Can creative expression go beyond a masterpiece?

It has been a while since I last posted about The Dot Project (Please see "Categories" section on right side of this blog for previous learning on this topic).  We have gone in many directions, and I would like to share a few with you.

Each morning our students engage in a meeting to discuss their thinking and learning.  In the photo below, you will see a student sharing her thoughts about our International Dot Day.  We often refer to blog posts during our class meetings.  I feel it's important that our students know what is shared about our work, and that they can go home and access it with their families.

Our project moved towards experimentation with the technique known as pointillism by Georges Seurat and Paul Signa.  Below you will see a parent with their child during Family Friday trying out this technique. 

We also made links to math, and had our students organize dots onto a mandala.

Our students were interested in re-visiting their documentation, and this eventually led them to try new ways of making dots.

In dramatic play, we noticed that our learning about dots was transcending into their play.  Here you can see a student who created "dumpling dots" with playdough and pine cone pieces.

We knew that they were onto something and decided that we would create a "Dot Studio" using the Theory of Loose Parts developed by Simon Nicholson in 1971.  

According to the Oxfordshire Play Association, 

" ‘Loose parts’ are items and materials that children and young people can move, adapt, control, change and manipulate within their play. They provide a high level of creativity and choice, as there are endless possibilities for how they can be played with.  When a child is playing with sand, it can become anything they want it to be, whereas many toys lack such flexibility.  Studies show that children and young people prefer to play with loose parts such as water, sticks, sand, ropes and boxes than traditional toys and play equipment, because they can use their imagination, and have greater control in their play"  (

As a team, Mrs. Ham and I put out various "dots" for the students to manipulate and use creatively within our new Dot Studio. 

As we observed their play, we noticed that their loose parts were beginning to get mixed in with The Beautiful Stuff Project.  This frustrated many of the children, as they wanted their Dot Studio to consist of only dots.  

So we did what we do best...We transformed our classroom to provide the students with a space that was away from the math learning area.  One small change spiralled into many other changes in our space.  I will write a separate blog post about this, and plan on sharing it at the conference this Saturday.

Take a look at what happened when we moved the dramatic play area:

The children had more freedom to think, imagine, and create!  

This project has taught us that a masterpiece can go beyond a traditional canvas.

Share your thoughts :

  1. Conference where? Did I miss your presentation in Atlanta? Or was there a similar conference somewhere else?
    I love your blog!

  2. Hello,

    Thank you for loving the blog!!

    I presented yesterday in Burlington Ontario at Charles Sturt University for the "Transforming Pedagogical Practices: Making Connections Across Ontario" conference.

  3. I love it,! thanks for sharing it. I work in barcelona and i have work with this book also, but your work is more than better, congratulations.

  4. Oh wow!

    It must be beautiful to teach in Barcelona!

    I'm sure that your work is wonderful!

    Thank you for your comment.


    Joanne Babalis

  5. hello i was wondering if you could email me the lesson plan for the DOt project?? I am very interested in the lesson on how to do the lesson around the project. tHANK YOU IN ADVANCE MY EMAIL IS thank you

    1. Hi,

      Instead of a lesson plan, I will post the documentation of our Dot Project on the blog today. It will have our curriculum expectations and the steps that we followed. I have it saved as a pdg for you to view and download.

      No problem at all,