Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dot Day

 

Peter H. Reynolds uses his picture books to share with his readers how important creativity and the need to find, nurture and celebrate it. Because creativity is forgotten too often in a world of standardized testing, Fablevision and Peter H. Reynolds came together with educators from around the world to celebrate Dot Day "by making time to encourage their students' creativity." 

Though I had never celebrated Dot Day before this year, when I heard about it last year I knew it was something I had to do. Then when Terry Shay began mentioning the upcoming Dot Day on Twitter, I jumped right in- talking to my colleagues about it, tweeting about it and beginning to plan for my Dot Day. 

At my school, my colleague Caitlin and I teamed up to celebrate Dot Day for the first time at our school. Since Dot Day was on a Saturday this year, Caitlin planned on doing Dot Day on Friday and myself on Monday. I couldn't wait to hear from her how Dot Day went at the end of the day Friday, and this was what I found out from Caitlin: 

I was excited to celebrate Dot Day for the first time ever with my students this year. It was a day that let us stray from everyday schoolwork and allowed my students’ creativity to really shine through.

I told my kids throughout the week that Friday was Dot Day in order to spark their curiosity. They had never heard of Dot Day before so they kept asking questions. I had to keep telling them that they would find out on Friday. When Friday finally came and it was time to celebrate Dot Day, they were so ready to find out what it was all about. I started by telling them that it was a day that was inspired by the book The Dot and it was all about “Making Your Mark.” I then read my students the book and they all thought it was such a cute story. I then asked them to tell me the difference between Vashti in the beginning of the book and Vashti at the end of the book. My students told me that in the beginning she thought she couldn’t draw at all but then at the end she had become an artist. I asked them how it all started and they replied with Vashti making the first dot on her paper. Vashti had found her inspiration through a single small dot on a paper. I told my students not to be so quick in saying that they can’t do something. You never know how good you are at something until you try and who knows who you’ll inspire along the way. I told them that through trying, you may make your mark on the world in some way. Vashti made her mark by moving others with her artwork

Next, I wanted to see how inspired my students were with Vashti and her dots so I allowed my students to make their own masterpieces. They created their dots inside the same frame Vashti’s teacher used for her artwork. I was so impressed with the dots that my students came up with. They created dots with glitter glue, construction paper, pipe cleaners, markers, crayons, colored pencils, and felt. I couldn’t believe how creative all of them were! Some students were inspired by things that looked like dots. For example, I had a student make a clock, one made a peace sign, and another made some planets in the solar system with stars (also as dots). Some students wrote their name with dots and others just covered their whole paper with multicolor dots. When they were finished with their artwork, I allowed them to hang their artwork on my door and on the wall in the hallway for all to see. It gave them the opportunity of showing off their masterpieces. 

All in all, I think it went great! The students were truly inspired with Vashti’s dots. Hopefully they were also inspired to try new things throughout their lives and to “Make Their Mark” on the world, whatever that may be. I definitely plan on celebrating Dot Day with my students again next year.    

  
  

I then piggy backed off of Cailtlin's enthusiasm and celebrated with my students on Monday and I found the same enthusiasm that Caitlin found. I think that many students are so used to being graded all of the time and being stressed that having a chance to just show their creativity was a sigh of relief within their life. I also found that it was an opportunity to talk to students about some really deep issues like never giving up, their future and teaching. It was a great chance to slow down and really chat with my students.

I think one of my students' other favorite parts of Dot Day was being able to see  the map of all of the schools participating as well as all of the Celebri-Dotshttp://www.celebridots.com/ showing them that they were doing something that was happening all around the world with kids and celebrities. Some of the Celebri-Dot highlights for them were Jeff Kinney, Sharon Creech, Carole Hart (Sesame Street is still popular!), Tia Kratter (everyone loves Pixar), Julie Andrews, and Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!). Though I think the Celebri-Dot favorites were Ame Dyckman, Renata Liwska, and Chris Barton. We only made it through June 3rd, we'll have to spend some time in the future looking at some more.

The students then used this momentum to create their own masterpieces and I was so happy to post them all for the school to see. Below are all of my students' Dots as well as some of my favorites: 

   

   
  

If you haven't celebrated Dot Day with your students yet, it isn't too late to do so. 
Don't forget to make your mark! 

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Great job getting the message through about Dot Day! :-)

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