Celebrating International Dot Day 2018

September 15(ish) is International Dot Day. This day celebrates The Dot by Peter Reynolds and the idea that we are all creative and unique and can all make our mark on the world. Every year, we use this week to make Skype connections with classes around the country, share dot-related stories, and realize that we are all connected to each other.

Some years I try to host many dot-making activities in the library.

This year, we are doing creativity challenges every week as a whole school, so I asked my principal if we could make this week’s challenge dot-related. At the beginning of the week on our morning broadcast, I explained the purpose of Dot Day and challenged all classes to see what they could make out of dots. They could create something as a class, create individual ideas on post-its or index cards, or anything else. Each class was encouraged to hang their work outside their door for all to see. They were also encouraged to bring their creations to Skype sessions to share with our connecting classes.

I really loved this new addition because I feel like more people jumped into celebrating Dot Day. On Friday, we invited everyone to wear dots, and I was surprised to see how many students created their own shirts at home with dots.  One student even hid a Mo Willems pigeon in his dots on his shirt.

For our Skypes we connected with:

  • Donna MacDonald at Orchard School in South Burlington Vermont to read Little Elliot by Mike Curato.
  • Craig Seasholes in Seattle, Washington to read Yo! Yes! and The Dot
  • Shannon Miller at Van Meter Elementary in Van Meter, Iowa to read Ish
  • Mrs. Shekleton at Howard Winneshiek School District in Iowa to read Say Zoop by Herve Tullet
  • Mrs. Guardiola at Caldwell Elementary School in Round Rock, Texas to read I Don’t Draw I Color by Adam Lehrhaupt
  • Mrs. Snead at Central Elementary in Carrollton, Texas to read Say Zoop by Herve Tullet
  • Mrs. Schnurr in Dallas, Texas to read I Don’t Draw I Color by Adam Lehrhaupt

As usual, every connection was filled with special moments. One of my favorites was reading Say Zoop with so many students. It’s a book that puts you a bit out of your comfort zone, but the kids had a blast making all of the noises.

I also loved seeing all of the creativity of dots from place to place and hearing students ask questions and share with one another. These Skype connections always remind us how we are sometimes stuck in our routines and forget that there’s a whole world of people out there doing some of the same things we are. It just takes reaching out and having a conversation to connect yourself to one another.

Thank you to everyone who connected with us and to all educators and students who reached out, tried something new, and connected the dots around the world.

Make Your Mark for Dot Day 2016…Let the Planning Begin

One of our favorite times of the year is Dot Day and September 15 will be here before we know it!  It’s a day to celebrate connecting, collaborating, and creating and seeing where our creativity takes us. Can you believe that it’s less than 2 months away?

Now is the time to start brainstorming ideas for celebrating creativity and supporting your students in making their mark in the world. You can read all about this special day and sign up here.  There is a wonderful educator’s handbook that you will receive as part of the registration.

Then head over to the Get Involved…Making a Mark page to be inspired to Read, Create, Learn and Visit on Dot Day too.

There are tons of ideas on Shannon McClintock Miller’s International Dot Day Pinterest Board

In our own library, we’ve enjoyed reading lots of stories related to dots and creativity as well as connecting Dot Day to core subject areas.

Check out these examples:

  • After reading the book, Going Places, with Sherry Gick’s students in Indiana, two of our students made their mark by teaching Sherry’s students how to create a beading craft from our makerspace

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  • We’ve enjoyed countless storytimes with classes around the globe reading dot-related stories and stories of creativity including Ish, The Dot, Press Here, Mix It Up, Let’s Play, Rose’s Garden, Little Elliot Big City, and more.

For the last several years, hundreds of us have used our Google Doc as a place to make and plan lots of special connections on September 15 and throughout the week of Dot Day. When we put our minds together, we come up with amazing new ways to celebrate the day with our students.

You can add your schedule, connect with others, and start making your mark with others around the world. Check out the doc here: http://bit.ly/dotday2016 

Please include your information including name, location, grade level and subject, Twitter handle and whatever else you’d like to share.  As you start planning, add your schedule and ideas.  Others can then look at your profile and connect if they’d like to on the Google Document with you. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask.

Let’s Make Our Mark on the World! Happy Connecting!

Many thanks to Shannon McClintock Miller for co-writing this post.

 

 

Making Our Mark for International Dot Day 2015

What a week!  We connected the dots with so many places around our country, shared great stories, learned about other perspectives, and viewed student-created masterpieces.  I love the conversations that Dot Day brings out in our students.

It was an amazing week, and this time I’ll just let the pictures and tweets speak for themselves.

 

 

 

Celebrating International Dot Day with Google Drawing and Cells

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We love Dot Day at our school.  We connect with classrooms around the country across the whole week.  Our students love reading stories and creating dots in creative ways.

