Why Art Has the Power to Change the World, or at Least Impact our Community


IAA art teacher, Ada Leaphart and I have teamed up this fall to co-teach a unit on the impact of Climate Change on our home state, Vermont. We attended a course this summer, Climate Creative, at Shelburne Farms, and along with more than a dozen other educators from across New England, we focused our creative minds on how we can impact those around us through the arts. Fifth graders are learning about climate change and the impacts on specific native species. Endangered and threatened plants are the focal point of our work together. Students each chose a plant that is impacted by these global changes, and will create embroidered art that represents some of our most affected species.

Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we – from the local to the global. Olaf Eliasson, Artist

We’ll be sharing this art at the Fletcher Free Public Library in November. There’s an afternoon and evening reception on November 16th. We look forward to sharing this work with our community.

It’s our Tenth Year!


For ten years we’ve been growing as an integrated arts academy – continuously improving the way we learn using the arts.  This year is no exception. We aim high and we still have lots of growing to do. This year our focus is on productive talk in the classroom. As a staff we will be reading Teach Like A Champion, which will provide focus for our instructional practices as classroom teachers. We will be reviewing, learning and practicing all sorts of instructional strategies that increase learning for all students. Naturally we will connect these to our integrated arts instruction – boosting our success across the curriculum.

We are also thrilled to begin our tenth year with our very own drama coach. Jenny Norris has become a full time specialist in the building and all of our students will now have a drama class in addition to the drama integration that happens in grades two through five. This is a sign and a byproduct of our persistence in viewing the dramatic arts as a valuable way to engage our students across curricular areas – especially literacy.

Welcome back to school! Welcome back to our artful learning community!

Art is Education


We recently were lucky enough to have a PSA video made for the Integrated Arts Academy.

The dream team that worked on it, Corey Hendrickson and Kimberly Harrington, spent a few days at IAA collecting footage of our students talking about learning through the arts.    This is the piece they put together for us.  Click on the link below and enjoy!

Art is Education

Henri Matisse and Science in First Grade


First Graders recently finished an Integrated Science and Visual Arts unit in which they explored the concept of LIGHT.
They learned about the ways in which light interacts with the environment.  Some materials allow light to pass through them, others allow only some light through and others block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them, where the light cannot reach. This was a hands on exploratory unit where students learned about a light source, what makes a shadow, and the concepts of transparency, translucency, reflection, and opaqueness.  There was a bit of math learning as well, when students explored geometric shapes and how they are distinctly different from organic shapes.  Simultaneously, students learned about the French artist, Henri Matisse, and his stunning use of both organic and geometric shapes. They also learned about his strong use of color and why light was important to him.  Students gathered an assortment of papers that met the above qualities and created paper cutouts using organic and geometric shapes in the style of Henri Matisse. Here is a group of collages created by the very talented and brilliant IAA first graders.  At IAA we certainly are nurturing the next generation of artists.

Common Core and Related Standards

1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.

Reason with shapes and their attributes.
Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.

National Core Art Standards -VA:Cr2.1.1a
Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design.
Vermont Visual Arts Standards
A1-2:16 Students make connections between/among the arts and disciplines outside the arts by…
· Communicating ideas, concepts, feelings from other disciplines
(e.g., show understanding of science concepts using collage )

Jasper Johns at IAA


Jasper Johns
IAA Kindergarten works with Numbers










Ms. Maggie and Ms. Emily’s kindergarten classes at the Integrated Arts Academy have been exploring the work of American Artist Jasper Johns, whose mixed media paintings greatly influenced American art. Johns often worked with images you might see around the classroom, such as letters, numbers, and the American flag. His paintings encourage us to look again at these familiar symbols, as if with new eyes. As a way to reinforce numeracy and to practice number formation students created number paintings in the style of Jasper Johns. Each student chose one number to paint repeatedly and used the entire surface of the paper. In some instances the brush strokes and the paint color camouflages the numbers making it even more fun to look at and find the numbers. Can you spy the number in each painting?

Vermont Standards -Visual Arts Skill Development
APK-K:10 Students show skill development when CREATING art by
• using line to create shape and image,
• handling art tools and materials (e.g. paint brushes)
• using elements of 2D design (e.g., create using color)
Vocabulary: artist, line, color, rhythm, repeated, texture, overlapping, abstract, painting
Common Core – Kindergarten- Math: Counting and Cardinality
Know number names and the count sequence
• K.CC. 3 Write numbers from 0 to 20.

Pop into the First Graders Accordion Fold Butterfly Books!


How do we know what is living and non-living?

What does this living thing need to stay alive?

What does this living thing look like at each stage of development?

How do plants and animals depend on each other in this place?

What is a scientific illustration? 

Learning Standards


7.13 b & c – life cycles and reproduction; interdependence within ecoystems   

S1-2:4 Students demonstrate their ability to conduct experiments by: Referring to and following a simple plan for an investigation, and Describing observations using senses rather than feelings, and recording observations of change.

Visual Arts Skill Development

National Core Art Standards

VA:Cr1.2.1a –     Use observation and investigation in preparation for making a work of art.

VA:Cn11.1.1a –  Understand that people from different places and times have made art for a variety of reasons.

The first grade students at IAA have been studying lifecycles.  Inquisitive students have been observing, investigating, and recording the life cycle of a group of monarch caterpillars that live in their classroom.  They have also learned about scientific illustration.  Scientific illustrators represent visually aspects of science, particularly observations of the natural world. Their emphasis is on showing precise detail.    Scientific illustrators are skilled artists.

First graders then used the visual arts as a method of recording their scientific observations.  Each student sketched the individual stages of the lifecycle, paying careful attention to precise visual details of the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly, just as a scientific illustrator would.  Composition and color choices were made by each first grader as they worked, and they then created a pop-up, accordion fold book – a perfect culminating experience and record of their scientific understanding of these cycles.

photo 2 (9)

photo 3 (6)

photo 1 (8)