Unleashing Creativity: A Breakout EDU Adventure on International Dot Day

At my elementary school, each year we have a theme. This year’s theme is MINDSET and the way it was kicked off in September at our first whole school meeting was with my building administrators reading a story to students. Just so happens this month is when we come together to celebrate International Dot Day. This year, we decided to take the celebration up a notch by integrating a Breakout EDU activity with a special reading of “The Dot.”

Setting the Stage: The Dot Takes Center Stage

The story of “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds is a powerful tale of creativity and self-expression. To kick off our first Whole School Meeting and introduce our theme for the school year, my administrators took the stage to read this inspiring story to all the students, setting the tone for how we are going to approach Mindset this year. My building principal and instructional supervisor like to tie each theme back to the book “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.” I’ve been tasked the last couple of years to design the poster for each of the classrooms (embedded below). This was also introduced at the Whole School Meeting.Mindset Poster tied to aspects of "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids"

Breakout EDU: A Creative Twist

Building on the momentum created by reading “The Dot,” I inquired about celebrating International Dot Day (Sept. 15th) by incorporating a Breakout EDU activity into the festivities. The goal was to create an interactive and collaborative experience that would not only reinforce the themes of the story but also challenge students to think critically and work together to solve problems. Breakout EDU offers two different, kit based games: “The Dot: Exhibiting Creativity!” (Upper Elementary) & “The Dot: Make Your Mark!” (Lower Elementary).Screenshot of game offerings on Breakout EDU website.

The Breakout Challenge: Connecting the Dots

In the Breakout EDU activities, students encountered a series of puzzles and challenges, each linked to the central theme of connecting the dots. Whether it was solving riddles, deciphering codes, or unlocking hidden clues, the students had to collaborate and tap into their problem-solving skills to progress through the game. Our typical daily schedule has nine periods, so I offered nine slots using Google Calendar Appointment Scheduler for teachers 1st-2nd [Make Your Mark] or 3rd-4th [Exhibiting Creativity]. I had six classes sign up for a slot for Exhibiting Creativity and three classes sign up for Make Your Mark. Even though I couldn’t offer time slots for all the classes, I did share out links to the digital versions of each game to those classes who couldn’t attend in-person.

Learning Through Play: A Fusion of Fun and Education

What made this experience truly special was the seamless integration of fun and education. As students eagerly worked together to unlock each puzzle, they not only honed their cognitive abilities but also internalized the message of “The Dot” – that everyone has the potential to be creative, and sometimes all it takes is that initial dot to spark the imagination. My school is fortunate to have six full Breakout EDU kits. I used three for each game and had materials printed out for each kit so I could quickly switch out which version we were playing. This was due to the fact that I wanted to be as accommodating to my teachers as possible, allowing them to signup (first come, first served) for a time best in their schedule. This meant that there were times I had to switch out game kits before a class came in for their respective level.

Reflecting on the Dots Connected

As we wrapped up our International Dot Day celebration, it was evident that the Breakout EDU activity had successfully added a dynamic layer to the traditional festivities. The students left the experience not only with a deeper appreciation for creativity but also with a sense of accomplishment from collaborating to solve challenges.

  • Third graders at work.

  • Third graders at work on the Breakout EDU game.

  • Third graders at work on the Breakout EDU game.

A Dot of Inspiration

International Dot Day was more than just a day on the calendar; it was a journey of creativity and collaboration. The combination of “The Dot” story and the Breakout EDU activity provided a unique and memorable experience for our students, leaving them inspired to continue connecting the dots as we journey throughout the school year exploring the theme of MINDSET.

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