Let’s Learn All About Eric Carle Using Project Based Learning!

Being a kindergarten teacher, I love teaching in a project based learning model. One of my favorite type of projects to incorporate is projects based on specific authors. There are so many wonderful children’s authors that have written amazing stories. Author studies are a great way to incorporate project based learning in the classroom, while at the same time introducing students to a particular author and genre of literature. (For more information on what project based learning is, check out my blog post What is Project Based Learning?).

Eric Carle is one of my favorite children’s authors and studying his books is one of my favorite projects to do with my kinders. He has SO many great stories that I could spend months studying him alone. The illustrations in his book are beautifully and thoughtfully created. The stories are genuinely engaging for children and become a story that my kinders look forward to when they recognize his name on the cover or his style of illustrations in the book.

An easy way to start any lesson of an author study is by reading one of the stories by a particular author, in this case, Eric Carle. We will discuss what an author is and that we will be reading many books written by him. Next, we will read a story and typically, have an activity, or couple activities, to last a couple of days on that particular story, depending on the interest of the students in that specific story.

I love being as creative and fun with teaching so that my kinders develop a love for school and learning. Teaching and celebrating specific authors can help children fall in love with reading by finding books and authors they enjoy reading. Two of my favorite Eric Carle books are: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Pancakes Pancakes!

Reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar is the perfect way to introduce Eric Carle books. I enjoy making this read aloud interactive by creating our own hungry caterpillar using a parmesan cheese container with glued on googley eyes and printed pictures of food for the students to feed to the hungry caterpillar as we read the story. This is perfect for retelling the story and building reading comprehension skills!

I also love to create class books! With the Very Hungry Caterpillar, our class will create a class book called Our Very Hungry Class! Each child will make a page about what they would eat as the very hungry caterpillar. Then I simply add the pages into sheet protectors, attach with binder rings, and place in the library for rereading. You can get this class book FREEBIE by from my TPT store by clicking HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My other favorite Eric Carle book is Pancakes Pancakes! It describes how a little boy makes pancakes from scratch. The story goes through the full recipe and the boy makes and enjoys the homemade pancakes with his mom. Last year, as a class, we made pancakes following this recipe and enjoyed a fun pancake party! As the pancakes were cooking on the griddle, the students did a writing activity on how to make pancakes! It was a great activity that incorporated math, writing, reading, science, and a yummy snack at the end!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, I will incorporate activities in centers based on that author’s texts. When studying Eric Carle, I will change my centers so that students can even more interact with the texts and dive deeper in their learning. In the centers, I will add copies of different Eric Carle texts for the children to reference and read if they would like as well. These are some ways I incorporate Eric Carle into centers in our kindergarten classroom.

Dramatic Play Center: There are many ideas for how to change your dramatic play area based on Eric Carle’s stories! Some ideas include: a veterinary clinic, a bakery, a flower/plant shop, a weather station, or a zoo!

Writing Center: Some fun ideas to incorporate writing can be creating a letter writing station to Eric Carle or a book creation station where students create their own books similar to Eric Carle’s style of writing.

Building/Construction Center: This center can be a building animal habitat center. You can include a variety of materials to encourage students to build homes for animals like the ones in Eric Carle’s stories (an ocean for the seahorse and hermit crab, a forest for the bear, a cocoon/chrystallis for the caterpillar, etc.)

Art Center: Since Eric Carle created his illustrations in his books using painted collage art, you can mimic this and have students create collage art in your classroom. This is a multi-step art project that entails painting lots of papers, cutting up the papers into smaller pieces, and sticking the painted pieces on the contact paper. You can cut the contact paper into shapes of different Eric Carle characters or hang on a vertical surface for children to build fine motor skills and practice the collage style of art. You can even let the students cut out shapes they would like to decorate and hang in the classroom as decor. My whole classroom is filled with decor made by the kiddos and our class. It just creates a sense of community and belonging in our classroom.

In my kindergarten class, we used Eric Carle’s style of art and created the butterfly life cycle. See how it turned out below! This one of my favorite projects I have ever done with a class. I had them laminated and they are still hanging in my classroom to this day.

Looking for more ideas on incorporating project based learning in your classroom? Click the link below and sign up for my email list for more info on project based learning, links to project based learning resources, and best of all FREEBIES! Which includes access to my whole freebie library on Kinder Dream Land website!

Check out my full Eric Carle Author Study Project Based Learning Lesson Plans & Activities that includes these activities mentioned & MORE!

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