Celebrating International Dot Day – Session 3

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Exercise with the combo class 4th and 5th grade. Approximately one hour. I gave the students very nice 6″x6″ sheet of Rives paper that I still have from an art project I was working on last year. I asked them to just draw circles with a black marker, starting with one and then growing a cluster. The difference with the previous exercise Celebrating International Dot Day and Celebrating International Dot Day – second session is that once you draw you cannot change the place of the elements. You just go and see what happens.
At the end of the session, it was interesting to put all the drawings together on the floor and to have a discussion. I asked the students if there was something which surprised them and to explain why. Something they did not think about before, something which gave them new ideas about space, composition and rhythm.

With very little means a lot of creativity and diversity can be expressed.

material: 6×6″ white paper, black marker.

Celebrating International Dot Day – session 2

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During the second (one hour and half) session the students use larger background squares – 12″x12″. It is the same idea, with a different space. As many – or as few – circles can be created by cutting them directly in colored paper or traced with a pencil first. One or more colors can be used.

At the end, we took the time to look at what was created, to talk about what the students found interesting, surprising. Great session!

Celebrating International Dot Day – first session

Celebrating International Dot Day – session 1

 

A first short exercise (about an hour) with my Sunnyvale elementary class (combo 4th and 5th grade). The teacher talked to me about the International Dot Day which was created after the book “The Dot” by  Peter H. Reynolds. International Dot Day is celebrated September 15 around the world.

A good occasion to make the students work on something [apparently] very simple. I propose to them to create a composition with circles only, cut in colored paper(s).
Full circles, donuts-like circles, small, large, using one color or more, using one circle or plenty, making clusters of circles, overlapping them, making them concentric. Every combination is welcome, the possibilities are endless.
This first exercise is made on pre-cut colored cardboard paper 6″x6″. The students can cut their circles directly or use a pencil. They can make as many 6″x6″ compositions they wish to make.

Once all the tries are together on the floor, it is interesting for the students to see and compare all the different compositions and the different way to use the space of the 6″x6″ square.

 

Do More With less: Wonders with small means – circles (B&W)

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This exercise is about using limited material and only cutting circles. The students start cutting (without tracing) and then grow a cluster of different circles, adding by proximity. They can glue right away or wait and see what happens with the composition. Some students are more comfortable with gluing right away “and not loosing any circles”. The table becomes pretty messy so yes, the circles can disappear!

Some students, very quickly cut other shapes than circles, which is fine, although I am asking them to try to “only” use circles and to see what happens. It is about finding out that a lot of things are possible with very simple means. They can play with the size of the circles, they can cut the center and leave a thick or thin contour, they can make concentric circles. The possibilities are endless. In the process I am asking the students to pay attention to the paper, and to avoid discarding paper which is still usable.

The exercise which follows is: Wonders with small means – circles (color).

Material
12×18″ black paper, white paper, scissors, glue.

Do More With less: Wonders with small Means – circles (color)

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This exercise follows the previous one: Wonders with small Means – circles (B&W), but this time with colors. It is all about circles again: small, large, full or just the outline, concentric: the possibilities are endless. It is also about rhythm: how do the colors play together, how do they play with the different sizes of circles and with the space of the background. The students start cutting (without tracing) a circle and grow a cluster of circles. And see what happens.
They can glue the circles as they cut them, or wait until they think their composition is done.

Colored paper is available on a separate desk and students are welcome to pick the colors they want. I am asking them to pay attention to the way they cut the sheets, to share if possible.

Material
12×18″ colored paper, good quality colored construction paper, scissors, glue.

Shapes: making wonders with small means (this session with the 3rd graders)

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One session – one hour.
Material:
one fine line black marker (0.5), one fine point black Sharpie.

This is what I show them before starting, just an idea for possibilities, the combinations are endless.

I propose to the students to chose a shape: circle, triangle or square, to draw one and to start making associations. They can vary the thickness of the lines, the size of the shapes, to use empty or blackened shapes and of course make all sorts of combinations.

The idea is to start a cluster from the center, to grow it from there and to see what happens.

I show quickly an example, by drawing on the dry board and then they start.
Some students ask me if they can chose the three shapes at the same time, and I say yes. But I tell them they should try to use only one and see where it goes [In this particular class pretty much all the students decided to work with only one shape].

This exercise makes them experiment with making something surprising with small means. The results are very different from a student to another, which is something they enjoy seeing at the end of the session.