Working Together for a Bright Future

Winslow School celebrates annual Dot Day through Aboriginal art

Students at Winslow Elementary School continued their annual tradition of transforming dots into beautiful pieces of art by celebrating International Dot Day last week.

September 14, or Dot Day, was inspired by the book “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds, in which a young girl is encouraged to believe in herself and “make her mark” upon the world. As explained by Reynolds, the story “begins with a small dot on a piece of paper and becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage.”

This is the fifth year that Kara Rehm, art teacher at Winslow, has incorporated the day into her classes. This year’s focus was Australian Aboriginal art. The Aborigines believe is what they call a “dreamtime” or a time when the earth first began, and this belief manifested itself in unique visual images or paintings called Dreamings. One Dreaming style employs “shimmering” dots while another uses delicate and detailed line designs.

“The story of The Dot has inspired me every year to come up with something new,” Rehm said. “And I thought, I haven’t done a culture yet, let me research some cultures that use dots in their paintings.”

The challenge each year is finding a way to incorporate the theme into projects that can be adapted for all grade levels. Kindergarten, first, and second grades all created colorful dot designs based around a hand tracing. Third and fourth graders created their own Dreamings featuring a variety of different animals. Fifth graders were able to put their talents on display by creating their own Dreamings on slices of a fallen tree. Finally, the self-contained students made mono prints by adding ink to plates and then drawing with a wooden stick. Then then placed a paper on top and rubbed the back to make a print.

Parents were also able to contribute to the celebration this year. A large circle-covered bulletin board is on display in the main hallway, inviting parents to “make a mark and see where it takes you.” During Back to School Night, families were asked to write a brief message or encouraging words for their child. Nearly every single circle featured kind words or a drawing for all to see.

International Dot Day was first celebrated in 2009. Today it is now celebrated by over 13 million people in 177 countries.

Rehm was also highlighted by the Art Educators of New Jersey for her advocacy of art education, specifically her work with Dot Day. The full article can be seen here:

Click the following link for photos from the day: