Divide Grant polaris jackson
The landscape here is stunning in every way- mountain peaks holding up the clouds, hot springs to soak away aches and pains so deep I didn't know existed, and clear rivers winding through valleys overflowing with sweet, musty smells of sagebrush. I watched a sunrise spread across water like glass and catch on peaks on the 45th Parallel, sitting on dirt halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. I ran to the top of a snowcapped mountain and thought maybe I was Atlas, shouldering this giant orb of dirt, until I felt the clouds wrap around me and realized it was the other way around. I spent the night at Wise River Club drinking too much coffee with a woman who's wrapped around the world herself, feeding the hungry bellies of fly-fishermen, skiers, and ranchers along the way. The genorosity and kindness of people living here was even larger and more grand than the mountaintops holding my eyes.
Judy Boyle at the Divide School was not only teaching students how to read and write, but she was teaching them the values of being a human; skills outside the books and worksheets I've seen in so many other classrooms. When she spoke, I felt a presence of kindness like a quiet warmth in the air I've never felt before. And it showed in her students. Their care for each other was more familial than friendship and as each shared their interpretations of artworks, the others would listen with the same intensity and respect Ms. Boyle spoke in the grace of a smile.
In a room filled with plants growing under bright lights, we helped each other. Together we made paper polyhedron ornaments, hands holding hands covered in glue until each fragile edge was strong enough to hold another edge.
GRANT AND POLARIS ELEMENTARY
We had a great setup in Grant because Polaris just drove across the range and joined us to make for a little larger group. We set the exhibit up in the theatre and sat around in a circle talking about how interpretation is like making a story. Sometimes there might be missing parts, but you can look for clues and imagine your own ending. Then students went around drawing and writing about their favorite pieces. Afterwards, we had lunch and students talked about their upcoming skiing trips up to Maverick Mountain.
Culture was exploration, was travel, was education in Dianna Peterson's classroom at Jackson Elementary. Ms. Peterson creates incredible units based on cultures all across the world that include reading, writing, math, science, and art activities. So, when it came to interpreting their favorite artworks, students had a lot to say and made predictions about an artist's personality based on their artwork. MaryAnn Bonjorni was a cowgirl who lived on the road, Steve Glueckert was probably really funny, Bob Durden spent a lot of time looking at things, and Julia Becker was full of energy. I think most of their predictions were very close!
They also shared some of their other artwork with me...and they got it going' on there! Each unit typically culminates with a visual art project related to the history and traditions of the region they are studying. Ms. Peterson explained their upcoming project was going to be mosaic-related because they were studying Italy at the time and would finish the adventure off with an Italian feast.