Winter 2011 / Grade 5’s meet Zentangle meets MandalaGrade 5 Lines & Doodles

Here is a fun lesson in line exploration that the students at St. Michael took on by force!  After a brief intro discussing lines,  they completed their individual line templates to give them a bank of ideas to get them going.

Now, let’s talk about mandalas and zentangles.  Mandala is a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘circle’.  In Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions, it figures visually and spiritually – and the wider idea is that of the universe, a sacred space, and a wholeness therein.  A zentangle is a modern term, employing the action of doodling with a meditative, relaxed openness to the image, to self.

What do you get when you put the two together?  A zendala, of course!   The kids (and I) had great fun saying that word, really fast, like it was a Ninja challenge or something (talk about mixing it up) – we still say it from time to time, just for fun.


We traced a circle using one of those ‘too-big-but-you-eat-it-anyway’ ice cream lids, and then drew some lines to section them off.  (I suggested that the sections could be something other than triangular pie shapes.)  They were a bit nervous to start, so they began in pencil to fill in the sections with different lines/doodles.  As their confidence grew, they went over the pencil lines and continued with black Sharpie marker (one student wanted blue – a Delft Zendala Plate?).  I had some lovely quiet music playing over the two periods we did this, though the atmosphere was not quite … meditative.  A lot of concentration though.

They were quite happy with their work at the end, and we did just stop (in time for minimal clean-up).  In the months following, some students continued to do them, and got their families in on it too.  Yes!  Love that.  I laminated the pieces from class that day, and I like to think they are still hanging in their rooms …

If you would like to try your hand at a zendala (or zentangle), here are a couple of places to find out more about them:

www.zentangle.com                           www.milliand.com

So, get out your Sharpie (my favourite), and send me a picture if you like!




This entry was posted in Art Education, Grade 5/6 Art Projects and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *