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Red Square, Red Square, What Do You See?


  • Language Arts


  • PreK
  • K-2

Brief Description

Students make a book in the style of Eric Carle to learn or review color and shape awareness.


Students will
  • recognize shapes (for example, a square, triangle, circle, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, heart, oval, pentagon, star...).
  • be exposed to sight words (for example, what, do, you, see, I, a, at, and me as well as color and shape words.
  • express the attributes of shapes (for example, a triangle has three sides).
  • use fine-motor skills to cut out shapes, glue, and/or write their names.


shape, geometry, bear, Carle, color, sight vocabulary, heart, oval, square, triangle, circle

Materials Needed

Young students will need blank books prepared in advance; see Before the Lesson below.
  • markers
  • glue
  • paper hole-puncher
  • paper fasteners

The Lesson

Before the Lesson
Prior to the lesson, familiarize students with the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle.

Before the lesson, you might ask parent volunteers or older students to create a 9- x 6-inch book for each student. Volunteers will

  • fold in half 9- x 12-inch construction paper to form the book cover.
  • fold in half pieces of white drawing paper and put those inside the cover to make the pages.
  • punch holes along the fold and insert paper fasteners to hold the pages inside the book cover. (Inserting the paper fasteners might be the last step.)
  • on the left side of the first page spread, print "Red Square, Red Square, what do you see?"
  • on the right side of the first page spread, write "I see an Orange Circle looking at me!"
  • On the left side of the second page spread, write "Orange Circle, Orange Circle, what do you see?"
  • on the right side of the second page spread, ill write "I see a Blue Triangle looking at me."
  • continue writing text on pages using other shape and color names that students should be familiar with.

The Activity
Depending on the ability level of students and/or time constraints, you might

  • precut the shapes students will use;
  • have students draw and color appropriate shapes on the pages of their books; or
  • cut out shapes from construction paper and paste appropriate shapes to the pages.

Note: If the students are coloring, they should use crayons. Colored markers will bleed through pages.

Carefully describe the activity to students. Have students use extra shapes to create a collage to make a cover that has a nice look. Have students write their names where appropriate. (Volunteers already might have written the title on the cover along with a "By _____" line.)

Discuss shapes as students do each page; or discuss them when books are completed. For example, you might ask: What shape are we going to put on this page?, What do you call this shape?, What color is it?, or What can you tell me about this shape? (With that last question, you are looking for students to recognize that an octagon has 8 sides, a square has 4 equal sides, and so on.)

If you are using this activity to introduce shapes, you might have students work on the book over several days. Each day, they could add a new shape or two.

The last page of the book might have the text "All the shapes looking at me!" written on it, so students can illustrate it.

Students could make a picture with the different shapes for the back cover.

This is a nice project to laminate, so children can keep it for a long time. They should begin to recognize the sight words in the book and use this tangible, personal work to review them. Some children might be able to read the entire book to their parents.

It is always nice to include a "Letter to Parents" about this project. The book gives parents an opportunity to reinforce the concepts of color and shape. It also provides an opportunity for students to read. In this letter, I like you might give tips on questions their children might ask or suggest techniques they might use as they read the book to/with their child. For this letter, some of those questions might be Can you find a circle (or another shape) in this room?, Do you see any difference between a square and a rectangle?, Any similarities?, What letter does rectangle begin with?, "What sound does that letter make?, and so on.


Students will be able to describe each shape in their books and identify each shape and colors in isolation.

Submitted By

Susanne Shorday DiMarco, Abington Presbyterian Nursery School in Abington, Pennsylvania

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