Inspiring creativity – celebrating Dot Day
Next Friday 15 September is International Dot Day, a day for celebrating and promoting creativity, courage and collaboration.
Celebration of the day was initiated in 2009 with teacher Terry Shay introducing his class to the picture book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.
The story is of Vashti and a teacher who encouraged her to make a mark and have a go. Lacking self-belief and courage, Vashti was reluctant to participate in art class. When the teacher framed and hung her signed painting of a tiny dot, Vashti was determined to do better. She painted all kinds of dots that wowed the people at the school art fair. What happened when one little boy admitted to Vashti that he wished he could draw will inspire children everywhere to be brave, have a go, and be creative.
For a wealth of celebratory suggestions, visit the International Dot Day Get Started page and sign up to download a free Educator’s Handbook, which includes a lovely certificate of participation that can be printed and personalised for each child.
I have included a link to the page in the new resource Getting creative with dots in which I suggest additional ideas to add to the celebration.
The suggestions, of which examples are shown below, can be used in conjunction with International Dot Day, or any day when you feel like going a little dotty.
Go dotty with a Dot Day party
Dress up in dots
Make dotty decorations
Share dotty party food
Brainstorm dotty words
Compile a list of other dotty words; such as, spots and polka dots.
Play games with dice and dominoes
Explore number with Ladybird Spots
Explore or brainstorm where dots are found in the environment
Take photos of the dots and make a caption book with one photo to a page; for example:
Make pictures using only dots: try paint, felt tip markers or stickers; make big dots, little dots and many different coloured dots.
Make unique dotty pictures starting with a fingerprint.
At the end of The Dot, Vashti encourages a boy to make his mark by drawing a line. This is a great opportunity to introduce an exploration of line and to draw all sorts of lines with a variety of media.
Be inspired by the masters
Watch videos of artists at work
Look in his books at how Mo Willems has used lines in creating his characters. Encourage children to have a go at drawing them too.
In this time lapse video, Kim demonstrates painting on silk the cover illustration for her most recent publication Coral Sea Dreaming.
In this video, Carol talks about the importance of research and observation when illustrating with accuracy for non-fiction books about nature.
Read stories about famous artists
These books with stories about famous artists such as Dali, Picasso, Matisse, Monet, and Renoir are just a few from my personal collection. School and local librarians will be able to assist with other titles.
Invite an illustrator to your classroom
Many artists and illustrators are delighted with the opportunity of sharing their work with children. Check out who may be available in your location. There are probably more than you think.
Check out the readilearn Illustrator Spotlights
Read the books to the children and discuss techniques used in illustrating them.
Note the use of dots in Gregg’s illustrations.
The most important thing of all is to encourage children to have a go and to have fun imagining and creating. As teachers, we can learn a lot from Vashti’s teacher about acceptance, encouragement, and a growth mindset.
I hope you are as excited about International Dot Day as I am. How will you celebrate?
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