In celebrating International Dot Day today, I had the opportunity to read The Dot to three different classes: my seventh graders, the sixth graders and second graders. Before reading this wonderful book to my seventh graders this morning, I asked them to define "creativity". Some of their responses:
It lets you express your feelings through art or music.
The ability given to everyone to think outside the box and always have a unique idea.
With creativity, you can tell a story without talking.
Being your own person.
Imagining something new and original and putting it into the world.
Before reading the book to both the sixth and second graders, I asked the same question: "How many of you think of yourself as an artist?" I found it very interesting that only about half of the sixth graders raised their hands, while every one of our thirty-six second graders threw their hands up in the air. I wonder, if I were able to ask this same question at our diocesan staff day next week, how many teachers would answer "yes!"
At what point in our education did we go from artist to student?
The second graders had some amazing insight to share with me today. I asked them to tell me what they thought art was. They had so many wonderful answers that I wish I had thought to write them down. I remember one piece of wisdom:
It's when you use your imagination and put it on paper.
I asked the second graders if they thought books could be considered "art." The consensus seemed to be that books could only be considered art if they had pictures, lots of pictures. "Oh," I said, "you mean the big books we read in middle school wouldn't be art?" No, definitely not.
I tried a different question. "Do y'all know what poetry is?" They did. After a few more questions from me, they decided that poetry could be considered art because "it paints a picture in our imagination."
"Well," I said, "when I read a book that doesn't have any pictures, I always get a picture in my imagination. So, what do you think? Can books be art?"
That got them thinking!
Before leaving my classroom, the two girls who had been sitting right in front of me asked, "Will you still be here when we get to middle school?"
"I sure hope so."
They both responded with, "Yes!!"
Ok, that was cool!
We didn't finish all of our dots today, but I do want to share a couple with you. One student decided to combine our We All Matter project with his Dot Day artwork:
This same student also created a stop-motion video celebrating Dot Day which I hope he eventually shares with the world. It's amazing!
A couple of students asked if they could make their dots 3-D. Absolutely!
Students were even surprised to discover they were surrounded by dots in our own classroom:
We'll be finishing up our dot-work tomorrow; hopefully I'll have even more to share with everyone!