SchoolArts Magazine

May-June 2015

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 35 of 54 31 mals home over school breaks were an added burden. But what students learned included the responsibility of daily feeding, the giving and receiving of love, and understanding death. "Be gentle" was Janine's instruction to the kindergartners whenever they got the guinea pigs out. The Goldfish Pond When Janine retired, her goldfish stayed at school (as did I—on a part- time basis). No teacher volunteered to take the aquarium and fish, so we decided to add the two large fish to our school goldfish pond. As a tribute to Janine, I decided to have each fourth grader make a clay goldfish to decorate the pond area. One thing led to another, and we decided to name the pond the Mrs. Kairis Goldfish Pond and invite her back for a dedication ceremony. Making Fish from Life Students observed live models (gold- fish from the pond) and drew them to make paper patterns. They traced their drawings on 6 x 10" (15 x 25 cm) slabs of clay and then carefully cut them out. Using Popsicle sticks, they added scales and other details to their clay fish. While the clay was still moist, I poked a hole up into the bottom of each fish with a dowel so it could be made to stand when com- plete. When the clay fish were dry, I fired them, students glazed them, and I fired them again. Dowels were inserted so the fish could be "planted" in the garden. The Dedication Prior to the dedication I asked stu- dents (and teachers) to write down something they learned from Mrs. Kairis. These were compiled into a poster based on the idea of Robert Fulghum's All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. On the day of the dedication, touching words were spoken and hugs given. Janine's husband and two of her grown children were present. It was then I realized that the success of our nature center and the care of the animals could be attrib- uted to Janine's loving guidance. In closing, this is not a fish story at all; it's a story about love. Craig Hinshaw is a retired elementary art teacher who taught in the Lamphere School District in Madison Heights, Mich- igan. He is the author of Clay Connections and Animals, Houses, and People (Poodle Press). N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work. W E B L I N K www.schoolartsdigital. com/i/148362/39 This is not a fish story at all; it's a story about love.

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