Dot-to-Dot Connections

My students and I just completed a fantastic week of dot-to-dot connections as we celebrated International Dot Day with educators and students in Florida, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and nearby neighbors in Clarksburg!

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This was my third year participating in International Dot Day, inspired by the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.     This was a celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration, and we made our mark (and the world a better place) by connecting with new friends around the United States via Google Hangout.

After reading and discussing The Dot, my PreK–grade 2 students created dot pictures using the template in the official educator’s handbook, which we shared with our video chat partners.  A few examples are here …

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My students in grades 3-5 created dot day trading cards using index cards, and these cards were sent to our video chat partners in Florida (a few examples follow).  We’re looking forward to receiving some back from them, too!

Dot trading cards

During our video chat connections, we shared state symbols, read additional “dot-and-creativity- related” books, such as The Dot and Ish, also by Peter H. Reynolds,  Dot by Patricia Intriago, Press Here by Hervé Tullet, Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg, and Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown.

Thank you Irene Allaire (Wilson Wims Elementary School), Lori Dearmore (Naselle Elementary School), Sue Halbert  (J.F. Tatem Elementary School), Cristol Kapp (Clifton Hills Elementary School),  Meghan Nels (Turtle River Montessori), Cathy Potter (Falmouth Elementary School),  Carol Scrimgeour (Essex Elementary School), and  Esther Uribe (Rutledge Elementary School) for your creative and fun dot-to-dot connections!

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Another blog I encourage you to follow (if you don’t already) is Jennifer Reed’s Reederama.  She posted every day last week about her school’s experiences, and then posted a wonderful reflection – “The Value of Virtual Visits” –  on Monday.  Please take the time to read it (you’ll want to go back and read the others, too)!

If you didn’t connect the dots this year, I highly encourage you to do so next year!   Participating in International Dot Day is a wonderful experience for our students to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration, while also developing there digital citizenship skills!

Bulletin Boards – Teachable Art

I consider a well-planned bulletin board not only informational, but a work of art – my media assistants think so, too – and together we have created a variety of bulletin boards over the past few years.  

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Below are a few things to think about as you create your library’s bulletin boards:

In her article Interactive Bulletin Boards – Make the Classroom Experience More User-friendly, Beth Newingham states, “ I can spend hours creating beautiful bulletin boards, but if they are not meaningful or if they do not serve a real purpose for my students, I find they do nothing more than take up important space on my walls.”

Cara Bafile interviewed author/educator Michael Gravois in her Education World article “Pretty” to Practical: Using Bulletin Boards to Teach, and he explained that, “too often bulletin boards are just thought of as decoration, when they really should emphasize the learning that is taking place in the classroom. Those two qualities do not have to be mutually exclusive; a bulletin board can be both educational and decorative.”

From Carolyn Tomlin’s article, Staff Newsletter: Bulletin Boards Make a Difference, is a helpful list of criteria:

As you create bulletin boards for your classroom, evaluate them using the following criteria:

  • Does it convey a message?
  • Is it bright and colorful?
  • Is the children’s work displayed neatly?
  • Is the material related to the children’s level of development?
  • Does it build a healthy self-concept?

Lastly, I wanted to share a wonderful resource with you – Julie Greller’s  blog, The Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet – and her post “24 Places to Find Bulletin Board Display Ideas”.

Wishing you a spectacular school year!