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.