It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Teacher Thursday post, so I wanted to make sure we had something a little special for our teachers who’ve just headed back to school this month. September 15th is Dot Day, and it’s a great way to celebrate reading, creativity, and getting to know each of your students’ strengths. Last year we asked how you were planning to celebrate Dot Day, but this year we’ve decided to give a couple suggestions for anyone who’s looking to join the celebration for the first time or thinking of trying something new.
If you haven’t read The Dot before, here’s a little background. It’s a picture book written and illustrated by popular children’s author Peter H. Reynolds. Protagonist Vashti can’t draw and thinks that means she can’t be an artist. But when her art teacher shows her the value of one little dot, Vashti allows her creativity to flourish and shares what she learns with others. Dot Day is an opportunity to bring Vashti’s experiences into everyday life and experience some collaboration, creativity, and positivity for yourself!
There’s plenty of information available at the official website: http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/. You can also check out our Pinterest board. “Teacher Thursday: Dot Day,” for even more suggestions. Here are a few additional reading suggestions and activities to get you started.
Of course, The Dot is essential reading to prepare for Dot Day, and several of Peter H. Reynolds’ other titles are equally relevant. Here are a couple other reading suggestions that work well for a Dot Day celebration:
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann
Rose is determined to earn her own star on her teacher’s blackboard, but things never seem to work out quite right. Luckily, the classroom tries out a more creative project, and Rose finally finds her time to shine.
This is another great book about valuing creativity and a teacher who encourages her students to be different and recognize their greatest skills.
What Do You Do With an Idea? written by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
What do you do with a particularly troublesome, potentially brilliant idea that just won’t go away? Find out in this powerful picture book!
Here’s a great picture book for discussing how to accept differences and allow creative ideas to grow.
Matthew’s Dream by Leo Lionni
This picture book is about a mouse who follows his creativity to make his dreams become a reality.
We’ve mentioned Matthew’s Dream a few times before to celebrate Lionni’s birthday and as part of another Teacher Thursday about art in the classroom, but this is the perfect time to bring it up again! Matthew and Vashti have similar strengths and end up with such positive views of themselves and their skills that they’re able to accomplish an incredible amount.
If you’re looking for a quick activity on short notice, ask your students to look for dots or circles in the classroom after you’ve read the book aloud! Or provide a range of supplies and ask your students to create different kinds of dots, just like Vashti. These would be great activities for young students, especially as part of a math activity that requires shape identification. I think the most important thing to remember with any activity associated with this book is that it shouldn’t be a contest! It’s not “who can make the most dots” but “how many dots can we make together.” Because The Dot is about supporting one another and being open and collaborative, it’s important to foster a similar feeling in your activities.
Dot Day could also be a perfect time to try making your own BookWorm for your classroom. Give each student a circle cut out of heavy colored paper and ask them to write the title of their favorite book on it. You can tape all the circles on the wall of your classroom or library so they look like the body segments of an inch worm or caterpillar. All you need to do is use another circle and draw a face to make the head! We had one of these BookWorms in our home when I was a kid, but instead of writing our favorite books, we added a new circle to the body every time we finished a new book. The goal was to see how long we could make our BookWorm, and that could be a great challenge for you and your students if you have plenty of space around your classroom walls!
As usual, we want to hear from you! What activities will you be trying out this year? Are there any books you think should be included in our list? Let us know!
Happy Dot Day!