I like to share The Dot by Peter Reynolds with my students at the beginning of the year for many reasons. First, I think many students can relate to Vashti, the main character, who claims she can’t draw. Our students often come to us with built-in mindsets about what things they are not good at or can’t do. This story offers another opportunity for you to discuss growth-mindset, and the power of yet (read more here). I also think this story serves as an important reminder for educators about the power and influence we have over how our students perceive themselves and their abilities. When Vashti’s teacher asks her to sign her paper and frames her dot as artwork, she also reframes Vashti’s thinking about what it means to be an artist. We have so many occasions to twist students’ mistakes and weaknesses into teachable moments and opportunities for growth. Finally, to celebrate and nurture the creative spirit in all students, I like to give students a blank sheet of paper with one random, stray squiggle, line, shape or dot. Then, after reading a related book called The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken, I like to have students use their imaginations to transform that one stray mark into a piece of art. You can gather valuable information about your students like who struggles to get started and who can easily tap into those creative juices and allow them to flow. Grab a bookmark freebie with an important message to download, print and share with your students here.
The Book Wrangler