Did you know sixth graders create a permanent art mural before leaving elementary school for the last time?

Alan Adams prepares sixth graders to create a permanent mural as an end-of-year project

Alan Adams prepares sixth graders to create a permanent mural as an end-of-year project

Sixth graders at Union Ridge Elementary School make their mark on the school before leaving for middle school in an end-of-year art project where all exiting students have the opportunity to help paint a permanent mural on one of the school’s exterior walls.

Alan Adams, Union Ridge’s art teacher, came up with the idea of having exiting sixth graders paint a lasting mural and started the project three years ago with each class creating a different mural since then. “We wanted to give our students an opportunity to create a legacy piece that they would leave behind,” said Adams. “In the past, students painted tiles for the interior hallways, but these full murals add a little more pizazz.”

Adams based this year’s theme, a surreal representation of a solar eclipse, on the works of Alma Thomas, an abstract painter and art educator who specialized in expressionism. Students helped paint the moon eclipsing the sun with concentric circles of color emanating from the center.

Students form groups of three to take turns painting the mural

Students form groups of three to take turns painting the mural

Before letting the students loose with paintbrushes, Adams carefully explains the care needed when painting with permanent paint unlike water colors or washable paints where messes are more easily cleaned up. After demonstrating how to paint, students form groups of three and fill in the mural.

Watching students develop their own intrinsic styles inspires Adams to develop innovative projects. “I enjoy hearing what students think and seeing how they express themselves,” he said. “Students will take project ideas in completely different directions, and watching these kids grow up from second grade year after year is a very cool and unique experience.”

Sixth graders raved about the permanent end-of-year project

Sixth graders raved about the permanent end-of-year project

The sixth graders raved about the mural project. “The mural is my favorite project because I like making a permanent part of the school,” said Rossaline Asquith. “The mural is my favorite project,” agreed Hunter Jackson, a classmate. “It’s outside where all the other students can see and it will be here forever.”

Students appreciated Adams helping them develop their own artistic style

Students appreciated Adams helping them develop their own artistic style

The students point to Adams as inspiring them to take more chances and to take their artwork seriously. “Mr. Adams is a really good teacher – he really understands students and helps us out,” said Asquith. Alli Hook, a classmate, agreed, “Mr. Adams takes things seriously and makes sure students take on responsibility.”

Visitors can see the three sixth grade murals on the eastern-facing wall of Union Ridge Elementary School near the playground.

Did you know you can submit story ideas for upcoming Did You Knows? Submit your story idea via the District’s online form here: http://bit.ly/DYK-Submit

For more Did You Knows, visit the district website. You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

Beannachtai o Eireann – Monday

Yesterday when we toured the Burren, we met a gentleman who was selling pendants. He was dressed as a Druid (good marketing) and hammered ogham characters into pieces of metal, spelling your name. I tried to buy one, but he had sold all the bases, so I bought a Spirit of Life token instead. (I tried to download his picture, but it didn’t work – will try again later.)

I’v taken so many photos of doors and windows that I think I will do a whole series of paintings from them. Here’s a cat we saw sitting in the window. I liked the lace curtains – they will be a challenge to paint.

Well, for some reason photos are not loading – aren’t computers wonderful?

Tomorrow we leave at 9am for the Aran Islands, so I don’t have time to try to figure out what’s wrong, so will close for now. I will not be taking my iPad, because we’re traveling light. It’s an hour ferry ride, and could be rough. I haven’t been seasick in a long time … and hopefully I won’t be tomorrow.

We return on Saturday for two nights at Bunratty Castle Hotel, where we’ll have a grand banquet at the castle. I’ll send more pictures if I can figure out what’s wrong – if not, will do so on my return to Ridgefield next Monday.

Beannachkai o Eireann – Sunday

I just had to show you the battered cod dinner I had – have you ever been served such a huge portion of fish?

