• Cherokee Bend Elementary participated in International Dot Day for the third consecutive year on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Dot Day originates from Peter Reynolds’ book “The Dot” and is celebrated every year by educators who work to inspire creativity, self-expression, perseverance, and grit in their students. 

    The book’s most famous line is, “Make a mark and see where it takes you.” That idea meshes well with the culture at Cherokee Bend and all Mountain Brook Schools, which emphasize development of the whole child. 

    “The whole child means we know every child comes to Cherokee Bend with a special talent and purpose to make a difference,” Cherokee Bend Principal Sandy Ritchey said. “At Cherokee Bend, our students use their special talents and purpose to make the world a better place.”

    Natalie Akin introduced Dot Day to Cherokee Bend when she became the school’s librarian two years ago. The former first-grade teacher thought it would be fun to celebrate and inspire students to expand their horizons. 

    “We all have these unknown talents and different things that we’re all uniquely good at,” Akin said, “and so we just have to try a bunch of activities.”

    Cherokee Bend put a spin on this year’s celebration and drew from another book entitled “A Little Spot of Kindness.” Akin read the book, which author Diane Alber published in 2019, to students last week. Discussions ensued about how kindness colors the world. 

    “I just feel like right now in the world we just need a little more kindness,” Akin said, “and that book in itself stuck out to me because a spot is like a dot.”

    On Dot Day, members of the school community wore dots, participated in dot-themed classroom activities, and began an acts of kindness challenge. Classes will aim to perform 100 acts of kindness throughout the school year while faculty engage in a kindness relay. 

    Cherokee Bend’s specials teachers kicked off the relay by volunteering to cover a first-period class for fourth-grade faculty members and provide them breakfast in the library. Those teachers will then pass the baton to another group within the school. 

    It all circles back to a simple dot. 

    “The dot illustrates the power of one single adult’s actions to change a child’s life,” Ritchey said. “The book speaks to the importance of teacher-student relationships and our connections as human beings. It shows how creative thinking on the part of a teacher can unlock a child’s own creativity, confidence, and growth.”