DOT Mural

A DOT is a pledge to Do One Thing to help the environment and cool the climate, anything from carrying a reusable water bottle to buying vintage clothes. Creating a mural with DOTs collected from peers, teachers, family and community is a great way to educate people about climate change and get people to take action. Plus, it raises awareness for your Action Team and gets folks excited about the work you’re doing.


STEP 1: Get organized

Hold an Action Team meeting to decide how you’ll collect DOTs and how you’ll display them:

  • Set a goal for the number of DOTs you want to collect.
  • Discuss what you want your mural to be like. A mural can be created in many different ways. It can be a collage of images or stickers, it can be spray-painted or hand painted, or it can be a mixture of all of the above. Think of a theme and brainstorm how to incorporate the DOTs. Some ideas include:
    • a mural made up of smaller DOT circles,
    • a giant puzzle where everyone’s DOT is a piece,
    • or a campaign thermometer.
  • Decide how you want to spread the word (ideas below).
  • Decide how you want to collect the DOTs
DOT mural
Reed High students create a DOT mural to raise awareness
STEP 2: Get permission

Discuss your mural ideas with your faculty sponsor and principal. Make sure to get approval before getting started. If you can’t get permission to make a mural directly on the school walls, see if you can hang a large banner or canvas instead.

STEP 3: Gather supplies

Depending on the type of mural you are going to create, you might want to discuss the mural with your art department and request paint, brushes, drop cloths, ladders and other supplies. If they can’t help, work out arrangements to bring supplies from home. If you’re creating a mural out of pieces of paper that fit together to make a picture or collage, be sure to cut them out so they’re ready for people to write their DOTs on them. Try to use reused and repurposed materials as much as possible!

STEP 4: Choose your own DOT

Before you begin collecting DOTs, make sure everyone on your team has chosen his or her own DOT. This will be crucial when talking about DOTs to your peers. They’re going to want to know what you’re doing first before they commit.

DOT tree in a Chicago high school
DOT tree in a Chicago high school
STEP 5: Spread the word

Let people know why you’re collecting DOTs and how they can share them with you. Get them excited about being a part of the mural you’re creating. Here are some ways you might spread the word:

  • Make morning announcements.
  • Create posters to explain what a DOT is and put them up in high traffic places like bathroom stalls (captive audience!).
  • Write an article for the school newspaper.
  • Set up a table during lunch and before/after school, in the cafeteria, by the front entrance and in other high-traffic areas.
STEP 6: Collect DOTs

Explain to your classmates what a DOT is, tell them your DOT, and ask that they pledge their own. Offer a few suggestions, like recycling or buying a second-hand prom dress. Here are some ideas for collecting DOTs:

  • Collect DOTs on a clipboard. Choose the best ones to add to your painted mural.
  • Have people write their DOTs on your cut up pieces of paper and post them on the wall.
STEP 7: Make the mural

If you’re going to be painting the mural, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little messy.
  • Start with a light background, which may mean painting the wall white first.
  • Pencil the major images of your mural first so you’ll have a design to work off.
  • Have fun!
STEP 8: Document the project

Take a ton of pictures and have a plan for how to get them off of everyone’s cameras after the project.

STEP 9: Share your success

Make a school-wide announcement or ask the school newspaper to feature the results. Include a final tally and showcase the most interesting and unique DOTs you collected.

STEP 10: Tell ACE

Email pictures of your team with the DOTs you collected to [email protected]. We just might give you a shout out on our social media sites.