Harold and the Purple Crayon Lesson Plan

I enjoy re-reading books that I once read as a kid with the Dumpling because I now get to see the story from an adult’s perspective. Almost 30 years after my first reading of “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” I was finally able to understand the abstract (and even dystopian) ideas in the book. To the Dumpling, however, it is understandably just a story about a baby doodling with a crayon. As I compiled our lesson plan, I decided to sneak in a few abstract discussions to see her response…

Click here to download “Harold and the Purple Crayon Lesson Plan.” Please note that the content was tailored specifically for my four year old, so it may not reflect typical classroom material for a kindergartner.

Administrative notes

I began using PowerPoint for the Dumpling’s Covid-19 homeschooling because I wanted to create custom games and interactive activity sheets without any coding knowledge. Since PowerPoint was not intended for such use, please note that there are limitations and extra behind-the-scenes work involved in using the file. I toggled between “normal” and “presentation” mode as I went through the deck. The drag/drop and draw functions needed to complete the activities were done in “normal” mode, where content is editable, so I was constantly on Ctrl + Z (“undo”) duty.

PowerPoint also did not automatically load the “Draw” toolbar for me if I did not have my drawing tablet connected. To manually pin this on, go into the “customize ribbon” settings and make sure “draw” is checked.

There is also a pen option in “slide show” mode located in the lower left corner; this is great for any drawing/tracing/writing activities but note that objects cannot be dragged/re-arranged here.

Lesson Details

Purple

The Dumpling and I reviewed what two colors make up purple and tested mixing different proportions of blue and red food coloring to create it.

Click here to download template.

As we experimented, I sneaked in a discussion on color symbolism and psychology. These were not new concept since we have a copy of Kathryn Otoshi’s One at home, so I was hopeful. I mentioned the commonly perceived associations of purple, such as “royalty”, “spirituality”, “magic”, and “creativity” but unfortunately lost her completely within seconds. She asked to “do her own thing” and emerged 30 minutes later with a glass of purple “wine” for me.


Drawing

Harold literally creates his own reality with just a purple crayon and his wit, so I included a few drawing tutorials and a blank canvas for the Dumpling to release her imagination. These slides are best done using the pen function in presentation mode so that the timing of the animated steps can be controlled.


Fraction

Because I always get shafted when sharing food with the Dumpling, I thought teaching fraction would be a path to more equally divided portions. As a side project, we made pies out of play dough and practiced slicing them into halves, thirds, and quarters.


Phonics

We reviewed consonants, blends, and digraphs sounds.


Story Map

The Dumpling used to be all over the place whenever she told stories, so we practiced recounting events in sequential order.


Critical Thinking

Since the book blurs the line between reality and make-believe, I included a few choices to reflect this duality. There was no “wrong” answer as long as the Dumpling explained how a selected item could be used to perform the task. Her answers did not disappoint; she called on magical creatures to her aid and opted to shoot herself across the ocean on an arrow.


Reality vs Make-Belief

Having a philosophical discussion with a four year old was trippy, but interesting nonetheless. According to the Dumpling, her drawings are not real because they are just pictures.

When questioned about her sketch of something that made her happy (stick figure of her dad), however, she said that was real. From what I could gather, only drawings of people, places, or things that she had direct experiences with could be considered real.

I then asked what about Harold’s doodles? She replied, “Harold’s adventure was make-believe but also real, because of magic!”

BOOM.