International Dot Day 2019: Your Guide To Getting Involved

Have you heard of International Dot Day? It’s BIG! This year, over 14 million students and educators in 181 countries will be celebrating.

International Dot Day is coming up around the week of September 15-ish.

This annual event is all about celebrating creativity, courage, and collaboration.

Getting involved in International Dot Day is easy. It’s free, flexible, and open to any classes from all around the world.

This updated ultimate guide to International Dot Day explains exactly what it is and how to participate.

We’ve put together lots of examples from the educational blogging community and invite you to leave your own ideas in a comment.

About International Dot Day

International Dot Day began when Terry Shay introduced his class to Peter H. Reynold’s book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

In the decade since, this date has been celebrated each year as International Dot Day — a day for classes to explore the story’s powerful themes: bravery, creativity, and self-expression.

About the Book — The Dot

The Dot tells the story of a caring art teacher who reaches a reluctant student in a remarkably creative way.

In Peter’s book, the teacher encourages the student to begin a journey of self discovery and creativity, starting with a simple dot on a piece of paper. Transformed by this journey, the student goes on to inspire others.

Don’t own the book? You can find the story being read on YouTube.

How to Get Involved

Participating in International Dot Day is simple.

  1. Visit Here you can read up on the day, find ideas, and connections.
  2. Sign up to participate. This is just a simple survey the organizers use to help plan events around International Dot Day.
  3. Explore the handbook. Once you’ve signed up, you can browse through the Dot Day participation handbook. This PDF guide has lots of ideas and a certificate for your students.
  4. Read the book to your class. If you or your library don’t have the book, you might opt to view a YouTube video or purchase the interactive online version. 
  5. Express yourself in any way. This is where you can get creative. Your dot theme can be incorporated into story writing, artwork, songwriting, photography, dance, cooking, performances or more. Remember, there are lots of ideas in the handbook and in this blog post.
  6. Publish! If you have a blog, this is the perfect platform to show the world how you have celebrated the day.
  7. Connect. International Dot Day is as much about celebrating creativity as it is about connecting and collaborating. You can connect with the Dot Day community on Twitter or Facebook. There are many teachers looking to connect their class through their blog or tools like Flipgrid or Skype. Such wonderful possibilities for your students!

7 Steps To Participating in International Dot Day for Teachers Edublogs -- The Edublogger

International Dot Day Ideas For 2019

International Dot Day is something you can celebrate throughout your entire school or just with your class. You can keep things simple or amplify your projects by connecting with others around the globe.

We looked back at how some classes celebrated International Dot Day over the past two years to provide you with some inspiration for your 2019 activities.

Here are 8+ ideas from primary (elementary) and middle school classrooms worldwide.

You can find these ideas and more on our Pinterest board.

1) Group Blog: Connect The Dot Stories

When I was teaching grade 1/2/3 students last year, we connected with 3 other classes in different countries for Dot Day and set up a group blog.

We worked on a range of collaborative activities. One of the most popular was “Connect The Dot Stories“.

Here’s how this activity worked:

  • Students got together in small groups and came up with a team name.
  • The group came up with one key word from The Dot story that was written or inferred.
  • They then came up with a set of 4 other words (not necessarily from the story).
  • The children wrote each of their 5 words on a circular ‘dot’ and had a photo taken of the words.
  • These photo story prompts were posted on the blog.
  • Individuals/pairs/groups from the other class then came up with a short story that includes each of the words.

This was a fun challenge!
Here’s an example that was posted to the blog by one team. Other students used those word prompts to make up a short story.

Team Polar Bear: Art, opened, draw, empty, polar bear, strong

Other activities we came up with that you might want to explore include:

2) Google Hangouts

Amy Kincaid‘s elementary students met with a bilingual class via Google Hangouts. They shared writing assignments about encouragement.

Read more on Amy’s Library Blog.

3) Dot Day Circle Stories

Kevin Hodgson‘s sixth graders celebrated being creative with writing and with art.