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We’ve seen burros grazing in several places. They apparently are irish lawnmowers!
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Today we went to the Cliffs of Moher, the Great Hunger Memorial and the Burrens. Here are the Cliffs of Moher.
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Looking out over the cliffs was like being up in the San Juans – even a bump where Mt. Constitution should have been. I feel very at home.

Traveling on these narrow roads is quite an experience. We’re in a small bus, which means we sit high above the cars we pass. I would swear there was only about three feet of space between us and the cars going the other direction. Not only that, there are stone walls right up against the road. We only had to back up once, but it took about 15 minutes of maneuvering before traffic started moving again. Even crossing the street is exciting, because of course you should look right instead of left.

This is a picture of a Dolman. They were ancient burial sites, and may have been used for religious ceremonies too.

A Dolman

A Dolman

I had heard so much about the Barrens that I was very interested in seeing them. They are a large expanse of broken limestone. It’s fairly dangerous to walk in them because of the chance of falling and breaking a leg or ankle because it’s stuck between two rocks.

The Burrens

The Burrens

Tomorrow is a painting day, so we’ll be at the hotel all day, then have a banquet at night. Weather has been great – broken clouds, even some sun, brisk breeze. Couldn’t ask for any better. It’s rained, but always at night.

Hope you all appreciate my writing. The wi-fi here at the hotel is VERY slow – it takes almost three minutes to load each picture. I’m reading a J A Jance book while waiting!

Beannachkai o Eireann!

I flew out of Portland Wednesday about noon, and arrived at Shannon Airport in Ireland Thursday morning about 11am. Met up with the three others on the flight from New York who were part of the tour.

We stayed at Dunaree Bed and Breakfast that night.

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There are 21 folks on the tour, of which 12 are watercolor painters. We take up two buses because of the amount of luggage we’re carrying. One bus picked us up at the B&B and the second met us at Bunratty Castle, where we met the people who had stayed at the castle the night before.

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Then it was on to the airport to pick up the last of our group.

We are now at the Falls Lodge in Ennistymon (enn-iss-TIE-mun). Here are some photos of the small stores on Main Street in Ennistymon.

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These trout fishermen were spotted along the falls at the Inagh River. I started sketching them this afternoon, and hope to paint them.

Tomorrow is tour day .

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Superintendent thanks community members for attending Ridgefield School District’s Brown Bag Lunch and Coffee Talk

Community members came to Coffee Talks and Brown Bag Lunches to meet Dr. McCann

Community members came to Coffee Talks and Brown Bag Lunches to meet Dr. McCann

Superintendent Nathan McCann would like to thank all of the community members who came out to meet him at this week’s Brown Bag Lunch and Coffee Talk.

Many attended to share insights and perspectives of Ridgefield School District including recent successes as well as ideas for improvement. “There is no such thing as ‘bad’ feedback,” said McCann. “I welcome and encourage all community members to share their opinions with me.”

If you missed these events, please consider joining Dr. McCann for a Coffee Talk on Thursday, July 31 from 7-8 a.m. at Lava Java located near iQ Credit Union by the I-5 South entrance ramp.

For more Ridgefield schools news, visit the district website. You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

School Construction Update – 7/18/2014

Construction continues across Ridgefield School District with interior and exterior work including paving, painting and more!

At Ridgefield High School, crews continue interior and exterior work including ground preparation for paving and exterior painting.

At the shared Union Ridge Elementary School / View Ridge Middle School site, crews continued paving exterior walkways including the main entrance walk while also working on interior and exterior work.

At South Ridge Elementary School, crews completed work on the new gymnasium/commons area floor as well as kitchen work while continuing interior and exterior work.

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URES-VRMS-7-15-2014

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For more information on Ridgefield School District’s ongoing construction projects, visit their construction blog by clicking here

You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

Did You Know two Ridgefield High School students won prestigious 5th Avenue Awards this year?

Megan Gibert and Logan Summers won awards in this year's 5th Avenue Awards

Megan Gibert and Logan Summers won awards in this year’s 5th Avenue Awards

Two Ridgefield High School students, Megan Gibert and Logan Summers, received awards at the 5th Avenue 2014 Awards, an award ceremony honoring high school musical theater throughout Washington State put on by the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington.

