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Connecting the Dots

The Germantown Friends School Lower School is covered in dots. No, it’s not a Chickenpox outbreak! It’s a mind-opening, community-focused art project that began with the best-selling children’s book The Dot. In the book, by Peter H. Reynolds, a young girl believes that she is unable to draw. Her teacher tells her, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” The student makes one dot and, from there, realizes that she can make more dots, better dots! The completed dot-art is beautiful. When another student says he wishes he could draw like she can, claiming he “can’t even draw a straight line,” she tells him to do just that… Thus, passing on her learning and opening a door of discovery.
Third grade teacher Andrea L’Tainen, a former art teacher, read this book to her students. She also showed them the work by artist Lea Anderson, who creates art composed of circles and undulating waves. L’Tainen’s class worked as a community to make a wall of dots, on display in the hallway on the second floor of the Lower School Building.
The dots spread. Students in classes throughout the school started making dots. Parents were encouraged to doodle on dots during Back-to-School Night. Grandparents drew dots with their grandchildren on Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Older students worked together with their pre-school partners to make dots.
Some dots are pale and subtle, other explode with bold colors. Some are filled with soft squiggles, while others are streaked with zigzaggy lines. “The dot is perfect for creating a community art piece,” says L’Tainen. “All of the dots are different, but they all go together to make one piece. It speaks to our testimony of community, which we are focusing on this year, and to our understanding of growth mindset.”
The idea of “fixed” versus “growth” mindset, which was popularized by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, is an influential concept in the field of education. Page Fahrig-Pen

Does your school do something similar?

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