Cultivating a Culture of Literacy - Cardboard Challenge

Cardboard Challenge is a non-profit organization with a mission to foster creativity.  They started after the response to Caine's Arcade.  Watch the videos below to learn more about Caine's Arcade. 

Caine's Aracade

Caine's Arcade 2: From a Movie to a Movement

Now annually there is a Cardboard Challenge held on October 7.  

You can find great ideas from including blog posts and videos on how to get started.

Embrace the Chaos

The other great part about the Cardboard Challenge is you can also incorporate books which include creativity with the use of a box.  You might want to have your Cardboard Challenge center around a certain theme, curricular outcome or just let your student's imagination sore.


Flyte, M. (2016). Box. London, UK: Nosy Crow.

Imagination Blog. (Photographer).  (2017, September 1). Embrace the chaos and 7 other tips for organizing a cardboard challenge [digital image]. Retrieved from

Imagination Foundation. (2012, September 13). Caine's arcade 2: From a movie to a movement [Video File]. Retrieved from

Janssens, A. (2012). The box. New York, NY: Clavis.

Lamug, K. K. (2011). A box story. Las Vegas, NV: Rabblebox.

Mullick, N. (2012, April 9). Caine's arcade [Video File]. Retrieved from

Portis, A. (2006). Not a box. New York, NY: HaperCollins.

Yolen, J. (2016). What to do with a box. Mankato, MN: Creative Editions.

Cultivating a Culture of Literacy - Dot Day

Dot Day might be one of my favorite literacy events.  This event is a great way to build community very early in the school year as it happens on September 15th-ish.

Here is a brief history of the event: 
Dot Day is an International Event created to promote creativity and collaboration.  The first Dot Day was held on September 15th, 2009 by teacher and founder Terry Shay.  He used the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynold’s to inspire his students and encourage them to use their creativity to leave a mark on the world.  Since then Dot Day has grown into an international event with over 10 million people participating world wide.

To get started, go to the The International Dot Day Website.  Sign your class up on this website and you will receive a free educator's handbook with a variety of activities to do in the classroom. As well as a certificate you might want to print off to give each student.  

You might be interested in learning more about the author, Peter H. Reynolds.  His website includes a biography, artwork and even is blog The Stellar Cafe.

This website is filled with authors, illustrators and celebrities who have shared their Dots with the world and encourage others to 'Leave Their Mark'

A variety of Dot Day Resources and other materials created by Peter H. Reynolds and Paul Reynolds.

Of course Dot Day is not complete without The Dot Song.
and if you want you could even teach your students the actions.

There are many different activities you might be interested in trying for Dot Day.  I have included many I have tried with my students.  You might also be interested in watching this 2015 ISTE video which also shows many different ideas.

Division One Mural - Each student picked a colour in the rainbow and decorated a Dot.  

Division One Mural - Each student decorated a dot inside a picture frame. 

Collaborate.  Create dots and then share your dots with another class. 

Foster creativity by creating different dots using a variety of mediums including paper and paints. 


Welcome students on Dot Day by decorating sidewalks.  Or even have students go outside and make dots using sidewalk chalk.  

Recently Breakout EDU partnered with Peter H. Reynolds to create a Breakout game directly related to The Dot.  Breakout EDU games are a great way to build collaboration, critical thinking skills and teamwork while completing challenging puzzles.  The Dot game includes four different puzzles as well as bookmarks which can be printed off for students.

There are also many other books available with dots that you might also want to share with your students.



Some great people to follow directly related to Dot Day.  
@DotClubConnect - The official Dot Club Twitter account
@peterhreynolds - Author of The Dot
@FableLearn - Peter H. Reynolds and Paul Reynolds company that supports Dot Day
@tjshay - Teacher and founder of International Dot Day. 
Also follow the hashtags  #dotday #makeyourmark


Arrow, E. (2015, August 31). The dot song motions guide - Emily Arrow and Peter H. Reynolds [Video File] . Retrieved from

Brantz, L. (2014). Not just a dot. New York, NY: Sky Pony Press.

Clements, A. (2006). A million dots. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Crews, D. (1995). Ten black dots. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.

FableVision Learning. (2017). FableVision learning. Retrieved from

FableVision. (2014, August 26). The dot song [Video File]. Retrieved from

Intriago, P. (2011). Dot. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Reynolds Center for Teaching Learning and Creativity. (n.d). International Dot Day. Retrieved from

Reynolds, P. H. (2003). The dot. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Reynolds, P. H. (2011). Peter H Reynolds. Retrieved from

Shay, T. (2015, June 21). ISTEDotDay2015 [Video File]. Retrieved from

Shay, T. J. (2017, September 15). Celebri-Dots. Retrieved from

Tullet, H. (2010). Press here. San Francisco, CA: Handprint Books.

Zuckerberg, R. (2013). Dot.. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Keep leaving a positive mark in the world.