The first week of school, I read a book called “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds to my students. If you haven’t seen this picture book, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. In it, a little girl is frustrated when she cannot draw and her teacher gently guides her to “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” The book has so many “big ideas” and is a wonderful way to introduce students to the idea of digging deeper into a book and beginning the discussions on growth mindset. After reading the book, I ask my students to tell me what they think the author wanted us to learn or remember from the text, and I generated a list of ideas.
Art Smart: Connecting Reading, Thinking, and Art
Together we worked to make the list clear and manageable, and then the fun began. I cut white paper into different sized squares and rectangles…some little, some big…and told the students to get out their watercolors and to “just make a mark”. Without reading the text, these paintings might not make sense to you, but trust me when I say to you that some of the lessons shared during this text form the foundation for my “Fourth Grade Studio”. The idea that we need to take pride in our work…to believe in ourselves…to never say “I can’t!”…come up all year long. Growth Mindset 101!
As we read the midway point in the year, I think it’s time to go revisit our display which still hangs proudly in our classroom to remind ourselves of those concepts we discussed so long ago. If you haven’t seen the book–check it out. Until then, check out some of OUR “dots”! I do this activity every year, and you would be surprised at how often we refer back to the display and our “findings”. Some years I get my whole hallway to do it and we display them for all to see.