Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Dot Project


To celebrate International Dot Day, we read Peter H. Reynolds’ book, The Dot. This book tells the story of a caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student in a remarkable creative way. The teacher dares a doubting student to trust her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins as a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage.



Making Connections


During the story, we learned that the main character, Vashti did not think she could draw. Some of the students made the connection that they too feel they cannot draw and often ask us to draw things like ponies and unicorns for them. This was the perfect opportunity to discuss the concepts of creativity and beauty. We discussed how even something as simple as a dot can be so beautiful. Our conversation about dots inspired a class challenge. Our challenge for students was to investigate how many ways they could create dots as artists.

How many ways can we create dots?


Explore and Engage



We provided students with many different round materials. 






Creating Dots with Paint


T: I am painting hundreds of little dots!
J: I am making big dots!




The children explored colour mixing and dot making while painting with bubble wrap, cork and paper towel rolls. 

A: It's green! Blue and the yellow paint is green.
E: There's so many circles.






Investigating Dots as Artists


We were so impressed to see some of the children using the materials at the art center to create colour patterns. (We have been learning about patterning in math.) The three colours of paint provoked students to create complex patterns. A few of the children decided to create ABC patterns.



Creating a Display of Dots at Light


M. investigated making dots at the light table. 




Making Dots in Different Ways

Everything begins with a dot.



Integrating the Arts

In addition to our initial colour inquiry, we decided to introduce the children to The Dot project as a platform for developing inquiry skills used in all aspects of the kindergarten curriculum.

This investigation was open ended and encouraged free exploration throughout all centers of the classroom. While students investigated “making dots” they were developing communication skills as well as problem solving and critical thinking skills that they will use as they continue to learn and grow in our classroom.


In a recent article, "How the Arts Unlock The Door to Learning" by Mariko Nobori, some important research highlights the importance of arts integration.
"Beyond engagement and retention...numerous other benefits of arts integration: It encourages healthy risk taking, helps kids recognize new skills in themselves and others, provides a way to differentiate instruction, builds collaboration among both students and teachers, bridges differences, and draws in parents and the community.  Plus it's just plain fun."


Collaboration

The project also provided the children with opportunities for collaboration. Collaboration is a new term we have been discussing in kindergarten this year. During the collaborate dot design all of the children were invited to work together with a common purpose; to create a masterpiece with a wonderful message about beauty and individuality.

B and R using a permanent marker to draw different sized dots. 

R, B, and T collaborating on a watercolour dot painting. 




Theories about Beauty

We lay out the children’s paintings for each other to observe and admire. The consensus was that the paintings were “beautiful.” To begin to understand the children’s ideas about beauty we asked: 

What makes them beautiful?

T.K: They are all different, some are small, some are big and that’s okay if we are small or big like friends you can still be friends.

M: They have so many colours, blue, red, green, yellow and circles are beautiful.

S.M: I like how its different colours.


“It’s beautiful
  because I    like  it!”  I.G. (SK student) 

Children’s Initial Theories about Beauty and Individuality

Our Dot Project exposed many of the children’s ideas about the concept of beauty. Children’s theories about beauty and individuality have provoked a new inquiry. 

Stay tuned and see what unfolds as we dig deeper into the concept of beauty. 













2 comments:

  1. I have been recently experiencing how "dots" contribute to my son's confidence. Whether or not he adapted this method from the above project, he starts writing his friends' names by connecting the dots. This is another confirmation of "what begins as a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage."

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  2. I am so happy to hear that. The idea of the students gaining more confidence was one of our hopes for the project. The idea of being confident in our abilities is also what makes the book, "The Dot" so special. I have attached the link for a video read-aloud of book "The Dot" in case you would like to have a look or maybe watch it again with I.G.

    The Dot:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5mGeR4AQdM

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