Evaluators from around Washington State attended 121 high school musical theater productions to select the student nominees for the awards. “The 5th Avenue Awards are our state’s Tony Awards for high school musical theater,” explained Bob Meek, Ridgefield High School’s Drama and Choir teacher.

Megan Gibert, a junior during the 2013-14 school year, received an Honorable Mention for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role playing Jo March in the high school’s performance of Little Women. Gibert started performing in plays four years ago with the Christian Youth Theater in the summer before performing in the high school’s production of Guys and Dolls in eighth grade. “I like being able to put on a different face for a while and portray someone else,” she said. “I find a lot of things I have in common with the character, and, often, I discover new things about myself, too.”

Logan Summers, a freshman during the 2013-14 school year, received an Honorable Mention for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role by playing Laurie Laurence, also in Little Women. This year was Summers’ first time performing in drama. “I’ve wanted to be an actor for some time because I thought it’d be cool to change costumes and live in that kind of world,” he said. “I think one of the coolest parts of acting is seeing our classmates get into their parts with us.”

Both students point to Meek as helping them hone their acting skills and win their awards. “Meek’s a great director because he encourages us to explore our characters and develop our own roles,” said Gibert. Summers agreed, “Meek is hilarious – it’s obvious he loves what he does.”

The 5th Avenue Theatre announced the award winners on May 20, 2014 and presented the awards in a ceremony on Monday, June 9 at Benaroya Hall. The 5th Avenue Theatre supports several education and outreach programs for youth, students and the community including the annual 5th Avenue Awards. More information can be found via their website at www.5thavenue.org.

Did you know you can submit story ideas for upcoming Did You Knows? Submit your story idea via the District’s online form here: http://bit.ly/DYK-Submit

For more Did You Knows, visit the district website. You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

I’m off to Ireland on a painting trip

I had hoped to do a running account of my trip, but have decided to have a real vacation instead, so I’ll probably not post to the blog until I get back.

Talk to you then!

Thought for the Week

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
Harry S. Truman

Have coffee with Ridgefield’s new Superintendent this Thursday at 4 p.m. at Seasons Coffee!

Coffee Talk with Superintendent Nathan McCannJoin Superintendent Nathan McCann for coffee at Seasons Coffee located in the Old Liberty Theater at 115 N. Main Ave in downtown Ridgefield on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 4 p.m.

Do you have an opinion, idea or concern you would like to share with the administration of Ridgefield School District or would you just like to meet the new superintendent? Then, stop by Seasons Coffee on Thursday from 4-5 p.m.

It’s your opportunity to visit with Superintendent Nathan McCann and share your ideas about the direction and future of Ridgefield schools.

Alternatively, don’t forget you can also attend the Superintendent’s Brown Bag Lunch tomorrow (Tuesday, July 15) at the district office from 12-1 p.m.

For more Ridgefield schools news, visit the district website. You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.

Notes fromCity Council Meeting 7-10-14

A motion was made to excuse Lee Wells

Ordinance 1155 – Amendment to Ridgefield Municipal Code Chapter 10-12 (Parking). The changes are removing the 2-hour time limit along Pioneer St and Main Ave, prohibit combination/trailer parking in the Pioneer St & Main Ave area as well as Mill St between Main Ave and 3rd Ave, enact a 24-hour parking limit along Pioneer St & Main Ave, and if two (2) 15 minute parking spaces/zones are in a one block area the spaces are to be on opposite sides of the road. Passed 6-0.

Discussion on Marijuana Regulatory Update. It was a lengthy discussion.  Some of the Council wanted it completely banned, some wanted only medical marijuana allowed, some wanted both medical and recreational marijuana.  None wanted a retail store here in Ridgefield.  There definitely will be more discussion on the topic.

