This is a charming picture book that is suitable for children of all ages. It is about a little girl called Vashti who really lacks confidence but who, with the help of her teacher, discovers she is more capable than she thinks. It is a beautiful story that all us teachers need to read to remind us about the power of encouragement. It also has some great messages about what children can acheive if they think creatively.
There some lovely art and PSHE activities that you could do with your class related to the book – particularly at the start of a year when you are getting to know a new class, here’s a few:
1. Read the story to your class, give them all a dot (you could put a photo of their face on the back) and ask them to write on the back of the dot something they want to get better at this year or something they want to achieve. Share some of the dots and hang them in your class as a class display.
2. Create series of ‘discussion dots’ and pick them randomly out of a hat. They could questions like:
Why was Vashti’s paper blank?
Have you ever felt like Vashti?
Why did Vashti’s teacher make her sign her name?
What made Vashti try something new?
What did Vashti discover whilst painting dots?
How does Vashti’s self confidence change?
Why does she ask the boy to paint?
What do you think happened after the boy signed his name?
3. Art activities:
Play the ‘shape game’ with the class as a warm up- you draw a simple shape on the board like an oval or a square and a child has to come up to add another part to the shape to try to change the shape into an object or person, or animal etc. Then another child comes up and adds an extra detail, then another child etc. Then they can play it in pairs or threes themselves.
Next read ‘The Dot’ story to the class. Challenge the children to create their own paintings just using dots. How creative can they be? Some could use IPads or another drawing programme to do it, some could use dot stickers or just good old fashioned paint. This could be a one off ‘How will you make your mark this year?’ lessson or it could link to a unit of work on Seurat and the Pointillism movement.
I really hope you enjoy sharing this book with your class.