North Branford and Northford will be dotted with fun from Sept. 10 to Sept. 22 in honor of International Dot Day, which is Saturday, Sept. 15. In addition to a town-wide search for the red-orange dots, there will be story hours and a Dot Open House at the , dot-based lessons at (TVES) and prizes.
What is International Dot Day?
According to International Dot Day’s website, International Dot Day was launched by teacher Terry Shay when he introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on Sept. 15, 2009. (Fun Fact: Terry chose September 15 because the original publishing date of The Dot is September 15, 2003!) The Dot tells the story of a caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student in a remarkably creative way. The teacher dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark.” What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.
The website says there are more than 15,000 Dot Day events scheduled with almost 400,000 students involved all over the world. This is the first year that North Branford will be joining this international event.
, the librarian at TVES and , attended a weeklong conference for teachers of gifted and talented programs at UConn where Reynolds was a speaker.
“His message was about how creativity takes courage,” said Seiden. “He said he’s noticed, when he visits schools, that when he asks kindergarteners who’s an artist, everyone raises their hand, but as they get older less and less kids think of themselves in that way. At some point some of us put down our crayons and stop creating.”
Inspired by his passion for creativity, Seiden approached , with an idea for Dot Day.
“It sounded like a lot of fun,” said Verrillo. “It’s all about fostering creativity in children.”
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Spot the Dot!
International Dot Day will actually be celebrated over the course of almost two weeks, highlighted by a town-wide Spot the Dot hunt. While browsing Reynolds’ websites, Seiden noticed a suggested activity was a scavenger hunt.
“I saw that and it was also around the same time a lot of the towns were doing a Where’s Waldo so I just combined the ideas and thought we could find the dots,” she said.
So, beginning Sept. 10, 12 white and reddish-orange dots (see attached picture to know what you’re looking for!) will be hidden all over town for residents to find. When you ‘Spot the Dot,’ you can either scan the QR Code on the dot or write down the code and the dot’s location.
Then you enter the information online to enter to win prizes. The more dots you find, the more times you’re entered! The prize drawing will be held on Sept. 22.
Don’t have a computer? Don’t worry…you can still play! Just bring a list of the dots you find to the children’s department at the Smith Library.
Other Dot Activities
In addition to Spot the Dot, there will be lots of other dot-based fun around town as students at TVES will be taking part in dot-based lessons with Seiden and Verrillo has special programs planned at the library.
Verrillo will host several story times at Smith Library where she will read The Dot and lead activities. There will also be a on Saturday, Sept. 15 complete with refreshments. To register for the free programs at the library, call 203-484-0469.
- Story Hour and Dot Activities for children ages: 3 to 8 on at noon or at 6:30 p.m.
- on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. All ages welcome!
“Peter Reynolds wanted everyone to take the time to read the book and be inspired,” said Verrillo. “By the time some kids reach a certain age, they think they’re not good at something, but this book lets them know that everyone can be creative.”
At TVES, Seiden is in the midst of reading The Dot to all of the 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-grade classes. She is reading the book in both its traditional form as well as using the Smart Board to share Reynolds's story.
The school's Magic Mailbox, which is always open to students to submit their creative works, is already full of submissions for the school's Dot Contest in which students and staff can share their own Dot masterpieces. Students can also create virtual dots on an iPad during their library classes.
“I just love the idea behind this–just make a mark and see where it takes us, be courageous enough to be creative,” said Seiden. “Adults need to model this and our world needs more of this.”
Residents can also share their work by
What: Spot the Dot
When: Sept. 10 to Sept. 22
Where: All over Northford and North Branford
Enter to Win: Fill out this form