On the International Dot Day website at: http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/ schools are encouraged to celebrate creativity, courage and collaboration. At RES, enrichment students in grades 1-3 celebrated Dot Day this year!
First, we read the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. In our class we discussed discovering and celebrating our talents, interests and passions. We also talked about the power of sharing these with others. Next students created a paper dot that shared some of their passions. This was a great beginning of the year activity as it allowed me to meet with every student and talk to them about their interests. I believe it is so important to build our classroom community on a foundation of caring for each other, and so this project was the perfect way for me to connect with students AND for them to connect beyond our school walls at the same time!
After every student 'made their mark' by creating a paper dot, we used the Green Screen app by DoInk and 'green screened' the student and their dot! Now their interests and passions loomed larger than life on the screen behind them and they proudly struck a pose! Each picture was printed and placed on the wall outside the classroom on a large dot for students to share with families during our Open House evenings.
By sharing about Dot Day at Open House we had great conversations about student interests. The incorporation of a technology component to our project also allowed families to see the engagement and potential for this sort of project! Families had fun making greenscreen pictures themselves and students showed off their new technology knowledge. It was also a great opportunity for me to highlight the manner in which I try to provide students with opportunities for choice, student voice, technology learning and creative fun during their enrichment time. I truly enjoyed watching students as the teacher as they explained the process, the meaning of Dot Day and technology to their families.
Our learning did not stop within our own community though! We also went online and viewed projects completed by other students celebrating Dot Day. Students enjoyed and made great connections (and asked great questions) as we viewed projects from as far away as the Netherlands and Borneo! Students were amazed that over 100 different countries were celebrating Dot Day.
Next year I hope to extend this project to create more 'live' connections with students from other schools--perhaps by skyping or exchanging handmade dots!
As we begin the year I will ask myself 'how I can make my mark as the RES enrichment teacher?', and I will keep encouraging students to explore their passions as we learn together!
Happy Dot Day 2015!