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Dot-o-mite: art project puts a fine point on, well, everything

Godwin Heights — First-grader Blaze knew exactly where she wanted her dot.

“I did not want it in the middle,” she said. “I wanted it on the side.”

While most of her classmates chose to put their dots in the middle of their artwork, West Godwin art teacher Dawn Sobleskey pointed out there is no right or wrong way when creating art.

“Did we all have the same assignment?” Sobleskey said to the class, who responded “Yes,” in unison.

“But everybody’s piece is different, unique as we all are,” she said.

That’s essentially the story behind “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds, about a teacher who encourages a student to be brave enough to “make your own mark,” which leads the student to build confidence and courage. For the past 20 years, International Dot Day, usually on Sept. 15, has encouraged people to celebrate creativity and collaboration. 

Dot-o-mania Spreads

Sobleskey said her student teacher, Hannah Mshar, who attends Grand Valley State University, mentioned that others in her cohort had talked about International Dot Day.

“We looked it up and decided to go with it,” Sobleskey said.

Sobleskey selected projects that were grade-level appropriate. For example, kindergartners used dot markers, and created a dot poster as a class. 

First-graders placed a dot sticker on white paper and then used primary colors to paint dots. The students removed the stickers, creating a negative white dot. Then they drew frames for their artwork on colored paper and glued the final piece onto the paper.

Second-graders each received a large dot that they could paint and design the way they wanted. Once dry, the students cut the dots out and pasted them to color sheets of paper.

It also turned into a school-wide event, with students and staff wearing clothes with dots. Students even came to art class with sticker dots on their faces and hands, and Sobleskey handed out dot-shaped Smarties candies.

‘Unique As We All Are’

“I started by using green, but it was too bright,” second-grader Matteo said as he looked over his finished piece. “I put some colors over it, and now it looks like it is glowing.

“I also wanted a chair in my piece, but if you turn it upside-down,” he said as he flipped his piece to demonstrate, “it looks like a chair.”

After collecting the second-grade pieces, Sobleskey asked students what one word they would use to describe their finished piece.

“Colorful, bright, pretty and good,” were a few answers. 

“Do you know what my one word would be?” Sobleskey asked. “Proud. I am very proud, because you all did such a beautiful job.”

Read more from Godwin Heights: 
School year ends with community projects
The impact of a story

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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