This was my first year teaching 1st grade about Paul Klee and it is definitely a lesson I’ll teach again. It fit it perfectly with 1st grade curriculum because children are already familiar with the concept of drawing shapes to build cities. They explored the process of connecting shapes to create silhouettes in their Starry Night paintings!
I enjoyed showing various compositions and asking 1st graders to come up with titles for what the images looked like to them. One child named this “The Playground” because she identified slide-like shapes, a rock climbing wall, and flags. She even said the moon could be a volleyball flying through the air! I found it interesting that she realized it was intended to be a moon, but changed it to fit her interpretation of the painting. How cool is that?
Many children identified the circle as the sun or the moon and were able to interpret the squares and triangles as house shapes. A common title that 1st graders volunteered was “The Village,” I found that title fitting for this lesson. We discussed the various geometric shapes that made up Paul Klee’s paintings and got started right way building our villages! I reminded 1st graders to create a VARIETY of shapes in a VARIETY of sizes. The tops of the buildings shouldn’t meet up in a perfect line. We started with pencil and outlined with oil pastel.
I love them at this stage. 🙂
When these were dry, 1st graders took crayons and drew patterns and designs on top of several of their shapes. We discussed various types of lines and read one of my favorite Paul Klee quotes: “A line is a dot that went for a walk.”
When these designs were drawn with crayon, students went in and painted their buildings in with the color scheme opposite that of their sky. So if students had cool, nighttime skies, they painted their buildings warm hues. If students had warm, daytime skies, their buildings were painted cool hues. It was a fun wax-resist lesson to show children how watercolor paint resists wax!
Have a great day!