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.

Grandparents, Dots, and Making Our Mark

We had a very short week due to Hurricane Irma, but we still had time for some miraculous things happening in the library. September 15 was International Dot Day, but at Barrow, we also celebrated Grandparent’s Day for the very first time.

These two events fit perfectly together because it gave grandparents and grandchildren a space of time to share conversations, stories, creativity, and think about how we are all making our mark in the world.

The morning started in the cafeteria with a donuts and coffee event organized by our amazing PTA.  Well over 300 grandparents & children gathered in the cafeteria and shared table conversations around these questions.

Then, I shared Matt De La Pena and Christian Robinson’s Last Stop on Market Street. I loved sharing this grandparent story about seeing the beautiful in the world. So many grandparents came up to me to talk about how much they loved this story and how much it meant to them to hear it. I was so worried about choosing a book for a crowd this large, but this one spoke to so many.

Following the story, I showed the table conversation questions again and invited families to stop by the library to record some of their conversations using Flipgrid. The library was filled with grandparents and grandchildren. Several did record their stories, and there are so many special moments in the videos.  I hope you’ll take a moment to listen, react, and respond to some of them.

Grandparents and grandchildren also sat down together all around the library reading stories to one another. Some visited our Lego wall and build creations together. Others took coffee filters and design collaborative dots in honor of International Dot Day.

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Grandparents day and dot day #dotday #grandparentsday

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The library was buzzing for almost an hour.

After grandparents left, our day continued with many classes coming to the library for Dot Day. We of course read The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, but we also read The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken.  I loved how these two books paired together. Both spread the messages of getting started, persevering, making a mark and seeing where it goes, and realizing the potential that is hiding inside you.  During the stories, we had conversations about what it means to make your mark on the world and students shared many of their ideas of how they are already making their mark.

After each story, students practiced the idea of physically making a mark on paper and seeing where it took them. Students took a coffee filter and made one mark as a symbol of starting and then each students continued the dot creation to see what emerged.

I loved walking around and seeing the individuality of each student and dot. No two dots looked alike even though every one started with just one mark.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain Dot Day to people who haven’t heard of it, but when you experience the story, conversations, and creativity that are made public on this day, it brings Dot Day to life in a whole new way.

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Dot gallery walk #dotday #creativity

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How did you make your mark on Dot Day? What did you try that was new?  I hope that this year (and next) I can continue this conversation between students/families about how we are all making our mark in the world.

 

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.

 

 

 

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

Dot Day (42)

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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