Search:
Skip Navigation LinksCherry Creek School District > District News > Trails West Art Projects Celebrate Culture, History
Print this page

Trails West Art Projects Celebrate Culture, History

Trails West Elementary School students celebrate Chinese New Year.​The halls of Trails West Elementary School regularly transform into exotic locales, sites that host mythical monsters and fantastic imagery from faraway places.

That's thanks in part to the work of Trails West Art Teacher Jeanne Richins, who's made a focused effort to enrich the school's environment through the creativity and artistic flair of her students. Earlier this school year, she worked with students to build a massive prehistoric cave out of cardboard, yarn and other materials. That fabricated grotto became a canvas for young artists from the school – to align with lessons about the artwork of human beings' earliest ancestors, students scrawled prehistoric mammals, scenes from nature and other imagery on the walls.

More recently, Richins helped organize a unique parade through the Trails West hallways, one that celebrated the Chinese New Year on Jan. 28. Each fifth-grade class at the school constructed their own massive dragon puppet, colorful creations that sported googly eyes, vivid colors and unique designs. Groups of three, four and five students carried the dragons through the hallways, wearing the puppets' giant heads as masks and greeting the younger Trails West kids as they made a circuit of the school.

The celebration, ceremony and creativity of the event was exactly what Richins was hoping to inspire.

 

"I get crazy ideas sometimes," Richins admitted, adding that the idea for the Chinese New Year parade stemmed in part from recent lessons about Asian cultures and the history of the Silk Road trading route. "I love to tie into the curriculum, and I've assigned a culture to cover with each grade … I try to come up with anything I can think of to help the students more about a culture we're covering."

In this case, Richins worked to gather as many materials as possible to help the students create the massive dragons. Drawing on funding support from the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, Richins and her students made mythical monsters pulled straight from Chinese mythology out of cardboard, paper plates, paint and other easy-to-find materials.Trails West Elementary School students celebrate Chinese New Year.

It was an artistic effort that resonated with the fifth-graders, as well as all the other students and teachers who lined the halls on Jan. 28 to watch the creatures pass by.

"I have never seen the kids so engaged," she said. "I had kids who liked gym more than art class who were staying after school and asking to come in during lunch and planning periods. I've never seen that kind of excitement."

During the month that the students worked on the project, they picked up important lessons in a wide range of topics. In addition to the art lessons that undergirded the effort, the crafting process incorporated learning rooted in construction, engineering, culture and geography.

"I love to tell them stories about Chinese legends and stories," Richins said, adding that the fifth-graders' enthusiasm spread to their peers. "We cruised all of the hallways twice for the parade. What made me so happy was seeing the lift on the fifth-graders' faces to see their art validated and hear the other kids cheering them on."

 

Posted 2/2/2017 1:08 PM

"I have never seen the kids so engaged ... I had kids who liked gym more than art class who were staying after school and asking to come in during lunch and planning periods. I've never seen that kind of excitement."

-- Jeane Richins, Trails West Elementary School Art Teacher

Copyright © Cherry Creek School District #5, 4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 | 303-773-1184
Cherry Creek School District No. 5 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission to its programs, services or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Cherry Creek School District No. 5 also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Questions, complaints, or requests for additional information regarding these laws may be forwarded to the designated compliance officer: District Compliance Officer or directly to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII, Federal Office Building 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite #310, Denver, CO 80204.

You are now leaving the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) portal. Please note that CCSD does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, completeness, or appropriateness of any content contained on web sites and/or pages outside of the official CCSD portal. The information or opinions contained on these web sites and/or pages do not necessarily represent the views of the CCSD.

With access to the internet comes the availability of material that may not be of educational value or appropriate for students. While at school, CCSD has taken precautions to restrict access to inappropriate or harmful web sites. However, on the internet it is impossible to control all materials and limit all access to information that has no educational value. CCSD firmly believes that the valuable information and the interaction available on the internet far outweigh the possibility that users may procure material that is not consistent with the educational goals of CCSD.