Nicole's Note: May 30th

5th Grade Mandalas

This week I got to witness the 5th graders as they were working on collaborative mandalas right outside my office windows. Under the direction of art teacher, Michele Baldonado, the students have been learning about mandalas since the beginning of the school year. Ms. Baldonado expressed to me that what she looks for in her curriculum is arts phenomena that are happening all over the world. A mandala is a type of circular artwork that has been made worldwide since ancient times. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

For this week’s lesson, Ms. Baldonado added the component of collaboration. Students were required to work together with creative planning and problem solving. They had to determine the strengths that each member brought to their team as they carried out their personal creations. With very little guidance from adults, the students collaborated to come up with a theme and worked together to create a mandala that was representative of not just their own ideas, but the ideas of others.

This lesson allowed for much cross over between the common core language arts standards and math standards. Students had to be able to listen and speak effectively to and with one another. They had to determine points on a coordinate field. They had to problem solve to come to consensus on how to best display their piece.

Traditionally, groups can create mandalas that will reveal what they should be doing in order to grow and develop as a group. The results of this effective collaboration can be seen here, in a few of the amazing and meaningful mandalas created by the students of Mr. Stoll and Mrs. Watson.