefly, and The Very Quiet Cricket. He uses collage illustrations that are a unique form of paper art. The Eric Carle: Picture Writer video demonstrates this technique. He writes his books for children with a theme in mind. On the video, Carle said,

“With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent; warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates—will they be friendly? I believe the passage from home to school is the second biggest trauma of childhood; the first is, of course, being born. Indeed, in both cases we leave a place of warmth and protection for one that is unknown. The unknown often brings fear with it. In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message. I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun.”

In order for students to understand the idea that colors show emotion, compare and contrast colors with mood and emotion (e.g., red-anger, yellow-glad, blue-sad, pink-loving, orange-worry, purple-silly, greenscared, brown-somber, black-mad, etc.).

Intended Learning Outcomes

3. Demonstrate responsible emotional and cognitive behaviors.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.

Instructional Procedures


Invitation to Learn
Show and discuss the art print Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh or other print you may have available. Ask students to think about the colors in the picture and tell how the picture makes them feel. Tape record the responses. The purpose is to assess student knowledge and ability to see an art print and interpret it in terms of their feelings.

Note: If you have questions about the legality of tape recording your students, consult your principal about FERPA guidelines.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Read Glad Monster Sad Monster--A Book About Feelings. Discuss the colors and emotions in the book. Introduce the idea of using color to depict emotion.
  2. Show and post several examples of Eric Carle's art using several of his books (see Background Information). Discuss Eric Carle's use of color to depict mood or emotion.
  3. Have students think of an animal, object, or scene they would like to draw. Demonstrate how to draw a simple animal, object, or scene using most of the space on the paper (see Drawing Instructions: Ladybug).
  4. Peel off the backing of the contact paper. Lay the contact paper, sticky side up, on top of a desk. Tape the corners to the top of the desk.
  5. Slide the drawing under the contact paper. Use a permanent marker and model how to trace the outline of the drawing on the sticky side of the contact paper. Tear small pieces of tissue paper and place onto the sticky side of the contact paper, filling in the spaces of the drawing. Refer to the Tissue Art Instruction Sheet as you model and demonstrate.
  6. After demonstrating the process, give each student a piece of 8 1/2" x 11" white paper to draw an animal, object, or scene on. They may choose to use one that Eric Carle used in his art. As they finish their drawings, position the contact paper as previously demonstrated.

Hint: Depending on how many students you have, it is highly suggested that you prepare the contact paper during a recess or lunch break.

  1. Have students tear pieces of colored tissue paper and place them on the contact paper.
  2. When this is complete, students place a second piece of plain white or colored 9" x 12" paper on the sticky side of the contact paper, covering the tissue paper. Turn over the completed project and rub out any air bubbles. Display completed project!
  3. Have students share their artwork, describing how colors show moods or emotions. Tape record their presentations.


Language Arts

  • Students write in a journal about their artwork.
  • Show a different piece of artwork. Tape record the students discussing what they have learned about color, mood, and emotion in art. Allow them to compare and contrast the recordings.

Content Core

  • Take a field trip to an art museum to find examples of how color affects the mood in artwork.
  • Invite a guest artist to show and tell about their artwork. Have them discuss how they use color to depict mood or emotion.
  • Adapt this lesson using different artists. Be sure to research the artists and their artwork, include interesting information about the artists and what mediums they used.

Family Connections

  • Allow students to take their artwork home and explain to family members why certain colors were used and how mood plays a part in color choice.
  • Encourage the students to visit an art museum with their family.
  • Ask students to report on a favorite piece of artwork they have at home.

Assessment Plan

  • Tape record the student’s responses to a piece of artwork before and/or after the lesson. Have students listen to their own recordings, comparing the similarities and contrasting the differences of their ability to interpret a piece of artwork.
  • Ask students to self assess their artwork by sharing the colors they chose to depict the mood or emotion.


Research Basis

Schiller, M. (1995). The Importance of Conversations about Art with Young Children. Visual Arts Research, 21, 31-40. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 413252)

This research study uses the five developmental stages of Parson’s Theory in understanding art to help children look at, discuss, and create artwork. The five stages are: 1-favoritism, 2-beauty and realism, 3- expressiveness, 4-style and form, 5-automony. The study shows evidence that young children can enjoy and engage in meaningful discussions about artwork.

Created: 09/22/2005
Updated: 02/05/2018