Everything Starts with a Dot

Teaching Art

As the wise Wassily Kandinsky once said, ‘Everything starts with a dot.’ So, for the start of the 2017-2018 school year, students are doing exactly that, starting with a dot. The 800 dots created also coincide with International Dot Day with is celebrated on September 15th. Dot Day is in connection with the book, The Dot by Peter Reynolds. If you are an art teacher, you are more than familiar with this book as it is the Holy ‘Brail’ of the dot world.

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Each grade level created a different dot depending on their developmental level, the benchmarks associated with that grade level and exposure to mediums and techniques.

Reception 1

Reception 1 (pre-kindergarten) students created dots that were inspired by music, like Kandinsky. Working in pairs, students listened to different types of music and used oil pastels to create lines, patterns, and marks to respond to the rhythm and beats of the music. Our magical dot journey continues with our friend, the White Rabbit who taught us about colour mixing. After reading White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker, students practiced their fine motor skills to drop primary colors onto paper diffusers to explore color mixing.

Reception 2

Reception 2 (kindergarten) transformed a white dot into a kaleidoscope of lines, shapes, and colors. This collaborative artwork also allowed students to review painting procedures and clean-up routines as well as basic Elements of Art. In the following lesson, we read Mix It Up by Henry Tuttle before mixing it up ourselves and exploring primary and secondary colors. Students then applied their skills to color mixing where they mixed primary colors to create different greens, oranges, and purples on their own white circle paper palette.

Grade 1

Grade 1 students began with a paper shape collage inspired by the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky. Students reviewed their painting and clean-up procedures by painting patterned papers which were cut into shapes and used for the collage. The Kandinsky dots created by students demonstrated an understanding of how to create a center of interest, or ‘busy spot’, by overlapping shapes of different sizes and colors. Students also have learned about creating eye paths by using pathway lines and ‘pointers’ to guide their eye in different directions.

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Grade 2

Students in Grade 2 made mindful marks by growing magical mandalas. Using a compass as their guide, students created designs inside an eight-point circle by drawing shapes, creating patterns and adding detail to each mark they made. Students painted the background of their circle with watercolor paints, drew designs in pencil and then traced over their drawings with the marker.

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On the morning of Dot Day, the other art teacher and I speckled, peppered, and polka-dotted students with circle stickers as they walked into school. In our spot inspired outfits, we were physical representations of what it means to make art and be art. It was a wonderful day with a wonderful message…just make a mark and see where it takes you…

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