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.


World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge #2: Adult & Child

World-Read-Aloud-Day-2014For the next 3 weeks, I’m participating in the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge.  Each week, I will respond to a question along with many other bloggers participating in this global celebration of reading aloud.  Our students, teachers, and families will also be involved with these questions each week as I invite them to respond through Flipgrids, Thinglinks, and more.

Last week, the students and I, along with students from Van Meter Iowa & Okle Miller in Tampla FL, added to a Flipgrid to share our favorite read aloud memories.  You can watch and listen to those here:  http://flipgrid.com/#ae0e8232

The challenge for Week 2 is to have conversations between adults and children.  To give my students, teachers, and families a voice, I created a Google Form to respond to this week’s question.  Each Barrow student who fills out the form will have a chance to win a new book to read aloud to someone!

Because of the icy week we had last week, I spent a lot of time at home.  I took time to have a conversation about these questions with my 4 year old daughter, Alora.  I’ve expanded on my answers a bit in this post, but these are the topics that Alora and I discussed together.

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Daddy & Daughter

1. I think everyone in the world should read…

Me:  books that speak to their hearts.  I think that we all have common connections to why we all read, but I love that we all enjoy different kinds of books.  We don’t all have to love Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Harry Potter or Princess books, but each of those books speaks to different readers in different ways.  It’s no secret that my favorite author is Kate DiCamillo, but the reason she is my favorite author is that there’s something about her voice in her writing that connects with my heart.  From a little girl befriending a dog and hearing the stories of a community to a rabbit trying to find his way home to a tiny mouse looking for the light in the world to a miraculous superhero squirrel, Kate DiCamillo’s books are filled with words that seem like magic on a page to me.

Child:  Peter Pan and princesses because I like those.  I like princesses and Tinker Bell.  Everybody likes princess books.

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…

Me:  It’s hard to pick just one!  My second grade teacher Mrs. DeLoach (whose name has changed to Mrs. McKinney) would be one.  She brought the characters of the Uncle Remus stories to life and a beautiful southern accent.  Those voices were ones that I wanted to imitate in my own reading.  Now, I love to hear Carmen Agra Deedy read stories and tell stories.  The tones, rhythms, movements, and volumes of her voice keep me hooked into every detail of the story.  I think I could listen to her tell stories for hours.

Child:  Mommy and Daddy because I don’t know how to read until I get bigger.

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…

Me:  So many people love to hear me read southern stories and create the voices for those characters.  I love to make the voices for the characters in Epossumondas.  Both Mama and Eppossumondas are such fun to bring to life.  I also love to hear how the voices that I create are different that the voices that other readers create for those same characters.

Child:  Tinker Bell because she just rings a bell and doesn’t say anything.

4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…

Me:  Books by Kate DiCamillo.  I have every book that she has written and most of them are signed.  Of course now they aren’t all in one place on the bookshelf because they are spread between the living room and both kids’ rooms.  That’s a good sign of being well-loved.

Child:  Fairytales like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio….Dora went to a fairytale one time too.

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is…

Me:  It allows me to escape into the story in a different way than if I was reading it myself.  When a story is read aloud, the words seem to transform the space around everyone listening to the story.  For just a few moments, the busy world disappears and I get to step into a time machine that allows me to escape and experience the world through different eyes.  When I’m read aloud to, I don’t have to think about saying the words just right.  I can just listen and imagine.

Child:  hearing the different voices that you and Mommy make.

For more information on World Read Aloud Day visit http://litworld.org/worldreadaloudday 

To connect with other libraries and classrooms, visit our shared Google Doc.