This year, our 5th graders are studying cells in science at about the same time as Dot Day, so we decided to connect the two.  Each class came to the library and we spent some time talking about “making our mark” and what that really means.  We gave examples of students who are already making their mark this school year.  I tried to emphasize that a big part of this is trying new things and just seeing where it goes.  We never know when we try something new if it is going to lead us to something awesome.

After this quick mini-lesson, students had a chance to tinker with Google Drawing.  I showed them where it was within Google Drive, but really gave no instruction on how to use it.  They had about 15-20 minutes just to click on everything they could find and see what it did.  Some students found a groove and actually created something they were excited about while others gave themselves permission not to worry about what the page looked like and just get messy clicking buttons.

During the tinkering time, there was a group of students who suddenly started using Google Drawing to make their own emoji.  When I started asking them about their work, they were a bit shy at first because they thought they were in trouble.  However, I told them that new emoji are being created all the time, and they never know when their ideas and creations might lead to the next emoji on our phones.  They were eager to carry on with their work.  I saw other students designing their own jewelry and another creating a building design.

Mrs. Freeman, the reading teacher, and I transitioned students from tinkering into using Google Drawing to make a cell for Dot Day.  We pulled up some examples of animal and plant cells and then students referenced those as they drew and labeled their cells.

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One of the things I loved was walking around and seeing how unique each student made his/her cell.  One student talked about how the organelles looked like bacon so he actually imported a picture of bacon into his cell drawing.  Awesome!

Google Drawing (10)

As we neared the end of our time, we took a moment to highlight various student work.  It was selected for many reasons, not just because it had all of the parts of a cell labeled.

We closed by once again revisiting the idea that by trying a new tool, we are opening up possibilities for future projects and creations that might lead us to making our mark on the world in some fantastic way.

Happy Dot Week!

 

Let’s Make Our Mark and See Where It Goes for Dot Day 2015

How do you and your students want to make your mark on the world this school year?  International Dot Day, which is September 15ish, is the perfect time to make connections with other schools, spark creativity and collaboration, and see where it takes you for the rest of the year.  Whether you’ve celebrated Dot Day from its beginnings or you are just getting started, we invite you to get creative with your students and share that creativity with the world.

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From the official page:
International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.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.”

There’s no “right” way to celebrate Dot Day.  In fact, every year people around the globe come up with new and creative ways to make dots and connect with others.  That’s the magic of this special day.

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What happens during a Dot Day connection?
Often, we start by reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds or other dot-inspired books such as Press Here by Herve Tullet.  This is done via Skype or Google Hangouts with a connecting class. We begin to connect the dots with one another by learning a bit about one another.  Sometimes we create something together.  For example, last year students in Barrow Elementary made collaborative digital dots with connecting schools via Google Drawing.

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If you need some ideas to get started, consider taking a look at Matthew Winner’s past lessons or check out what others have posted in the Dot Day gallery.

Shannon Miller and John Schu’s Dot Day video is always an inspiration.

Also, check out the Celebridots page for dots created by some of your favorite authors and illustrators.

Many times connecting schools send some of their creations to one another through traditional mail.

How to get started

  1. Register your school on the official Dot Day page.  You’ll be added to the global map as well as gain access to the educator guide which is packed with information
  2.  Visit our shared Google Doc to start making connections with other schools.  We plan to make connections during the whole week of September 14-18.  Simply post your schedule, ideas, and contact information. Then, browse the doc for other schedules that match yours.  Skype in the Classroom is also a great place to make connections.
  3.  Start collaborating with your connecting schools and get ready to make your mark with your students.

Part of making your mark on the world is getting your students’ voices and creations out into the world.  As you connect, share your creations on Twitter using #DotDay and #Makeyourmark  Consider creating a blog post to show your students’ work to the world.

Now, make your mark and see where it takes you.

tinyurl.com/dotday15

Making Our Mark with Dot Day 2014 (and I hope well beyond)

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International Dot Day is one of our favorite days (weeks) of the year.  It gives us permission to be creative and see what we can do just by making a mark.  It also connects us with so many classrooms around the world.  Classes are always looking to connect on this day, and we have made many collaborative relationships with schools because of this one day of the year.

This year, we used Dot Day as a way to explore our goal of dreaming, tinkering, creating, and sharing.  We explored Google Drawing, which was a new tool for most students.  We used Dot Day as a time to tinker and see how Google Drawing functioned as well as how to collaborate on a drawing with another student or class.

