Mrs. Jo-Anne Escandon’s 4th grade class at Race Brook School in Orange, Connecticut, received a grant from the Jaime A. Hulley Arts Foundation for the 2107-18 school year. The “Wood Working Project” exposed her students to an art form that goes beyond art and digital technology. Under the guidance and instruction of professional contractor and builder, Mark Engelhardt, who shared his expertise by helping the students design a napkin holder, then created a blueprint, and made a template. The students then used sand paper and assembled pre-made parts using a nail gun and finally, painted the napkin holder. While the initial project was to create a napkin holder, Mark was so impressed by Mrs. Escandon’s students’ skills, that he also helped them create a key holder, a bookcase and a corn-hole bead toss game for the classroom!
Mrs. Escandon was inspired to write this grant for two reasons. The first was after reading the poem, “Artist Hands,” by Jamie A. Hulley, who wrote, “I hope they (…“smudges…ink stained fingers…”)…never wash off, Because I am an artist And I should have Artist hands.” In addition, in the book, The Tree Farmer, the authors Leavell and Cravotta, teach students to have awareness of how “… natural resources (trees) are important and when used properly can benefit society.” One of her students wrote, “…When Mark the Builder came to our classroom, we had to solve the problems about the napkins that were all over the table and the keys were thrown on the desk. We solved the problem with the napkins by making a napkin holder and for the keys, we make a key holder. I loved painting both of them…The poem “Artist Hands” can be useful in my life because I know I can be creative and when I have free time I should be creative in everything like in math or reading or even when I am writing. I don’t always have to be creative in art. Everything I learned about measuring and fractions I used in Mark’s project. I can use fractions by knowing how to cut the wood into fourths…Mark also showed us how to make a bookshelf that he donated to our classroom! Building is so much fun!” Erica Zhang.
The goal of the Jaime A. Hulley Grants is “to expose teachers and students to new ways of thinking about the learning process and to embrace the concept of multiple intelligences and collaborative learning.” to broaden students’ appreciation for the vital contribution the visual & performing arts make to our society in a different way.”
Mrs. Escandon’s 4th grade class sends out big THANK YOU to Mark the Builder for showing them another way to be creative and have fun building!