Friday, June 11, 2010

There's a Monster in my Closet!

Submitted By: Anna Bitzinger

Grade Level: 1st grade (can be adapted for up to 3rd grade)

Sessions: 3-4 days, 50 minute sessions.


-To introduce students to the elements of texture and tactile media.

-To further develop student’s manipulative and expressive skills through the creation of a textured monster collage.

-To allow the students the freedom to explore their very own imaginations.


Students will be read “There’s a Nightmare in my Closet” (Mercer Mayer) from the teacher. Afterwards, the class will watch a select scene from film. “Monster’s Inc”. Students will receive a brief demonstration on texture. Students will use a compilation of shapes and varied textures to create their very own monster. They will place their monster in the environment of their closet.

Michigan Art Education Curriculum Standards:

  • VA.1.3: Use Visual characteristics and organize principals of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA.2.1. Apply knowledge of materials, techniques, and process to create artwork.
  • VA.3.4: Describe and compare the characteristics of personal artwork.


Teacher Materials

  • “What is Texture?” poster, Book: “There’s a Nightmare in my Closet” by Mercer Mayer, Movie: Monsters Inc. other visual aids such as pictures of different textures, monster figurines, pictures of monsters and of closet doors.

Student Materials:

  • Large brown paper
  • Plain white paper for the inside of their closets
  • white tag board for the decoration of the monster
  • black/white crayons
  • pencils
  • colored markers
  • newsprint paper
  • felt pieces, pre-cut colored burlap, foam, animal printed foam, yarn, popsicle sticks
  • scissors
  • glue
  • stapler
  • Stencils
  • Worksheet for students to write description about monster.
  • “Monster” word-search if students are done.


How many of you have thought you had a monster under your bed or in your closet? What did that monster look or feel like? We’re going to create our very own monster’s using different materials and textures!

Development & Procedure:

(Day 1)

As the students come into the classroom, I will ask them come sit on the blue carpet for story-time. I will then read “There’s a Nightmare in my Closet” to the students. We will discuss how we would feel if we were in the position of the main character. What would we do if we heard something in the closet? While they’re still sitting down, I will then show them a quick scene from “Monster’s Inc” on the television nearby. This will show them many sorts of different monsters and their closets. I will ask them what sort of shapes they see in these monsters. Students will then go back to their seats. I will simulate a discussion with the students on what sort of things they might find inside their closets by making a list on the board. What does the outside of your closet door look like? I will have pictures of doors to show them on the chalk board. Students use white/black crayons to decorate the outside of the door (folded brown construction paper.) I will have glued white paper with a pouch to hold their monster in to the inside of their closet so that they can immediately begin to decorate it as a closet. If they finish this early, they can begin to brainstorm what their monster might look like on newsprint.

(Day 2, 3 & 4)

On the second day, students will gather on the blue carpet for a demonstration and introduction of texture. Textures are all around us! We see them in nature, fur, whiskers, paw prints, the kitchen, and we see them in the playground. I will show the children pictures of certain textures and then ask them how they think each object might feel if they were to touch it. Then I’ll make a list of their answers on a piece of paper which will go on the board. I will also add my own textures to the list. After I go over textures, I’ll begin to go over different pictures of monsters and how they might feel. How does the monster look? Does the monster look silly because he’s so fuzzy? Is the monster scary because he has horns or sharp teeth? Students will finally go back to their seats and begin to sketch out their own monster on newsprint if they haven’t done so. They will construct their monster on the tag board inside of the folded brown paper by making an outline of their monster. Students are to make sure the monster is as tall as the sheet of paper and as wide, and they will use the “bean-shaped” stencil to confirm this. Once they are completed, I will call them up by table to come “shop” for different textures that are located in containers on the blue mat. I will have set up the boxes of different types of textures to work with such as burlap, foam, felt and yarn. I will tape off each section and label them by body parts if needed.

Students are invited to experiment with how their monster will look and what their monster might feel by mixing these textures. Students are to use Elmer’s glue to adhere the textures onto the tag board. The last five minutes of class will be clean-up. Each table is called up to return their materials to the boxes. Monsters will dry out in the hallway on the table inside of their closets. I will help them on the last day if they need to add any finishing touches, such as hot-gluing on eyes or arms/legs.

Once the student is finished with their textured monster, they are then to write about their monster on the made-up monster hand-out. What is their monster’s name? How does their monster feel? What does the monster look like or have? This will go on the inside of their monster’s closet. We will have class discussion at the very end. Students will state their monster’s name and describe three things about the monster, as well as what textures they used.

Accommodations & Adaptations:

Sometimes children have a tendency to draw things small, so there’d be a 3 inch monster. I will have stencils made up to make the monster large enough. If a student has finished early, they can put another monster in the closet! Once they’ve completed their write-up, they can decorate it with scary or silly borders. I also have a monster word puzzle on the back work table if they have any extra time left over.


  • Completed Monster projects are discussed. Have the students read their description aloud to the classroom.
  • Ask students what they felt was their favorite aspect of their piece, or what may’ve needed more work?

Assessment: Students are graded on class participation and behavior as well as on their final project. They should have completed everything on the below checklist.

Outside of door is finished and decorated
Inside of the closet is drawn/colored
Monster is size of stencil or bigger
Completed monster has at least three different textures
Monster description completed


Disney Pixar Monsters, Inc

Mayer, Mercer. There’s A Nightmare In My Closet. New York: Penguin Books, 1968.

Hand Outs & Student Examples:

Click on image to view larger.

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