Archive for September 15th, 2012


Peter H. Reynolds

September 15, 2012

International Dot Day – September 15 th ish

I have mentioned my colleague Anne Kofler in the meartsed blog before. Recently we exchanged emails about International Dot Day – September 15th ish – something I learned about recently. Peter H. Reynolds wrote and illustrated the children’s book called The Dot which is about the importance of not being afraid to be creative and encourages readers to make their mark in the world.

FableVision is Peter and his brother Paul’s company. (They are twins). A few years back some educators started celebrating Dot Day as a way to build on the books themes: bravery, creativity, and self-expression and how a teacher reaches a student in a creative way. International Dot Day grew from there as a way to encourage everyone in the world to be creative. The only guideline is that people read The Dot and use it as a jumping off place to then “express themselves in any way they are inspired to, whether that means creating a dot — building a dot gallery — collaborating on a dot gallery with teachers/parents — animating a dot — writing a story about being brave and making your mark — going on a dot photo safari to find dot shapes in our world — writing a dot song — doing a dot-inspired dance — putting on a live performance of The Dot, or more!”

FableVision has created an Educator’s Handbook that is a wonderful resource. It is available at no cost by downloading it at

You can share your stories and what you’ve done with your students to coincide with The Dot. Think about what you can do to encourage your students to “make their mark”.

You might be wondering why I emailed Anne about International Dot Day?! Several years ago, while Anne was teaching at the elementary school (downstairs) and I was teaching in the middle school (upstairs) we did several whole school collaborations. I don’t recall who came up with the idea but we created our own Dot Day. Leading up to the day each student (about 300) and staff member, K-8 made a 8″ X 11″ 3-D domino using black construction paper. On one side of the domino students used dots to show what year they were born. For the other side of the domino each classroom teacher presented the students with a math problem and their answer was put onto the domino.

On Dot Day, which I think was on the afternoon before Spring break, everyone was asked to dressed the part and wear dots. We met in the gym with a few students to set up a very large maze with all of the dominoes. The physical education teacher, Joel Lufkin, was a great help. I will never forget every breath of wind caused problems. The few student helpers were crawling carefully along the floor as they set up the maze so they wouldn’t cause one of them to topple over. Imagine what happened?!! Joel had to dive to stop the chain reaction more than once. When all 300+ were close to being in place, we called for each class to come to the gym. Joel, along with the helpers, protected them from falling down. I never thought about what kind of air was moved by people by simply walking.

Anyway, along with tiptoeing into the gym, it caused everyone to be really quiet. When all the kids were in the bleachers, we had our then Senator Christine Savage touch the first domino off. With absolute silence (you could hear a pin drop), the toppling started. I remember the silence so very clearly, it was as if everyone held their breath. We really only had one shot at getting it right. And WOWZER was it RIGHT – at the end when the last domino dropped there was a very loud cheer as everyone jumped to their feet thrilled that it had worked!

The lesson was much LARGER than we had imagined: Everyone has an important part to play in this world. Whether in a classroom, a school, a family, a community or beyond. Without each one contributing and doing their part, things don’t quite go as smoothly! Just like “a single bracelet does not jingle”(African proverb).

I know art teacher Kristen Andersen, Rockport Middle School, is creating the opportunity for her students to participate in International Dot Day. If you are celebrating, please share how you incorporate the idea.

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