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For the 5th year in a row, our students in grades K-5 celebrated International Dot Day. Originally launched by a teacher in Iowa when he introduced Peter H. Reynolds’ book, The Dot, this event is now celebrated annually around September 15 and has been growing ever since. Over 10 million teachers and their students in 170 countries participated this year. The event is a celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration.

At the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School Library, students participated in several fun activities. We started by listening to a reading of The Dot by the author himself via a Big Screen Book version. It tells the story of Vashti, a little girl who believes she cannot draw. Encouraged by her teacher who tells her to “make her mark and see where it takes you”, Vashti draws a single dot. Her teacher asked her to sign her paper and the next day, Vashti finds her work hanging in a picture frame on the wall. She feels inspired to “make a better dot” and her creative side emerges, producing lots and lots of dots. Eventually, her work is displayed in an art show where Vashti pays it forward by inspiring a little boy to be creative.

In the library classroom, the story not only inspired great discussions about questions regarding What is creativity? and What is the story’s message? -- but also encouraged our students to explore their own creative sides and to persist in solving complex challenges. In 2nd grade, students utilized the Quiver app to experiment with augmented reality. Fifth-grade students created unique Jewish holiday emojis using Google Drawings.

How is celebrating International Dot Day valuable for students? Asynchronous and (somewhat) unstructured work between students fosters collaborative learning and improves self-confidence. We encourage students to experiment, imagine, innovate, and share.  As shown below, the International Dot Day project also allows for authentic learning focused on the contextual interests of individual schools, teachers, and classrooms. Here we were able to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

Kindergarten students let their creative juices flow by drawing from a single dot on paper.

First Grade students also started with a single dot but digital-style in the Doodle Buddy app.


Students in Second Grade noticed dots everywhere once they looked closely. Armed with an iPad, they went on a dot scavenger hunt, taking lots of photos and then evaluating them for quality. Only the best made it into the video.


Third Graders experimented with augmented reality.


Students in 4th Grade focused on how they would make a mark this school year. They used Doodle Buddy to draw a dot and then imported the image into ChatterpixThanks to Karen Arrington for this idea.


Fifth Grade students celebrated International Dot Day by creating Jewish holiday emojis in Google Drawings.


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For the 4th year in a row, our students in grades K-5 celebrated International Dot Day. Even the older students do not tire of listening to Peter H. Reynold's book, The Dot, and discussing its themes: creativity and perseverance.


Our 1st-grade students let their creative juices flow using the Doodle Buddy app.

Students in the 2nd grade played with the different paint tools in Wixie, new to several of the students, to create something special.

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Our 3rd-grade students experimented with augmented reality using the Quiver app. They colored in a sheet downloaded from the app's companion website, Quivervision, and then learned how to turn their one-dimensional drawings into 3D.


After reading aloud the story, our discussion in 4th grade was driven by the question: How will you make your mark this year? Students app-smashed Doodle Buddy and Chatterpix to tell us their answers. This activity was adapted from Karen Arrington of the Tech Tips blog.

Finally, our 5th-grade students created emojis in Google Drawings. They were challenged to draw a large circle using the circle shape tool, design the emoji, name the emoji, and add a brief description telling the idea or emotion it expresses.

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We are looking forward to celebrating creativity and perseverance again next year!



In September, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School students in grades 1 through 4 celebrated International Dot Day. Celebrated annually, this day has truly grown into an international event with students in 116 countries participating. We began each class by reading the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. It's a story about Vashti, a young artist who cannot figure out what to draw in art class. Her teacher encourages Vashti to "make her mark"--to explore her creativity--and inspire others.

1st Grade: Doodling Dots

1st grade students showed their creativity using the Doodle Buddy app for iPad. The instructions: Draw a dot or several dots. Make them colorful.

2nd Grade: Creating While Exploring

Dot Day was the perfect opportunity to allow our 2nd grade students to explore a new tool, Wixie. The students were able to show their creative sides while familiarizing themselves with the many features in this new tool. A perfect segue into the presentations on their Native American research, which will be created in Wixie.



3rd Grade: Braille Name Dots

Students in 3rd grade learned about Louis Braille and his system of reading and writing for the blind. On big cardboard circles, students wrote their names in Braille and then decorated their dots.

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3rd Grade Dots


4th Grade: Augmented Reality

Our 4th graders learned about augmented reality. They created dots and watched it go from 2d to 3d using the Quiver app for iPad.



It’s been a busy week in our school library! Students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 celebrated International Dot Day. Originally launched by a teacher in Iowa when he introduced Peter H. Reynolds’ book, The Dot, on September 15, 2009, this event is now celebrated annually around September 15. This year, almost 2 million teachers and their students were expected to participate.

Here at the MJGDS Library we had several fun events planned. All classes watched a retelling of The Dot. It tells the story of Vashti, a little girl who believes she cannot draw. But when her teacher tells her to “make her mark and see where it takes you”, the single dot she draws and the paper she signs and then finds hanging framed on the wall inspire Vashti to be creative. Eventually, she has an art show of her dot creations and pays it forward by inspiring a little boy to be creative.

Kindergarten: Dot Art!

Our Kindergarten students just let their imaginations run wild by creating dot art using a template I created. The rhyme is from the Magic Dot Paintings by Julie Burns. Also, Ms. Gutterman, our art teacher, is working with the students on a fantastic Kandinsky-style art project making concentric circles.!


1st Grade: Trading Cards!

Our first grade students collaborated with a class at Isaac Dickson Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina. Their librarian, Crystal Hendrix, and I asked our students to create trading cards, challenging their new friends in the other class “You Should Try…”. This was a three-step process. First we met virtually to introduce the classes to each other. Then we created our trading cards before we concluded with another virtual visit, complimenting student creativity and exploring differences and similarities about each other’s schools and cities.



2nd Grade: Dot Photo Scavenger Hunt!

Our second graders made an international connection to celebrate Dot Day! They connected with Natalia Vergara’s class at The Graded School in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Each class went on a photo scavenger hunt using iPads. Amazing how many dots one can find in the library and in the students’ classroom! When we met our new friends in Brazil, we talked all about the many things we noticed in each classroom’s videos, for example the fact that each class has dot-shaped ceiling speakers and our library books have dot-shaped labels and there was a girl wearing a dot-dress in each class! But our class also noticed that we forgot to take photos of the eye-dots on the stuffed animals in the library. We hope to hook up again with our new friends in Brazil soon to continue learning about their school, city, and country.




3rd Grade: Book Characters Make Their Marks!

With our third graders I tried something completely new. We focused our discussion on how Vashti made her mark in the story. There is of course the literal meaning of her jabbing the pen on the paper creating a dot. And then there is the figurative meaning of how her new-found creativity sparked an art show and eventually inspired another child to make his mark. For our lesson, I wanted the students to think of book characters who’ve made their mark. This was a very quick but fun lesson. Students first completed a template. In pairs, they then recorded each other using an iPad telling how their chosen book characters have made a mark. The results were amazing!


 4th and 5th Grades: Augmented Reality Dots!

I introduced our fourth and fifth grade students to the colAR Mix app for iPad to get their creative juices flowing! This app allows students to view their drawings augmented by computer-generated graphics in 3D format. I downloaded the Dot Day coloring page from Fablevision’s site and the kids began creating. Amazing!