Steven Flanagan, Teacher
Sunnyside Elementary School
San Francisco, California
In Peter’s Chair, by Ezra Jack Keats, a boy helps paint his old chair for his baby sister. At Sunnyside Elementary in San Francisco, chair-painting is a community affair. A school-wide project had teachers, students, families and neighbors pulling together to turn donated chairs into works of art. Students in every grade read and discussed Peter’s Chair, and designed and decorated their chairs. Careful planning helped teachers and parent volunteers keep the children focused.
Art projects have the benefit of producing tangible results, and a school exhibition is a wonderful validation. What an unforgettable bonus to have pieces displayed at the annual student arts festival at the Asian Art Museum! Starting with a story, this project—a celebration of reading, art and collaboration—had an impact far beyond the classroom.