We also used colAR mix again this year to make augmented reality dots.  This year, I encouraged students to think more globally as they made their dots by embracing the them of “making your mark on the world” that is the essence of The Dot.  Students were encouraged to design a dot that represented their talents, hopes, dreams, and passions.  I loved this new twist on a tool that we used last year because it revealed so many stories from students.  One student drew a picture of an airplane flying through the clouds because of his dream to be a pilot when he grows up.  Another student drew an astronaut and UFOs because of his desire to explore space.  Another drew her whole family because they are what she loves in life.  Some students chose to highlight their creativity as a way that they make their mark by designing unusual dots with their favorite colors.  These were empowering stories because they allowed students to have a voice to share something personal about themselves in a way that they might now have shown before.

One amazing thing that happened while students were using the colAR app was how they discovered different ways to scan their dot. It started out as what some people might see as a mistake.  A student’s hand was on top of their dot while they were scanning their image, and the hand became a part of the rotating sphere on the iPad screen.  This resulted in an uproar of excitement as sharing began and the idea spread like wildfire.  Soon students were trying to put their faces on their spinning spheres.  Others stacked towers of crayons on top of their dot and tried to see if that would scan into the 3D image.  All of this happened because of an opportunity to tinker.  When we give kids a space to explore, they figure out amazing things and they willingly share and teach others what they learned.  They get excited about their learning and they want to do more.  I bet that these students would have spent an extended period of time continuing to experiment with colAR mix to see what else they could figure out, and they would have done this without getting tired or bored.  These are the things that days like Dot Day reveal.

We had numerous Skype connections.  Each one had its own unique twists and conversations between students and teachers.  In many of these Skypes, we collaborated on a Google Drawing dots after reading the book.  This included dots with our friend Okle Miller in Tampa, Edie Crook in North Carolina, and Crystal Hendrix in North Carolina (just to name a few).  Sometimes this was live during a Google Hangout or Skype and other times it was after we disconnected.  One of our hangouts was a large hangout between Matthew Winner in Maryland, Nancy Jo Lambert in Texas, Donna MacDonald in Vermont, and Esther Uribe in Texas.  It was fun to read The Dot to students in so many states at one time, but what was even more fun was drawing with all of them at the same time!  We definitely did some tinkering with this one.  Many of us learned of the challenges of younger students but found ways to involved them even with computer-use difficulties.  The students loved seeing drawings “magically” appear on our shared dot.

Ramsey & Winner Dot

Our multi-school collaborative dot

With Jennifer Reed in Massachusetts, we accidentally deleted all of our work on our collaborative dot.  The kids were in a panic, but it was a fantastic opportunity to do an impromptu lesson on the power of revision history in Google Drive.  We were able to recover our work and learn an important trick.  We even talked about how revision history is one way that work is never deleted, which can be a positive but also a negative if you have written something that you wished you hadn’t.

Wright & Reeder Dot

Our dot with Jennifer Reed that was almost lost!

Mrs. Clarke’s class had a Skype connection, but we weren’t able to do a collaborative dot with our connecting class.  Instead, we split the class in half at our 2 projection boards and they created a dot together as a class.  They got just a bit competitive as they tried to cover up each other’s work, but even this was a great opportunity to talk about how to work with others on a doc without being disrespectful of the contributions.

Clarke & Lussier Dot

Mrs. Clarke’s class competitive dot

Some classes that we connected with had already spent a great deal of time being creative, and they shared with us dots that they are going to physically mail to us.  Jenny Lussier in Connecticut had colAR dots as well as Morse code greeting cards.  We can’t wait to decode what they say!  We also discovered with Jenny that there’s more than one version of The Dot floating around out there.

Cathy Potter’s students in Maine read the book Ish to our students and shared their own illustrations for the book.  We had a great conversation about the connections between both books.

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Students and teachers alike love this day, but I do leave this day with a wondering.  I’m thinking so much this year about global thinking and global collaboration.  This day is filled with thousands of Skype and Google Hangout connections around the world.  We connect.  We read.  We dream.  We create.  But then what?  We leave one another until the next big event.  I’m by no means being negative about Dot Day.  I’m a huge advocate, but I do wonder about why we don’t build upon these connections we make.  If we are really going to “make our mark” on the world, shouldn’t we be taking some actions together beyond connecting, reading, and creating?  I would like to gently nudge us all to think about this.  I’m just as guilty.  I connect every year and then I move on, but I can’t help but carry this on my mind, reflect on it, and consider what more we might do beyond today.  Think with me!  Let’s keep our dots connected.

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International Dot Day 2013 @ Barrow

Ms. Kelly Hocking's class mural inspired by Chuck Close

Ms. Kelly Hocking’s class mural inspired by Chuck Close

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.

Mr. Plemmons with pumpkin dots, converse dot, and Scaredy Squirrel dot.

Mr. Plemmons with pumpkin dots, converse dot, and Scaredy Squirrel dot.

hocking mural (2)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.hocking mural (1)

dot day (15)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!

