dot project beginnings

dot surveyOn September 16, our school celebrated International Dot Day. Like many schools around the world, we read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and began to think of ways for us to “leave our mark.” We looked closely at the dots we could find around us. Some children explored rocks, beads and shells. Others painted and some drew. After a day or two of exploration, I presented the children with a question about which dots they liked best. Noticing the balls of yarn, the students were eager to share their connections.

A – “I know what these are! They’re 3-D!”

Mr. P. – “What is 3-D?”

A – “I see it at the video store.”

R – “It means, not flat.”

We took a survey and discovered that most students in our class liked 3-D dots best. Thinking about Dot Day, I asked the students if they would like to create some 3-D dots. They immediately agreed, but we had a problem. How do we make 3-D dots?

M – “Maybe we can wrap up paper and put it on a stick and roll it.”

O – “Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! We can use string?”

Mr. P. – “How would we use it?”

A – “Just roll it round and round.. .Maybe we can take something like a circle and wrap string over it.”

3D Dots problemsolvingThe next day, balloons, yarn, and glue were available to the students so they could test “A’s” theory of “rolling it round and round.” I have to admit, this was an¬†optimistic project for the beginning of Grade 1. The students were very excited to get their hands in the glue and begin wrapping yarn around their balloons. They soon discovered that this was not a very easy task. Some became frustrated because it was too slippery, or they couldn’t get their yarn to stay put. Some wanted to give up. Here was a perfect opportunity for a lesson in perseverance. I asked the children to stop and come together for a group meeting. They took a break, identified some of the problems they were having and shared some possible solutions.

3D Dots

The short break and discussion was just what they needed. When they returned to their work, they were engaged and focused. With a little assistance, those who wanted to give up were determined to complete their task. And they did.

3D Dot mobile

The students learned the meaning of perseverance that day. The creative process is messy. It can be frustrating, exhilarating and inspiring. As I reflect on this I realize there is always a lesson to be learned. Our dot project continues to evolve. The students are discovering different dots, engaging with different media and materials, and are developing unique ways to “leave their mark” through their own creative processes.

9 thoughts on “dot project beginnings

  1. Our class is also working on a dot project. We are taking a trip to the Dotty Wotty House in the Heidleberg Project in Detroit. We are using old records to deocrate and install around the school. We have also created buddy dots where we cut dots in half and then join our half with a buddy. I can’t wait to see how your project unfolds. I am happy to share ideas along the way!

  2. Oh my gosh! How beautiful. As I was reading your blog about your Dot Project it made me think of a book I bought recently entitled “Too Much Glue” by Jason Lefebvre and illustrated by Zac Retz. I couldn’t help but think that you probably have a few “Matty’s” (the main character in the book) in your class *lol*

  3. I came back to this post because I remembered the lovely images, and because a similar exploration of “circles and round things” has been re-ignited in my PM class. I appreciate the comment about your students learning perserverence and the messy nature of the creative process. After reading “Ladybugs have Lots of Spots” to my PM class, two sparks immediately lit, and the excitement was contagious. Both explorations hit snags early on, however, and I wondered how my students would cope with their frustration.

  4. 2/2 (first section was cut in two)
    I was delighted to see students work through their problems by bringing them to group meeting to talk about, and using the “I used to think, but now I think” prompt to come up with new ways of trying their ideas. Our second project, a Voicethread book, was left for weeks when the app froze and our book seemed lost. When student interest was reignited today, the updated app worked well, the book was saved, and suddenly their were 8 friends on board helping out!

    • Thanks Laurel! I love your prompt of “I used to think and now I think…” I am definitely going to use that more often with my students. It really gets them thinking and reflecting about their processes and the learning. I know I always have to remind myself that although something may “seem” to have been abandoned, there is always that possibility that at some point, the children’s interest will re-ignite and then the magic begins. I love following your journey and look forward to seeing how your project progresses.

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