Lana Flowers May 7, 2021 Dot to Dot
The festival got off to a mild start with a set by Milk Maid over at Zoo that gently rocked the crowd into a frenzy and lead nicely into a half hour show over at the HMV Ritz from Bastille that had a fantastic turnout for so early in the day and revved things up a notch - getting everyone in the mood for more. More soon came thanks to the wonderful Lucy Rose, whos warm and fuzzy acoustics proved to be a huge hit. Her new single Lines could well be the song that takes her closer to mainstream success, but at this point it would probably be a good idea to catch her while she is at her hottest. Things were already starting to kick off elsewhere with The Dunwells and Jake Bugg at Zoo, Eyes on Film and Last Dinosaur at Joshua Brooks, The Night and Hyde & Beast at The Deaf Institute and all manner of shenanigans across the three stages over at the fantastic new Sound Control - a former guitar shop that has fast become one of the most interesting venues in the city.
Dot to dot puzzles, a classic activity many of us remember from our own childhood, is still a favorite of teachers and parents hoping to encourage kids to work on their counting and small motor skills. And, of course, the kids love them, too. The development of fine motor skills is important for academic success, and working dot-to-dots puzzles gives children a chance to practice gripping a pencil correctly and understand how numbers work in sequence. Besides being a fun process, dot to dots offer a reward in the form a completed picture that can be colored in and displayed. Dot to dots may be worked in pencil, with crayon or even pen. But when working dot to dots, as in life, mistakes can happen, so using a pencil with an eraser can avoid frustration, especially with the littlest kids, or junior perfectionists.
I quickly put away the jar, vinegar, and baking soda and moved on to another exercise and another and another. At the end of each mindfulness class, I conclude with the same exercise: lying on your stomach and drawing your happy place. As soon as I announce that we are going to be doing the mindful drawing, they excitedly drop to their tummies and wiggle with the anticipation of a kid on Christmas morning. I pass out the fresh white paper and a can containing shards of crayons. The second their crayons hit the paper, you can hear a pin drop. There is no goofing around, there is no talking, but there is complete mindfulness. For fifteen minutes, they will draw, colour, and become immersed in their creation. Of course the real magic is not what is happening on the paper but rather what is happening in their mind. They are thinking about their happy place and then making it happen on paper - perfect mindfulness. It is the same as when we use guided visualization to enter into meditation.
After first introducing children to dot to dots, you may want to offer a little supervision. Encourage kids to seek out the next number in the sequence. Its best to draw a straight, even line from one dot to the other, and dont forget to connect that final dot or the image wont be complete! At the same time, dont insist that everything be "just so." Kids need to be able to experiment and be creative, even if it means coloring outside the lines. Dot to dots have many variations, and some are worked using letter sequences alphabetically rather than numbers while some spell words. The skill level needed ranges from preschool-age on up. Sometimes, its immediately obvious what the picture is, while other designs will keep you guessing almost until the final line is drawn.
It has been a long while since I last wrote. I really miss it when I cant put my thoughts to paper (or keys... as it is). Last week I was teaching a bunch of kids aged 4-8 about the importance of mindfulness. This is a class which I teach every week. If you have never taught little kids before, it is much like trying to herd cats. The mindfulness class is one hour and for one hour I need about ten to twenty different activities as their attention span is so fleeting. Last week I had prepared a very exciting lesson using vinegar and baking soda to demonstrate how, when your mind is racing, it is like bubbles in the jar. I LOVED my new experiment and the kids were mildly amused for thirty seconds. I taught them to put their hand on their belly and breathe down the "bubbles of anxiety in their minds". Naturally as the acetic acid reacted completely with the sodium bicarbonate, the bubbles settled. Seemed like a compelling lesson? But, as with the others, it was... on to the next lesson!
This Saturday marked the fifth annual International Dot Day, a day dedicated to encouraging students creativity and inspiring confidence. Classrooms around the globe have been celebrating this and last week with unique activities such as dot art, musical "sound dots," and using dots to help teach maps and math. Dot Day was started by teacher Terry Shay in Waterloo, Iowa, to celebrate the publication of Peter H. Reynolds childrens book "The Dot"; the book shares the story of a young girl named Vashti who is encouraged by her teacher to "make her mark." In the story, Vashti tries to prove to her teacher that she cannot draw by making a small mark on the paper while declaring, "There!"-Vashtis art teacher then encourages her to be brave and use her imagination to see where this dot could take her.