 

Reading The Dot with Van Meter

Reading The Dot with Van Meter

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!

Our Van Meter dot friends

Our Van Meter dot friends

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.

 

Dot Day Fun with colAR Mix App

Every year, I enjoy celebrating International Dot Day, and it seems that every year we discover new ways to celebrate.  This year, I was excited to discover colAR Mix 3D coloring book.  I discovered the app while reading Fablevision’s posts about Dot Day.  colAR Mix is an augmented reality app that takes 2D coloring pages and brings them to life.  You can see the amazing video here:

For Dot Day, they made a special free page that allows students to design their own dots and turn them into rotating discs, falling balls, rotating solar systems, and revolving globes.  The app has a built in camera so you can take pictures of your creation, pretend that you are holding your creation in your hand, or even work with a partner to take your picture with your creation.

The students have been blown away by the coolness of this app.  Every adult that has seen it has immediately downloaded it on their phones and iPads to try it out for themselves.  Other than the coolness, I could really see this being used for multiple purposes.  When you study maps, you often have to think about something that is 3D in a flat format.  This app allows students to design something flat and see what it looks like in 3D.  Perhaps by working through this several times students would gain some understanding about how our flat maps of the world actually translate into the actual 3D world we live in.  It would be interesting to connect this with the upcoming explorers study that I am doing with 4th grade.  I would love to hear others’ ideas of how it might be used beyond dot day.

 

International Dot Day: First Steps

dot day (14)Today, the very first classes came to participate in International Dot Day lessons.  Ms. Olin’s 5th grade class read The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  We talked about what it means to make your mark on the world.  I loved hearing their ideas because they really had a sense of how they could make a difference.  I had 2 separate areas setup for them.  One area had coffee filters, a variety of coloring supplies, a water bottle, and tables covered in black butcher paper.  They could use the materials in any way they wanted to be creative making a dot.  The other area had iPads loaded with Glow Coloring and Drawcast.  Students who chose iPads used a stylus to draw a dot and save it to the camera roll on the device.

Students chose where they went.  I made no requirements about doing a dot at both locations.  Some students chose to make several coffee filters dots by trying different techniques of using markers, crayons, color pencils, and water.  Others chose to make multiple iPad dots.  A few chose to do both.  Once students’ dots dried, I started making our dot gallery on the windows of the library.dot day (15)

dot day (16)Later in the day, Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class came to begin a dot project.  They are going to be studying several artists and learning how they can express themselves through art.  One of the artists they will learn about is Chuck Close.  This is a perfect tie-in to Dot Day since Chuck Close creates paintings that are made of numerous dots that come together to make a larger picture.  I had already read Sky Color to her class and they became very interested in painting murals.  Today, I showed them pictures of a mural in my daughter and son’s room and how the idea for the mural came from several children’s books.  Then, we read Diego Rivera His World and Ours.  The book details how Rivera traveled Mexico to get ideas for his murals.  It also raises the question about what Rivera would paint if he were alive today.  I love that the book ends by saying, “Today Diego is not around to make this happen.  So it is up to us to make our own murals and bring them to life.”  This was Mrs. Kelly’s lead-in to the mural that they will now create using dots in their classroom.  The mural will be displayed in the library, and we will probably have some more lessons before it is done.

dot day (17)I also discovered a great new iPad app after reading about it on Fablevision.  colAR Mix is an augmented reality app that brings coloring pages to life in 3D.  They have made a special coloring page just for dot day.  I made a practice dot, and it was so much fun seeing it pop off the page on the iPad.  You can take a picture of your 3D dot and save it to the camera roll.  I’m sure several classes will try this one out.dot day

International Dot Day 2012 @barrowmc

September 15(ish) is International Dot Day.  We’ve been celebrating for the past week in the Barrow Media Center.  Numerous classes came to listen to The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  We talked about the importance of making your mark on the world and avoiding the words “I can’t”.  After our discussion, students moved to tables and made dots in 2 different ways.

Using Drawcast on the iPad, students made digital dots in a variety of ways.  They saved their images to the iPad photo gallery.  We took those dots and imported them into a collective dot folder and used Animoto to make a digital dot gallery.  We also made a QR code and displayed it outside the library to link to our Animoto video.

At the other tables, student had access to coffee filters, markers, crayons, and color pencils.  They decorated their coffee filters in creative ways.  All of the paper dots filled the windows of the media center to the point that you almost couldn’t see in!  Some students used a spray bottle of water to spray their filters so that the color ran together.  After many classes came, we realized that our sprayed dots had created even more dots in the drying area.  The final class, Ms. Olin’s class, wrote on the drying paper “Barrow School Made Their Mark” and we displayed this in the hallway as well.

We hope our creativity will inspire others to make their mark on the world!