The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot

Lesson Plan

Topic: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Target Learners: Intermediate to 1st year college

Cultural Themes:

Bravery, taking a chance

Getting started, getting unstuck

Looking at an idea in more than one way

Integrated Skills: Reading/Writing, Speaking


1) Pre-reading: (10 minutes) Explain to the students they are going to read a story about a girl who takes a chance and gets unstuck doing her schoolwork.


Take a chance means, dare to do something unusual or to accept the risk of failure or success.

I am not taking a chance with my family’s safety.

You will learn more English if you take a chance and speak more.

She did not know me, but took a chance and gave me a job.


Get unstuck (get stuck) means cannot complete or start an activity, cannot move.

The truck got stuck in the mud.

I need motivation to get unstuck.

I got stuck writing my paper.


Taking a chance is popular in America. People take a chance on love, people take a chance in business, and people take a chance with adventure.

Discuss this in terms of current movies and TV, inventions in science and technology, and activities like sky diving, skateboarding, and gambling.

Can the students provide any further examples?

Were you asked to take a chance growing up?

What do you take a chance on?


2) Vocabulary: (15 minutes)

Read the following sentences and write a definition for the word in bold. Share your answers with your classmate.

  1. Make a splash

The new movie made quite a splash. Everybody at work was talking about it.

The model made a splash in her dress. The media wanted to talk to her.




  1. Set of

I have set of dishes in the kitchen.

He bought a set of gold clubs.





  1. Glued to

The children are glued to the TV. They are not moving away.

Teenagers are glued to their phones. They text and post to social media often.

Their phone is glued to their hand. They never put it down




  1. Never-before-used

He found a never-before-used video game.

The shop owner said this was a never-before-used bicycle.




3) Pre-Reading: Writing and discussion

In pairs or groups discuss the following questions. When you are done write one sentence for each question.

Do you often have and empty paper when you begin to write?

How do you feel?





4) Read the story. (5 min) If you do not have the book, you can use the video from YouTube:


5) Vocabulary II (5 – 7 min)

Match the following words from the story to their definition


Watercolors                                       try a different way of doing something

Jab                                                      having many curves or circles shapes

Experimenting                                  paint that uses water to create the color

Splash                                                 a fast, hard hit, often with something sharp or pointed

Swirly                                                  causing liquid to move or fall



6) Discussion Dots: Make dots to start a discussion. After they state their answer, have students write them down. The sentences can be combined with the pre-reading questions to complete a paragraph.

What makes it easier for you to write?

How do you feel when you turn in a paper?

What makes your writing better?
How do you feel when you receive feedback?


7) Writing: Combine the sentences from pre-reading activity 3 and the discussion dots activity 6 to make a paragraph about taking a chance and getting unstuck in English writing.









8) Wrap-up: Are there any similar stories, tales, quotes, or poems from your culture that are similar to taking a chance and/or getting unstuck?


9) Homework: Write a paragraph about a time when you took a chance. The story will end with success or failure.





experimenting verb – try out a different way of doing something.

Experimenting with English will help you learn.

glued to phrasal verb (idiom) –very close or touching, giving something al your attention.

The audience was glued to their seats at the theater

gold adj – yellow or yellow brown color

jab verb – a very fast, hard hit, often with something sharp or pointed

The nurse jabbed me with a needle.

He jabbed me.

leaned over phrasal verb (idiom) – to bend or tilt towards something

She leaned over to hear him speak.

She leaned over to look at the picture.

He leaned over to pick up the baby.

make a splash phrase –attract attention, generally positive attention

The new movie made quite a splash. Everybody at work was talking about it.

The model made a splash in her dress. The media wanted to talk to her.

moment noun – small amount of time

I will be there in a moment.

Give me a moment.

One moment please.

never-before-use phrase  – not used, not opened

set of noun – a collection of items that are similar or for use together

splashed verb – causing liquid to move or fall

Do not splash water on me.

The car splashed mud as it drove past

The children are splashing in the pool

swirly adj – having many curves or circles shapes

She has a skirt with swirly colors.

The swirly pattern hurt my eyes.

watercolors noun – paint that uses water to create the color

He used watercolors to paint a picture.

Children use watercolors in art class.


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This work by Amy Larson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.