Winter Violets

Our 3rd grade students wanted to make a movie of a Winter Folktale.  After digging around the internet for a bit we found a classic slavic story about a young girl asked to pick violets in the winter for her cruel sister and step mother.

The students created paper dolls based on traditional slavic clothing.  We then filmed the story using the puppets in front of projected images.


Dia de los Muertos 2016

Dia de los Muertos

Cultural Influence : Mexican and Latino Celebration

Began: September 2016 Completed: November 2016

The Ofrenda. Breathtaking, contemplative, spiritual, comforting, generational.  I can’t say enough about how pleased I am with this year’s student offering for Dia De Los Muertos. Each class worked tirelessly creating a beautiful community piece.  Families and staff contributed photographs of lost loved ones.  Students sat quietly on the wooden stumps remembering family members and pets that are no longer with us.

Pre-K made pressed foil calaveras and masks.   Kindergarten made mosaic skulls with scrapbook paper and glitter.

1st grade made Monarch butterflies by drawing half of a butterfly with black glue and then folding the paper over to create the 2nd half.  They painted the butterflies with a mixture of watercolors and glue.

2nd grade made mosaic skulls similar to the ones made in kindergarten, however, we added a personal letter around the border to a lost yet loved family member or pet.

3rd through 5th grade made paper mache calaveras, watercolor paintings, and ceramic tiles and sculptures.  Many of the projects include personal letters or dedications to family members or pets who have passed on.

This year we included a basket with student made cards.  2nd – 5th graders cut out designs and made their own stamps to print on the cards.  The cards were left blank with instructions to visitors of the ofrenda to write a message to someone they have lost.  Visitors could choose to leave the cards open or private.  The cards were very touching. This has certainly come to be one of our favorite celebrations.  Thank you to all who helped set up and decorate.  Thank you to all the families that visited.  Thank you to all my coworkers who helped and made this year’s ofrenda such a special and joyful place.

Dies y Seiz

Dies y Seiz, Musical Instruments

Cultural Influence : Mexican Independence Day

Began: September 2016           Completed: September 2016

This year for Dies y Seiz we made homemade musical instruments.  Our younger kids made maracas and our older kids made little drums.

The kindergarten maracas were made with paper plates taped together with rice, beans, and gravel inside.  We decorated them with festive foil glitter.

The 1st grade maracas were constructed the same way but we used tissue paper and created flower motifs similar to those found on traditional Mexican maracas.

Our 2nd – 5th grade students took little sample cups and stretched a balloon over the opening.  We then used paper templates and traditional Mexican design to decorate our drums.  Our classroom drum circles were a lot of fun!


Lucky Goldfish

Lucky Koi Fish

Cultural Influence : Vietnamese Mid Autumn Festival

Began: August 2016 Completed: September 2016

The Vietnamese celebration, Mid Autumn Festival is quickly approaching.  Last year our students learned about the legend of the moon goddess.  This year we’re learning about a famous animal in Vietnamese and Chinese folklore, the goldfish, or Koi Fish, or (for you Pokemon heads) the Magic Carp.  There are legends galore surrounding this mystical creature.  Some stories tell of golden carp able to grant wishes while other stories tell of the importance of keeping a koi pond for good fortune.  The goldfish, a common symbol used during the Mid Autumn festival, will be the focus of our first art projects this year.

The Kindergarten students colored some beautiful goldfish for us.  We laminated them and will use them in a fishing game. Come fish with us.

Our 1st grade students used transparency paper and drew Koi with glue.  Once the glue dried the students colored their fish with sharpies.  When we hang the fish in front of a light we create a magic pond of shadows on the wall.

The 2nd graders worked in groups to make giant Koi fish with poster board and tissue paper.

Our 3rd – 5th graders made individual Koi fish with various fancy paper.  They hand cut each of the  individual scales and carefully glued them to black or white foam board.  


Action Painting and Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956) is an American Abstract Expressionist best known for his Action Paintings created with his famous drip technique.  Like Pollock himself, we wanted our students to consider and embrace the process rather than the product during this series of paintings.  After watching and discussing several videos about Pollock and his process we established a foundation for our creations.

We want the paintings to represent feelings and emotions and capture a crucial time in our lives.  Our students, especially our 5th graders, are completing the end of one school year and contemplating what lies ahead.  We asked three questions: How did we feel at the beginning of this year?  How do we feel now at the end of the year?  and How do we feel about next year?  Each question helped us define an emotional palette.  Moving forward, we developed brush strokes to represent our emotions.

As we painted we recalled our driving questions and emotional brushstrokes.  We used our experiences this year and our anticipation of next year to fuel our paintings.  Each painting represents our thoughts and feelings about this year as students at UT Elementary as well as our excitement of the roads ahead of us.



Spring Performances

UT Elementary celebrates every Spring with an annual event, Bevo Bash.  We spend a day coming together and enjoying our school, our families, and our community.  Multicultural Arts puts on performances throughout the day.  The kindergartners and 1st grade students sing and dance for Cinco de Mayo.  The kinders wear adorable cucaracha  costumes and wiggle around as they sing “La Cucaracha”.  The 1st grade boys wear vests, handkerchiefs, and sombreros, and the girls wear brightly festive dresses and paper flowers in their hair.  They perform the Mexican Hat Dance to the song, La Raspas.

Our older students chose how they wanted to perform.  One 2nd grade class chose to perform a play about an old vaquero and his grand daughter.  The other class performed a puppet play with home made paper mache puppets.  The play was based on a Native American tale about a daughter who doesn’t want to marry a chieftain.   One 3rd grade class made a movie about the Greensboro sit-ins while the other class performed a play about a haunted Sports Museum.  Our 4th graders did 2 amazing projects.  One group made a movie about a cafe suffering from a Hipster invasion, the other group performed a play about an alien invasion.  And lastly, our 5th graders performed two plays.  One was about Egyptian Gods and Goddesses and the other was a parody of the Steve Harvey show around the topic of Bullying.  Below are the 3 movies from our performances and the scripts from the plays.

** Thank you Treasure City Thrift for providing Costumes for our Spring Performances**








Jazz and Sound on Paper

Our Multicultural Arts class collaborated with our librarian, Mrs. Evans, to create some amazing art using Jazz music as inspiration.  We also had our first ever student teacher, Ms. Sarah leading the way with these projects.  We listened to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, and others to get us inspired.  We also read several books about jazz music and musicians.  Our younger students, PreK – 1st, made some amazing art using water colors and straws.  They placed a small drop of liquid paint near the opening of a silhouetted jazz instrument and then used the straw to blow the paint across the paper.  The paint traveled across the paper like music pouring from a musician.  We finished of each piece with a collage boarder.  They look great!

Our older students, 2nd – 5th, studied the art of Harlem Renaissance artist, Romare Bearden.  Our student teacher, Ms. Sarah, lead the instruction.  Each student created a mixed media collage incorporating jazz instruments and sound.