Julien Tomasello  MFA, MAT

           Sample lesson plan

Grades Pre K - 2nd  (Differentiated for 2nd Grade)

The story of ZIGZAG and the corresponding art lesson, Zigzag Self-Portrait Dolls, offer a wonderful opportunity for students to learn and speak about the beauty of differenceand the importance of inclusion and empathy.  The book's illustrations offer an engaging lesson in the use of colors, patterns, shapes, and lines which can then be applied to the creation of unique dolls.  Students are encouraged to completely transform their identities using these elements of design, their photographic portraits, and eclectic mix of scrap materials.


           Purchase the book, ZIGZAG




Photocopy of each student's photographic portrait

2 craft sticks per student*

White, liquid craft glue

Tempera paints

Fabric scraps, magazine pages, buttons, yarn bits, pipe cleaners

Colored pencils


Heavy duty, 3-prong, hole punch*

Round, brass paper fasteners*​​

*2nd grade students can use as many craft sticks as needed + hole punch + fasteners​​



ZIGZAG, written by Robert D. San Souci and illustrated by Stefan Czernecki, is a delightful children’s book that tells the story of Zigzag, a stuffed-doll made from colorfully-patterned fabric scraps.  His scrap body and zigzag mouth cause him to be shunned by the other dolls in the doll shop.  When Zigzag is pushed off the shelf by the other dolls, and is then accidentally thrown away, he begins a journey to find someone to love him

​Students (re)create themselves as Zigzag dolls using cut-out photographs of their faces, craft sticks, and scraps of yarn, fabric, paper, and other 'throwaway' sundries.  


  • Friends Select Spring 2017 Lower School Visual Arts Podcast5:41

Read ZIGZAG.  Pose questions:  Why was Zigzag disliked by the other dolls?  What made Zigzag different?  Should we treat people badly because of their differences?  Why?   How are you different from your classmates?  Emphasize the use of colors, patterns, lines, and shapes found in the book's character illustrations.

Students should write their names on the backs of their craft sticks.  Students can paint their craft sticks using tempera paints.  When dry, glue 2 craft sticks together in a 't' shape to form the doll body.  Distribute students' photocopied portraits and have them add colors and patterns to recreate their faces.  Cut out faces (hair optional).  Glue faces onto doll bodies.  Create, cut, and glue hair, clothing, and accessories using scrap craft materials.

*For complete instructions, plus the differentiated 2nd grade lesson, download the lesson plan below.