The school year is winding down and my first grade students have less and less ideas of what to do with Free Play. So, when I’m not bringing them to the park, or trying to burn away all their energy with silly field games, I’m going top have them explore art and new materials.

The teacher I took over for wasn’t an artists and didn’t put a lot of energy into arts and crafts, so the kids of course love all the crazy art ideas I bring! I wanted them to do more than just doodle, so I decided to start introducing famous artists. Paul Klee was one of the first and I knew they’d love making kooky looking cats.

I started with a YouTube video: “Paul Klee for kids and how to recreate his famous Cat art piece“. I paused the video in places and let them follow the instruction. I gave them no directives, offered no rules, and emphasized a message I’ve given them since I started teaching them: “it’s always ok to make mistakes, because we learn from them.” This time I put it in an art context: “It’s ok to make mistakes, because sometime that makes things more beautiful and more unique.”

I used some faded, lavender-coloured construction paper (11” x 14”), because I feel not starting with white nurtures new ways of seeing and deciding. They were told to pick a minimum off five colours from a big box full of old pastels; again to foster decision making in uncommon situations. This was a solo effort, but they were allowed to share pastels and to ask each other for advice on what to do. I believe this community orientation nurtures communication and art is all about communication… between artists and their viewers.

I asked the students to write their names on the back of the paper, because I wanted the work to speak beyond any preconceptions of who the artist was… it also helps to keep their identities safe when publishing the works. As you will see, not all of them like the idea and need to add their moniker to the work

Here are a few more of their works…

5 thoughts on “Paul Klee’s Famous Cat – As interpreted by my Grade One Students

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