My teaching adventures: 
The Phoenix Rising School

Small but mighty, the wonderful little school where I have been spending so much of my time the last few years, is located in a gorgeous rural setting in Rainier, Washington, with students from Olympia and surrounding communities. Some families have relocated to be here from as far away as the east coast of the United States and even Australia.
We are rich in programs that allow great amounts of time for outdoor play, the arts, hands-on science, and non-violent communication, along with academic disciplines that prepare children for going on to seventh grade in other schools.
Our symbol of the mythical phoenix rising up from flames refers to the endless potential that every person has to create - my favorite subject ever! Even the smallest of our students begins developing the patience and discipline to learn about the brain and apply cutting edge neuroscience to their daily lives. We have a special program just for that. Knowledge combined with experience sets a precedent for meeting challenges head-on, making healthy changes and creating desired experiences. Learning to focus the mind is a proven and uplifting skill which is practiced all the way through sixth grade, allowing students to flourish in whatever setting they move to as preteens.
Our graduates excel as self-confident individuals who know how to go within, ask themselves what they want and need, and set about making dreams become realities. They recognize when change is needed and how to create new adventures. They are expert in explaining the science of how and why this works.  
Phoenix Rising is supported in part by community donations. Our parents participate in fundraising, community events, and getting the word out about our wonderful school.
The art program at Phoenix Rising is extensive and multi-faceted. Each child is scheduled for at least two hours a week to work on projects related to curriculum units. Many students also choose an additional one and one half to three hours of workshop time, and some do additional work during part of their daily recess time.

With the understanding that drawing empowers an individual, from kindergarten children are taught to draw what they see, learning proportions, shapes, and spatial relationships, in particular of the human face and body. By third grade they are comfortable with drawing faces, are aware of expression and movement, and can draw figures from front, back and side. In other areas of drawing, they learn foreground, midground and background and do perspective drawing and illustration. They do some nature journaling and on-site work, and are shown the work of artists who draw extensively from the natural world. Their drawing materials include pencils and erasers, colored pencils and chalks, crayons, and markers. 

Art projects related to curriculum units involve painting, sculpture, collage, illustration, decorative work, sewing, copper tooling and more, including art for their unit books, tiny stickers, and large murals. Students learn to engineer paper pop-ups and may do such things as making moccasins, hats, masks, and puppets, depending on their areas of study. They are given insights into art history and many types of  literature. They listen to music related to cultures and history. Often they participate in creating a poem, song, or story related to their work. They look at the globe and maps to see and understand cultural developments according to geography and environment.

Making Useful Things is greatly emphasized as a meaningful enhancement of academic work and a rich expression of healthy, happy living. Students weave potholders and pencil bags, sew and decorate felt and leather slippers, pouches and bags, make containers with clay. They woodburn, paint and carve wooden frames and boxes. They decorate tee shirts, capes, and flags. They make electric lamps from scratch, as well as wooden coat racks, clocks, board games and a variety of mechanical toys. Some of the children have helped make wooden stilts that are part of their playground equipment. They take considerable pride in learning to use whittling knives and wood burning tools. When given such responsibility they are always eager to prove themselves.