So, Dot Day didn't start off very well for me. You see I lost a very important dot this morning - my contact! Yes, losing the dot that covers my eye and helps me see is a very important dot. I have "hard" contacts and the left contact is for seeing things far away and the right contact is for seeing things up close and believe it or not they work in conjunction. When I went to find an old one to replace it, I saw that I only had ONE left - would it be the "up close" contact that I needed? YES! So maybe DOT DAY was on my side after all. I had the "dot" I needed.
As a literacy specialist, I work with small intervention groups and today I was going to be working with kindergarten students. What would they think of Dot Day and the book by Peter Reynolds? Would they "get it"? I had only worked with them for a very short time and only on the letters in their names. This was quite a sharp detour from that work.
But you've got to love kinders. Five year olds are just so exuberant about life. I had worn a shirt covered in small circles or . . . dots! I wore matching "dot" earrings. As I took my first group of four students from their classroom to my office, I looked at them with great excitement and said, "Do you know what day it is? "DOT DAY! Look at my shirt, it has dots on it! Look at my earrings, they are dots. It's DOT DAY!! Yea!!!" Well, they rose to the occasion, even though they had absolutely NO IDEA what I was talking about. They said, "YEA!" As we walked down the hallway, I told them that I had a book I was going to read to them called, The Dot, and that they were going to get a magic dot to draw with and they couldn't have been more excited. I went into six different classes of kindergarten and took out small groups from each, greeted them in the same way and they all were just as excited.
In addition, as I read the story of Vashti, they totally understood about not being able to draw, and really loved how not only did Vashti draw different dots, but tried different ways of drawing the dots. They knew what she was doing when she encountered the little boy at the end of the story as well.
I think my most favorite part of the day was visiting a class of boys that have some real challenges and so are in their own classroom most of the time. It was the first time I had been able to get up and see them this year and we were all very happy to see each other. These boys are in 4th and 5th grade. So I did something a little different for them. They are used to me reading great picture books to them and they love it. So today, I went up and told them the same thing, that it was DOT DAY! Then I wrote three words on the board, bravery, self-expression and creativity. I showed them the book and told them it was about a little girl who was very unhappy because she couldn't draw but many people said that the book showed the themes of those three words. When I finished the book, I wanted them to give me evidence from the book that proved it. At the end of the story, each of the three boys gave me very explicit evidence from the text - i.e. "close reading" - that very clearly showed us that they understood these themes. They truly understood how this book displayed these themes and it was so cool to hear them get excited about telling all of us!