September: According to the _www.thedotclub.org, International Dot Day “began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009. If you haven’t read The Dot, it is about a young girl, Vashti, who doesn’t believe she can draw. Her teacher tells her to “make a mark and see where it takes” her. The book jacket sums up the rest beautifully: “That one little dot marks the beginning of Peter H. Reynolds’ delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us. That one little dot marks the beginning . . . .” (I urge you to read it to find out what happens!). So the purpose of this special day? To “re-discover the power and potential of creativity in all [you] do.” This started in a classroom, but is intended for people of all ages – children, teachers, artists, writers, parents, you, me, ANYONE.
October: I’ve had four children go through first grade at the same elementary school. This year it was time for child #5. As you can imagine, I’ve seen a lot of the same projects year after year, so I was surprised when my son came home with an unfamiliar assignment: he was asked to decorate a pumpkin to look like a book character. This project was right up my son’s (and my) alley! Combining a love of picture books with arts and crafts was a dream homework assignment. His biggest problem was deciding which of the many favorite characters he wanted to make into a pumpkin. He finally settled on Leonardo from Mo Willems’ Leonardo the Terrible Monster (another must read!). For my son, this project encouraged and developed several skills including reading, writing, creative-thinking, and fine-motor. Because he needed my help (he cannot read entirely on his own and needed help with supplies), this project got my creative juices flowing too. Much of my time as a writer is actually not spent writing, and sometimes a hands-on activity is just what I need to spark an idea.