Make Your Mark on International Dot Day!

Have you heard about International Dot Day? It’s celebrated on September 15th, and it’s all about encouraging kids to discover how they can make a difference. Why is it called “Dot Day”? To find out, read the book that inspired this special day!

The Dot, written by Peter Reynolds, is a short picture book suitable for all ages. It’s the story Vashti, who became upset in art class because she didn’t think she could draw. Her teacher challenged her to “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” So Vashti defiantly jabbed the paper and made a dot, and what happened after that shows how one simple act can snowball into something big.

If you haven’t read the book, you can listen to a quick YouTube video of it before you read this post. If you like it, order a copy of The Dot now so you’ll have it in time for Dot Day! If it’s too late to order a paper or hardback copy, you can purchase the Kindle version and display it digitally for your class.

The Dot is a simple book, but it’s definitely one with a message to share. Actually, it has several important messages. Children will be able to relate to the central theme about “making a mark” and making a difference. As a teacher, I was also reminded about how important it is for us to support our students and believe in them. Vashti’s teacher honored her simple dot by framing the signed picture, and this small bit of encouragement was enough to help Vashti discover a hidden talent.

International Dot Day Resources

Celebrate International Dot Day on September 15th and inspire your students to think about how they can "make their mark" on the world! These free resources will help get you started!

I had heard from several friends about International Dot Day, so after I read The Dot, I began looking for resources online to support this event. Boy, did I find them! Peter Reynolds is the founder of Fablevision Learning, and they’ve created a website full of resources for teachers to use when reading the book to students and celebrating Dot Day.

The best place to begin on the official Dot Day Website is the “Getting Started” page, and from there you can sign up to get this amazing free Educator’s Handbook. It’s 16 pages long and includes a letter of introduction from Peter Reynolds and a great collection of ideas for celebrating International Dot Day. Here are some other ideas to get you started.

Ideas for Celebrating Dot Day or Dot Week

Read and Discuss The Dot After you read the book aloud to your students, you can use this free set of  International Dot Day Discussion Cards to spark discussion. Printable and digital task cards are included. You may want discuss these questions in a whole group setting first, and then use them as writing prompts later. This freebie includes a link to a Dot Day Virtual Journal that you can use as a follow-up activity after your discussion.

Host a Dot Day Virtual Group Chat! My International Dot Day Freebie includes links to a Google Slides Virtual Chat that I created with digital versions of the discussion cards. Each of the 8 slides has one discussion question in the center surrounded by text boxes where students can type their responses.

Create Dot Artwork Use some of the suggestions in the Educator’s Handbook to have students create dot artwork individually or with a group. Since I’m a big fan of cooperative learning, I especially liked the Buddy Dot idea on page 9. What a unique idea!

Participate in Skype in the Classroom See page 13 in the Educator’s Handbook for details about how to get involved.

Use Technology to Animate Dot Drawings If you have an iPad with a camera, students can use technology to bring their colored dot drawings to life. Read this blog post about the free ColAR app that can transform 2D coloring pages into 3D animations. It’s absolutely amazing, and I know that students will love seeing their own artwork transformed this way! Be sure to watch the short video demonstration to see how it works. The app is free and the Dot Day coloring page is free, too.

Share YOUR Celebration Ideas!

If you have celebrated this event in the past or have special plans for celebrating it this year, please share your tips and strategies with us. It’s one small way you can make your mark!