Our Stories

Teacher Grants: Adventures in 2D and 3D Art Techniques

Students had to learn to let go and just let the watercolor do its thing while using the techniques that they learned. Some students grasped the concept and applied this to the rest of their artwork, and learning to be okay with things that they have no control over.Violeta Lerma, Art Teacher Focus Point & Wilson MIddle School

by Brianna Chu

Art instructor Violeta Lerma wanted to branch out into different art media with her students, so she introduced watercolor Impressionism and basket weaving into her curriculum with support from her PEF Teacher Grant. The first new assignment incorporated Impressionist and watercolor techniques into a landscape painting, allowing students to compare and contrast the Impressionist movement to the Renaissance movement and try out some new techniques. In her first year of teaching, though, Ms. Lerma had noticed that some of her students who struggled with drawing tended to get discouraged with the other two-dimensional art projects, so she decided to branch out into a more three-dimensional medium: basket weaving.

With the Impressionist watercolor landscapes, Ms. Lerma’s students had to learn to let go of their preconceptions of perfection, as watercolor is aptly fluid and difficult to control, and some students grasped the concept easily, learning to go with the watercolor’s flow.

The big success, however, was the excitement that the basket-weaving garnered. Many students who struggled with drawing in painting hit their stride with basket weaving, and even enjoyed the project so much, they came back to class asking for extra materials to take home and teach their family members how to weave, too. Ms. Lerma has since had students that are not currently in her class clamoring to take art class so they too could make a basket. Based on this enthusiastic feedback, she is planning to continue including basket-weaving in her art curriculum and considering how she can expand upon the medium, perhaps with an emphasis on adding beads or felt to their creations.

The Pasadena Educational Foundation’s Teacher Grants help inspirational teachers throughout Pasadena Unified take their creative projects from idea to reality by providing resources to enhance the classroom experience for their students. The grants, provided directly to the teachers, benefit thousands of students in Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre.

For our 2018-19 grants we were proud to provide more than $200,000 for 125 grants to 190 educators including 14 school-wide grants. PEF Teacher Grants are made possible with generous support from the College Football Playoff Foundation, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, FEDCO Charitable Foundation, California Community Foundation, and individual community donors. Find out more here: http://pased.org/teachers.