Art, Augmented Reality, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites

International Dot Day 2014

UPDATE 8/16/2021: For a more recent post on Dot Day with better links and resources, visit this page!

Yesterday’s post was about making mistakes.  A lot of our students are afraid to try anything because they think they will do it “wrong.” But there are lots of activities that don’t have a right or wrong way to do them.  Sometimes creativity and having fun are important parts of learning, too.

If you are looking for an easy, engaging way to get this message across to your students, try participating in International Dot Day on September 15th, 2014.  Read the fabulous book, The Dot, by Peter Reynolds.  Try one of the fun suggested classroom activities in the Educator’s Handbook.  Connect with someone using Skype in the Classroom. Or try the augmented reality app, ColAR, with the free Dot Day sheet.  Check out this Pinterest board or this one.  And don’t forget to check out the Celebri-dots here!

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image from:
3-6, Apps, Education, Multiple Intelligences, Student Products, Teaching Tools

North Star Smart Stars Survey

from: North Star Smart Stars app by Fablevision
from: North Star Smart Stars app by Fablevision

My colleague, Daryn, pointed me toward this app a few weeks ago, and I finally had the chance to download it and try it out this weekend.

North Star Smart Stars Survey is an iPad app produced by Fablevision.  It was designed by Peter Reynolds (author of The Dot, Ish, The North Star, and other books) and Megan McDonald (Judy Moody series illustrator).  Based on Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, the app allows the user to answer a series of questions in order to end up with a beautiful constellation map of that shows his or her strengths based on the relative sizes of each star.

Constellations can be saved to the Photo Gallery, or shared through e-mail.  They can be edited at any time.  Multiple users can take the survey on one device, and all of the information is saved under each user’s name.

For teachers, this can be a valuable resource, allowing you to differentiate activities based on the interests of your students.  There are also whimsical downloadable posters available for each intelligence.

As noted by Paul Reynolds in the comments below, this app is now available as a free download, which makes it a great deal for your classroom!

Creative Thinking, Education, Fun Friday, Games, K-5, Motivation, Science, Videos

Building Dreams

I have two things to share for today’s “Phun Phriday” post.  With our participation in the Global Cardboard Challenge preoccupying me, I have been obsessing about any topic in tweets, posts, or online articles related to making and/or building.

First up is a series of products from “Roominate”,  which are billed as “Hands-On, Building, Circuits, and Creativity Toys for Girls!”  This was brought to my attention by one of my colleagues in the district, Daryn, who mentioned that she is considering purchasing it for her little girl. As you know, there is a serious deficit of females in the S.T.E.M. field, and products like Roominate and Goldie Blox are aiming to change that. Roominate allows you to design and build a house – or whatever your imagination dreams up – using an endless combination of modular pieces.  There is even an “Electrical Engineer Pack” that can be purchased to light up your structure.  I might have to buy this, myself, so I can play with it for my classroom 😉

screenshot from:
screenshot from:

And if you are participating in the Global Cardboard Challenge, or planning in any way to encourage creativity on the part of your students this year (I certainly hope you are!), then you might want to show them the delightful little animated video, “Above and Beyond,” that I discovered via a tweet from @APChainReaction.  You can access the link to the video here, as well as a cute PDF of a poster that accompanies it.  One of my favorite authors, Peter Reynolds, of “Dot Day” fame (among many other achievements!), is the genius behind this simple, but powerful story that celebrates creativity and collaboration.  It was the perfect video to show my 5th graders yesterday right before they tackled their Cardboard Box projects!

screenshot from "Above and Beyond" by Peter Reynolds
screenshot from the Above and Beyond” video by Peter Reynolds
Apps, Art, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products, Teaching Tools

International Dot Day and Augmented Reality Fun!

use ColAR to augment your Dot!
use ColAR to augment your Dot!

International Dot Day is coming up on September 15th!

In addition to all of the other exciting activities that you can do to celebrate International Dot Day, inspired by Peter Reynolds’ book, The Dot, you can now use the amazing ColAR app to really bring 3 dimensions to the party!

ColAR has released a special PDF that you can print and have your students color using their most creative design skills.  Once they have completed their dots, you can use the free ColAR app (available in iTunes or Google Play) to scan it (if you already have the app, you may need to update it for it to work with this project).  The dot will appear to jump off the page, and you can admire it from different perspectives as you move your iDevice or Android around the screen.  Click here for more instructions, and to download the PDF.

My daughter and I had great fun with the ColAR app this summer.  Unfortunately, you must pay for the full version now to use all of the pages they offer, but you can do a couple of free ones plus the Dot Day one with the free app.

Even though I am not meeting with my students yet as we are testing for the GT program, I plan to pass these out to my test-takers to take home and decorate.  Then, we can take a break from testing to “play” with their dots – and I can use their artistic creations to add some color to my room!

If you are interested in more ideas for International Dot Day, click here!

5-8, Critical Thinking, Education, Games, Problem Solving, Websites


Peter Reynolds, author and illustrator of The Dot, as well as many other books, is the mind behind SuperThinkers.  This website, designed for students in upper elementary and middle school, includes, games and activities that encourage: reading for meaning, logic, and reasoning skills.  According to the site, it “offers activities that require that students THINK before they click. Do not be surprised if some students find this site “too hard.” An important lesson in authentic learning is that it IS a challenge to think.”

The featured game on SuperThinkers is The Peetnik Mysteries, and I think students will enjoy making deductions based on the clues that are given.  The site also includes:  a creativity workshop, posters, and parent and educator pages.  In addition, there is a section on getting involved by helping others with your SuperThinker powers.

Art, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12

Don’t Forget Dot Day!

International Dot Day is on September 15th.  You can see my original post about it here.  Recently, I found some more resources on Lori’s Latest Links:  International Dot Day and More Dot Day Ideas.  There are some videos with examples of how different schools have celebrated Dot Day, and some links to different lesson plan ideas.  Here is a Pinterest site of Dot Day ideas.  And here are some wonderful ways to integrate art.  Mark International Dot Day on your calendars now, and make it a day of creativity in your classroom!