The Community Development report is Single Family permits to date are 58 issued, two in review and 18 ready for pickup.

Come to English Estates Art and Wine Fair Today

Reminder – I am selling original watercolor art, prints, cards, and other items at the English Estates Art and Wine Fair today and tomorrow. We set up yesterday, and there are more than 40 outstanding artists this year. There will be free wine tastings, music by local performers on two stages and a painting class at 4pm today. Admission is free: it costs $30 for painting class materials.

A new painting that has not been exhibited at any other venues so far this year is ‘Against the Wind.’ Can you find the hidden deer?

Against the Wind I have some show specials – including 40% off digital prints – so be sure to stop by my booth. There was a nice breeze blowing when we set up, so even if the weather is in the 90’s the grounds are cool because of the high trees and breeze.

Hours for the Fair are Saturday, 11am to 7pm and Sunday, noon to 6pm. English Estates is at 17806 SE 1st Street in Vancouver.

Road Construction Update

N 45th Ave (Ridgefield) – Single lane closure approximately 500 feet long north of Pioneer St. and Pioneer Canyon Drive, in effect until July 18 (the date has been extended for road restoration work). Monday through Friday, 7am to 6pm. Flaggers will be present. During non-work hours, the road will be opened up to two-way traffic and speed will be reduced to 25mph. Construction crews will be excavating trenches, installing sanitary pipeline and manholes.

S Timm Rd. at S 6th Way (Ridgefield) – Northbound lane of S Timm Rd. at S 6th Way will be closed for approximately 100 feet, in effect July 17 – 25, Monday through Friday, 7am to 6pm. Flaggers will be present.

During non-work hours, the intersection will be a three-way stop with stop signs at each of the three corners.

Construction crews will be excavating a receiving pit for the bore, which extends underneath I-5. Pipe will be laid out on S 6th Way, welded, and pulled into the bore.

Other Construction

Field work between S 45th Ave and 50th Pl (Ridgefield)

Open trenching and pipe installation is taking place. The depth of the pipe varies between 10 to 13 feet under the ground surface. Crews are excavating for the foundation of the wet well, installing electrical conduit, and boring for sanitary sewer.

I-5 Northbound Gee Creek Rest Area (milepost 11, 9.7 miles N of Vancouver). I-5 median near Exit 14 - Crews are placing concrete barrier for protection around the bore jacking pit. Boring to begin July 14. Work will take place at night, subject to WSDOT approval.

Basketry at Plankhouse on Sunday

Friends of RNWR

Second Sunday program at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse on July 13 will be about Basketry of the Columbia Basin. The program will be from noon to 4 pm, when the Columbia River Basketry Guild will be in the plankhouse demonstrating traditional basketry techniques found in Native American basketry in the Columbia Basin.

The guild will demonstrate materials and techniques traditionally used in basketry of this region. Included will be cedar bark preparation and weaving of Pacific Northwest coastal sweet grass, tule and cattail. There will be hand-on activities for adults and families all day. Refuge admission is $3 per vehicle.

School Construction Update – 7/11/2014

The beautiful summer weather has helped construction continue smoothly in Ridgefield School District! In addition, the GCCM team released the Construction Progress and Budget Update reports for June 2014.

At Ridgefield High School, crews continue to work on exterior and interior jobs including knocking out the adjoining wall in the existing commons area to begin its transition to the new facilities.

At the shared Union Ridge Elementary School / View Ridge Middle School campus, the new gymnasium floor is coming along nicely while crews continue interior and exterior work including grading preparation for new pavement.

At South Ridge Elementary School, the exterior continues to come closer to completion as does the interior as crews continue work. Paving of the new access road was finished last week.

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RHS-Budget-Update-June-2014

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URES-VRMS-Budget-Update-June-2014

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SRES-Construction-Progress-June-2014

SRES-Budget-Update-June-2014

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For more information on Ridgefield School District’s ongoing construction projects, visit their construction blog by clicking here

You can also get more district news from their Facebook page or on Twitter.