Mandala English Assignments

Teacher plays soft music, such as Deep Forest,
that resembles jungle or forest sounds. Students close their eyes, relax in their chairs, take a few deep,
cleansing breaths, and become receptive to the questions they will now hear. ? (Give a moment or two for reflection after each question.)

  1. What animal are you most like?
  2. What plant are you most like?
  3. What shape are you most like?
  4. What number are you most like? (Don’t elaborate if a student asks what you mean by “number.” Simply repeat the question.)
  5. What mineral or gem are you most like?
  6. What natural element are you most like, air, earth, fire, or water? (For element, students can choose some aspect of an element, such as breeze, hurricane, tornado for “air,” mountain, desert, beach for “earth.”)
    These symbols become the sun signs for their mandalas.


It is useful to do some brainstorming or clustering about specific categories before beginning this activity. You might want to spend a class period on each of the categories, with such questions as:
Plant—Are you a tree, a shrub, a flower, a weed? Are you indoor or outdoor? Wild or domestic? Evergreen or deciduous? Deeply rooted? Do you require a lot of care? Of food? Of water?
Shape—Are you angular or curved? Open or closed? Regular or erratic? Finite or infinite?
Number—Are you even or odd? A whole or a part? What is your shape–smooth and flowing or pointed and angular? Are you a single, double or more digit? Do you stand alone?

Guided Practice:

Students brainstorm a list of nouns and adjectives with several classmates, checking for correct spelling and then share with the class as a whole.

  • Pass out worksheets (attached)
  • Students then fill in Column One, the sun images.
  • Students fill in Column Two with one word that expresses the single characteristic or quality that represents their choices. The word must be “just right.”
  • Now, the students are ready to move from the outward images to the inward aspects of life and to create a shadow image of each of the seven categories that will make up the mandala.
  • Again, with the use of the dictionary, etc, they are to fill in Column Three with the antonym of the word in Column Two, making sure that the antonym is the same part of speech as the Column Two word.
  • In Column Four, students write the animal (etc.) that they think is most like the quality described in Column Three.
  • Students write a sentence that describes the single most important characteristic for each of their specific symbols. Encourage students to use the dictionary, thesaurus or library sources during this process.
  • Students then write shadow sentences, such as

“Inside, I am most like a _________ because____________________________.”


Teacher tells the students, “Inside the frame of your paper (usually a circle), using color and shape but no words, draw all your images, both Sun and Shadow. Arrange in any way you like. (Artistry is not important. Students can use sumbols or approximations to illustrate their images, such as a footprint of an animal to represent that animal. Students can also trace a drawing to help them with their symbols.)
The drawings can take up some time during class and then finished at home.


The students will write sentences around the periphery of their illustration, providing some kind of frame for their work. Encourage them to write their sentences about all of their sun signs and one sentence about all of their shadow signs.


  • Poems–such as haiku with each of the pairs
  • Autobiographical incidents– “write about a time when you most behaved like one of your sun or one of your shadow signs.”
  • Interpretation– “What character in a book you recently read was like one of your sun or shadow signs?”
  • Speculation–“When are you most like your sun signs? When are you most like your shadow signs?

Accuracy and completeness of all written categories.


The mandala integrates all learning functions:

  • Conceptual thinking (metaphor, image, symbol)
  • Vocabulary usage (precision of word choices)
  • Linguistic function (sentence structure)

The mandala activity incorporates all eight learning intelligences:

  • Linguistic
  • Spatial
  • Bodily-kinesthetic
  • Musical
  • Interpersonal
  • Intra-personal
  • Naturalist

Download the directions to the Mandala Assignment.

A mandala is a wondrous and meaningful design made in the form of a circle. These special drawings traditionally displayed highly intricate illustrations of religious significance and were used for meditation. Since then, mandalas have become a tool for displaying individual and cultural uniqueness in the world over.

A simple definition of the mandala is that it is a circular drawing made to represent the harmony and wholeness of life or the wholeness of a person. Tibetans used mandalas for calming themselves and for thinking about the meaning of life. Today, people often create mandalas to form a simple representation of who they are. To make a mandala, a person begins by thinking of symbols that represent him or her. These symbols might include a dove to represent peace, a heart to represent love, or an open hand to represent friendship. The symbols a person chooses are then carefully drawn in the mandala.

Directions: Use a three-column T-Chart to carefully consider what images to include on your mandala. Then, draw the images on the mandala on the front of this page. Your mandala will hang on the wall of the classroom all year, so be sure to create something you are proud of!

Things Important to MeSymbols Representing the Things Important to MeWhat the Symbols Mean
Examples: ·       Safety·       Family·       FriendshipExamples: ·       Dove·       Heart·       RainbowExamples: ·       Peace in the World·       Love/Unity·       Hope












Mandala Autobiography

Using your mandala as the basis for your writing, create an autobiographical essay that reveals some significant aspects of your life. Your essay should describe the symbols you’ve chosen for your mandala, what the symbols mean, and why they are significant representations of your life. You should also help your reader to understand how all these symbols come together to demonstrate unity or wholeness, how they hold together to communicate the “essence” of who you are.

Think about the audience to whom you’d like to write. Suggestions:

  • Your family
  • Your teacher
  • Your classmates
  • Your school

Audience to whom you’re writing: ________________________________

Purpose: To communicate to others about some areas of your life that you consider important – you want your audience to understand who you are as they read about what’s important to you.

Form: Five-Paragraph Essay

Essay Requirements: You must have an introduction, three body paragraphs explaining the significance of three symbols, and a conclusion.

Due Date: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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