Shannon McClintock Miller
Two children in a school library doing art on an iPad during Dot Day

One of our favorite celebrations at school every year is International Dot Day! 

This amazing global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration is based on Peter H. Reynolds' book The Dot, which is the story of a loving teacher who dares a doubting student to embrace her abilities by being brave enough to "make her mark." When little Vashti takes her piece of paper and makes a small dot, the teacher turns the moment into one that builds the young girl's confidence, courage and creativity that spreads to inspire others around the world. 

In 2009, teacher Terry Shay introduced The Dot to his classroom in Iowa, which kicked off the global celebration that is now celebrated by over 20 million people in over 195 countries every year on Sept. 15.

At my school in Van Meter, Iowa, we have celebrated International Dot Day from the very beginning, and every year we dream up more ways to engage students to help them make their mark on the world.

We celebrate at Van Meter Community School throughout the month with different activities within our PK-12 building. We weave activities and resources into our library and classrooms via art, music, and SEL and with home-to-school connections.

Here are five activities and resources that you can use to celebrate International Dot Day!

1. Creating art

The BEST thing about Dot Day is dreaming up ways to inspire young people to make their mark creativity with art materials of all kinds.  

Over the years, we have created giant DOT murals on butcher paper, covered the school sidewalks with colorful chalk dots, painted on coffee filters, drawn on paper coasters, and one year we even covered a giant exercise ball in duct tape and passed it around the school for everyone to sign.

In addition to the Dot! Dot! StickTogether sticker poster that we will be hanging up for students and teachers to work on collaboratively, we will be adding an exciting new project this year.

Our students will be creating their own sticker posters using the Pixel Art digital tool from StickTogether. Students can use this free digital tool to create dots and make their mark in creative and fun ways. You can read all about the StickTogether Pixel Art Platform here in this post from my blog where I share how we used this for our second grade community garden project too.

2. Using technology

We also find lots of innovative ways to weave technology into our Dot Day celebrations. 

Our students create augmented reality dots using the Quiver Dot Day! sheet and make them come to life with the Quiver app. They also build "Dot Land" in Tinkercad with virtual candy, wrappers and boxes. And they create Dot Day interactive e-books with Buncee

This year we are making their paper coaster dots life size with the green screen and DoInk. You can find the instructions for this project here. 

3.  Creating a Dot Day choice board

Dot Day can go beyond the classroom. I encourage families to get in on the fun. The Let's Celebrate Dot Day Choice Board is a fun place to read, sing, create, play and more when celebrating International Dot Day at home.  

Listen to The Dot, watch Peter draw on KidLitTV's Ready Set Draw, sing The Dot Song with Emily Arrow, create a Buncee Dot Day story or mural, and other activities to do at school and home. You will find this choice board and the Dot Day Collection by Destiny filled with other resources here.

4.  Reading related books

In addition to sharing The Dot, I love finding lots of other books to help us celebrate International Dot Day.  This Padlet is filled with stories to share during your celebrations and conversations. 

This year, I also used Capstone Connect to create a choice board filled with Capstone e-books that tie into our Dot Day Celebrations at Van Meter. We share this choice board with our students in Google Classroom and Seesaw so they have a choice in the e-books they want to listen to and read.

You can replicate this choice board by using e-books you have in your library collection and others online. 

5. Offering STEAM activities

And one of our favorite new resources this year is the STEAM Choice Board with activities and experiences focused around International Dot Day. You’ll find the choice board here in this post. 

As you can see, International Dot Day is the perfect way to kick off a year of empowering our students and teachers to embrace their creativity, innovative spirit and, of course, their voice and the impact they have on themselves and others. 

Visit The Dot Day site to register and for more project ideas, resources, posters and more. 
And make sure you follow @DotClubConnect on Twitter, @internationaldotday on Instagram and #InternationalDotDay on both for lots of ideas and a place to share how you are celebrating within your community too. 

Creative Constructor Labe

Shannon McClintock Miller is the district teacher librarian, innovation director and art coordinator at Van Meter Community School in Van Meter, Iowa. She also is the Future Ready Librarian spokesperson and a public speaker working with teacher librarians, educators and others around the world. You can find Shannon at @shannonmmiller on Twitter and Instagram, and she blogs at The Library Voice