Wrightsboro Elementary Students Make Their Mark with Dot Song!

Decked in dot-covered artist aprons and French berets, the paintbrush wielding students of Wrightsboro Elementary wowed the crowd at the 27th Annual Best Foot Forward showcase in New Hanover County with their rendition of Emily Arrow’s “The Dot Song” inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot. A multi-age group of nearly 40 students sang, danced, and acted out the story of The Dot while creating a dot of their own live on stage, which was revealed at the end of the performance. Lead by their music teacher, Shannon Flowers, their art teacher, Bron Guthrie, and teacher leader, Brandi Laney, the piece was a huge success and one of the most memorable performances of the night. Congratulations to the teachers and students of Wrightsboro Elementary for making their mark!

Want to bring Emily Arrow’s Creativity Road Show to your school? Click here.

All photography provided by Erin Whittle Photography.


FableVision Learning Teacher Spotlight: Heather Brown

She caught our eye with a beautiful, creative project that encouraged students to make their mark, fostered teamwork and collaboration, not to mention turn her school’s library from drab to fab in celebration of International Dot Day! Four birds with one stone? Amazing! Heather Brown, librarian at Saint Joseph School in Herndon, VA, was the catalyst behind this recipe for dot-connecting success. With inspiration from fellow librarian, Katie Darty's blog entry, from Northcombe High School in North Carolina, in collaboration with her colleague, Mary Sears, Saint Joseph’s art teacher, and with the delightful dots of their K-8 students a fabulous circulation desk re-design was created. If you’re wondering how your school will celebrate International Dot Day this September 15-ish, this may be your golden ticket!

Mrs. Heather Brown

Mrs. Heather Brown

1. We loved your creative, low-cost library circulation desk update celebrating International Dot Day! What inspired you to create this project?

I was first inspired after seeing a fellow librarian, Katie Darty’s blog post outlining how she spruced up her school library at North Buncombe High School in Weaverville, NC for less than $600 and the upgrades she made to her old circulation desk.  When I shared her idea with Mary Sears, our art teacher, last spring, she and I began brainstorming what we could do with our circulation desk. We decided to use International Dot Day as a theme since we had wanted to collaborate on that already. The artistic inspiration came from other art teachers’ projects we found on Pinterest that are based on Wassily Kandinsky's Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles.

2. Talk us through the process of the desk overhaul. We’re sure other educators would love to know!

Since International Dot Day occurs so early in the school year, September 15-ish, we started our collaborative project on the first art class of the year for every student in grades K-8. In art class, rules and procedures were taught in conjunction with this simple hands-on project, since students like to enjoy art right away. We talked about The Dot and the importance of making "your mark." Students also read the book or watched the movie in library class ahead of time.

Each student in grades 1-3 were given 5 warm colored pieces of 4"x4" construction paper. Grades 4-6 got 5 pieces of cool colored construction paper, 7th and 8th grade got 5 different shades of green and kindergarten got pinks and reds. Each student selected a base color, which remained a square. They held all the other pieces together and cut out a large circle. They chose one to glue down. Then held the rest together and cut a smaller circle. They continued gluing and cutting until they ran out of paper. The exception was Kindergarten- they cut squares out. Circles would have been challenging on day one, since their skill levels were unknown. We also used glue sponges, a great Pinterest inspired tip, where you place a sponge soaked in glue in a sealed airtight container. There are no drips or messy glue bottles, just press the paper on the sponge for the perfect amount of glue. It was quick and easy and all the dots were made within the first 45 minute class.

The individual pieces were assembled over the next couple of weeks onto large pieces of black bulletin board paper and laminated. They were pieced together on the front of the library desk. The green dots created by 7th and 8th graders were used to frame our school logo which hangs behind the desk.

School wide collaboration to create a central piece of artwork is a great way to kick off the year. Students each made their marks and worked as a team to create a really fun piece!