They wrote short Circle Stories with either a circular object or a circular theme. They used the words to “paint” the stories into circles (or dots) using a free tool called Visual Poetry.

They collated their Circle Stories in a Padlet.

Find out more on Kevin’s class blog, The Electronic Pencil, and on his professional blog, Kevin’s Meandering Mind. 

Made with Padlet

Padlet books with dots

4) Kindness Rocks

Inspired by the Kindness Rocks movement, Mrs. Shemansky and her colleague did a rock painting activity with their middle school art classes.

The students ‘made their mark’ by painting two rocks each. One rock became part of the school rock garden and the second rock was hidden and shared with others.

Read more on Mrs. Shemansky’s Class Blog.

Mrs. Shemansky's rock project for Dot Day The Edublogger

5) Dotty Videos

Senior School students at Togher School in County Cork, Ireland put together this great video about Dot Day 2018!

During a collaboration with Linda Yollis‘ class in California in 2017, her third graders made a video to show my students around her school.

Read more about this project on Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog.

6) School-Wide Thinglink

Dot Day was a school-wide affair for Karen Arrington’s students in 2017. The activities involved design thinking, art, augmented reality, Flipgrid and more.

Karen compiled all of the great activities the students completed in a Thinglink.

Read more details on these activities on Karen’s Tech Tips blog. 

7) Skyping In-Person

Jen Bearden dot day art The Edublogger

Jen Bearden, Rachael Turken and their first grade students tried all sorts of things on International Dot Day. There was singing, dancing, artwork, and math.

See what these young students got up to on Jen Bearden’s blog, 20 Something Kids And 1 Kooky Teacher, and Rachel Turken’s blog, im 4 students. 

Jen Bearden dot day Skype The Edublogger

To share their creations, Mrs. Bearden’s class was going to Skype with Ms. Turken’s class next door as practice for future calls. Technical problems led to them doing ‘in-person’ Skype calls in a fun and creative way.

Check out all the action from their in-person Skype session on this blog post. 

8) A Dotty Day

Becky Versteeg and her Team 2 Eagles students had a busy Dot Day in 2017. After reading the story, they got some creative with some artwork and writing.

This video with The Dot author, Peter H. Reynolds, provided inspiration for their dotty creations.

Artwork dot day Team 2 Eagles The Edublogger

They then tried some dot day math with dominoes and finished the day with some music.

These lyrics are for a song that Peter H. Reynolds and Emily Arrow wrote for International Dot Day. Find the video and actions here.

Dot Day song lyrics The Edublogger

Shannon Miller’s Resources

Dot Day logoK-12 Teacher Librarian, Shannon Miller is a leader in the International Dot Day Community. A post on Shannon’s blog explains how you can connect and celebrate.

She shares a link to a Google Doc where people can add their details, schedules, and make connections. Shannon has also put together some Padlets with resources and picture books, plus a Pinterest board.

Check out Shannon’s post for all the details and links.

How will you celebrate?

How will you make your mark on International Dot Day this year? Leave a comment and tell us.

If you blog about International Dot Day, be sure to leave the link in a comment!

5 thoughts on “International Dot Day 2019: Your Guide To Getting Involved

  1. I didn’t know there was a holiday specifically for schools. This sound like a lot of fun! But how com I never heard of it? Is it for elementary, middle school, high school, or all together? Does it only happens in certain schools? Is for only physical art, like painting, or digital art, the one you paint with a computer, or is all together? Do you need to be in a certain age to participate?

    1. Hi there,
      Dot Day is very flexible. It’s for all ages and all types of classes/schools. You can do any sort of art although some people express themselves in different ways e.g. cooking, dancing, producing videos… anything goes!
      You can find out all the details on the Dot Day website.

  2. Wow! This is so deep. It is so amazing that just a little dot can affect 14 million people! I will definitely read the book dot and try to celebrate it!

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