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Friday, March 19, 2010

Zentangle in 2nd Grade

Yesterday we had the privilege and pleasure to share Zentangle with our grandson's second grade class. What an amazing experience! We learned so much and were happy to have been proved wrong in so many of our assumptions and preconceptions.

We used to think that 3rd or 4th grades was about as early as someone could really enjoy and appreciate Zentangle. Well, yesterday changed that idea! This class was full of exuberance,  enjoyment and creative talent. We made Zentangles for almost 2 hours at the end of their day and only stopped because school was over. As we were packing our things and buses were arriving there were still students scattered around the classroom focused in creating their Zentangles.

Their relaxed focus, insightful comments and easy confidence in trying something new on their own was wonderful to see.

After creating our first Zentangle together, with their teachers joining right in, we put them all together in a mosaic. (We love this part. Which ones are the teachers'? Which ones are the students'? Each one is different, yet they all "fit" together.)

We asked if they wanted to do another, "YES!" came an enthusiastic reply, so we began another Zentangle.

Their teacher was amazed at their continued ongoing focus - for well over an hour and a half.

For this class we cut and round-cornered some 5 inch square tiles. We used a Sakura Pigma Micron 08 instead of our regular 01 because an 08's tip, while a bit larger, is more sturdy. We gave them eight tiles, a pen and a pencil in a small box with their names written on their boxes.

You can click any image for a larger view.

Thanks again to our grandson Wyatt, his classmates and his teachers for a wonderful day!


donna!ee said...

awesome opportunity to encourage youngins with a creative outlet that will benefit them in times of pleasure or pain! thank you ;)

i am the diva said...

YES! that is so amazing, and that's the reason why i'm making the big journey Stateside to become certified!

Rose said...

Congratulations!!! Some of those children have more patience and concentration in their little pinkie than I do!! Great job, it must have felt very rewarding!

Zentangle said...

It was a wonderful experience. They were making great observations, "Wow, look at how the string just disappeared, but you can see where it was." They began noticing patterns around them. They were confident in their insights to suggest changes and additions to patterns and we created a new one based on their suggestions right there in class. They all seemed very focused yet relaxed about it all. We're so glad we went.

Our grandson's younger (5yo) brother came along to class, too. This morning his mom called and told us that when he got home from lacrosse practice (!) last night, he grabbed a piece of paper and some crayons and started drawing patterns he learned in class. Definitely a "moment."

Rose said...

Oh that's so great! I think the younger they get into art, the better. I am so sick that most of our schools have cut out the finer arts programs and just letting kids have fun with art to see if they have the knack for it... most do! We start out coloring when we're babies.... there should be more art and music in the school system. Maybe this will help them make better decisions! I'm so excited for you! May you have many more experiences like this and this could be the start of a new traveling career! :)

Ann-no-e said...

Great idea, want to come to Manchester NH I've got a 5th grade class very excited about "Zen" ing!

Shelly Beauch said...

Great tips, I like the idea of using a slightly larger card and thicker pens. My 4 year old grandson gave one of his Zentangles to his teacher, she asked him to describe a Zentangle, he proudly said it was all about patterns. Heidi (6) drew a Zentangle on the cover of her 'Good Ideas Book'. What a good idea!

Zentangle said...


I remember someone saying that if you ask first or second graders, "How many here are artists?" usually every hand goes up fast and high. By 5th or 6th grade, about half hesistantly rise. By high school, only one or two raise their hand, and then only after tentatively looking around at their peers. In this class all immediately raised their hands.

-- Rick

I also wrote "Zentangle" post above . . . forgot to sign.

Rose said...


Wow... that says it all.. 2nd graders rock.. get them now while you can, you'll have a whole class full of artistic, talented, successful, confident careers in the future.

I know my kids have no interest and often wonder why I do. It's strange because all they did when they were younger were color in their coloring books. Then came ART in school... they DREADED IT! I guess it came with comparing their art to others'.

Love those 2nd graders!

Have a great weekend!

Debby said...

That is so awesome! It's great that you shared with them something they can do when they want to relax instead of watching TV or playing video games. I have shared this concept with my 16 yo son and he enjoys it- he still chooses video games as his first choice but hopefully with time this will catch on.

Joyce said...

I'm not surprised at all that your clutch of second graders took to Zentangles. Part of the reason is the nature of that age. In my art room, the second graders are always eager risk takers, thrilled with trying new things and happy to share their efforts with the world.

The second factor has to be the personal connection with your grandson. How cool is it that his grandparents can come and share their fun passion with everyone? I loved the pics and the story - thank you!

Joyce (happily CZT)