Sunday, March 27, 2011

Paul Klee cities

I hear a lot of ....but I can't draw (whinny voice) so during the last few months we looked at art that used things that the kids DO feel confident "drawing"; shapes, numbers and letters.
3rd-5th graders looked long and hard at Paul Keel's Castle and Sun....although we decided to take more of a city approach than a castle approach. I challenged students to find all the math shapes they could in the painting and had long talks about what makes a parallelogram and geometric vs. organic shapes.

After scanning the art work students were given ruler, pencils and scrap paper to practice making shapes with intersecting lines. No tracers were allowed for this lesson. When students felt good about their ability to use the rulers to create a variety of shapes they could come get card stock from me and draw a city or castle using ruler lines only.

Then I made the students go over EVERY pencil line with a crayon and they could start painting their city with watercolor. I encouraged students to paint a little in one place and then move somewhere else on the paper so they were never putting to wet areas next to each other. Knowing that hint, along with the crayon "walls" their was a lot less color bleeding. I also allowed the kids to use the dreaded black watercolor paint to do night sky's.

This lesson ended up taking about 4 classes and keep the attention of the 4th and 5th graders but the 3rd graders started pooping out at the end. In the future I'll pull out the liquid watercolors for the younger ones to speed up the process.


  1. I've seen this lesson before with oil pastel and an art/math connection ... once you are done you can count the frequency of different shapes, calculate probabilities that a color or shape will occur in the classroom, measure wall height, etc. I know you have limited time with each group but a contained classroom could really extend this project!

  2. This is a great lesson for students to practice using rulers. My students are working on a similar project and I smile when I think of the ones that tried to cheat :) by tying to draw lines free hand.

    I like how you incorporated Paul Klee's painting into your lesson. The colors look amazing.

  3. Hi! Your art lesson was inspiration to us today so I thought I would share our project with you:

    You have a great blog!