Poetry and Art

In Art Humanities class, eighth year students created visual representations of Amanda Gorman’s poem titled, “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country.” Each student chose a line or two from this poem to focus on, and were encouraged to imagine ways to express the feeling of the words using colors, shapes, figures, and other imagery. Students used a range of materials including acrylic paint, watercolor, pencil, and colored pencil. The results were beautiful and diverse; each student’s piece was unique to them while capturing what they felt expressed a specific theme or message in Amanda Gorman’s powerful, historic poem. Interpreting this poem using visual representation encouraged students to think critically about the poem’s meaning. Bravo young artists!!

Las Mariposas

The start of Spring is a great time to reflect on the transformation we have experienced throughout the school year. Watching primary students embrace every song, story, and project this year has filled my heart with so much joy. 

This week, we read an original story in Spanish called, “Mi Mariposa.” A boy sees a beautiful butterfly happily flying around and drinking nectar from the flowers. He decides to trap it in a jar so he can bring it home to observe its beauty. He notices in the jar that the butterfly is sad, it does not fly, and it cannot eat. The boy decides to bring the butterfly back to the garden and sees it return to happiness. 

Students also enjoyed revisiting the familiar story of “The Very Impatient Caterpillar.” We read the Spanish translation, “La Oruga Muy Impaciente.” We tied our two stories into a conversation about transformation and natural habitats. Then students were given the opportunity to express their creativity with mariposas of their own. 

Fun with Pickleball in PE Class!

Students in grades 1st through 8th participated in a Pickleball unit.  What is Pickleball?  Pickleball is a paddle sport played with a whiffle ball on a badminton-sized court with a tennis-style net.  Pickleball is enjoyed by people of all ages and athletic abilities.  In some ways it’s a combination of tennis and badminton, and goes along with sports such as table tennis and racquetball.

Pickleball is played in thousands of school P.E. programs, parks and recreation centers, camps, YMCA’s and retirement communities. This sport is becoming very popular among active senior adults at community centers and is growing in popularity on high school and college campuses.  Pickleball was created during the summer of 1965 in Seattle, WA.  The original purpose of the game was to provide a sport for the entire family.  Pickles, the family dog would chase after the whiffle balls and then hide in the bushes. The founder suggests that Pickles’ ball was later shortened to Pickleball.

During our Pickleball unit, students practiced and participated in demonstrating the proper serve, forehand drive, backhand drive, and abided by rules of fair play.  Pickleball helps improve agility, balance, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination.  At the end of the unit, students participated in a singles and doubles Pickleball tournament.  For the younger grades, students had a choice to use a balloon for more success during the game.

Upper Elementary Explorations in Clay

Upper Elementary artists have been focusing on the Art elements of form and texture through the use of various clay processes and techniques. Young artists have been hard at work creating coil-built animal bowls. The coil building technique is a hand building method of creating pottery that has been used to shape clay into vessels for many thousands of years. It is a simple process of layering coils one at a time, then blending the layers together to create a solid form. Working in a circular motion, students have been carefully building a bowl form coil by coil. Once the bowl form was complete, each young artist began adding animal features such as eyes, tails, fins, feet, horns, ears, and so on. We are looking forward to adding color to these with vibrant ceramic glazes!

Working with clay has many benefits for children of all ages beyond simply providing a creative experience. It is a complex sensory experience that encourages self-expression, helps promote self-confidence, develops problem-solving, and fine motor skills. Because clay is highly responsive to touch and very forgiving, children become engrossed in their work: they are able to express and articulate their ideas through shaping clay and learning to repair mistakes. Clay is different from other art mediums in that it requires an understanding of the three-dimensional world. While working on their projects, students must move around to see their creation from all sides. From this, they begin to understand shape, form, and perspective, and gain knowledge of planning methods and problem solving as they map out their creation. Bravo, young artists!

Cuando Hace Frío

To correspond with the weather we’ve had thus far, primary students have been acquiring vocabulary for winter gear through the Spanish Playground poem, titled Cuando Hace Frío. We also used the song, Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas, Pies (Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes) to reinforce body parts as we shared where winter gear is worn on our bodies. Of course, we just had to throw in a few rounds of Simon Dice (Simon Says) for an extra fun twist!

Students then worked hard to dress a paper person in winter gear, as we used our colors and numbers in discussing materials. To see them put it all together is extremely rewarding, and I can’t wait to see how much more they acquire moving forward! 

For more winter poems in Spanish:  https://www.spanishplayground.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Poemas-invierno.pdf 

Bingo Bowling in PE


The Lower Elementary participated in a bowling unit.  Bowling is the number one participation sport in the United States with 67 million people bowling annually. Bowling is a lifetime sport that provides many benefits for youth. The students participated in team Bowling Bingo. Students were broken up into teams of three. The game was played with a bingo sheet. Each student had one roll to knock down all the pins and had to color a bingo box with the amount of pins that fell. Students had to use math skills to calculate scores and also learned how to work as a team and compete together to achieve a common goal. They learned that bowling is a 5 step process: step, step, swing, roll, follow-through. At the end of class they had a chance to use scooters to crash and knock into the bowling pins.

Love the Skin You’re In!


Humanity in its infinite beauty is made up of a complex array of diverse skin tones. Our Lower Elementary artists explored mixing a range of skin tones using tempera paints and simple color theory techniques.

Mixing skin tones is all about experimenting and playing around to get the right shade and tone; and that is where color theory comes into play! First, we took a look at the color wheel and studied the three sets of complementary colors: blue + orange, red + green, and yellow + purple. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. Each child chose one set of complementary colors to start with in their mixing cup. The experimenting, problem solving and discovering began as soon as those two colors were mixed! For instance, we noticed that blue is a very strong color, so more orange is needed to create a more brown tone. Then we added some white to bring out the color a little and to make it more opaque. Students also discovered that adding more white created a lighter skin tone. The experimenting continued as each child went back and forth mixing, looking, adding color, and mixing again. If the color looked too red, for instance, we would refer to the color wheel to find it’s complement (green), add a few drops and mix it up! Too yellow? Add purple. And so on until their skin tone color was achieved. Some students even mixed up more than one to represent another skin tone different from their own!

Once each artist was happy with their mixed up color, they painted multiple papers with each skin tone color. The papers were then left to dry and will be used to create a collage art piece to represent the diverse array of skin tones. The magic of this color mixing process was that it allowed each child to discover the unique rainbow inside of both their own and their classmates’ beautiful skin!

Storytelling for Language Acquisition

Storytelling and art come together to support language acquisition in Spanish class. Lower and Upper Elementary students apply their reading and listening comprehension skills and use art to convey what they have interpreted. Upon being introduced to a new story, they identify key words by making connections with cognates and context clues.

One of their favorite things to do is write their own versions of the stories. Once we have seen certain vocabulary and target grammar structures in context, we participate in an activity called Story Asking. This is where students are orally given the skeleton of a story while given the opportunity to share their input with regard to character, setting, and plot development. Story Asking gives students confidence and a sense of ownership in the language acquisition process.