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Linda Mah
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Big Ideas Blossom at Parkwood-Upjohn

Art Teacher Partners with Read And Write Kalamazoo

Fourth-grade students brought their big ideas to life with Parkwood-Upjohn art teacher Jamie McKinney’s project “Big Ideas: Art & Writing Workshop” last spring.

McKinney received a $1,500 Kalamazoo Public Schools Innovation Grant and used the funds to collaborate with Read And Write Kalamazoo (RAWK), a nonprofit writing program, to create an art and writing workshop for her students.

Students traveled to RAWK for a writing workshop that was designed “to help them see their ideas are big and amazing,” McKinney said.

At RAWK, writing mentors helped the students create graphic stories and written narratives about inventions. Students thought about problems in their lives or communities and then created inventions or machines that would help solve their problems.

They followed the writing assignments with an art project at Parkwood-Upjohn, where McKinney helped the students create giant papier-mache pencils, which were brightly painted, decorated with tooled foil and emblazoned with inspirational quotes.

“The pencils are physical manifestations of how big our ideas can be,” she said.

The students displayed their work at RAWK for the May Art Hop.

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