Week 4: International Dot Day!
Last year, I missed out on the chance to connect with other teacher-librarians celebrating Dot Day across the US / world. This year, remembering missed opportunity, I had a prime opportunity to connect with schools in North America…and I didn’t miss out!
Due to time changes and class schedules, only 3rd and 4th grades were able to Skype/Google Hangout for Dot Day. How’d we do it? This Google Doc. And by getting my name and location out there, other t-l’s across the US have been in contact so that we can connect over Global Read Aloud and other events.
In a lovely turn of events, all technology worked for each Skype/Hangout! I’ve had some serious tech hurdles at the new school, making this turn of events much appreciated.
What’d we do?
It’s not on the white board, but we warmed up with The Name Song, followed by the storytime favorite Einy Meiny Miny Mouse flannelboard (which I do with magnet pieces). LOVE that I saved some of these from my long-ago years at YCL in South Carolina (and brought them to London!).
Our story: Kevin Henkes’s Kitten’s First Full Moon. Why this? It not only fit the theme of CATS (a kitten is a baby cat, which we discussed), and the full moon looks a lot like a DOT! This wiggly bunch was mesmerized by the kitten’s story. After, each child made a dot for the kitten, which was then brought to life as part of a whole-group experience using Quiver’s AR app.
International Dot Day! We read The Dot, then created dots as creatively as possible.
As the school library is crunched for space, I sourced clipboards for children to color on and handed out 2 crayons per child. They could share their crayons (or not) and color anything their hearts desired. As a whole group, I used the Quiver AR app to bring their dots from flat circles to 3D spheres for the whole group to see and appreciate using an iPad that connected to the AppleTV. Bonus: the K’s are studying shapes in their classroom!
More Dot Day fun!Learning from my first lesson – where students brought their own iPad to the library to use with their dot – the second lesson I structured like the K/1 lesson in that I brought their work to life. Similar to last year, students wrote a word to describe who they wanted to be this year. Favorite words included: kind, nice, respectful, creative, happy.
With 40 min (grade 3) and 60 min (grade 4) class times, lessons weren’t the same. If we had time, students made AR dots; if not, dots were sent home after a quick how-to tutorial (all students in grades 3&4 have school-issued iPads that can go home, and the app was pre-downloaded). All classes heard the The Dot and connected with a different elementary library in the US. Some classes had a Mystery Skype, others had a co-reading of The Dot, while still others had a share session of Dot Day creations.
We were lucky enough to connect with learners in Maryland (2 schools), Vermont, Kansas, and Alabama. And, in case you’re wondering, these were all new connections for me – I knew no one at these schools! My students guessed that the connections were coming from places I’d lived – WA, GA, and LA – and they were so surprised to discover new places across the US. One of the best moments was when a student here in London realized the school in Vermont was not far from where he used to live! Another great one was when we were asked, during a Mystery Skype, whether we lived east or west of the Prime Meridian. We’re almost exactly on top of it AND a student was wearing a t-shirt from the official Prime Meridian gift shop…making for some amazed looks.
Perhaps, though, it was the reactions that were the best. My students have the gift of experiencing a bigger world than most kids: almost all of them have travelled extensively and attended schools in at least one other country. That wasn’t the case for the schools we Skyped – these were kids that, almost exclusively, had attended the same school since birth. Watching the realization set in that we were not in the US – that we were in London – was a true gift. I am so thankful I could help broaden their world while living and teaching abroad.
Now, back to reality. Dot Day, I’ll be back next year. I cannot wait to connect with more learners across the US and world!
Cheers, y’all. –arika