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International Dot Day
Author: Justina Spencer, Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation | September 27th, 2012

DOT_DAY!September 15th marked the anniversary of the publication of New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ The Dot. It is a “story book for all ages” beloved in classrooms around the world. Starting in 2009, a group of educators began celebrating this date as International Dot Day — a day for classes to explore the story’s powerful themes: bravery, creativity and self-expression. Over the past three years, participation in Dot Day has increased dramatically — and around the world from Argentina to Indonesia. Fueled by buzz in social media channels, educators shared the many innovative ways they planned to celebrate Dot Day in their classrooms.

The Dot tells the story of a caring teacher who reached a reluctant student in a very creative way. In Reynolds’ book, the teacher dares a very resistant Vashti to “make her mark.” Vashti’s breakthrough begins with a simple dot on a piece of paper. Encouraged by her teacher, she sets off on a journey of self-discovery, letting her creativity bloom and, ultimately, inspiring others. Inspired by the “The Dot”, International Dot Day was created to get students away from the mundane testing culture pervading schools, and allow them to create some art. A dot is something virtually every student can make without fear. Teachers share the book and then students are set off on an artistic quest to make dots.

2011 was the first year that the number of participants was tallied. Through an online survey, it was reported 17,500 students on six continents had made their mark. This year, as of this writing, over 180000 students are set to participate and that number increases every day.

Last year, the talented author, Sharon Creech, sent a dot on dot day. That special email launched Celebri-dots, an online collection of dots created by celebrities www.celebridots.com. Kids can go to that site and see famous people creating dots to inspire their dots to greater heights. The creativity on that site includes: Apple pie dot, raspberry juice dot, clay dot, cut paper, hair dye, photographs, and more.
Currently, educators and dot-makers can meet on the official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/internationaldotday . Soon, there will be a separate online community.

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