SchoolArts Magazine

September 2016

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 35 ing done Dot Day for a couple of years now, I've come up with a variety of dot-themed projects. Here are some of my favorites by grade level: Kindergarten Dot Displays For kindergarten, I love to start the school year with a fun paper sculp - ture lesson. After reading The Dot, students are given a sheet of paper that has been precut into a 12" (30 cm) circle. On their first day of art, these young artists learn how to make a variety of lines with strips of paper and adhere them to their circles. These make for a wonderful 3D dot display! First-Grade Flowers Each year, my first-graders create a large collaborative mural outside of the artroom. For Dot Day, they Cassie Stephens I f you're not familiar with The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (Can - dlewick Press, 2003), it's the story of Vashti, a young student who doesn't believe in her artistic abilities. Her teacher, however, does. By hanging Vashti's work, the teacher motivates Vashti to create more. She grows in her artistry and, in the end, inspires others to create. It is an excel - lent book to read to your students at the start of a new school year. Celebrating Creativity Dot Day, which is a celebra - tion both of the book and of creativity, takes place every year on September 15. I love start - ing the school year with Dot Day for a couple of rea - sons. One is because anyone can make a dot! Therefore, the pressure to make something "perfect" is removed. We can all "make a mark" and see where it takes us. The other reason I love to celebrate Dot Day is because it allows all of my 400 elementary art students to display their work at the start of the school year. We have an open house one month into the new school year, and after reading The Dot and creat - ing dot-based works of art, I am able to decorate the halls of the school with a dot created by each child. Hav - each painted an inexpensive paper plate with concentric circles and a variety of lines. Previously painted papers were used to add "petals" to what became our Dot Day flowers. Finally, after learning about folk-art landscape artist Heather Galler, students worked in groups to paint giant sheets of patterned papers that were used to create the landscape back - ground. Second-Grade Reversible Art Second-grade students learned about abstract painter Wassily Kan - dinsky for their dot-making cre - ations. For this lesson, students used cardboard pizza rounds. One side was painted black, and the other white. Students used tempera paint to create a reversible work of art that hung in a large bank of windows. For activities for other grades and more detailed descriptions and videos of these lessons, please visit my blog (see Web Link) and search "Dot Day." Cassie Stephens teaches K– 4 art at John- son Elementary School in Franklin, Ten- nessee. She is a contributing editor for SchoolArts and the author of cassieste- phens.blogspot.com. cassieart75@ gmail. com N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K cassiestephens.blogspot.com. On this da , artists are encouraged to use their imaginations to create a masterpiece from a dot.

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