I based this art project for 21 second-graders on the novelty song “Purple People Eater,” released in 1958 by Sheb Wooley. After they listened to the song, I asked them to raise their hands if they could describe the monster. After a lively discussion, they started drawing.
I passed out a 40mm wiggle eye to each child, and told them to draw their monster around it with a black Sharpie. The eye helped ensure nice, big monsters and the Sharpie prevented wasted time erasing (which tends to happen if they start in pencil).
Beforehand, I’d made cheat sheets for various monster body parts and hung them around the room. There were a few specific requests – how can I draw a wing? – but, really, these monsters are completely these children’s own.
The children had the option of adding color with crayons, but the real color stars were liquid watercolors. A lot of effort to carry these in and out of the classroom, but with an hour-and-a-half for this lesson, it was so worth it! (One child complained about an accidental drip, but after it was pointed out that she’d made a cool-looking planet, she happily added more.)
While the paintings dried, I borrowed a lesson from one of my other favorite pasttimes, Zumba® Fitness. My daughter and I taught the class simple dance steps to Purple People Eater, which I found here on You Tube. Thank you, Zumba Gold instructor Brenda Holcomb! (This routine has also been a hit at a 7-year-old’s birthday party and a family Zumba® fundraiser – perfect for pre-Halloween.) The kids – boys, too – were proud to to do it for their teacher when she returned to class.