International Dot Day was celebrated around the world on September 15, marking the publishing anniversary of the best-selling book "The Dot," by author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. More than 13 million people worldwide in 176 countries came together in a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration.
The tradition started in 2009 when teacher Terry Shaw was introduced to the book. Educators began using the publishing date as a day for students to explore the story's powerful central themes of bravery, creativity, and self-expression through the creation of a simple dot. The "storybook for all ages," as author Reynolds describes it, is now celebrated worldwide during the first few weeks of September.
First published in 2003, it tells the story of a girl named Vashi who begins a journey of self-discovery after she is challenged by her caring teacher. Vashi is a reluctant student, and encourages her to simply, "make her mark" on a blank piece of paper and see where it takes her, which initiates her creative journey.
"Spread the word...read 'The Dot,' wear dots, eat dots, draw dots, frame dots, connect the dots, splurge on art supplies, try a new medium — a new instrument, write a poem, rearrange your furniture, reconnect the dots with an old friend, make something, or make something with a friend," Reynolds said on his website. "Share your creativity with the world."
St. Andrew's Celebrates with Dots
St. Andrew's Schools took part in the global celebration throughout the week of September 10, with a culminating K-12 assembly on September 14. Marcie Herring, Priory in the City director, and art teachers Alethia Donathan and Sandra Eng-Gilmour collaborated to celebrate the event across campus.
In Eng-Gilmour's Lower School art classes, each grade created dots around a theme. The kindergarteners created Halloween dots to get themselves in the fall spirit. First graders created glitter and glam dots, using flashy decorations. Second graders practiced making concentric circles with pastels, inspired by their study of French Expressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky. Third graders drew pictures of what the world with dots and without dots would look like. The fourth grade created their own dot, and also created Gustav Klimt-inspired boards for younger students' dots to be displayed on. Fifth graders created stitched dots using string on thick paper.
Donathan, Herring, and Priory in the City students led the hands-on assembly. Herring started off by reading the book aloud to students. Priory in the City Junior Catherine Mount invited students to create their own unique dot. Dots were then added to the "tree of life," which was designed by The Priory's portfolio artists – Senior Sam Tome, Junior Annabella Murdock, and Junior Ava Makanui.
"We are now part of a global community of creative champions," Herring said at the end of the assembly. "Our call to action is to use our gifts, talents, and energy to move the world to a better place."
The tree of life was on display for parents to view throughout the week of September 17 during morning drop-off. Mary Crowley, Lower School physical education and mindfulness teacher, also created an activity station for parents at the K-5 Back to School Night on September 19. She encouraged parents to make their own dots and added them to a separate board. The parents' dots included their hope – this school year's theme – for their child. The dots were then displayed on campus.