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Baldwin County Schools Celebrate International Dot Day



Baldwin County School District joined nearly 27 million children and adults around the globe in over 190 countries to celebrate International Dot Day last Friday, September 15th – a grassroots “creativity and courage” movement, started in 2009 by a teacher in Iowa. Inspired by New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ classic storybook for all ages The Dot, International Dot Day inspires young and old to embrace the power of personal creativity to help make their mark on the world, and move it to a better place.


International Dot Day began when Iowa teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Reynolds’ book, and noticed the original publishing date of The Dot was Sept. 15, 2003. Shay and his students decided to celebrate the book’s birthday – and, little did they know, launched what would become a worldwide celebration of creativity and courage to “make your mark.”



Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery and self-expression, The Dot is a story of a perceptive and caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw by encouraging her to be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” The Dot has been translated into many languages (including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish and even Braille) and the animated film of The Dot (produced by Reynolds’ multimedia design and development firm FableVision Studios and co-producer Scholastic) earned the Carnegie Medal of Excellence.


After launching in 2009, International Dot Day garnered increasing attention, simply through word of mouth, in schools, libraries, and communities around the globe. By 2011, registrations had reached 17,500 participants in several states. Noticing the phenomenon, The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, & Creativity (ReynoldsTLC.org), Reynolds’ nonprofit educational R&D and creative learning support center, helped provide program support for the worldwide Dot Day event. The organization built and manages the International Dot Day website (www.internationaldotday.org), which provides free registration for the event, along with many free resources, including downloadable Dot Day Educator’s Handbook, multilingual posters, and an official participation certificate. With the Reynolds Center’s help, participation soared past the 850,000 mark in 2012 – and, by 2013 involvement grew to 1.3 million participants in 84 countries. The count now stands at over 26 million in 197 countries.


Indeed, Dot Day celebrations now take many forms; from short art workshops where students make dots and sign them to animating dot-inspired art/stories on the computer, from weeklong school-wide celebrations to a year-long theme for a school district. Teachers are also celebrating Dot Day by using online video streaming to “connect the dots” with other classrooms around the globe.


A copy of The Dot book was even rocketed into space, and read by Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield serving as Commander aboard the International Space Station. The Dot’s author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds explains, “Commander Hadfield snapped a few photos of The Dot book floating in the cupola of the space station. On his last day of his recent Boston visit, he handed me my book, which he had signed, noting that this copy…had made 2,500 trips around the big blue dot – planet Earth.”




The Dot book and its “creatrilogy” companions are now being developed into a musical by TheaterWorksUSA, adapted by composers Keelay Gipson and Sam Salmond. Dot, Dot, Dot: A New Musical will begin touring by the end of 2023.


This year The Dot, published by Candlewick Press on September 15, 2003, is also celebrating its twentieth anniversary, so there are many Dot Day events being planned this year that feature special birthday parties for the book. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston will be hosting a day-long Dot Day creativity fest on Saturday, September 9th - and the Boch Center’s iconic Shubert Theatre will be hosting a hybrid live/virtual Dot Day event on Friday, September 15th featuring Peter H. Reynolds and his twin brother Paul, which will be webcast to over 100 countries with live ALS and multi-language translations.

For more information about International Dot Day, visit www.internationaldotday.org. For official Dot Day Twitter feed, follow @DotClubConnect. Find International Dot Day on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/InternationalDotDay.




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