Months ago, my friends and I went to see the Eric Carle Exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and we were charmed. His process of children's book illustrating is unique in that he paints tissue paper and then cuts the paper and collages the shapes to make images. His work includes classic books such as "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (my school has a braille version of this one complete with tactile illustrations) and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" (for which we have finger puppets).
After reading the books to my elementary students, one girl said, "White chicken, white chicken, what do you like? My favorite thing is riding a bike." She inspired me to ask each child to come up with an adjective and noun (usually a color and an animal use as a subject for their question. Then they changed the verb from the original, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?" They had to answer with a word that rhymes with the verb. This teaches parts of speech and word families. And before you know it, we had completed a classroom book, or at least a bulletin board for now.
One class, in which most of the students are non-verbal, helped paint the boarder. This is still a good way to teach color mixing, and basic paint strokes. Everyone gets a chance to contribute and take ownership in the final product. Thank you Eric Carle, for the inspiration!