Too often educators adopt a content coverage mentality to prepare students for high-stakes tests. They try to cram a ton of facts into students’ heads without engaging students in deeper, longer-lasting learning. International Dot Day and the Choose2Matter movement are opportunities for teachers, principals, superintendents and others to reject the content coverage mentality and articulate a more compelling vision of teaching and learning. With this vision, students commit themselves enthusiastically to work that makes a difference locally, nationally, and/or globally. Students learn the content and skills of the curriculum as they choose to matter.
International Dot Day is inspired by Peter Reynolds children’s book The Dot. The Dot tells the story of Vashti, a little girl who is dared by her teacher to “make her mark.” Based on registrations, over 500,000 students are participating in Dot Day September 15-ish.
|Dot Day Digital Quilt of Magruder|
Elementary School Staff Dots
· High School students are Skyping with elementary school students for a read-aloud of The Dot and related activities.
· Multiple schools are planning aerial photographs of students and staff standing together forming a Dot, making their mark as a school.
Waller Mill Elementary School, with a Dot Week of activities, provides other examples of using International Dot Day to kick off sustained efforts to support students’ making their mark matter.
|WMES Display in Front Hall will|
Display Dots Soon
· A bulletin board near the entrance to the school will display staff and student dots.
· Gold frames will initially exhibit student dots and eventually exhibit other student work that makes a difference.
· The morning show will feature students sharing their commitment to make their mark matter.
· Students will write responses, some of which will be published as blog posts, in response to a school-wide common writing prompt relating to making one’s mark matter.
|Gold Frames, Just Like Vashti Used!|
Here are five steps you can take to participate in International Dot Day:
1. Visit the official Dot Day web site to learn more and view resources for instructional activities.
2. Read Angela Maier’s blog post regarding connecting the dots to change the world.
3. Sign your students up to participate in International Dot Day.
4. Register for the Skype in the Classroom network to use videoconferencing to participate in Dot Day and followup activities throughout the year.
5. Exchange ideas with others through Twitter using the #DotDay #Choose2Matter and #MakeURMark hashtags.
Participating in International Dot Day can be an effective part of engaging students in deeper, longer-lasting learning through projects that make a difference. When students learn the content and skills of the curriculum through these projects, we see that a content-coverage mentality that focuses on just exposing students to content is not the best perspective. So, join educators and students around the globe in connecting their dots to make a difference locally, nationally, and/or globally.
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