Monday, September 15, 2014

It's International Dot Day - September 15-ish!

This is one of my favorite weeks of the school year.  It is a special time when we celebrate art, books, creativity and being brave.  It's a time when we talk about taking risks, getting out of our comfort zones and leaving our mark.

All of the students at Memorial School will listen to The Dot, a wonderful story by Peter H. Reynolds. It is the story of a girl named Vashti who begins a journey of self-discovery after a caring teacher challenges her to make her mark. This story really resonates with our young students - it has such a great and important message. And everyone, including all students and staff, are invited to create their own dots. But here's the important thing: all of our dots will be signed on the front.  We are proud of our creations and we're learning to always sign our work.  This also fits perfectly with a lesson in our Pilot Digital Citizenship curriculum where students are introduced to the concept of having ownership over their creative work.

Trees on one of the bulletin board waiting to be covered with student created dots!

Dot Day is also about collaboration. This is the second year awesome Art Teacher, Joe Knaus, and I have collaborated for our Memorial School Dot Day Celebration. Joe is a big fan of the message in the story and he loves using books to tie into his lessons. Joe is working hard to create beautiful bulletin boards in the art room hallway (on the way the the Library!) with student dots.  Hope you will have a chance to see them.

Buddy Dots from our 2013 Dot Day Celebration!

I have also been collaborating with teacher librarians several states to make plans for Dot Day.  This year, all grade 1 classes will be connecting with another class. Some of the classes will be "Dot Buddies" with another grade 1 class. This is where we cut our dots in half (but are sure to sign both halves!).  We send our half dots to the other class and they send theirs to us so we can all create new collaborative dots or Buddy Dots.  We will also be connecting with classes via Skype or Google Hangout to share stories, to talk about the message of Dot Day and to meet new friends. This experience also ties into our Pilot Digital Citizenship curriculum unit about "Your Online Community." We will be connecting with students in Vermont, Texas, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

We are anticipating a fun and inspiring week full of creativity and new experiences.  How will you make your mark?

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