Inspiring children one color at a time

Arlo Needs Glasses Art Lesson

By on Jan 3, 2013 | 23 comments

Arlo Needs Glasses  by Barney Saltzberg is about as cute as you can get when it comes to interactive picture books. My group of Kinders LOVED this book. We read the book before we created our own Arlo dogs. Because the book is interactive, it is difficult to expect the children to stay seated. They want to wear the glasses, pull the strings, throw the ball and peer into the paper tunnels. So, I made them a deal. After finishing the art lesson, they could read Arlo for free-choice. I’d highly recommend more than one copy of Arlo!


Drawing “Arlo”

To start, draw the English Sheepdog (it is a sheepdog, right?) on a piece of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper. Using a black oil pastel, lightly draw a big letter “U” in the middle of the paper. It helps to draw larger than the child’s hand. Draw two curved lines that extend to the bottom corners of the paper for the shoulders. Go back up to the top of then head and draw two big ears. These lines start near the top of the paper and extend down and around the letter “U” (face) and stop at the chin. Curve line upwards to touch face. Color in a big, wet nose and two beady eyes. To make the fur, use short strokes at a diagonal all the way around the face, ears and shoulders.


To color in Arlo, place various chalk pastel pieces in a cup in the middle of each table. I use what I consider dog colors. Some children will use one color while others will blend a couple of colors together. Set some brightly colored chalk on the table and color in the background (usually day two).


How to make Fancy-Smancy Glasses

To make the glasses, I traced the glasses that came in the book on a piece of tagboard ten times. I cut each one out and then cut each pair in half. This will yield you twenty halves.  Now all the children need to do is to pick a colored piece of 10″ x 5″ sulphite paper from a tray, fold it in half and trace the glasses with the middle of the glasses touching the center fold. Once the glasses are traced, cut the paper to reveal symmetrical glasses. Some Kinders will need a bit of help placing the glasses on the fold. If they placed it on the wrong end and end up with two glasses, we just taped the two pieces together.



Decorating the glasses was the most fun. Children had very specific preferences for their dogs glasses and the results were hilarious. What a joyful project!



  1. HA! What a great lesson. I LOVE IT. I think I am going to go draw some Arlos right now. Thanks for sharing, Patty.


    January 3, 2013

    • Yes, drawing Arlo is a bit addicting. Lots of my kinders finished their lesson and during free-choice, drew more dogs!

      Patty Palmer

      January 3, 2013

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful lessons! I love this one!

    Nicole Yates

    January 3, 2013

  3. Love this lesson – simple and open enough to be expanded on. I love using the art literacy connection with young artists!


    January 3, 2013

  4. Oh my goodness! This is a wonderful lesson!


    January 3, 2013

  5. How adorable! I’m sure my first graders would LOVE this!


    January 3, 2013

  6. Perfect timing, my pet portraits are coming up soon and this will be another fun resource, thanks!


    January 3, 2013

  7. LOVE, LOVE this lesson. Thank you for sharing.


    January 3, 2013

  8. Oh, I LOVE IT!!! Thank you so much for posting such wonderful lessons. I am inspired daily.

    Patty lee

    January 4, 2013

  9. HI Patty,
    I’m curious. Usually you dont use chalk pastels with students under 3rd grade (mess/control issues) What did you do differently to make this media work for such young hands as Kinders? It worked beautifully, whatever it was!


    January 7, 2013

    • Hi Claire,
      I use chalk pastel in every grade. Usually one lesson in Kinder through second is chalk. I do use them more in upper grades as the older children can manipulate the chalk better. The trick with little kids is to give them a big enough space in which to color. Small areas and chalk are harder for little fingers. That is why this lesson is super successful: big dog face, large space for the background and limited colors. Very doable!
      Also, I really am not concerned with the mess chalk kicks up. It’s art class. Kids will get messy. But having said that, ask parents for baby wipe donations!

      Patty Palmer

      January 7, 2013

      • Hi Patty!

        Great lesson, I would love to try chalk pastels with kindergarten. Do you spray the finished product with anything? I am not fond of the cost or smell of the chalk fixatives, I have used hairspray.
        I can’t imagine sending them home with the chalk all rubbing off all over the kinders…?? That’s the only reason I shy away from chalks, am I doing something wrong?


        Sarah Ford

        January 7, 2013

        • I don’t spray unless the piece is going in an art show. Although, I have been known to break this rule if I have some spare time. Use hairspray. For the most part it works just as well as the higher cost fixative.
          Stop worrying about the mess and just place the artwork between a folded pice of newspaper. Don’t judge the potential messiness of a project. Any parent will be overjoyed to receive it.

          Patty Palmer

          January 7, 2013

          • Ah! Inside a folded piece of newspaper, GENIUS! :) Thanks!!

            Sarah Ford

            January 8, 2013

  10. I LOVE this lesson!! I will be adding this to my plans soon.
    I also wanted to share that I am pretty sure that Arlo is a Goldendoodle. :o)
    Thanks for all of your great lessons – I love visiting your site!!!

    Gina Hicks

    January 9, 2013

  11. Ok, this first year, 50 year old art teacher blew it with the chalk pastel! I have a lower group of kinders in one class. They had chalk everywhere including up their noses! One boy just started playing in the dust and rubbing it all over. I realized that I didn’t “teach” them how to use the chalk. Any help on how to step them through using chalk would be greatly appreciated. Also, did you cut out the small eyeball circles in the glasses?

    Sarah J

    March 16, 2013

  12. Patty, My firsties had such a good time with the Arlo project! And every single “Arlo” was totally cool. The students had a blast getting into my goodies box to decorate the glasses. We displayed them in the hall with our Splat the Cat projects we had done during Valentine’s season (equal opportunity animal lovers we are!) Your lessons are fabulous!!!! Thank you!

    Connie S

    March 24, 2013

    • Yay! I’m so pleased. My first graders loved this lesson (and the book) too. One of the children’s parents actually took the artwork and made a school auction project.

      Patty Palmer

      March 25, 2013

  13. Great info!

    Karen Graham

    July 17, 2013

  14. We are doing these this coming week and donating them to the Humane Society!
    The kids LOVE IT!

    Thank you for the awesome literature connection!



    October 25, 2013

  15. My first graders loved Arlo, both the book and the art lesson. They couldn’t wait for Day 2 to make the glasses with all of the sparkles. When the Arlos hung in the hall, the 5th graders begged to do the lesson, too.

    October 28, 2013

  16. I have been using your Art & literature inspired lessons for a series of after-school classes for 1-3rd graders. Today we did Arlo Needs Glasses . A smash hit! I’m trying to work out how i can upload some images to show you what fantastic work the kids produced entirely thanks to your sharing. But even that would fail to convey the joy we all had working on this. Thank you so much for the inspiration, guidance and encouragement.

    Pom Shillingford

    January 29, 2015

    • I love that lesson and would love to see your pictures.
      Here are some suggestions on how to share:
      Pinterest: request an invitation to pin to my Kids Art Gallery Board.

      Instagram: Tag your photos with #DSSkidgallery or #deepspacesparkle and @deepspacesparkle

      Facebook: Tag your photos with @deepspacesparkle

      Patty Palmer

      January 29, 2015

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