Inspiration

Dot Day – Make it Matter!

Dot Day

 

Yesterday was Dot Day!  Did you ‘make your mark’?  More importantly, did you ‘make it matter’?

My Dot Day was spent proctoring online standardized tests – the antithesis of Dot Day, ironically.  I made a special trip down to our cafeteria to check out our Dot Day wall of awesome which cheered my spirits immensely thanks to our gorgeous art gals, Lisa and Kate.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4And then I came home and forgot to read The Dot to my daughter and play her the Make Your Mark song (but I promise I will keep Dot Day alive and do those tonight!).

After bedtime, I came down to work on a MOOC I am currently enrolled in: Powerful Tools For Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling.   We are spending five weeks learning about the power of telling stories digitally.  It is already one of my new favorite things.  Our first assignment was to create the plan for the story we will make and this is what I am going to do in honor of Dot Day:

Digital Storytelling Plan

 

So, while it may not have started out as the best Dot Day, it has ended up being a super inspirational Dot Day for me, for sure! I think Vashti would be proud – and I hope I can do justice to such a great book (and author!) in my story!

Dot Day, forever!

POSTSCRIPT: I have started my storyboard and I think I want to change it as a tool for teachers to promote Dot Day and why we as teachers need to make our mark too.  Thoughts?

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Creativity

Make Your Mark!

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 23.10.39

It’s coming soon!  International Dot Day is on September 15, 2014.  It is a day to celebrate “making your mark”. I have posted about Dot Day before:  Dot Day 2012 and Dot Day 2013.  Both posts will give you lots of ideas for Dot Day and some thoughts on how we as educators, can help students connect rather than simply collect the dots on their learning journey.

This year, FableVision Studios have come up with a song for Dot Day.  If you are familiar with “The Dot” you will see the connection between the book and the song and be inspired to make, make, make your mark! How can you encourage your students to use their talents to make their mark?

 

The Dot Song from FableVision on Vimeo.

Here are the lyrics (download the PDF)

Dot Day Lyrics

 

Are you interested in joining the Dot Day celebration? Sign up today! Discover more creative ways to celebrate Dot Day
on the FableVision blog and Pinterest pages.

Creativity, Inspiration

Be Uncareful – and 7 Other Brilliant Ways to be Creative

I am a huge fan of Peter H. Reynolds’ work.  As an art teacher in Bangkok, I was in love with The Dot and Ish and as a classroom teacher I am still.  There is something about the books, the illustrations, the message – to me, they are ‘the complete package’ when it comes to sharing what are really important, 21st Century skills. Interestingly, not a computer, iPad or electronic device in sight. I am a huge fan of technology and love finding that device or program that propels students forward, but the more I look into it, the more I am convinced that the skills come first, the need for a tool comes second – and that ‘tool’ may be as simple (and powerful) as  paintbrush or a box of pencils.

I love the message of The Dot and Ish…

  • don’t be afraid to start

  • don’t stop if it is not perfect

Simplicity at it’s best.

Today I read a post on the Fable Vision learning website:

Peter H. Reynolds’ 8 Tips for Creative Publishing

You can read the full post here but in summary, Reynolds’ tips are:

  1. Keep a journal
  2. Just do it!
  3. Publishing – Lite
  4. Go back to school
  5. Set goals
  6. Create your ritual
  7. Unleash imagination
  8. Be uncareful

The full text explains these points and offers excellent advice for those who wish to create.  And isn’t that all of us?  Or at the very least, all of the kids we teach? When I look at these tips, I see a lot that I want to incorporate into the daily creative lives of my students:

  1. Establishing learning journals to recording ideas and wonderings
  2. Encouraging an attitude of action and commitment to lifelong learning
  3. Get your work ‘out there’
  4. Get feedback from your audience
  5. Make learning a priority
  6. Set yourself up to succeed
  7. Think of all the possibilities – and then some!
  8. Take risks and be fearless!

I first heard of FableVision back in March – which surprises me somewhat having been such a fan of Reynolds’ books for so long.  Peter is the founder of FableVision and his brother, Paul, is the CEO. I loved the recent collaboration with Fable Vision and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning – if you have not seen Above and Beyond – an Ode to the 4 C’s (collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity) I encourage you to watch it.  Further investigation into FableVision led me to their mission statement, the first part of which reads:

We are big believers that a well-educated student is not complete without less “test-able” skills such as creativity, communication, self-expression, problem solving, and cultural understanding.  We also need students with self-determination and a desire to learn. 

How can you not love that?

I loved it so much, and share such a similar philosophy, that I applied to be and was accepted as, a FableVision Ambassador.  Among my ‘duties’:

  • Sharing our products and philosophy on an informal basis at individual schools and with colleagues.
  • Writing stories for publications and blogs.
  • Being our eyes and ears in the school world.
  • Sharing the challenges, changes, and opportunities you are facing in the classroom.
  • Using social networks to promote the mission and products.
  • Reaching out to others because of a strong belief FableVision Learning’s mission.

If you are new to the world of Peter H. Reynolds and FableVison, I would like to welcome you with these words:

Click image to download PDF Poster

I would then suggest you check out these free Educator Resources and see if anything resonates with you.

As I have explored this site and others, I feel even more confident about the type of teacher that I have become over the last 16 years.  I keep going back to the letter I sent out to my incoming students prior to the summer break, “Fifth Grade and Fearless” and I am so grateful for the teachers, parents, students, authors, illustrators, thinkers, movers and shakers, who have helped me get to this point in my career.  The best advice I can give anyone in education is to:

seek innovative ideas

build a tribe that inspires

communicate and collaborate

and above all,

be fearless. 

Click image to view the full letter to my incoming fifth grade class of 2012/13