International Dot Day has become a special day at our school and it seems to grow a bit each year. This day was created by author/illustrator Peter Reynolds. Each of Peter’s books focus in some way on creativity, expressing your individuality, and making your mark on the world. It’s so much more than a day to create dots. It’s a day to embrace your own uniqueness and express the things that you truly love. It’s a day to establish an environment of innovation and encourage students to express their ideas through multiple formats.
This year at Barrow many classes came to the library to read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and Press Here by Herve Tullet. Students made digital dots using Drawcast and Glow Coloring on the iPads. They made coffee filter dots with markers and water. They used the super cool app colAR Mix to create augmented reality dots. The media center windows have filled with dots throughout the past week to the point that you can barely see in. Our principal even let us have a Dot Dress-up Day today. It was so much fun to look down the halls and see dots everywhere.
A unique project that emerged was Ms. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class. Kelly always listens carefully to her students’ interests and this year she has heard their interest in art. They are looking carefully at multiple artists and recently started looking at Chuck Close. His artwork had a direct connection to dot day with its many dots to make a larger image. This spark took us on a great journey. We read Sky Color by Peter Reynolds where students were introduced to murals. We spent time learning about Diego Rivera’s murals. I shared my own mural that is in my son’s room and how it was designed and painted. Students started looking in the community for murals. Some even began to report back about the murals that they saw while in Atlanta. Ms. Hocking facilitated her students in deciding what kind of mural they could make and over several class periods they penciled in their mural onto a large piece of paper and began filling it with dots just like they had seen in Chuck Close’s art. Today, their dot mural was displayed on the large window of our media center. The sunlight gave the mural a stained glass effect. It was breathtaking and so many people were in awe as they saw it. When I posted the picture of the mural on our media center facebook page, it immediately was showered with likes. The mural was surrounded by window cling dots that a Barrow parent discovered and collaborated with other parents to purchase some for the library.
Today was also a day for students to come and tour the dot gallery on the media center windows. I had all of our iPads available for classes to come and interact with the colAR dots on the inside and outside of the windows. Ms. Li’s Kindergarten class was here bright and early to look at the dots. Look at how much fun they had!
At the end of the day, Mrs. Wyatt’s 1st grade class skyped with Shannon Miller’s students in Van Meter Iowa. We read the dot together. Then, Mrs. Wyatt’s class used Google Earth to go on a virtual tour of a walking field trip that they will soon take in 5 Points. Each stop on the tour was of course a dot on the map!
I look forward to next year and how we might celebrate even bigger when we aren’t in the middle of moving in to a new school.