International Dot Day—a global celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration—began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’s book The Dot on September 15, 2009. This year is the 20th anniversary!
The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who 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 that has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.
The following are resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org that celebrate The Dot and move forward the idea of International Dot Day and the story’s powerful themes of bravery, creativity, and self-expression.
Studies of the effects of reading fiction on the human brain have proven that children can learn these skills of bravery and resilience by reading about characters who are on that journey. Read more in this article from Voices from the Middle.
Students aren’t the only ones who need to be brave. As shared in this article “Curriculum can be reimagined—for even just one student—to represent this fairness. So can classroom norms, traditions, and systems. This work requires creativity and bravery. This kind of institutional creativity or professional bravery is not a trait ascribed at birth. They are attributes that can be learned, practiced, reimagined, and refined. As educators, this is where we excel.”
Teachers can cultivate, nurture, and encourage the growth of creativity. Educators can do it with a positive attitude and a different kind of thinking—enabling them to ask just the right questions and to develop a creative environment. Read more in this article from English Leadership Quarterly.
Invite students to express themselves verbally, visually, and musically by creating multimodal autobiographies, exchanging ideas with other students and sharing important events in their lives through interactive presentations.
Graphic narratives have the ability to transform the ways we think about reading and writing in language arts classrooms and the ways students think about themselves as readers and writers. Read more in this article from Language Arts.
What can you do to help your students make their mark?
It is the policy of NCTE in all publications, including the Literacy & NCTE blog, to provide a forum for the open discussion of ideas concerning the content and the teaching of English and the language arts. Publicity accorded to any particular point of view does not imply endorsement by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the staff, or the membership at large, except in announcements of policy, where such endorsement is clearly specified.