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.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt Lesson Plan

I have been homeschooling the Dumpling since February due to Covid-19 school closures, and playing teacher has been one of my toughest (and to be honest, crappiest) SAHM tasks.

With the Dumpling resisting me every step of the way, I have bribed, threatened, pleaded, yelled, and gave up countless times in the last three months…only to renew my efforts the following day. Under different circumstances, I would have aborted mission completely and just let the Dumpling enjoy her days off — she should be playing with her friends and exploring the great outdoors. Everyone, unfortunately, is stuck at home; everything is cancelled; and I was going mad listening to Blippi on YouTube all day.

The first thing I did was enforced a daily routine and dedicated a slot every afternoon for our “classes”. Secondly I stopped following the school’s curriculum because I am unable teach the way her teachers teach. Instead I prepared my own lesson plans and activity sheets using a tool that I am familiar with — PowerPoint.

I like being able to easily customize the content to the Dumpling’s interest and progress. It took a few days for her to get adjusted to using a mouse and drawing tablet, but she loved the interactive aspect once she got the hang of it. The downside was that we were working in an editable mode within PowerPoint (more on this below), so the Dumpling would sometimes accidentally change things on the slide. As a result, I was constantly on Ctrl + Z (undo) duty.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

The first deck I prepared was a lesson for “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”. Its content was tailored specifically for the Dumpling, so it may not reflect typical classroom material for a kindergartner. It took us about a week to go through the slides, sometimes the same ones on repeat across several days.

Click here to download | For personal and educational use only.
Font download: Raleway

Before diving into the content, here are a few administrative tasks I did on the sidelines:

Throughout our lessons, I toggled between “normal” and “slide show” mode. Activity slides were completed in “normal” mode, so that the Dumpling could draw/write or drag/drop objects. It is important to note that these functions can only be done in “normal” mode, where content is editable.

PowerPoint 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, but note that objects cannot be re-arranged here to complete most of the activity slides.


Slide Details

Map

We discussed how to read a map and its major components, such as the title, legend, scale, and compass. Thanks to Blippi, the Dumpling already knew what a compass is along with the cardinal directions.

As a side project, I magnetized a pin and floated it on water to show the Dumpling how one works. The pin head pointed to north no matter where it was moved — as verified by the placement of the morning sun and our compass app!

Click here for tutorial.

Phonics

The story text contains many opportunity to introduce digraph (sh, ch) and blend sounds (sp/spl, sq, st, sw, tr).


Story Mapping

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


Adjectives

As part of building up her storytelling skills, I encouraged her to use more adjectives. We reviewed the descriptions the author used for each destination, and I asked the Dumpling if she could think of others.


Prepositions

We reviewed “over”, “under”, and “through”.


Puzzles

I have included a maze, word search, image arrangement, and pattern completion activity throughout the deck to keep the sessions interactive. There were certain puzzles that the Dumpling wanted to do more of, so I made additional versions that are included as extra slides in the back.


Edit (June 6, 2020): Mazes were replaced.

6 Fun Ways to Do Alphabet Hunt Worksheets

I recently printed a free A-Z alphabet hunt pack from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls to review letter recognition and sounds with the Dumpling. To spice up the activity so that she was not just circling the letters 26 times on repeat, we divvied the worksheet pack into four to five separate exercises and “circled” the letters a different way each time.


1. Apply Sticker Labels

I wrote the letters out on circle labels and asked the Dumpling to stick them on as each letter was identified.


2. Dab On Colored Glue

If you do not have colored glue, create your own by mixing food coloring or liquid watercolor (add more drops for higher color intensity) to white Elmer’s glue.



3. Stamp with Fingers, Bottle Caps, Etc.


4. Paint With Watercolor

This step is optional: I pre-circled the letters with a white crayon so the correct answers were “revealed” once they were painted over.


5. Squirt Watercolor With Liquid Dropper

Sometimes just switching up the tool does wonders to renew my kiddo’s interest. Using a liquid dropper saved from an old medicine bottle, the Dumpling squirted liquid watercolor on top of the letters.


6. Puncture With Push Pins

Placing a folded towel (or two) underneath a worksheet, the Dumpling punctured each letter that she found with a pin.

N.B. Needless to say, the pins are sharp and adult supervision is required.

Naturally she insisted on using her toy hammer.