4 Easy Dot Day Activities
Septemer 15th is International Dot Day, or September 15th “ish”, as the International Dot Day website says. This is a day set aside to celebrate creativity and collaboration using Peter Reynold’s book “The Dot.” I have designed four easy Dot Day activities to do with kids in the classroom that I hope that you might enjoy as much as we did. Please know that I have included some links to supplies I personally use in this blog post that are Amazon affiliate links. You can see my disclosure HERE.
To start our celebration, I first read Peter’s book to a group of 2nd graders and then we talked about the book and the meaning behind it.
To inspire our creativity, I developed four, pretty open, Dot Day activities. You can choose to do all four the way we did, or just choose one or two of them that stand out to you! I created stations/centers where students could do each project in a rotation – eventually working through all four stations/centers. In the end, we displayed all of our “dots” along with a poster we made to celebrate our creativity and collaboration! I chose to have students go through all stations but if you are running a choice-based classroom, or trying to experiment with it, you could let students choose which stations they want to participate in.
To do all four Dot Day activities as centers, divide your class into four groups and set an amount of time that students will stay at their first station. Then have all the kids rotate to another station when you tell them to. I usually have them rotate either clockwise or counter-clockwise (between tables). If this is the first time you are doing rotating centers in your classroom, you will want to carefully explain and model it to your students. I have students point to the table they are rotating to before they move. That way when everyone gets up and moves I can be sure they all know where they are going. I’ve done this with grades all the way down to kindergarten. You just want to be sure you model it and explain it – once you’ve done it with your students they will know how to do it in the future.
Dot Day Activities: VIDEO
I’ve written about each of the four Dot Day activities (stations/centers) below, but first you might want to watch this quick video I made for an overview of all the centers included + the final bulletin board display of all of our dots!
Dot Day Activities: Salt & Watercolor Paint
This station is great for so many reasons but one in particular is your ability to connect to science lessons you might have done on salt and absorption of water. Students will first use watercolors to paint a dot any way they want onto thick watercolor paper (card stock is okay). I like to use liquid watercolors so they get a lot of water onto their paper. Also I like to give students two colors that will mix well together. This time, I gave them red and yellow so they would create beautiful shades of orange much like the dot on the cover of Peter’s book.
Once students paint the dot, then they will want to take a small pinch of salt and sprinkle it into the wet areas of the dot. If the dot has dried too much have your students either add water or more paint to get little pools of water. Then when students sprinkle the salt into the water they can watch as the salt absorbs the water – when it dries the effects will be somewhat crystalized. It’s important that children don’t use too much salt – I poured it out into a small container and told them that was all we had for the entire class – they were great about not using too much since we had talked about it.
Dot Day Activities: Crayon Resist
For this station, you will need white crayons, watercolor paints, watercolor brushes and thick paper (watercolor paper is ideal). Students will first draw dots using the white crayon – either a large one with designs or patterns in it, or many small ones.
After students have drawn with the white crayon then they will paint over the crayon. Where the wax from the crayon sits on the paper it will resist the paint and create a very fun, sort of magical, experience for the kids (this part is nicely demonstrated in the video above).
Dot Day Activities: Make a dot by NOT making a dot
There is a part in the book where the main character Vashti makes a dot by “not” making a dot. She uses the negative space of the canvas to create the dot and paints around the edges. I created a center where I told students to create a dot by “not” making a dot and instead use the negative space of the background paper and little torn pieces of paper to create the dot. I chose two colors of paper to keep this simple but you could do so many things here where students tear paper out of magazines or use scrap paper they have saved from other projects.
Simply have student tear pieces of paper and glue them down using a glue stick to create a dot by “not” making a dot. Warning – this station tends to take longer then the others so I recommend giving students a small piece of paper and when you rotate students from one station to another ask students to leave any pieces they have already torn for the next group to use.
Dot Day Activities: Make Your Mark Poster
Now don’t be shy – for this station you’ll want to be creative and make a poster that says “Make Your Mark.” I used a piece of paper that was 18″ x 24″ and just drew the bubble letters and the swirly frame around the edge like this….
Feel free to copy my design or make up one of your own. If you aren’t comfortable free hand drawing the letters you could always use bulletin board letters to trace or ask one of your creative students to do it for you! This was the fourth station that children rotated through. The instructions here were pretty simple – students were to use the markers supplied to them to create a “dot” of any size, shape or color. They could add designs if they wanted – or not – their choice. The only real “rule” was that they needed to leave room for their classmates to add their dots to the poster. After all four groups had rotated through this center we were left with a beautiful poster full of each student’s own “mark.”
When students finish all four stations/centers, and their work has dried, hang up the poster and then add the individual dot paintings all around it. Much like this…
Makes for a great, student-centered classroom display.
Thanks for reading and making art with your kiddos!