International Dot Day Celebrations
International Dot Day is a day that celebrates creativity, bravery, and self-expression. September 15th marks the anniversary of The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds, and educators around the world have worked together to celebrate the power of creative teaching by using this book as a common thread that ties us together. The main character, Vashti, sets off on a journey of self-discovery, letting her creativity bloom, and ultimately becomes a leader, inspiring others to do the same, all because of the encouragement of a teacher.
I learned about International Dot Day from my Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter. Many of the librarians and educators that I follow have been celebrating in one way or another for years, but this was the first year I had heard about it. I decided to jump in with both feet and bring it school wide, and I’m so glad that I did! We made it a week-long celebration. I tried things that I never thought I would try in the library, and it was amazing!
Our teachers stayed after school one day to paint dots in the library for our Dot Gallery. Students rarely get to see the creative work of their teachers on display, so this was a real treat for them!
Some of our kindergartners were able to create dots with crayons and use watercolors to create a “resist” effect. It was a little risky, and a little messy, and the kids loved it! I was very impressed with their beautiful dot creations!
This year we received six iPad minis from the LISD EDUCATE Academy, so we used the free ColAR Mix augmented reality app to make three-dimensional models of dots. It was super fun! The teachers had as much fun (or more) than the kids did!
Some of the students made “thought dots” for our gallery, which were inspiring words or phrases made out of dots. Others created “trying dots,” with their creative dots on the front, and an idea of something they would like to try on the back. And of course, all of the students were encouraged to “sign it,” just like in the book. The Dot Gallery in the hallway looks incredible!
My favorite part of the week, however, were the connections we made with other schools. Part of the purpose of this celebration is to share with and inspire others, so we were able to use video conferencing software to connect our students with other libraries and schools across the country and the world! This was such a meaningful experience for our students. They were able to learn about other places and ways of life while gathered around the common purpose of celebrating creativity and making a positive mark on the world based on The Dot, which we all had read.
So how were we able to “connect the dots”? People from my PLN posted a link to an open Google Doc which we used to post our schedules and connect with other educators. Even though there were a few technological glitches, we were able to improvise and make it meaningful and fun. I think we made sixteen Skype connections throughout the week! We connected with schools in Texas, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington, and even the country of Belarus in Eastern Europe! A class of 6th grade students who were studying English stayed after school to make the connection with us. It was 8:00 AM our time, and 4:00 PM in Belarus. What an amazing opportunity for our students and theirs!
I think this was one of the best weeks we’ve ever had in the Rutledge Library. It was fun, creative, messy, beautiful, exhausting, educational, meaningful, collaborative, and a great way to practice leadership, digital citizenship, and global communication skills. I can hardly wait until next year’s Dot Day celebrations! Better yet, let’s celebrate Dot Day all year long and continue to make our mark!
(Click on the link above to see some artistic creations from Dot Day.)