K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Gain an understanding of how illustrations match text in stories.
  • Match text and illustrations.
  • Identify shapes and use describing words in writing.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 days


  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
  • plain white paper
  • crayons or markers
  • pencils
  • plastic lids from buckets
  • twelve-by-eighteen-inch black construction paper per student
  • construction paper of all colors
  • attribute blocks
  • pattern blocks
  • scissors
  • glue
  • writing paper


Previously, when reading with students, teacher has discussed the role of the illustrator and shown students how the pictures match the text.


Day 1

Before Reading:

Teacher starts a discussion about text matching illustrations. “What is an illustrator’s job?” Answer: draw pictures that match the text (words). Then teacher discusses next question: will everyone’s pictures look exactly the same when illustrating the same text? Answer: some parts will be similar and other parts different. For example, if the author says the eyes are yellow, then the illustrator will color the eyes yellow. Yet, if the author makes no mention of shape, the eyes might be oval, square, etc.


Each student has a plain white sheet of paper, pencil, and crayons (markers). Teacher reads Go Away, Big Green Monster without showing the cover or illustrations to the students. Teacher reads the text one page at a time. The children illustrate the monster using the description/text from the story. Allow the children time to draw the features of the monster before going to the next page.

After Reading:

Students share individual pictures with classmates. Compare the similarities and differences among the pictures. Why are some things the same? (Because the text said it was yellow.) Why are there differences? (Because we picture things differently.)

Day 2

Before Reading:

Review discussion of illustrator’s job. Teacher tells students to observe the book closely because they will become illustrators of their own monsters.


Read the book to the students showing the illustration. Compare the author’s words and illustrator’s choice of pictures.

After Reading:

Students create monsters using shapes and colored construction paper. Give each student one twelve-by-eighteen-inch black construction paper. Students trace plastic bucket lid on any color construction paper for the monster’s head. Glue head on the top half of the black construction paper. Students use attribute blocks and pattern blocks to create the rest of the face. Every feature must be a shape. Students trace blocks onto different colored construction paper, cut them out, and glue to face. Teacher may want to create a monster before time for the students to see and/or make one with the children.

Day 3

Before Reading:

Examine the text in the story. What does the text tell us about the monster? Listen for the describing words.


Teacher reads the text while showing the illustration. During the reading, discuss the importance of the text matching the pictures. Point out the describing words that the author used.

After Reading:

On a chart, the teacher records the words that the students may use: shape words, color words, body part words. Using the teacher’s monster, each student writes three sentences about his/her monster. For example, one student might write, “My monster has big red eyes made from circles. He has a purple triangle nose. His hair is long yellow rectangles.” Emphasize using appropriate capital letters and punctuation. Then pass out students’ monsters and writing paper. Have students write sentences about their monsters. The sentences must have describing words in them. Below the monster’s head, staple writing to the bottom half of the black construction paper

Note: With each student, I help edit the paper. The students copy the writing over because we are putting it on display in the hall. They do not mind copying it over because they want to impress others with the wonderful job they have done. Copying work over is only done when we are presenting it to others. I do not worry as much about the inventive spelling so long as it is readable. But I make sure that capital letters and punctuation are used correctly.


Teacher will use the students’ writing to examine the use of describing words, punctuation, capital letters, and names of shapes. Teacher will check for picture/text match.

Supplemental information


This lesson may take more than three days depending on the level and experience of your students. I use this lesson during October before Halloween. The students love creating their own monsters.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 1
          • 1.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 1.L.1.1 Print all upper- and lowercase letters. 1.L.1.2 Use common, proper, and possessive nouns. 1.L.1.3 Use singular and plural nouns with matching...
        • Reading: Literature

          • 1.RL.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
          • 1.RL.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
        • Kindergarten
          • K.RL.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
          • K.RL.6 With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.
          • K.RL.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • Geometry
          • K.G.2Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
          • K.G.5Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.

    • North Carolina Essential Standards
      • Visual Arts Education (2010)
        • K.CX.2 Understand the interdisciplinary connections and life applications of the visual arts. K.CX.2.1 Identify examples of functional objects of art in the immediate environment, including home and school. K.CX.2.2 Identify relationships between art and concepts...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.01: Select and use new vocabulary and language structures in both speech and writing contexts (e.g., oral retelling using exclamatory phrases to accent an idea or event).
    • Objective 4.03: Use specific words to name and tell action in oral and written language (e.g., using words such as frog and toad when discussing an expository text).

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 3: Geometry - The learner will identify, describe, draw, and build basic geometric figures.
    • Objective 3.01: Identify, build, draw and name parallelograms, squares, trapezoids, and hexagons.