Dot Day 2015

A  little while ago we celebrated a special day along with many thousands of other kids and teachers around the world: Dot Day. The idea is simple: read and enjoy the book The Dot with your class and then explore the story creatively–in any way you want.  Easy peasey, right?  Sign us up!!

Screenshot 2015-10-11 20.25.47So we read the story, and talked about what it meant to “make your mark.”  And since we’re Roadrunners, kiddos brought up the ideas of grit, growth mindset and making mistakes.  Who knew there was so much to learn in a story about a girl and a painting?  Ok, so I knew it was all in there. Hee hee.  I’m just super impressed that my students came up with it before I even told them.  Way to go, Rm. 202 friends!

After we were done reading and talking, I set them loose to work their magic.  With paint.  Or markers.  Or colored pencils, or crayons–whatever they wanted to use to show their creativity was fine by me.  And show us they did!

Check it out:

We weren’t done there, though.  Nope.  Had to do some writing about it, of course!  So kiddos were given a sheet to help them think through how they would explain their work.  Basically I wanted to give kiddos the support with sentence starters (if they needed it), as well as the structure of understanding what they could actually explain about the process (sometimes 2nd graders just want to tell you one sentence and be done).

Kiddos were instructed to complete a rough draft (which was made of four parts: When I read The Dot, it made me think of….; So I decided to make…; I used…; and I want to make my mark by…).  On the second day of work we had to have a conversation about what it meant to be “done,” because like I mentioned before, some kiddos thought just saying “I used paint” would be a thorough explanation of what they did.  I showed them my sheet–all filled out–and we discussed the thinking I did in order to decide what to say, as well as how to use the organizer correctly.  The lesson here was simple: if you are given 4 lines to write your ideas upon, then you should write 4 lines of words.  Well, it seemed simple at least, but was not so obvious as you might think.  Once they finally had a rough draft, they were then to work by themselves or with their elbow partner to revise and edit their work before creating their final draft on special “Dot” paper.  This was perfectly tied into the writing cycle we were working through and was a nice picture of how writing doesn’t just happen during one set time of day.

It took us a week to all finish our writing, and then we were ready to share.  I was happy to see how well it all fit in our hallway, using the windows and the one vertical part of the wall.  Perfect space-wise, and perfect because we (and everyone who walks through our hallway) get to be inspired by our dots every day!

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I Hope You Make Mistakes

I start almost every day in Rm. 202 by saying something to my students that still had some of them very confused:

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 5.19.11 PMI remember the first time I said it.  No kidding, some of their eyes were as big as saucers and they thought I was kidding.  “You mean you want me to mess up?”  “You want me to fail?”  Well….yes, actually I do.  Not because I want you to feel badly, or because I want anything negative for you, but because I want you to learn something.  When we make mistakes, we learn what NOT to do, or we learn how to do things differently, which helps us next time.  If we’re always comfortable, and everything is easy, then we’re coasting and not learning.  And THAT is not ok with me.

We have been talking a lot about our brains and how they work, and a couple of these videos have helped some of my friends look at me a little less crazily when I mention mistakes:

All of this fits in perfectly with our YET talk, and helps us all get on the same page as we learn and grow together.  Not everyone is there yet, but I know that as we continue to understand how being perfect is not the goal, but learning new things is, more will get on board.  Their new successes will help spur them to WANT to make mistakes, for that is when they LEARN something new. 🙂