Contributed by Yael Ben-Zion
To build a meditative or Zen experience while creating a collective piece of art. To symbolize individual pieces coming together as a whole.
- Start by showing students examples of mandalas, and ask them to describe the similarities and differences between them. Share information about mandalas as an artform.
- Tell students they will be making mandalas collaboratively by passing their artwork around and adding to each other’s mandalas.
- Making the Mandala:
- Each student gets a square piece of paper and then draws a small circle in the center of the paper.
- Then they pass the paper to their right, and the next student will have 3 minutes to add some kind of pattern around the circle. Tell students: “You can add the pattern by drawing, using stickers or colored tape, repeat a word or number, use other collage materials etc.”
- When the time is up, students pass their papers to their right again and add another pattern to the next paper they receive.
- The mandalas are done after approximately 4 rounds.
- Then, have each student come up one at a time and contribute their mandala to a full class mandala. (Yhis can be done by adding it to a grid or onto a board.)
- Reflection: Ask the students the following reflection questions.
- Was it relaxing to repeat a pattern?
- How did you choose your material/pattern?
- How was it to share your work with the students in your group?
- Did you expect the mandalas to come out like this?
Transition into Activity
Show pictures of different mandalas, and ask students to describe them. Ask: “How are they similar? How are they different?”
Transition out of Activity
Use the concepts you discussed in class to connect to the next activity.
Students need to be sitting where they can have a surface on which to draw, and where it is easy to pass their artwork around. Ideally, they should be at large tables, or in a circle at their desks.
- Advance examples/visuals to show the students.
- Square papers and decorating materials, pens, pencils, etc.
- Model with other TA and Classroom Professionals.
- Try using different materials to create the mandalas.
- Offer students choices for what kinds of materials they’d like to use.
- Mandalas can be made into collage, earth-work (if you are outside), or digital art.
- Use visual timer or music while students are working on their art.
- Give students plenty of warning for when they need to finish and be ready to pass.
- This could be done in small groups if a whole-class experience is too overwhelming.
Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals
- They can help with distributing papers and other materials as need.
- They can support students who need help in creating their patterns and/or support students individually, as needed.
- They can participate in modeling and in the art making.
Have students collaborate and take turns on a Google drawing file, white board, or by making their own jam board sticky notes and then putting these together to make a large collaborative digital mandala.