The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Have you read this great book with any of your students? Many years ago I observed that some of my students had very negative self-talk. Last week a teacher of one of my 4th graders told me the student said to him “I am the dumbest kid in the 4th grade”. This breaks my heart to hear. I have also observed that these kids with low self-esteem rarely use their accommodations which directly impacts how well they can access learning in school. In the past I investigated books, games, and activities that I thought might help with facilitating positive self-talk and encourage the trying out of new behaviors and ideas.
One book that I came across and have used is The Dot. If you haven’t read it, hightail it to your nearest library because I’m sure they carry it! There are a variety of folks reading it on Youtube as well. It is a very short, simple book with easy language that can lead to complex thoughts and discussion. A little girl thinks she cannot draw but is then encouraged by her teacher to try. She draws a dot which the teacher then frames and hangs. This encourages her to experiment and draw more and more. Another student sees her artwork and tells the girl that he can’t draw. She passes on her teacher’s words of wisdom to him and and that encourages him to draw.
Some points for discussion while reading that I have used are:
♦ Why do you think the girl said she could not do something before she even tried it?
♦ Have you ever told a teacher that you can’t do something before you tried it?
♦ What did your teacher say?
♦ What is something that I have asked you to do that you think you can’t do?
September 15th is International Dot Day which celebrates the universal appeal of the book. If you are interested, see http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/get-started for activity suggestions.