Posts Tagged ‘Peter Reynolds’

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

One of our favorite days of the year is Dot Day. Created to celebrate the publication of The Dot by Peter Reynolds, Dot Day encourages creativity and playful art.

My students and I drew dots and wrote Zeno poems. The Zeno form was invented by J. Patrick Lewis. The form uses a syllable count of 8, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1 with each 1 syllable line rhyming. This is a playful form. We folded paper into a zine. To see how to make a zine, go to this post from last year.

Imagining the brightest knot

see the colors

of the dot

colors of the



Brightest of the

ones I’ve


Breighlynn, 4th grade

It is true that you have talent
you are so high
in the
you should always
you are in clouds
try to

Chloe, 4th grade

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Dani at Doing the Work the Matters.

This is my last week of school and a perfect time for reading picture books and writing about dreams. I read aloud Happy Dreamer by Peter Reynolds.

Peter Reynolds wields his word-magic wand in this book. Near the end, there is a double flap that opens up to reveal multiple dreamers and ways to be happy.

What kind of dreamer are you?

Here’s a list poem of some of them:

Celebration Happy
Stage Dreamer
Family Happy
Fierce Dreamer
Ocean Happy
Dreamy Dreamer

Make a Difference Happy
Civic Dreamer
Foot Stomping Happy
Crazy Dreamer
Kindness Happy
Sunny Dreamer

I tried a simple writing prompt “What kind of dreamer are you?” Breighlynn used a repeated line and showed me the way to a form.

I am a wild dreamer
seeing things
others cannot
playing with invisible lions
petting the prettiest jaguars
What will I see next?

I am a wild dreamer
playing with hippos
when taking a bath
riding on alligators
when floating in the pool.

I am a fierce dreamer
fighting dragons one day
protecting the king, the next.

I am a fierce dreamer
standing guard at the castle.
If I die,
oh well,
it’s just a dream.

Breighlynn, 3rd grade

Madison used a free form and found her way to her love of art.

I am a thinking dreamer–
Worlds and tales threaded through my daydreams,
a tapestry or another world
where the limit is my own self.
These worlds of mine are
put to paper,
and solidified within
my own

Madison, 5th grade

What kind of dreamer are you?

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

If you take the book jacket off of The Word Collector, you see a golden collection of words.



Wonders of words
Fill constellations.
There is an angel
On my shoulder
As I write … praline, crimson…
Sounds of words roll
Over my tongue,
Taste sweet…Argentina…
Musical… infinity of words
To release into the air.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

The librarian knows of my attachment to all things Peter Reynolds.  I introduced her to Dot Day and helped her plan activities in the fall.  Last week, she had a Scholastic Book Fair.  I shopped on Friday and put some wishes into a bin.  I never had a chance to go back and purchase any.  When this sweet librarian saw me she said, “I saw Word Collector in your book fair bin.”

I said, “I know!  I’m so sorry I never had time to come back and buy anything.”

“No worries. I had extra funds from the sales, so I bought a copy for the library.  I put it aside for you.”  And she handed me Peter Reynolds gold!

I shared the book with my students and as I did, I said, “Be a word collector.  As I read, make your own collection of words.”

My students wrote and wrote.  Their lists covered one, then two pages in their notebooks.  Given 10 minutes on the timer, they turned their lists into poems.  Amazing poems.

Madison decided to make word combinations, so she randomly matched together two word pairs.  When she finished, she realized that all her combinations could describe stars.  She titled this masterpiece Stars.


Azure Wonders
Emerald Willows
Drifting Whispers
Geometric Symphony
Aromatic Kaleidoscope
Marvelously Effervescent
Harmony Lore
Breezing Beyond
 Onyx Liberty
Tranquil Silence
Cascading Glints
Brilliant Waterfalls
Onomatopoeia Collections
Hopeful Grace
 Mused Clovers
Constellate Alligator
Utopia Yonder

 Stars Of The Sky

–Madison, 4th grade

I wrote about Dawson last week, about how he was not using line breaks yet in his poems.  I showed him how he could, and now he’s writing meaningful poetry.  I love what he wrote about his decisions for the line breaks. “I decided to do it like this with line breaks and words because it sounds like a song that you could play. If you read it again, watch go ahead, read this again while playing joyful music in the background.”

With Willows
soft as a whisper,
with royal flocks
prancing around in your dream,
let it be known
there is wonder in your heart.

–Dawson, 4th grade

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Jacob’s lovely painting for #More for AKR

Today, I am celebrating Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s birthday. This beacon of lovely died earlier this year, but she has left behind a legacy of kindness that is spreading like the fan of her yellow umbrella. Kirby Larson started a Facebook group. People from every state in the country have joined to celebrate today and do More. Amy’s lovely book I Wish You More has inspired a movement that will be felt globally today on her birthday.

I have been crocheting chemo bags out of fun colorful yarn. Students from my school have donated items to add to these kits. We will be delivering them to a local hospital for kids going through chemo.

I was inspired by Keri to buy a Peter Reynolds poster featuring one of Amy’s quotes. The posters will benefit the AKR Yellow Umbrella Foundation.

Here we are at the end of National Poetry Month, and I am wishing for more.  We made it to the letter O for Odes.  I read aloud a few of Pablo Naruda’s Ode to Common Things.  He was the master.  I love the way his odes read like a stream of consciousness.  I joined my students in writing odes.  And of course, I felt it appropriate to write an Ode to Poetry.

I’ve listen
to your song,
your rhyme,
rhythm–the tap,
tap, tap
of your dancing pen.

Oh poetry,
born of Pablo,
and Emily.
You hypnotize me.

A single line
can make my heart swell.
I can hear my own voice
echoing in your rivers.
Together we roam
the world,
hand in hand
finding flowers,
and geese
along the way.

I jump
into your arms,
oh, poetry.
Let me rock
on your squeaky swing,
holding onto
every word.
Pronouncing each syllable
with perfect pitch.

” On 4/29 at 4:20 PM, text someone I love you. This is what I would like for my birthday each year.” AKR

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.


Taking a walk in my neighborhood this season, one sees all kinds of silly yard decorations.  In fact, we have a frog with a Santa hat in ours.  This Santa in an airboat with a duck driver caught my eye.  The propellor actually turns.   Here’s another haiku. Number 24 for haiku-a-day in December.



In the early fall, flood waters claimed many homes here in South Louisiana.  My third grade student Jacob’s was one of them.  He wrote a story about the flood.  I contacted Peter Reynolds about Jacob’s story, and he published it in his magazine for kid authors and illustrators, Hutch.  Jacob’s sister, Emily (6th grade), drew the illustrations.  An exciting collaboration!  I celebrate Jacob and Emily’s first publication!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!



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Poetry Friday round-up with Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

Poetry Friday round-up with Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty.

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

This is a dual posting for Poetry Friday and Celebration Saturday because this week we celebrated Dot Day. What a great week we had!

On Tuesday, Sept. 15th, my students have come to expect Dot Day. It’s a tradition in my gifted classroom. And every year gets better. A friend of mine made me a Dot Day skirt, a felt poodle skirt full of dots.

I received a text from a former student with the greeting, “Happy International Dot Day!” Thanks to Peter Reynolds for writing The Dot and for establishing Dot Day, a day to celebrate creativity, resilience, and empathy. Did you know there’s a Dot Day song?

We shared our enthusiasm on Wednesday with Mrs. Rogers’ first grade class. Two students shared the reading of the book and everyone danced to the song. Then the first graders decorated coffee filters with markers. I brought a spray bottle, so each gifted student sprayed their group’s dots. We had so much fun. Their teacher, Mrs. Rogers, invited us back on Friday. Her kids had made thank you drawings and wanted to perform the song for us. They had been practicing. The smile never left my face.

My kids want to do another activity with them. One suggested Chalk-a-bration. More to come!

Back in our classroom, I started a document with this line, “A blank canvas stares at me.” I invited the students to add a line to our class Dot poem. Then I put it all together in this Animoto video. I think it will make you smile!

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Join in the fun of nonfiction picture books at Kid Lit Frenzy.

Join in the fun of nonfiction picture books at Kid Lit Frenzy.

Layout 1

I am determined this year to get more nonfiction and more reading aloud into my daily class time. This new book about the life of George Mendoza by J.L.Powers helped me inspire my students for their dot painting on Dot Day. (See Tuesday’s post.)

By the time George Mendoza was 15, he was legally blind. But George’s blindness was unique. He didn’t totally lose his sight. His condition caused him to see colors in an unusual way, like a kaleidoscope. This true story is inspirational on many counts. George became an Olympic athlete, setting world records as a blind runner. Later, he took up painting. A priest once told him to paint what he sees. The book is full of George Mendoza’s amazing, colorful paintings.

I paired this book with Peter Reynold’s book The Dot which tells the story of Vashti becoming an artist. Through both of these books, my students could see that anyone can be an artist. All you have to do is try. Both George and Vashti’s stories waved a creative magic wand over my students. They were primed and ready to make their own mark.

Colors of the Wind is written for an early reader. The sentence structure and word choice are easy to read. Some sentences are repeated throughout. An early reader would enjoy being able to read the words as well as look at the colorful images. As a read aloud for older students, I included the back matter, the last two pages that tell the whole story. Whichever part you read, this book will fascinate the inner artist.

"Sometimes, George uses paintbrushes.  But most days, he fingerpaints, using heavy work gloves with gobs and gobs of paint."

“Sometimes, George uses paintbrushes. But most days, he fingerpaints, using heavy work gloves with gobs and gobs of paint.”

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  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Oh, how my students love Dot Day! Do you celebrate? Peter Reynolds is the brilliant creator of this amazing, phenomenal day. This year 1.7 million have registered to participate. That’s a lot of dots!

I wore my Dot Day skirt. We read The Dot (again) and watched The Dot video. This year a new song was released by Emily Dale. What a catchy tune! We sang along and kept singing as we made our dots. There is nothing more fun than painting on a Monday. My students experimented with mixing colors. They tried out new designs. Not one of them said they didn’t know what to draw. I love that about Dot Day. Vashti shows us that even a jab of a pencil is worthy.

You can still celebrate Dot Day. The official day is Sept. 15th but Peter tells us that it is Sept. 15th-ish. I say any day could be Dot Day. Make your mark. Make it matter.

Many resources are available on FableVision.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

I had a birthday this week. It was also my first school day. The secretary sang “Happy Birthday” to me over the intercom. My gifted teacher-colleagues made cupcakes for our meeting and gave me a new journal. I had a ton of Facebook messages. I love that FB tells people it’s my birthday. I even got messages from two of my favorite authors, Peter Reynolds and Sharon Creech. My friend and colleague, Sally, knows how much I love Peter Reynolds. In 2006, she won a sketch at a technology conference. She gave me this sketch. What a special gift! If you do not know Peter Reynolds’ work, you must. His books make a difference. I am planning once again to participate in International Dot Day that celebrates the publication anniversary of The Dot.

Peter Reynolds' sketch

This week my daughter was house sitting for a friend’s family. She sent me this picture to invite me out to enjoy the peacefulness and all the animals.

The Farm

I met her out at the barn. The largest horse, Jackson, is so sweet. I was petting him, then turned to walk away. He came out of his stall and nudged my back for more petting. I am not accustom to horses, so I wasn’t sure how to react. He didn’t care. He continued to be affectionate. Maggie took this picture of us.


Thanks for celebrating the week with me.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Photo from Mind, Body, Fitness

Photo from Mind, Body, Fitness

The balance poses in yoga are a kind of test for me. If the balance pose is tough, and I teeter and fall, I know there is something not quite right. If I can stand tall and balance with focus, I feel complete. When we talk about Digital Literacy both in our own lives and in the lives of our students, I think balance is essential.

Each day I begin my morning checking email, Facebook, and reading blog posts. The more people I connect with in this digital environment, the more time this takes. I could so easily get stuck at the computer, and sometimes I do. I have to remember my nondigital life, the one in which the pets live, and my family, and my face-to-face friends.

In my classroom, the computers are tools. They stand ready for students to publish writing, to research, and to create a presentation. They do not and will not replace the face-to-face discussion of ideas, the pen-to-paper of the journal entry, or the shelves of books. Balance.

How do you balance your digital life with your real life?

I am a follower of Peter Reynolds. He is the creator of Dot, Ish, and most recently Going Places. His artwork as well as his ideas are inspiring. I would love to print out all his posters and decorate my classroom with them. This one shows the 5 Cs of 21st Century Education: Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking with the addition of a very important C, Compassion.

Click on the image to download this poster.

Click on the image to download this poster.

As 21st Century educators, we can so easily get on overload. We can get caught up in the technology, social media, and the continuous flow of online apps. However, we need to remember balance, keep a focal point, and lead our students into the world of the 5Cs with or without technology.

Add your DigiLit Sunday post to Mr. Linky. Next Sunday I will not be posting. (My youngest daughter is graduating from graduate school. Woo Hoo! If you want to take on the round-up next Sunday, let me know in the comments or by email.

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