Artful adventures


Carey Ridge teacher uses unique ways to teach students about art

By Anna Skinner
Whether it’s painting the dozens of sunflowers donated by Kroger, drawing vegetable gardens or studying the peace sign, at Carey Ridge Elementary, the students participate in interesting and collaborative lessons to create unique and innovative art pieces.

Art teacher Katie Collier said that the teachers at Carey Ridge all collaborate to provide the students with interactive lessons to help teach complex issues.

By pressing paper on top of a painted, yet real, fish, students learn about print-making and the origins of why people began to print and when the printing press was invented.

By studying International Dot Day, Collier teaches students about abstractions with painting. She can also implement geometry in this lesson plan, alongside color theory and circles.

Collier helps the students use seaweed juice and paint to create Turkish marbleizing abstractions. These marbleizing techniques were used before the printing press, often to decorate the inside of books, specifically Bibles, to show importance and beauty.

“We try to implement a lot of science, and also that (the marbleizing) was something that was a great project to incorporate our guiding principles into the artwork,” Collier said. “We talk about color theory and math to create a piece of artwork.”

Students learn about politics and war and peace when they studied Peace Day. They drew things in art class, such as peace symbols, doves and daises – the flower that symbolizes peace – and then the music teacher created a music program about America. With this lesson plan they talked about symbolism between different cultures with olive branches, the sun and more.

The students’ artwork, called “Pinwheels for Peace” is then distributed throughout the community to remind people to display the work on Peace Day.

“We try to incorporate peace and what peace means to them,” Collier said. “We talk about different statistics, fun facts about peace that we talk about, and the students realize how fortunate we are to be Americans.”

Collier said that with all the different teachers’ collaborations, students who are visual, auditory or hands-on learners will all be able to understand the lessons because of all the diverse ways of learning.

“We take our ideas and use it in everyday life to implement how good things happen and how we can make differences in society. We can teach them as adults that they can make a difference in society,” she said.

She also worked with individual teachers to create a lesson plan revolving around architecture and the importance of communities. Students created neighborhoods with their classes and discussed the importance behind houses, businesses and more.

“Katie Collier is an exceptional art teacher because she integrates whatever the students are studying in their classrooms with her art lessons,” said Susan Hobson, principal at Carey Ridge. “In order to accomplish this, she meets regularly with classroom teachers to discuss curriculum.  Her enthusiasm for her subject area transfers to the students she teaches and the art work they produce is evidence of their engagement.”

Recently, Collier won the Art Champion Award through Arts for Learning. According to Arts for Learning, Collier was honored for her integration of art into her classes.

About Katie Collier

How many years have you been teaching? 20 years at Westfield Washington Schools

Where is/are your degree(s) from? Master of Education from Indiana Weslyean University, and a Bachelor of Education from University of Toledo in Ohio.

Favorite thing to do in your free time: “I have participated in The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Riley Hospital Children’s Foundation and The Children’s Miracle Network.”

Family: Brian, husband and three kids: Andrew, 16, Sophie, 14 and Bryson, 11.


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