Several years ago I learned about International Dot Day. Since then, I’ve incorporated it into my classroom every year. International Dot Day is celebrated on September 15th-ish each year and is brought to you by The Dot author, Peter H. Reynolds. If you’re not familiar with him, or his books, take this as your opportunity. His books, especially those that are part of the Creatrilogy series help show students important character traits through familiar, real-life scenarios. In The Dot, Vashti is disappointed in her work, but her teacher encourages her to just get started. The book shows Vashti’s growth as she learns she doesn’t need to be perfect, and finds her confidence in herself on her way to make her mark.
What is Dot Day?
I’ll take my cue from Peter Reynolds when describing The Dot and Dot Day:
“The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.”
Dot Day is an opportunity to focus on student individualism, perseverance, and courage. It allows you to carve out a chunk of time for student self-expression, and social-emotional learning. It celebrates the themes present in The Dot and gives voice to the important beliefs we all too often forget to remind ourselves of.
Dot Day starts with a sharing of the text- whether on that day or prior to. No reading of The Dot is complete without a discussion and exploration of the message behind the text. Dot Day continues with students making their own art piece incorporating their dot.
Participating in Dot Day
One of the best parts about participating in Dot Day is that you are able to make it work for you. Share the book with your students. Give them an opportunity to create. And, enjoy! Looking for ideas for you and your students? Sign up to receive the Educator’s Handbook that’s full of awesome ideas for classroom integration. There are several videos on The Dot Club and you can take a look at pictures in the Gallery. I also love the Dot Day Facebook page! Peter Reynolds shares tons of ideas from himself, and you get to see ideas from creators all over the world!
A few years ago, I used Google Drawings for our Dot Day project. My completed project is shown here. I wanted to introduce many digital tools to students and get them familiar with them. By using Drawings, my students were able to explore shape creation, color tools, groupings, and ordering. It allowed my students to build their skills with a tool they didn’t know well. It also allowed us to talk about digital artwork as a medium many weren’t already familiar with. While many students already have feelings about themselves as artists, creating art digitally made everyone a bit less confident in their art. Students could really connect with Vashti.
Once students finished, they shared the file with me so I could print them. We matted them on construction paper and displayed our Dot Day inspiration in the hallway. Using Drawings is a great idea in 2020 no matter your school setting. Of course, you can use traditional art mediums as well. I’ve seen some tremendous watercolor dot projects!
Do you celebrate Dot Day in your classroom? Have you heard incorporated the Creatrilogy from Peter Reynolds? Share your ideas in the comments below!