3. How has St. Joseph School celebrated International Dot Day in the past and what are your plans for 2016?  

This was our first Dot Day celebration, and I'm not sure the whole building was aware of it until they saw the beautiful dots installed on the circulation desk. Students love coming to the library and locating their dot on the desk. Every student in the school is represented. I think that is important. We are not sure what we'll do next year, but you've got the wheels turning with that question!

4. How do you make your mark?

I leave my mark with each lesson I give, each story I read, each time I help students find books to read that they love!  





FableFive: Dr. Denine Jimmerson Uses Creativity to Foster Success in the Classroom

Creativity is integral in a successful classroom experience and here at FableVision Learning we are lucky enough to work with Dr. Denine Jimmerson who is actively bringing creativity to classrooms nation-wide through professional development. Denine is a school education consultant who specializes in creating and implementing curriculum and instruction that is focused on the engagement of creative thinking. She is implementing FableVision Learning’s Creativity Maker Suite, which includes Fab@School Maker Studio, My Awesome Publishing Company, and Animation-ish to engage students through 3D fabrication, composition and publication of books, and the creation of animations. “I can guarantee that students are going to be teaching me using these programs and I am so excited to learn”, remarked Denine. She shared with us the power of creative and differentiated learning.

1. Tell us about your journey to FableVision Learning.

Wow! Before arriving at FableVision Learning, I wore many, many hats. I studied Anthropology, I worked in the insurance industry, I owned a coffee house, and I was a classroom teacher in an urban school district. My journey to FableVision Learning has been amazing and swift! A colleague of mine was kind enough to introduce me to Paul Reynolds and FableVision Learning last spring. I immediately knew that I had found exactly where I was supposed to be. The FableVision team is one of the kindest, most awesome groups of people I have ever known.


2. Can you explain your role as an education consultant? Tell us about one of your current projects.

A D75 student's work using My Awesome Publishing Company

A D75 student's work using My Awesome Publishing Company

My role as an education consultant is much like that of a teacher. I work with students, teachers, schools and districts to help them meet their objectives. I differentiate my services to meet their individual needs and assess if the identified objectives have been met. I then reflect on what was successful and start the process over again to optimize the completion of objectives. One of my current projects is with District 75 in New York City. We have been working on a middle school after school program that has been designed to give students new and innovative ways to work with content using Animation-ish and My Awesome Publishing Company. District 75 is the largest, special needs district in the world and it has been an honor working and learning with them. Their students are doing amazing work, and it is great to see all of the students showing what they know and what they can do in many different and creative ways.

3. Could you share how you have seen students use FableVision’s Creativity Maker Suite to understand larger, more complex concepts?

One of the most exciting things about my work is what I have seen students do using FableVision's Creativity Maker Suite products. Students are animating very complex concepts, such as compassion, as they become "professional" authors, working through authentic publication processes using My Awesome Publishing Company. I have also seen students design solutions to world-wide water access problems by designing playground equipment that can operate a water pump using Fab@School Maker Studio. I can guarantee that students are going to be teaching me using these programs and I am so excited to learn!

4. Can you describe one ‘a-ha’ moment where you saw the magic of creativity come alive?

There are so many 'a-ha' moments, it is hard to choose only one! One 'a-ha' moment occurred when I first started working with students and the animation tool, Animation-ish. Students who typically displayed behavior issues were no longer problems in the classroom; they were engaged in their learning and excited to show everyone their work. This is when I realized how important creativity and compassion are in the teaching and learning process. I believe that people need to create and that they need to feel accepted. Once these needs are met, everyone is capable of learning and succeeding.

5. What’s your favorite way to be creative?

Hmmm, my favorite way to be creative would be with food. I have always loved to cook and try new foods, food is very pretty. One of my favorite jobs was when I was in graduate school and a friend of mine, a very accomplished Danish baker, hired me to help in his authentic European bakery. The pastries and cakes he created were brilliant and they tasted like heaven. I love food and feeding people; so I create with food!  

Want to bring Denine to your classroom? Find out how here.