Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Crockett Johnson - October 20!

Happy Birthday Crockett Johnson! Born October 20, 1906!

One of my top five favorite children's books is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. I looked forward to celebrating Johnson's birthday to share this simple, yet exciting book with my students. When I read this book to my students for the first time I loved hearing them predict how Harold was going to solve his problems. I paused to ask my students how Harold was going to get out of the water after accidentally drawing a lake. They generated great answers like, "he will draw scuba gear", or "a boat", or "a turtle". The book is full of opportunities for students to use their imagination to think of ways Harold can solve his problems with the purple crayon. This was a great time to introduce the literary elements problem and solution.

The imaginations of the children are off and running after reading this story. Therefore, it is only natural for them to create their own "Crayon Adventure." I started with graphic organizer to get their thoughts focused and written on paper. I created a new copy of the graphic organizer and it is available for download. Then I had the students write their "Crayon Adventure" on storyboards instead of writing a conventional paragraph. I have three storyboard pages available for download [Small Version Page 1, Small Version Page 2, Large Version.] Additionally, the small storyboards can be cut, stapled, and made into small books or kept whole. I didn't have the students rewrite the stories in paragraph form since Harold and the Purple Crayon is not presented in paragraph form.

I just recently read the latest book from Crockett Johnson called Magic Beach. The original artwork was discovered by the writer of an upcoming biography on Crockett Johnson. This book could also spark imagination and writing possibilities just like Harold and the Purple Crayon. It is about a boy and girl who can bring anything to life by writing words in the sand. Imagine the possibilities for creative writing! I wish I was back in the classroom to try this as a lesson.

Lastly, you could work books by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak into this week too. Ruth Krauss was Crockett Johnson's wife and Maurice Sendak was his good friend.

Click Here to view the 2010 Crockett Johnson Birthday Post.


1. Crockett Johnson Homepage
2. Crockett Johnson Comic Page
3. HarperCollins Children's Page - Fun and Games at the bottom of page.
4. Harold and the Purple Crayon Video - TeacherTube
5. Harold and the Purple Crayon - HBO Show Webpage
6. Harold and the Purple Crayon Activity Packet - NJ Theatre Enchantment Theatre
7. Enchantment Theatre Harold Preview - YouTube

Links Updated October 18, 2010

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