On Deck and Be­low


Stu­dents at this north shore school are ex­plor­ing ocean life as well as tra­di­tional liv­ing in ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador through their project: Ex­plor­ing our Cul­tures...On deck and Be­low.

Tri­con Ele­men­tary is dou­bling as an art gallery for its stu­dents, af­ter the school re­cently wrapped up a pro­gram that com­bines arts, sci­ence, his­tory and cul­ture.

ArtsSmarts is a pro­vin­cial pro­gram that pairs schools with pro­fes­sional artists with the goal of in­cor­po­rat­ing arts into other sub­ject ar­eas. Schools sub­mit project ideas in fund­ing applications.

Tri­con Ele­men­tary in Bay de Verde ap­plied for fund­ing for its project: Ex­plor­ing our Cul­tures.... On Deck and Be­low, which ex­am­ined ocean life as well as tra­di­tional liv­ing in ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador.

“ We had wanted to ap­ply ( for an ArtsSmarts pro­gram) so we came up with this idea, my­self and an­other teacher, Diane Hop­kins,” said Prin­ci­pal Wendy Clarke-Tiz­zard, adding the teach­ers were thrilled when the school was ap­proved for the ArtsSmarts fund­ing.

“It was a lot of work to it,” she said, point­ing out that ev­ery sin­gle class in the school - en­com­pass­ing 108 stu­dents - had a dif­fer­ent as­pect of the project to com­plete, and each project has to get tied into the cur­ricu­lum goals.

“ You can’t just do just the art alone. They want it to tie in with sci­ence, and math, and all that,” she ex­plained, adding that the vis­ual artist who worked with the stu­dents, Kelly McEn­te­gart is a vet­eran of the ArtsSmarts pro­gram and knew ex­actly how much ma­te­rial would be needed for each project, in­clud­ing:

Kinder­garten: clay sculp­tures of species in the At­lantic Ocean

Grade 1: clay sculp­tures of puffins used to make a rhyming num­ber book Grade 2: “port­holes” de­pict­ing ocean habi­tats Grade 3: acrylic paint­ings of seascapes and tra­di­tional New­found­land and Labrador life

Grade 4: a dio­rama con­structed from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als de­pict­ing a tra­di­tional out­port com­mu­nity

Grades 5 and 6: paint­ings that ex­plore the re­la­tion­ships of the di­ver­sity of ocean life.

The kids loved work­ing with McEn­te­gart, said Clarke-Tiz­zard. “She was like a celebrity. Ev­ery week they looked for­ward to her com­ing,” she said.

The stu­dents were equally en­thu­si­as­tic about the project.

Grade 5 stu­dent Mor­gan Hyde en­joyed his class project of a large mu­ral, dis­played in the school hall­way, which in­cor­po­rated acrylic paint, fab­ric and mod­el­ing clay among its ma­te­ri­als.

“It was re­ally fun,” said Hyde. “I learned how to paint and I didn’t know how to paint be­fore.” Hyde said in ad­di­tion to art tech­niques, he learned a lot about the tra­di­tional New­found­land and Labrador way of life.

“It was re­ally cool be­cause we got to paint a lot of things and learn to draw,” said Lo­gan An­thony of Grade 5, with class­mate Ben But­ton in­ter­ject­ing that the project was “awe­some.”

“ We had fun do­ing it with our friends in class,” said But­ton. “It wasn’t just one per­son’s job; it was every­one work­ing to­gether.”

Paul Tiz­zard, in Grade 2, said the paint­ing was his favourite as­pect of the project. “ We had to do a lot of things, and that was the best thing,” he said.

Grade 4 stu­dents were able to point to dif­fer­ent parts of their dio­rama and ex­plain how it de­picts tra­di­tional New­found­land liv­ing, from fish flakes, rep­re­sented by yel­low tri­an­gles, to out­houses, to tra­di­tional stained glass, to a work­ing LED light in the light­house.

Syd­ney Knap­man of Grade 4 called the project “ very fun and cool,” and was proud that the dio­rama was made from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als. “I thought it turned out very nice,” said Matthew Kelly.

A show­case af­ter the project was com­pleted in De­cem­ber gave the stu­dents’ par­ents the chance to view their chil­dren’s projects.

“ They couldn’t be­lieve that the kids came up with this, that it was ac­tu­ally their work. They were just very, very im­pressed,” said Clarke-Tiz­zard.

Clarke-Tiz­zard said the school is plan­ning a pro­posal for a project next year, with an anti-bul­ly­ing theme.


Grade 1 stu­dents at Tri­con Ele­men­tary made clay puf­fin sculp­tures to be made into a rhyming book about num­bers.

Tri­con Ele­men­tary’s Grade 5 class cheers while show­ing off its mu­ral.

Pho­tos by Daniel MacEachern/The Com­pass Grade 4 stu­dent Olivia Doyle ex­plains her class’s dio­rama, made from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, that de­picts tra­di­tional ru­ral New­found­land life.

Tri­con Ele­men­tary’s Grade 4 class con­structed this dio­rama, made en­tirely from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, that de­picts tra­di­tional ru­ral New­found­land life.

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