Lions Park students make their mark on International Dot Day

On Sept. 15, second grade students at Lions Park Elementary School in Mount Prospect joined more than 100 other countries to celebrate International Dot Day, an annual day of creativity, courage, and collaboration.

On this same day in 2003, author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds released his children's book "The Dot." In the book, a young student named Vashti is struggling in art class to draw on a piece of paper. Her teacher says, "Just make a mark. See where it takes you."

Eventually - out of exasperation - she draws a single dot on the paper. Feeling defeated, she gets up and leaves. The next day Vashti comes into class to find her dotted paper hung on the wall like a work of art. This validation from a caring teacher encourages Vashti to create an entire portfolio of dot-related artwork.

At Lions Park, students celebrated this message of self-expression and courage through various art projects, discussions, and a reading of the "The Dot." Unique to International Dot Day, students were able to spend significant time translating the message of a powerful story into real-life immersive action.

"The excitement about International Dot Day has really grown over the years," said Katie Kelly, principal at Lions Park Elementary School.

"Our second grade teachers add things each year. It's become a celebration of literacy and art, and reinforces the value of courage in character."

From a single dot, artwork by the Lions Park students ranged from flowers to spiders to birds to baseball players. And the stories born from these drawings were wide-ranging, from flying horses to a budding friendship between an ice cream cone and a cherry.

"I enjoyed seeing the students embrace their creativity and uniqueness while creating pictures and accompanying stories that all started with a single dot," said Mandy Tainter, a second grade teacher at Lions Park Elementary School.

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