Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Make A Dot...Day!

For the third year, I will be participating in Dot Day in my classroom. I will also be promoting it with my colleagues and organizing class-to-class celebrations.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dot Day, it began in 2009 when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to the Peter H. Reynolds’ book "The Dot".  It is now celebrated annually on September 15th-(ish) in classes around the world. According to the Dot Day Website it was celebrated in over 100 countries by nearly 3 million people in the last year.

The Story

The story involves a patient teacher who encourages a reserved student to trust in her own abilities and “make her mark”. The student defiantly plunks a small dot on a piece of paper. Her teacher’s caring and supportive reaction ignites her confidence and gives her the courage to create and share. As the author puts it, this is a book that seeks to “Celebrate Creativity, Courage and Collaboration” or, more simply, challenges the reader to “Make your mark and see where it takes you”!


The book can be purchased here but many libraries have a copy. An interactive whiteboard version of the story can be accessed through through this link. There is also a YouTube version here and Primary/Junior classes enjoy the song "The Bouncing Dot" which is available with printable lyrics here.

Things to do

I'll admit, there is not a lot of time to get things rolling in classrooms that begin in September. This is certainly the case in Ontario classrooms which, this year, begin on September 8th. However, fear not, a Dot Day can be a simple and fun affair. Here is a list of ideas that I have considered or explored.

  • Just share the story and let the class know that it’s International Dot Day around the world.
  • Talk about 3 million people and predict how many will participate this year or in ten years.
  • Read the book and sing “The Bouncing Dot”.
  • Get out a variety of markers, pencil crayons, paints, pastels and chalk and make some dots.
  • Use Ipads to find and take a digital picture of dots around the classroom and the school.
  • Pass a fabric dot around the class. Each student imagines and pantomimes it as something else.
  • Have them go home and find 3 important dots in their home. Write about them in Edmodo.
  • Register for Dot Day and get the free educator’s handbook for more ideas.
My "go-to" activity has always been to create T-shirts with permanent markers (Sharpies) and eye-droppers of isopropyl alcohol. Send a note home to request white T-shirts - they do not need to be new, but should be design/logo free. Have students create designs and patterns with multi-coloured sharpies and then use eye-droppers to diffuse the ink through the fabric for a tie-dyed effect. Be sure to set up your eye-dropper stations outside to reduce the impact of fumes from the alcohol.

Be sure to share your creativity at your school or in the global community through social media.

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