Today, for those of you didn’t know, is #DotDay, a day based around Peter Reynolds’ book The Dot. It’s an awesome book where a little girl named Vashti, who claims she can’t draw, is challenged to “just make your mark and see where it takes you.”  She does that, and it leads her on a story of inspiration, making her mark.

I’ve read this out loud for a couple of years now, but never really did much beyond that.  This year, I challenged my 6th and 8th graders, listen to the book, and think how you could make your mark.  I then gave them each 5 minutes and a blank sheet of paper, allowing them time to create something, their mark.  When that time was up, I gave them one more minute to finish up and drawing they had to do, but to also create a “I with that….” statement.  I wanted them to think both about the mark they make in the world, but about those pie in the sky kinds of things too, those things making our mark is all about.

Wow.

True, I got the goofy ones:

“I wish I had a banana.” “I wish I was John Cena.” “I wish I could live in a chocolate house.” “I wish I had an infinite amount of cookies.”

But I also got these:

“I wish everyone could be happy about themselves.”  “I wish to be more understood.” ” I wish that everyone knows they’re beautiful, no matter what.”  “I wish that I have children who are successful.:” “I wish that people were more caring.”  “I wish that life had a meaning.”  “I wish that everyone who looks upon this picture realizes how great it is to be different.”  “I wish that mom didn’t leave.” “I wish I could see my dad.” “I wish everyone was equal, not matter who they are.”

Goodness.

Some of these statements just give me chills because they are so passionate, so lonely, and so scared.  This is why I teach. To try, only briefly, to help these kids find meaning, find a place they can feel safe, and to feel a sense of belonging.

I didn’t know what to expect when we started this activity, but I will surely do it again. We all need to be able to express ourselves, to make our dot, and to feel like it matters to someone.

In the end,