SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 34 of 53

Elementary Studio Lesson A Garden of thanks Jill Kessler M any of my students come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and qualify for Title I assistance, including free and reducedprice lunch. A couple of years ago our school received a wonderful gift in the form of the Blessings in a Backpack program, which provides needy students with backpacks filled with nutritious food to take home. 32 February 2013 SchoolArts A Real Opportunity It all began with a phone call from Blessings in a Backpack, who told our principal that our school would receive a large check to provide weekend meals for our students, and that 600 backpacks would also be arriving. Our job as a school was to spend the money for food and organize the program to send the food home. As a witness to this great success story, and as the art teacher to all these students, I wanted to find a way to symbolize both the positive energy created by this program and its impact on the community. The opportunity came with another phone call from Blessings in a Backpack. We were informed that actress/singer Hilary Duff would be coming to our school to talk to students about the program and to celebrate our success. A Garden of Thanks To capture the impact of this opportunity, I decided to create a Garden of Thanks. The idea came to me one afternoon when I was going back to my classroom and I passed the entrance to the backpack assembly room. I observed a steady stream of volunteers and staff members stuffing backpacks for students. I also noticed a huge amount of food packaging waiting to be recycled. The packaging was an array of bright, beautiful, bold colors; perfect for an art project. My

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