Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Celebrating International #DotDay

Last year, I read about International Dot Day for the first time, after it had already officially passed. Inspired, I made myself a promise that THIS YEAR I was celebrating it in my classroom too! When the day snuck up on me with about 3 days to spare, I realized that I had better “make my mark” FAST and “See where it takes me!” I was so fortunate that my new team of 2nd grade teachers was excited and supportive as I shared half-formulated ideas, and the result was a dot day/ dot week that was impactful for my students and a contender for the #bestweekever ! I’m working on a vlog about it on the ChristinesScene YOUTUBE Channel, but here’s a sneak peak and recap of our learning and celebrating with Peter H. Reynolds' Book: The Dot!

Monday: We kicked off on the official International Dot Day! We started with a pod meeting for the whole 2nd grade. We shared the book via Tumblebooks, and lead a discussion about the story. In the pod meeting we focussed on how we each have our own individual mark to leave (On the world, our school, each other) but we also can add our “mark” to someone elses mark to make it something collaborative and beautiful! To solidify these metaphors, the students created their own unique coffee-filter dot (to be displayed in our pod area through the year) but they also came up to our collaborative art area to leave their “mark” on a long roll of paper. For this, the kids left thumb prints in different colors. Once everyone had left their individual mark, we asked them to come back up, and choose someone else’s mark to add artwork to. We encouraged them to build on someone else’s mark and, using their own gifts, talents, and imagination, make something different and beautiful. We discussed how we can work together as a team to make a bigger impact than we are working alone. We discussed celebrating and appreciating our differences and realizing that we ALL have something unique and important to contribute! I loved watching thumbprints become squiggles, faces, flowers, spacecraft, lions, and planets when the kids were able to build on them, and make their mark! It was a fun and uplifting experience!

Back in the classroom we used dots in our math centers, the students worked through their problems and explained their thinking in small groups. #mathchat

Later, with my own class, we went on a bit of hunt for “dots” around our classroom. We took pictures of the dots we found and talked about how each one is different while being the same “shape” and how each “dot” has a unique plan and purpose in our classroom- just like US!

Tuesday: On Tuesday, we read the story again. I asked the class, “Anything stick out to you today that didn’t yesterday?” (because I often ask this question when we read a text more than once.) The students talked about how Vashti told her classmate at the end to “put his name on it”. We talked about how every choice we make, and every action, is our way of leaving our mark. We talked about how important it is to make sure that we are PROUD enough of the things we do and say to have them framed for everyone to see, with our name at the bottom. We talked about the words we speak, the work we turn in, the way we treat others. The metaphor was really coming together. Then in reading class, we talked about character traits. The students read over and discussed a list of popular character traits. I asked them to highlight the ones they would want to be associated with. They highlighted the positive traits and then chose several that they wanted to have as their own “mark” on our school or the world. We tied this in with our discussions about the growth mindset and a list of synonyms we have in our room for “Grit”. The students wrote down their most desirable character traits on sticky-dots and then came up and posted them on our poster to show the mark they wish to leave on the world or our school community. They were each so proud of their dots, and it became very ceremonial as they each came up, announced their “mark” and clapped for one another without prompting. At the end we looked at the poster and decided that the world and our school will be even better places, once we’ve made our marks!

Wednesday: On Wednesday during our Daily 5 Centers, we had one center set up for painting- we called it the “Dotday Creativity Center”. Each student was provided with a canvas, paintbrushes and paint. They were able to paint anything they like, but leave a dot in the middle untouched. In a writing center, the students were asked to write a few sentences about the mark they wish to leave on the world, they had a wordbank of synonyms for grit to use in their sentence of “how” to recognize that leaving your mark on the world will take Perseverance, Determination, Tenacity, Moxie, Drive, Backbone, Grit :)

Thursday: On Thursday, we used our math dots again. We also continued with our Painting Center and another book discussion. We sang the “Dot Day” song, we talked about how from very far away, even our whole world is just a Pale Blue Dot! We talked about our school’s Founder, Milton Hershey, and how HIS mark on the world is still effecting kids today, long after he passed away. We wrote letters to him letting him know that we are trying to make him proud and using his gift (this school) wisely to empower us to leave our own special mark. We displayed these along side our other dots.

Friday: Our artwork was dry and it was time for us to sign our names to our canvasses. We reviewed all the activities through the week and had a little ceremony for each student to sign their name to their dot. We read the story one last time, and each student left for the weekend with a “DotWeek swag bag” full of items to remind them about “leaving their mark”! We brainstormed some ideas for our #KindnessMatters project this year and decided that together we are sure to leave a mark of Kindness on our corner of the world!

Can’t wait to keep reading about other celebrations and to start planning for next year! Please share with us how YOU celebrated DotDay this year, or how you’re making your mark in your school.

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