Dot Day Celebration
Kerry Manzolini, BRAINworks educator
4th Grade Teacher
Muddy Brook Elementary
Dot Day is an International Celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration that started when Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter Reynold’s book The Dot. It is a story about an art teacher who dares a doubting student to be brave enough to make her mark on the world. This year is the 20th birthday of his book, which made me think about doing something extra special with my students so that they could show their creativity and make their mark on the world. Acrylic paint pouring allows children time to slow down, experiment with the process of color mixing, understand the science behind the materials, and embrace making mistakes. Pouring is not perfect and it can’t be completely controlled, therefore the end result has a “Wow,” effect and every one of the dot canvases will turn out different, just like every child is different in how they make their mark on the world.
I invited BRAINworks Director Lisa Donovan to practice with me before I introduced it to my students.
All you need is your favorite acrylic paint colors, a few drops of liquid silicone, and something called clear latex paint additive, otherwise known as Flood Floetrol, to start your acrylic pouring experience. Having watched my cousin, Sue Clairmont demonstrate the process earlier this summer, I was inspired by the mesmerizing effect the paint pouring had over me. It created a calm that many of us are searching for in ourselves and in the classroom. Her technique inspired me so much that I came up with the idea to connect it to Dot Day.
First, buy some gloves, dixie cups, acrylic paint colors, liquid silicone, and clear latex addition. Then purchase round canvases to symbolize “The Dot.”
Do this outside if possible because it’s a messy process. Set up 4-5 dixie cups and choose contrasting colors, again 4-5 colors to layer in the cup.
Start each cup with a different color so that when you pour, the colors pour in a different order. Add a couple of drops of silicone and a little liquid flood into each cup until the consistency is thin. Stir a little bit with a popsicle stick. Flip the cups over onto the canvas and slowly remove the cup leaving the paint. The fun part is to start spreading the mixture by moving the canvas around with your hands in all different directions to cover it. Be patient. It takes a little while to cover the canvas. Let it dry on top of a couple of heavier cups flipped over.
After the paint is dry, use a little resin to seal the canvas. As you can see, the results are amazing! No two are exactly alike, which is the main point! Students could even journal about the process, including how they will ultimately make their mark on the world.