Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Dot.....

Have you heard of or read the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds?  It's a very simple story, yet, there are SO many ways it can impact a classroom and connect to curriculum.

For my class this year, I found the book in a backward sort of way.  See, I found this really neat app called colAR via my twitter network.  Yes, it's supposed to be spelled that way, cause the AR stands for augmented reality.  Now, I'm not an expert by any means on augmented reality, but I am pretty good at finding ways to make things fit into the curriculum and justify spending precious instructional time on said activities.

So when I found this app, and saw how you can totally bring to life your dot drawing, I had to dive in.  Really.  It was a must.

How did I connect it to curriculum so that I could spare time in our overly scheduled day?  Good question.

First, we read the book and took it at face value - absorbing and exploring the basic lessons of believing in yourself, trying your best, perspective, perseverance- you know, the good stuff.  From there, the Thinkers illustrated their own dots, drawing pictures that represent them- what they're good at, what they enjoy doing, what they're proud of, etc.

Then came the fun part.

Using the (free) colAR app on our four classroom iPads each table got to play with their dot - which became a three dimensional toy on the screen.  Even better, it was curriculum night, so the dots were proudly displayed on desks so that parents could download and play themselves that evening.

It was a big hit all around, but how, you might be wondering, does it tie in to curriculum?  I mean, this is 4th grade, we don't usually have time for celebrations like International Dot Day (9/15) and things like that.

But this was different.  See, we study a bit of government in 4th grade.  And we always start the year off with a constitutional exploration, including the preamble (we write our own!) and symbols of the United States.

Symbols.  Yep.  Now you're thinking.

So day one was the fun day where we read the book and created our dots, complete with symbols that represent us, what we like, what we're good at, and so forth.

Day two is where the connections connected and the lightbulbs lit.

Cause it was time for us to design a class flag.  With symbols that represent our classroom.  Which is how the Thinkers spent a good part of their afternoon (after, of course, we reviewed the dot story, played a little more with our dots, and discussed symbols that represent us, the United States, and our classroom.)

I can't wait to see what the Thinkers come up with when the flags are revealed later this week!

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