“When we as educators tell a student that he or she matters, that his or her ideas have value, that his or her curiosity and creativity help build knowledge, we open doors we never knew existed,” said educator and author Angela Meiers.
In today’s AYP-focused school culture, it might be hard to see students as more than just data sets and test scores.
In an effort to remind educators, students, and the world about just how important it is to celebrate each individual student’s creativity and passion, a number of organizations are teaming up Sept. 15 to celebrate International Dot Day.
Dot Day was launched on Sept. 15, 2009, by teacher Terry Shay when he introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot (Shay chose Sept. 15 because the original publishing date of The Dot is Sept. 15, 2003). The Dot tells the story of a teacher who reaches a reluctant student in a creative way.
The teacher dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark.” What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing.
And what began in a single classroom in a school in Iowa in 2009 has now become International Dot Day, with about 17,500 participants last year. For this year’s Dot Day, there are more than half a million people in all 50 states and across six continents registered to participate.
“The explosion in awareness of Dot Day and the overwhelming positive response is both humbling and exciting,” said Angela Maiers, educator, author, consultant, and social media guru. “And it’s such an opportunity not only to engage in a creative activity but to reflect for a moment on the power and potential that creativity has in all we do.”
One of the main themes of International Dot Day is bringing people together in cooperation and friendship.
Though most classrooms choose to read The Dot to their students, many classroom then create collaborative projects based on the book’s message.
Last year, teachers Shannon Miller and John Schumacher each celebrated with their students in separate states, then collaborated to share their Dot Day videos, creating “Two Libraries, One Voice Dot Day Celebration” using the video maker at Animoto:
Another teacher, Richard Colosi, got creative with his classroom and Dot Day and created this video: