2017 Dot Day Newsmakers

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On September 15-ish, over 10 million people in 170 different countries celebrated International Dot Day. A celebration of creativity, courage, and compassion, Dot Day encourages everyone to #MakeYourMark - so it comes as no surprise that many Dot Day celebrations ended up making their mark in the news! Here’s a peek at the newsworthy Dot Day celebrations around the world.

Akron Public Schools on Akron.com

In Ohio, students in Akron public schools made their mark by raising money to benefit victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in partnership with local chapters of the American Red Cross as part of International Dot Day. Students earned money through their own efforts, taking responsibility for running lemonade stands, walking dogs, weeding gardens, and more!

Make Your Mark on Cozad Award on Lexch.com

The Wilson Public Library in Cozad, Nebraska, awarded their annual Make Your Mark on Cozad Award to Ila Davenport and her late husband Gerald Davenport. The Make Your Mark on Cozad Award, presented as a part of the Wilson Public Library’s Dot Day celebration, recognizes Cozad community members who are active supporters of Cozad, its library, and the arts. Congratulations to the Davenports - talk about making your mark!

NIFT-TEA College of Knitwear Fashion in The Hindu

Students at the NIFT-TEA College of Knitwear Fashion in the Kongu Nadu region of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu designed colorful clothing, wall hangings, and decorated bottles based on a Dot Day theme of dots! Up to 202 students worked on their designs over the course of four days until they were finally displayed by students on the college campus in a dot formation. More beautiful photos of the NIFT-TEA students' Dot Day masterpieces can be found here.

Szczecin's Elementary School no. 7 on Głos Szczeciński 24

Students in Szczecin, Poland’s Elementary School no. 7 decorated little trees together for Dot Day, using a variety of materials from paper dots to yarn! This is the school’s third year in a row celebrating Dot Day and these little trees can now be seen brightening up the school’s hallway.

Porter Elementary School in The Daily Times

The Porter Elementary School in Tennessee celebrated Dot Day school-wide - from the classroom to the cafeteria! Students learned Braille, dot balloons floated around the school, and even the cafeteria had a round-food themed menu.

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Westfield Area YMCA on Tap Into Westfield

In New Jersey, children from the Westfield Area YMCA Early Learning programs read The Dot and engaged in fun activities such as creating their own paint and paper dots, playing Twister, and participating in a scavenger hunt for dots!

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Ready to join in on the International Dot Day media frenzy? Register at The Dot Club if you're still celebrating Dot Day this year or to prepare for next year, and share your mark across social media with #MakeYourMark and #DotDay. You can also stay connected on Twitter @DotClubConnect and Facebook

A Special Dot Day Message from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has a special message to the students and teachers at Russell Elementary School in Dorchester, MA, as well as to the other nearly 10 million celebrating #DotDay in 169 countries!

How are you making your mark this #DotDay? Sign up for a FREE Dot Day guide & resources

Dot Day 2017 in Pictures 

Paul and Peter H. Reynolds joined the students at the Russell Elementary School for an amazing Dot Day Celebration. Here are a few of the highlights: 

Join the Fab@School Maker Studio Fall Summit at Central Mass Collaborative

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join the teams from the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity, FableVision Learning, and the Central Mass Collaborative for a Fall FabMaker Summit on Oct. 11, from 11 to 2 p.m.

The free hands-on session, from 10:30-2 p.m. will be held at the Central Mass Collaborative and is limited to 50 participants.

Attendees will enjoy an engaging agenda packed with inspiration, storytelling, and hands-on learning of the Fab@School online software tools and grant opportunities.

Fab@School Maker Studio is an easy-to-use, web-based design and fabrication tool that invites students in grades PreK-8 to experience STEM and STEAM learning in a more engaging, personally meaningful way. This program is a part of the national Fab@School research initiative and is committed to championing equity and access to quality maker education.

With low-cost materials like paper, cardstock or cardboard and a wide range of tools from scissors to inexpensive 2D cutters, 3D printers and laser cutters, students can use Fab@School Maker Studio to design, invent, and build their own geometric constructions and working machines. 

Registration is required, please register here

Peter H. Reynolds and The Dot Rolls Into Dorchester on Sept. 15

On Friday, Sept. 15, millions of people in 169 countries will celebrate International Dot Day, and among them will be students and faculty members at William E. Russell Elementary School in Dorchester, Massachusetts — a historic neighborhood of Boston known locally as “Dot.”

Inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’s acclaimed picture book The Dot, in 2009 Iowa educator Terry Shay and his students decided to celebrate creativity and courage on Sept. 15. The Dot is the heartwarming story of a perceptive and caring teacher and a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw. Vashti’s teacher encourages her to trust in her own abilities and be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.”

Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery, and self-expression, The Dot has been translated into many languages, including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, and even braille. Since International Dot Day’s founding, over 9.5 million educators, schoolchildren, celebrities, and everyday readers have spread Reynolds’s message by creating their own dots and sharing them via PinterestTwitter, and classroom walls, among other outlets.

This year, Reynolds himself will celebrate Dot Day at Russell Elementary School with 375 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Picture books can change lives, and The Dot is doing it around the world with children and adults who are being encouraged to make their mark. We’re proud to be able to take care of these awesome students right here in our own backyard,” said Karen Lotz, president of Candlewick Press, the publisher of The Dot.

Reynolds is expected to be joined by Boston Public Schools Superintendent of Schools, Tommy Chang. The guests will tour the school and enjoy presentations of the students’ work.

"We are very grateful for the gift of literacy, which Peter is providing to our students," said Russell Elementary Principal Tamara Blake-Canty. "We are incredibly proud of the rigorous academic scholarship we pursue at the Russell, and celebrating International Dot Day here not only gives us another occasion to highlight our students’ pursuits, it also fuels our teachers’ and students’ ingenuity to reach further heights."

Reynolds says he is especially pleased to be sharing his message in Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood, often locally referred to as “Dot.”

“I like to choose a significant physical location to celebrate Dot Day each year,” Reynolds explains. “Besides, its an awesome nickname. Dorchester is just minutes from my educational media studio based in Boston’s Innovation District, where I hope Russell Elementary School students will one day be using their creativity to make their mark as innovators in tomorrow’s workforce.”

The Dot Day Celebration Continues

Where: at the Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, Massachusetts
When: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Children and adults can stop by to create their own DOTS! (Paper and art supplies provided)

  • Enter to win a Dot Day basket, drawing at 6 p.m. – you do not have to be present to win!
  • The first 50 people who purchase The Dot book get an art supply goody bag.
  • Dot cookies by Ginger Betty and Dot Chocolate will be available for sale.
  • Peter H. Reynolds joins the festivities in the afternoon.

Make Your Mark

#DotDay is right around the diameter (because dots don’t have corners). Sept. 15th is the day to celebrate. If you haven’t done so yet, register, and join the growing community and share your mark using #MakeYourMark and #DotDay!

Travel around the World on Dot Day

This blog post was written by Adrienne Poon, FableVision Learning Marketing Intern.

One of the best things about International Dot Day is just how international it truly is! Over 9 million people across 169 different countries have already registered their Dot Day participation, making it a truly global celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration. In the spirit of this global International Dot Day community, here’s a sampling of ideas from around the world for how to #MakeYourMark.


Nepal

To kick off this International Dot Day tour, here’s a video of a small group of Nepalese students wishing you a happy Dot Day on the International Dot Day Facebook page!

United Kingdom

Dot Day love is palpable. Our friends in England at the Lammas Independent School know how to celebrate.

Poland

Now take a look at one of the most dot-happy countries in the world! Poland absolutely loves International Dot Day - there is an entire Polish blog dedicated to Dot Day, which includes a very populated map of Polish schools participating in Dot Day this year. These photos are from a school in Studzionka, which celebrated with painted dots, Quiver dots, and even dotty photoshoots! Poland even has their own Dot Day song, with an impressive accordion cover by Michał Sawicki.

Denmark

Students in Denmark also celebrated Dot Day, creating vibrant dots in all colors, sizes, and mediums with their art teacher Tatjana Knudsen.

Lithuania

In nearby Lithuania, Kedainiai special school students celebrated Dot Day last year by creating dots with markers, collage, and more!

Canada

Not be outdone on the other side of the Atlantic, the Summerside Rotary Library of Prince Edward Island is preparing a special 2017 Dot Day Family Storytime and is inviting every visitor to make their mark through stories, drawings, and a community painting!

Puerto Rico

Further south, students at the Academia San Jorge in Puerto Rico celebrated Dot Day in their computers class. This video not only shows off the students’ drawn dots, but it also includes photographs they took related to dots!

Dominican Republic

In Santo Domingo, Pekepolis EduPark hosted a Dot Day bonanza with artists, a storytime, and a medley of dot-making materials available for everyone to make their mark!

Italy

Back in Europe at Atelierstorytime’s school in Milan, students celebrated Dot Day with fun activities that also reinforced their English language skills through learning numbers, sizes, colors, and action verbs! This year, they will be celebrating Dot Day again with a storytime and workshop.

Spain

Teacher and pedagogical advisor Jenny Silvente painted dots in Spain - but not with paintbrushes. Instead, she used spin painting and elbow grease!

Invited by Jenny Silvente to participate in Dot Day and also located in Spain, promoter of play Yessica used many tiny bead dots to make a single big dot in yet another creative example of how to make your mark!

Malaysia

Across an entire continent over in Malaysia, Tadika Impian Kita had a wonderful Dot Day celebration full of classroom activities - and they uploaded video to share with all of you! 

Indonesia

Last but not least, from the jungles of Borneo, here's a video of a large group of creative students wishing everyone a happy International Dot Day!

Ready to join in on the international fun? If you haven’t already, register at The Dot Club and share your mark across social media with #MakeYourMark and #DotDay. Stay connected on twitter @DotClubConnect and Facebook

Francis W. Parker School Wins Award for Collaborative Dot Day Program

Collaboration was the framework of Francis W. Parker’s award-winning Dot Day program. For their 2016 celebration, school librarians, educational technology specialists, and first-grade teachers combined technology and literature to support the messages in Peter H. Reynold’s book, The Dot.

The Chicago-based school received the 2017 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award for their unique project, “Dot Day: How Do We Work Together as Collaborators to Make Our Mark?” This award recognizes the beneficial collaboration between school librarians and teachers to truly make the most out of the library resources in a school curriculum system.

The award-winning team includes first-grade teachers Sarah Weitz, Bev Greenberg, and Tisha Johnson, librarian Mary Catherine Coleman, and educational technology specialist Sarah Beebe. To kick off their project, the teachers read the book, The Dot, and encouraged their students to reflect on ways they make their mark in their individual lives, their community, and in their first-grade class. Then, at the library, the students went on and really made their mark with the awesome ArtBot creation.

FableVision Learning reached out to Mary Catherine Coleman to learn more about the project and plans for Dot Day 2017.

How did you learn about International Dot Day? When was the first celebration?

I heard about Dot Day a couple a years ago from School Library Journal, blogs, and library circles. At the library we have always celebrated Dot Day with reading the book and doing Dot-inspired art projects, but this is the first year we collaborated and planned an extensive project around the day.

What themes from the book The Dot did you use in your school’s celebration and how did you implement them into your program?

Students focused on the themes of art and creativity as well as growth mindset, risk taking and learning new skills. Students focused on the ideas of how we make and create art. We talked about different ways we “make our mark” and students shared different ways they create art. We also talked about being open to trying new things and continuing to to try a new skill even if we are not “good” at it to start. Students talked about how Vashti changed from the beginning of the story till the end. They brainstormed words to describe how Vashti was feeling at the beginning and words they would use to describe her feelings at the end of the story. Students focused on how important and rewarding it can be to try something new and to keep trying something even if you are not perfect at it to start.

We then combined those themes in a culminating project where students were tasked with designing and building a robot that created a unique piece of artwork.

Can you tell us a bit about ArtBot 2016 and how it connected to Dot Day?

The ArtBot 2016 project was a way to connect Dot Day with literacy, the first grade curriculum of community, design and maker building together. Students focused on the idea from the book of making your mark with art and also how we make our mark on other people’s hearts by how we treat others. This idea connected with the first grade curriculum of community and how are we a good and helpful member of our classroom, school, and larger community. We focused on how we work with others when we collaborate. Students brainstormed and thought about a time they created something with someone else and what made that an enjoyable experience. They shared their ideas and we sorted them into themes. Students realized there were four important qualities that contribute to being a good collaborator: listen, compromise, work together, and everyone is included.

Next, students were put into small groups and given the challenge to design and build a working robot that would create unique works of art. First students set the norms for their group, what would be the rules they would follow to make sure that they were being good collaborators based on the collaborator qualities. Some of the ideas included going around the group for everyone to share their design ideas first to ensure everyone was able to share, to prevent interrupting, students putting a thumb up when someone was speaking to illustrate they wanted to talk next, and making sure at least one idea from each team member was included in the robot design. Next, students designed their robots and starting building. During this process there were many connections with The Dot theme of continuing to try something even if you are not successful the first time. Many of the first designs students had for the robots did not work. They worked with their groups to talk about what went wrong and try new ideas to get the robot working. Finally, every groups produced a working ArtBot and created unique pieces of art that were displayed in our Dot Day art gallery in the school. This was inspired by The Dot art show that Vashti had at the end of the book.

The collaborator qualities that the first grade students came up with have been used throughout the school year in their classrooms and in the library in other collaborative projects and activities that we have done. Students use the protocol developed during the ArtBot project to help them be good collaborators.

*Click here to see some amazing videos of the ArtBots in action!

Francis W. Parker School recently received the 2017 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award that recognizes and emphasizes school librarian and teacher collaboration while implementing library resources. What is the dynamic of this relationship in your school, and what sorts of activities do you collaborate on/with?

We make every effort to cultivate a culture of collaboration at Francis W. Parker. We combined the library and Tech Ed departments and created a collaborative project time so that we were able to do more projects like the ArtBot project. Our administration is very supportive and gives teachers time to plan and work together to design lessons and projects that combine the curriculum of the classroom and the library and Tech Ed department so that students have deeper learning opportunities.

We have collaborated with third grade classroom teachers and the science teacher on a zoo animal project. The unit combined the informative writing curriculum, scientific study of animals in the wild, zoos and conservation, technology skills including green screen video, research skills, and a design component that included designing a zoo habitat that was in the best interest of the animal based on research about the animal’s habitat, food source and behavior.

We did an in-depth fourth grade project around fairy tales from around the world and literature themes in the book The Tale of Despereaux. Students were challenged with reading and identifying themes in different fairy tales from cultures from around the world. Students then illustrated scenes from the fairy tale that best highlighted a theme and used LittleBits circuits to make their scenes interactive with motion, light and sound.

We also did a design project with kindergarten classes. They read the story of Little Red Riding Hood and focused on different elements of a story including beginning, middle, and end, characters, problem and setting. Students then designed a safer way to get Little Red from her house to her grandmother’s house. Kindergarteners worked with teachers to design their solutions in Tinkercad and 3D printed their ideas. Ideas included a hot air balloon, a fence to protect the path, and a taxi to drive her to grandma’s house.

Our goal is to continue to expand the projects and lessons we collaborate on with our classroom and subject teachers so that students in every grade are doing 2-3 in-depth collaborative projects a year.

What are your plans for Dot Day 2017?

We will be using The Dot book again in the 2017 school year. It is a great book to launch our first collaborative project of the year with first graders. We will definitely be using the collaborator qualities protocol so that next year’s first graders will have ownership in the qualities of a collaborator that we will be using throughout the year. We will most likely change the project that they work on. We will have a planning day this summer with our whole collaborative team, including first grade classroom teachers, technology and library, to plan for the 2017-18 school year. Next year’s project will definitely include design, building and maker elements. We would love to include new technologies and building materials. We are always learning about new things and being inspired by so many great educators that we follow on twitter and meet at conferences. Whatever we end up doing, The Dot and Dot Day is always such an inspiration and provides a great foundation for our project.

Curious about Dot Day? International Dot Day, celebrated on September 15th-ish, is a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, and began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot. Last year, over 7 million students in 166 countries joined the celebration. You can join too here!

Denver and Boston-based Nonprofits Announce Partnership and Grants to Accelerate STEM Learning in Schools Across U.S.

A consortium of organizations in Denver and Boston have announced a new partnership between mindSpark Learning and FableVision Learning to provide students with earlier access to quality STEM education. The two groups are offering a match grant program supported through the Morgridge Family Foundation (MFF) and the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity (RCTLC).

Denver-based mindSpark Learning — a nonprofit providing innovative professional learning and development nationwide for educators, by educators — and FableVision Learning — a Boston-based K12 educational media and software provider offering creative learning tools, resources, and support — are excited to partner in the Fab@School Match Grant Program.

This grant provides a match of $1,750 per school, supplying each site with:

  • A year-long school site license for Fab@School Maker Studio web-based, digital fabrication software program — compatible with Mac, Windows, iPad, Chromebooks, and other mobile devices

  • Digital fabricators

  • Virtual professional development — overview of the software tools, as well as support for curriculum integration

  • Significantly discounted annual software license renewals

Interested schools and districts are encouraged to apply for the grant by reaching out to the Reynolds Center (TLCgrants@reynoldsTLC.org).

The Fab@School Match Grant program is designed to accelerate STEM education in schools and libraries across the country by combining professional development and teacher support with a research-based digital design and fabrication software platform.

This grant opportunity is helping provide solutions to the challenges around effective STEM learning, a dream envisioned almost a decade ago by another international coalition of research and education leaders, led by the University of Virginia. Launching the Fab@School initiative, the coalition quickly tapped RCTLC to research and develop a key tool for its research program. After five years of research, prototyping, and testing, RCTLC released the Fab@School Maker Studio early last year. The online-program, designed by Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns, is a digital design and fabrication software platform which uses affordable paper-based fabrication hardware.

Designed as a flexible onramp to meaningful STEM/STEAM learning, this online software introduces an engineering process specifically for use in K-8 classrooms. Easily adapted across grade levels, Fab@School Maker Studio tools allow for the creation of step-by-step and ready-made standards-based projects. Student can also recreate and modify sophisticated inventions from the Smithsonian, which was made possible through an Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Teachers are reporting the impact Fab@School has had in their classroom.

“Project-based learning with Fab@School Maker Studio is a great way to learn as it allows students to become fully invested in their work, so much so that they forget they are even doing ‘school work,’” Maryann Molishus, an educator at Goodnoe Elementary School, Council Rock School District, Newtown, PA said. “I can honestly say that the students are actively and happily engaged in mathematical conversations at a fifth grade level and more!”

By introducing STEM teaching and learning much earlier on in schools, Fab@School aims to spark critical interest in STEM studies, and prepare students for the careers of the future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 jobs in the STEM field will have grown more than 18 percent over the previous decade; however, the current education system is struggling to produce enough qualified STEM graduates to fill those jobs.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) — an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers — warned, “It is important to note that the problem is not just a lack of proficiency among American students; there is also a lack of interest in STEM fields among many students. Recent evidence suggests that many of the most proficient students, including minority students and women, have been gravitating away from science and engineering toward other professions. Even as the United States focuses on low-performing students, we must devote considerable attention and resources to all of our most high-achieving students from across all groups.” 

The good news is that Fab@School is already reporting measurable progress in meeting this challenge. Research pilots, funded by the Noyce Foundation, demonstrated Fab@School’s efficacy in shifting students’ attitudes about STEM education, including a 30 percent increase in interest in STEM learning after eight weeks of using the software program.

“It’s gratifying to be part of a national initiative that’s really moving the meter on STEM education,” Reynolds Center Founder Paul Reynolds notes, “Since Fab@School is committed to equity and access around STEM opportunities, it’s critical to have partners like mindSpark Learning and Morgridge Family Foundation who can help provide support and funding to give all schools a chance to use the Fab@School program, especially those who may be economically disadvantaged.”    

FABClassroom Spotlight: Arrowwood Elementary

From the library to the classroom, Arrowwood Elementary is a FABschool. Earlier this year the neighborhood school in Douglas County, CO added Fab@School Maker Studio, a digital design and fabrication program, to its STEAM curriculum. Recently, Dana Palmer shared a bit about how students are using the tool and the plans for the future.

As a STEM/STEAM teacher can you share a bit about the importance of introducing STEAM concepts in elementary school?

I was the "tech lab teacher" for the first 8 years of my career - straight tech lab activities devoid of creativity did not help students develop a deeper understanding of concepts. I found students cutting and pasting information from the internet directly into PowerPoint and calling it "technology integration.” They were unable to explain concepts in their own words; they were unable to relate concepts to their lives or other applications. With the hands-on creative approach of STEAM that I use, students are highly engaged and have a much deeper understanding of concepts.

 
 

How are the students at Arrowwood Elementary School using Fab@School Maker Studio?

We are at the starting stages - our older students are creating manipulatives for younger students. We reworked an old lesson that used straws and pipe cleaners to make 3D prisms with Fab@School Maker Studio prisms created by students.

For our older students, they are learning to be creative and do for others-creating something another student will use to learn has been really exciting for them, and the younger students are receiving top quality manipulatives made by school mates.

What has been the “aha” moment?

When I looked at last year’s "prisms" compared to this year’s it is evident that they are accurate- having accurate prisms allowed students to better understand planes, vertices, etc...

They got the "correct" answer quicker and were able to understand the correlation between sides, vertices, etc..

 
 

What is next?

Looking to create a fabrication center in our library - great software - easy to get started with and reasonable equipment prices will make this a reality much quicker than I thought possible.


Is your classroom a FabClassroom? We would love to feature your school! To be featured in an upcoming post, send an email to info@fablevisionlearning.com. You can also tweet your photos with the hashtag #FabMakerStudio! For more posts featuring Fab@School Maker Studio, click here.

Peek Inside the Mind of Peter H. Reynolds with his Latest Book Happy Dreamer!

The following post was written by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator and FableVision founder, Peter H. Reynolds. His new book Happy Dreamer will be released on March 28, 2017. You can pre-order the book through the Blue Bunny bookstore, here. 

My book, Happy Dreamer was originally called Amazing, Delightful, Happy Dreamer. And yes, the initials do spell: ADHD.
The first spark of the book ideas were inspired while attending a learning difference conference at Harvard University where successful CEOs shared their challenging learning journeys in school, making it clear that their achievements were made because of their brains, not in spite of them. It was pointed out by the panel host that this group had all described attributes of ADHD as children. Those attributes sounded very familiar to me.
I thought for a moment, "I wish ADHD sounded like something you'd WANT to have!"

I took a pencil and wrote...

Amazing...
Delightful...
Happy...
Dreamer.

I went home and wrote a poem by the same name and that poem ultimately became this book.
HAPPY DREAMER.
I wrote Happy Dreamer for kids (and grown up kids) like me. This really is my story. A peek inside my mind to share how my brain works in its own wild and wonderful way.
It wasn't always easy having a brain like mine though. While I was never officially diagnosed with ADHD (it was a term that would not be used widely until a decade after I was in elementary school) I do believe that as a child I had experienced many of its symptoms.
I wanted to send out a hopeful message that kids who are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD that they have a gift, not a label. That their minds are very special. That they are "delightful dreamers." Their brains are capable of being flexible, generous, nimble, and inventive. Their kind of thinking is to be understood, nurtured, accommodated and CELEBRATED!
Growing up, I was dreamer. A day dreamer. Night dreamer. I had a super-charged imagination which kept my brain very, very busy. SO many ideas which was probably the impetus for me grabbing a pencil and starting to capture these thoughts and images on paper with words and art. Outside of school, it really wasn't a problem. I grew up in a big family. Seven people roaming the house doing chores, hobbies, but at night we would gather together at the dinner table to share stories. It was a busy, noisy house and I loved it that way. All the energy and buzz. In school, however, it was a different story. I found it a bit of a shock to stay put in one chair for most of the day. Learning to focus on the lessons were sometimes a big challenge for me. I was not encouraged to capture any of my racing thoughts on paper. I was in fact, discouraged from doing it.
"All eyes up front."
"Mr. Reynolds, do not draw in my class. You can do that after school."
"This is math class. Not art class. Put that away."
I was an agreeable, friendly kid eager to please, so I did my best to comply and control my buzzy-brain. It was not always easy. Every so often, I found a teacher or an activity that tapped into that special brain of mine and WHOAH! Like my 7th grade math teacher who asked me if I could teach math by using art, story and animation. It was magic. I was in my element. It was an AMAZING feeling. Happy. Delighted. My Dreamer brain was engaged—and I was ME.
I hope this book speaks to you, your family and friends. May it reassure you that good things are ahead for all us dreamers.
And in fact, I do believe that if we are to solve some of the planet's biggest problems—we can't keep trying the same solutions. We must invite inventive, flexible minds to the table. World problem solving aside—if this book encourages my readers to simply be happy with themselves, then I'll sleep—and dream— better at night.

PHR


In the Boston area? Join us for Happy Dreamer book release party at the Blue Bunny Books & Toys, on Saturday, April 1, 11-1 p.m, located at 577 High St, Dedham, MA 02026. For more information, click here.

For inspiration on how to bring Happy Dreamer into your classroom, check out the Happy Dreamer Classroom Kit.

Fab Lab Tulsa Pilots Early Elementary School Program Featuring Fab@School Maker Studio

The following blog post was written by the team at Fab Lab Tulsa about their Digital Fabrication pilot with early elementary school students. 

At Fab Lab Tulsa, we’re used to working with digital design and fabrication tools. In fact, we consider ourselves to be experts at it, with over five years of experience teaching youth programs that target 5th through 9th graders. We’ve had some experience with younger students but we’ve wanted to find some way to get early learners engaged in the design process. After a ton of research we were able to locate the Fab@School Maker Studio platformer. We were super excited to pilot Fab@School Maker Studio to see if it could be used to expand our existing programs to students in the 1st to 3rd grades.

In November 2016, we spent two weeks teaching 72 young students in the afterschool program at Kendall-Whittier Elementary School. In keeping with our existing education program philosophy, the curriculum included digital fabrication using Fab@School Maker Studio and Silhouette Portrait paper cutters. We focused on teaching elements of the design process as defined in the Next Generation Science Standards, and we encouraged students to apply the skills they learned in a project-based assignment. Our objective was to evaluate both the software and cutters, as well as test the feasibility and value of introducing digital fabrication concepts and skills at an earlier age.

Each student received approximately 4 hours of instruction over multiple sessions. The 1st grade students focused on 2D design. They were introduced to the topic of design and shapes by reading and discussing the book “The Wing of a Flea” by Ed Emberley. This led to instruction on how to design basic 2D shapes and combine those shapes into more complex structures. Students used the cutters to create their physical model.

The older students began with the 2D design but quickly moved to designing 3D shapes. They were able to use the cutter to render their 3D design and then glue it when necessary. Some older students tried their hand at more advance design concepts like pop-ups, a design principle that’s tough but easier to handle when using the friendly interface of Fab@School Maker Studio.

In short, we were very happy and excited about the results of the pilot. While there is still considerable room for improvement in the lesson plans and teacher instruction, designing with the Maker Studio software was a simple and straightforward concept to learn for all three grade levels. In addition, the cutters proved faster and more efficient than was expected.

In short, we were very happy and excited about the results of the pilot. While there is still considerable room for improvement in the lesson plans and teacher instruction, designing with the Maker Studio software was a simple and straightforward concept to learn for all three grade levels. In addition, the cutters proved faster and more efficient than was expected.

Best of all, student engagement was very high and we observed a high level of student interest and growing self-confidence. We’re excited about the implications this base of knowledge will have in future grades, when we ask them to use more complex CNC equipment for larger projects.