Before vacation, several large panels of wood were constructed between the elementary wing and main school building.  They are there to block off the latest construction project at our school – a new patio and play structure. They are white and just screaming for someone to paint all over them.  I knew I wanted to create a mural with my students, but I didn’t know how to introduce the concept.

We needed to do a collaborative project.

I thought it would be fun to teach my first grade how to draw kitty cats.  I saw this idea somewhere on Google (sorry for not writing this source down), plus my aunt was a huge Laurel Birch fan.  We drew very simple cats on 11 x 17 pieces of paper. Then we used oil pastels to go over our pencil lines and color the cats.

Then we cut them out.  I laid out large pieces of black butcher paper and told them I was going to place their cats all over it.  I wanted them to make fence posts and decorate the sky.  The rest was up to them.  Granted, not so much of a collaboration compared to what it could have been, but it was a start.

The results were hung in the hallway, down low, so all my little ones could see their work. All the students made sure to point out their cat, but I hope they also see how cute they all look together, as a group.



People asked if it was based on “Pete the Cat.”  No, it wasn’t, but I will make sure to include Pete in next year’s lesson!  I love weaving children’s literature into my art lessons.


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About Sonia Chapman

I am an art teacher, living in the Middle East, following my passion for art, teaching little children about the finer things in life, and loving every bit of it.


chalk/oil pastel, First Grade, paper, Projects by Grade Level