I've been celebrating International Dot Day with students for more years than I can remember, but still my favorite part of the celebration is connecting with someone new. International Dot Day is a celebration inspired by Peter Reynold's best-selling picture book, The Dot. We celebrate International Dot Day every September 15th-ish by encouraging young people to "make their mark" in whatever way they'd wish, often taking the form of craft projects, dot-themed activities and celebrations, and connecting your class with others around the globe.
This year I'm looking forward to connecting with new faces in two different ways.
First, meet the students of Swansfield Elementary School in Columbia, Maryland. I'm starting my 13th year of teaching at a new location with 500+ new faces who have never even heard of Dot Day, much less joined in celebrating. And that's totally alright! It just means we'll all get to make our mark together for the first time, which will be something very special indeed.
Second, I'm looking forward to connecting with some of you and your classes. I know that the beginning of the school year can be a little hectic. I know that it might not feel like the best time to start something new. I know that the thought of connecting a class of students with another tens or hundreds of miles away over Skype can be intimidating.
But I also know it sends a message.
For me, connecting for International Dot Day means connecting my students with the world. It means providing a platform for their voice to be heard, and for them to hear the voices of their peers in the global community. It sends the message that this year our classroom doesn't have walls and it has way way more than just one teacher. It means a place from the very start of the year for my students to feel and know that their voice matters in the global community and they matter to each one of us.
If this sounds like something you'd like to celebrate with your students or school this year, I personally cannot wait to be celebrating alongside another new face.
To sign up, visit http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday and click on the "Sign Up Now!" button. After doing that you'll want to download the FREE Dot Day Educator's Handbook, complete with activities, printables, and lesson ideas.
Of course, you don't need to connect your class over Skype. But if you do, there are tons of teachers ready and excited to connect with your students. Visit tinyurl.com/DotDay17 to connect your class. What you'll find will look like this:
Teachers can post schedules of when they'd like to connect with a class via videoconferencing software. You can also just browse the schedules and sign yourself up. It's that easy.
When you connect you might read aloud The Dot together, share what dot-themed projects you've created, ask one another questions, or really anything at all that provides virtual space for you and your students to connect with others.
Because it will only be our 2nd week of school when we Skype, here's the agenda I've set for anyone who connects with us:
DOT DAY Skype Agenda (15 min)
(2 min) Each school has a student introduce their school, grade level, and location to connecting class
(8 min) Read aloud The Dot by Peter Reynolds
(5 min) All students from both schools to answer the question, How will you make your mark on your school, community, home, or self this year?
I hope to meet many of you around September 15th-ish!
In the meantime, I'll have Emily Arrow play us out.
See you for Dot Day 2017!