Flying High

George Washington wasn’t the Founding Father known for his work with kites, but the aircrafts were highly visible on Friday at Washington Middle School.

Renee Pye from the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts was in the classrooms of sixth-grade teachers Karen Bjorkholm-Leeper and Lisa Peterson assisting students with an English language arts project. Pye assisted the students with creating kites to go along with the novel ”Dragonwings” they have been reading in class. The book tells the story of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco during the early 1900s. The main character, Moon Shadow, lives with his father, Windrider. Windrider, a skilled kite maker, is obsessed with learning to fly and follows the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers.

Pye said she is excited every time she has the chance to get into the classroom to work on art projects with students. She said Peterson called the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts looking for someone with an artistic touch to help the children with the kites.

”Lisa said the students had been doing a lot of bookwork, but it was time to put down the books and be hands-on and make kites,” Pye said. ”This gets them out of the norm. Kids need this hands-on work too.”

Bjorkholm-Leeper said the art project is a nice reward for the students who have been doing quality classroom work on the novel.

”It is nice that we have a community resource to make the connection from literature to art,” she said.

Pye was in Peterson’s classroom in the morning and Bjorkholm-Leeper’s room in the afternoon for two hours each. They made the kites during the first hour and then did painting/decorating during the second hour.