Saturday, April 21, 2012


…allows me to create freely.  I’m not a perfect person.  Realizing this, I don’t try to be. I don’t compare myself to others.  I go to school each day to inspire my kids to become their individual best selves.

Our story last week was The Dot by Peter Reynolds. It is my ABSOLUTE favorite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sit on pins and needles once we move into the last six weeks waiting for it because I know how fun it will be to dive into it.  Part of the reason I love it so much…probably?? Who am I kidding?  The entire reason I love it so much is because it’s centered around art.  All of the stories that we’ll read as we finish up the year are “confidence boosters” and have a focus on friendship.


Have you ever watched the Disney movie, Tangled?  Well, in it there’s a scene where Rapunzel  lays on her bed looking up at all the pictures she’s drawn over her bedroom walls.  They each light up one by one as she realizes that she IS the princess that the king and queen have been longing for! THAT is exactly the feeling I get when reading The Dot and its sequel Ish!  Really good, crazy good….things happen in my head when I read a children’s book that I connect to and these two books describe me to a ‘T’.

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We created this venn diagram to compare and contrast the two stories.  Each group discussed the two stories and added to the chart individually.  Once I had met with the last of my reading groups, we met in whole group to go over the entire chart together.  Each friend contributed to the chart in some way and they were super proud of the finished product!

I love these type of activities because it really causes them to think deeply about the story.  There was quite the debate about both of the stories starting with the character not liking art because Vashti refused to participate in art class while Ramon drew everywhere he went…..(even on the toilet). Yes, on the toilet! {{Insert 25 engaged, giggly 1st graders here!  :-}} Can’t you just hear the laughter?  The kids finally agreed to write the first statement in the ‘both’ column after stating that though Ramon did like drawing, his feelings changed when his brother criticized his art……BUT I won’t spoil it for you, just in case you haven’t read these two stories! If you haven’t, you’ll want to and will be kicking yourself if you don’t!

photo 3 photo 2

Now, we couldn’t read stories about art all week and not be a little creative ourselves! After our wonderful discussion, the girls were grouped together to do “dot” art and the boys were grouped together to do “ish” art.  They had a ball with this if for no other reason than being able to sit in another person’s seat! ….and we pulled out the paints and markers!

As others walk down the halls of our school and see my kid’s art, I’m sure they just see dots and squiggles….but me? I see so much more.  I picture the student who made it. I picture the smile on their face that beamed with each stroke. I know that they may struggle in math or reading, but creating art is freeing and they’re willing to try.  I see that when given a blank sheet of paper, they can be creative and follow their own rules for a little while.  There’s no pressure to be as smart as the next kid or as pretty as the girl with perfect clothes.  They know its ok to color outside of the lines or to create their own.  They can be free, dream and create whatever they like and just in case they might need a little help…I’m there for them.  

You have to reach your student’s hearts before you can reach their heads and art is the connection that allows me to do that in my classroom.  So the next time, you think of that perfect project you’d like to do…the one with a million pieces to cut, paste or glue…put it away….give ‘em a blank sheet of paper and tell them this…….. “Just start with a dot and see where it takes you…..thinking ~ishly will allow you to create freely!” 

Tell them to think about Vashti…the girl who thought she could not create art.  Tell them to think about how after she discovered her own talent helped some one else to discover his own….You just may be surprised, very pleasantly surprised!


  1. I am not familiar with these books but they sound very interesting & I will be sure to check them out. Thanks for sharing!!

    Tai Patrice

  2. I just found your post. I love the "measuring foot" idea in your last post. I'm going to do it with my class next week.

    I'm your newest follower, I'd love for you to follow me too.



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