The Monster Who Lost His Mean Elementary School Painting Project

the monster who lost his mean

The Monster Who Lost His Mean  by Tiffany Strelitz Haber with illustrations by Kirstie Edmunds is a big hit with elementary school students.  I use it as a springboard to teach basic drawing and watercolor painting techniques.  On the final day I have the students glue the monsters to black construction paper and write a little prompt about what their monster would do if he or she lost their mean.  (It’s a fun way to review classroom expectations and good manners.)

A printer friendly copy of this lesson including the reflection sheet are available on my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s site.

Age Level: Kindergarten


  • watercolor paper
  • pencils
  • white or yellow oil pastels
  • watercolor paints (I use the dry sets)
  • fine point black felt tip markers
  • paint brushes
  • cups of water
  • paper towels
  • drying rack
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • black construction paper

Day One: 

On the first day I read The Monster Who Lost His Mean and show students how to draw a basic body of a monster.  I usually draw it on an easel in front of the students, but you can see how I go about it in this video I’ve posted below.

a pencil drawing from a watercolor lesson based on the book, The Monster Who Lost His Mean

After the students have drawn their monsters, I pass out white and yellow pastels and have students color the eyes and the teeth yellow or white.  The oil pastels will resist the paint and keeps the paintings from getting muddy and losing detail.  Some kindergarteners use a lot of dark colors and the oil pastels help make sure they still have a successful monster at the end of the day.


Day Two:

On the second day of class, I model how to paint the monster with watercolor paints.  Many young children are used to tempera paints and want to dip deep down into the cake of paint and the results look like someone has spread jelly on their painting.  I use the phrase “kitten licks” to describe how it should be done correctly.  I also pick out an old brush and show them how not to paint.

My students are familiar with Tricia Fuglestad’Sloppy Brush video, so this is review.

Day Three:

On the third day, I have the students trace the pencil lines with a felt tip marker.  When they are finished, I have them cut out the monster and glue it to black construction paper.  The combination of black marker and black paper, really makes these pop off the wall.

A kindergarten watercolor painting based on the book The Monster Who Lost His Mean

Day Four:

I always have some sort of reflection or exit slip that my students fill out even at the youngest grades.  For Kindergarten, I make sure to include a sequencing aspect to the lesson.  Almost each lesson I did with Kindergarten in 2014-2015, I created a little worksheet that have various aspects of the process in little boxes.  I had students cut out the boxes and glue them onto a sheet that said Beginning, Middle, and End.

Sequencing Exercise  for a Kindergarten Art Project

Since I did this project during second quarter, I knew that many students would be able to do a little bit of writing.  The few students who did not feel confident I allowed to dictate to me and I wrote their responses down for them.

A writing portion to a Kindergarten Art Project

Timing and Pacing: 

Each class I teach is 40 minutes, but for each of these classes, most students finished before the class was ended.  I let students work in sketchbooks or read art books when they are done with the day’s work.  5 minutes is allotted for clean up and a few minutes at the end were used for closure and discussion.  For a couple of classes, students finished early enough, I was able to read a monster book or two to the class.

A printer friendly copy of this lesson including the reflection sheet are available on my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s site.


2 thoughts on “The Monster Who Lost His Mean Elementary School Painting Project

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s