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How to Teach Lines and Patterns with Paul Klee: An Art Lesson for Early Elementary

Updated on June 20, 2019
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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Lines & Patterns and Paul Klee Art Lesson for Early Elementary
Lines & Patterns and Paul Klee Art Lesson for Early Elementary

This is the 10th lesson in a series of 26 hands-on art lessons for Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grade. This lesson focuses on lines and patterns inspired by Paul Klee. I used this plan while teaching a weekly 45 minute art class for children in Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grades. Each lesson includes an art concept, introductory book, focus on an artist, and a variety of art techniques to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

The Goldfish by Paul Klee (1925)
The Goldfish by Paul Klee (1925)

Lines and Patterns & Paul Klee Introduction

1. Use the paintings in Paul Klee by Mike Venezia to focus on the types of lines and patterns he used and how they showed movement and music. Quickly review his life and ideas while flipping through the book. (*Tip: His last name is pronounced "clay.")

You will need:

  • Paul Klee (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia or other book on Paul Klee

Paul Klee (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists)
Paul Klee (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists)
We love this series! Even my younger children enjoy flipping through the pages. The author has done a wonderful job of combining a good assortment of Paul Klee's paintings with a few paintings by his contemporaries along with a smattering of fun cartoons drawn by the author & illustrator. The book covers Klee's entire life and artistic ideas, and it is perfect for this age group!
Some of the goldfish paintings inspired by Paul Klee
Some of the goldfish paintings inspired by Paul Klee

The GoldFish

2. Cut out the Fish. Pass out a half sheet of construction paper to each child. Lead students in cutting out the fish: 1 long oval with 2 triangle snips toward the end to make the tail.

  • They should have 1 large fish and at least 4 smaller fish, though don't make them too small.
  • If students are struggling to cut out the fish, they can cut out an oval or circle and a triangle and paste them together. If that is too challenging, they can draw one first using a light orange crayon and cut it out.

You will need per student:

  • a half sheet of yellow construction paper
  • scissors

3. Paste the fish. Have students note the direction the fish are going in Paul Klee's painting. Have them paste their fish in a similar fashion on a sheet of black construction paper.

You will need per student:

  • a piece of black construction paper
  • glue stick

4. Paint the fish. Have students notice the patterns on the fish in Klee's painting.

  • Tip: I had students move to a separate table to paint the fish so that other students could finish up on the first two steps while other students were ready for the next step.
  • Have students use red and orange paint to paint patterns on their fish. Only paint the fish. Don't paint off the fish, except for the one big fish.
  • Don't forget to add an eye to each fish.

You will need:

  • red and orange tempera paint
  • small containers to hold the paint
  • thin paintbrushes

5. Surround the fish. Have students notice the patterns drawn around the outside edges of Klee's painting. What do they look like? (plants & waves) Move back to the table without paint. Use a white, yellow, or other light crayon to draw in similar patterns around the outside edges of the paper.

You will need:

  • white, yellow, or other light colored crayon

6. Photograph the fish. Take photos of each child with their masterpiece.

Art with Mati and Dada - Paul Klee

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© 2018 Shannon


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