Making a Mark with The Dot
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Did you know that today, September 15th, is International Dot Day? All over the world, educators are sharing the book THE DOT by Peter H. Reynolds, with their students and each other.
A teacher named Terry Shay believed so fully in the power of this book, that he “made his mark” by declaring September 15th International Dot Day. He encouraged fellow teachers to read the book and then create their own activities and interactions around dots. Since the first Dot Day in 2009, more and more schools are joining in the fun every year, as we did, this year.
This is a deceptively simple book, with simple text and illustrations. But it hits deep and holds oodles of possibilities.
Vashti can’t draw. As she sits with her blank paper in front of her, her teacher smiles and encourages her to ‘just make a mark and see where it takes you’. So Vashti jabs the paper with a felt tipped pen and hands it to her teacher. “Now sign it”, says the teacher. The next week when Vashti enters the art class, she is surprised to see her dot all framed in swirly gold, hanging above the teachers desk. Hmmmph, thought Vashti, I can do better than THAT, opening her never before used box of water colours. Little did Vashti think that her one little angry jab would lead her on a wonderful journey of self-discovery, unleashing her creative potential and her own ability to be an encourager. She experiments with painting all kinds of dots and at the annual art exhibition, her dots make a huge splash.
My students eyes widened and their faces beamed, as Vashti says “Draw a line and sign it” to another little child, who marvelled at her work as an artist, Shari g how he couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler!
This is a wonderful, wonderful book for both children and teachers. Although simply written, this book is deeply impactful. My students smiled wisely as the message in the story gently hit home. The post reading discussion, was such a sublime experience as the book had touched them with the first telling. They appreciated the teacher, they shared moments they were encouraged and loved the idea of being an encourager in turn.
The children enjoyed singing The Dot Song, lyrics to which are available online, and I can hear the chorus being sung all over the school.
“Make, make, make a mark, All you got to do is start, paint a dot an watch it splatter, Make, make , make a mark, Make it matter.”
We ended the activity by making our own ‘marks’, and out own unique dots, each one unique. Some just a jab, others bursting with creativity.
This is another one of those picture books to which one cannot assign an age range. It holds wisdom in it for EVERYBODY! As an educator, this one is for me, as much as it is for my students.
It’s a great book to pair with Raza’s Bindu about our own Indian genius dot artist.