In the words of Bonnie Raitt…Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About (how about art?)

Literacy Night: What an evening! From 6-8 pm, Studio Maury had a steady flow of parents and children who beautifully created works of art,  side by side, for the eclectic “harvest craft.” Together, our families of artists worked to craft exotic leaves to bedazzle the bare bones of our Literacy Tree, or as I like to call it, our LiteraTREE! Although the original hope was that students and parents would write the names of their favorite book or author, a haiku, or a short story on the leaf of their creation, the night got away from us and we were all too busy dabbling in stamps, oil pastels, collage and paint to tie in the literacy theme on this one. Not to fear, the rest of the school was a buzz with pajamaed kiddos, puppet shows, storytelling, and book check out. Thanks to everyone who came out for Literacy Night. Keep on reading and creating!

Working in tandem

A moment among the leaves

Our finished tapestry is on display in the lobby, right across from Ms. Washington’s desk. Our Literatree will also help us track our goal for the S.O.S Literacy fundraiser. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to support reading and writing initiatives for Maury students. We’ve already raised $10,000! A very hungry caterpillar will be crawling up the trunk of our tree to chart our progress. There is more information in the office about how we aim to apply the money raised during the S.O.S. campaign.

Jumaury: You may have noticed the giant game board across the hall from Mr. Scott’s room. Ms. Sweeney and I created Jumaury, a play on the popular children’s (and adult) book Jumanji. Jumaury is only slightly different from the fictional game. Instead of a  jungle adventure game, Jumaury is a wild and crazy, literary adventure game. Each class is asked to document each minute they spend reading. Every time the class reaches 900 collaborative minutes, they move one space on the game board. Preschoolers and preK readers move every time they reach 450 minutes. The readers will dodge monsoons, swarms of tsetse flies, ferocious lions and hungry monkeys in an attempt to reach Jumaury, the golden school on the hill.  The most important thing to remember about the literacy adventure game is that once readers begin reading, they may not quit until their entire class reaches Jumaury! BEWARE!

The illustrations in Chris Van Allsburg’s book are both haunting and beautiful

Jumaury: A Literary Adventure Game

And now, a break from all the reading for a brief hooping extravaganza!!!

My very own mother is what you would call a semi-pro hooper back in North Carolina. She makes her own hoops from pipe and Gaffers tape and hoops like a circus performer in public places with a bunch of Carrboro hippies. This is sometimes embarrassing for the family, but mostly awesome. She is amazing and talented and also twirled fire with the baton corps back in the day when she attended W. T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, VA. On my parents most recent visit to DC, they donated two brand new hoops for Maury recess time. Some of the girlies broke them in for us on the playground the other day. Go girls!

Hot leg warmers!

The kneeling approach

Now, back to our regularly scheduled post…

Art Around the Corner Class Room Visit: Our fourth and fifth graders are beyond lucky because they get a world-class art history and museum education from the National Gallery’s talented team of art educators. Last week, the gallery teachers came to orient us to the program before we trek through the glorious and art-speckled wings of ye olde gallery in a week! The teachers gave us some fabulous statistic about how by the end of the two years, our AATC artists will have visited the gallery more than 20 times! That is far more than the average human visits a gallery. Kudos to us! Here’s to igniting a lifelong love for museums and art. Hopefully once day, our AATC graduates will take their kids to museums and their kids will take their kids and so on…

A captive audience

The late afternoon sun shines on our bright artists

Mr. Havner and his students decorate their gallery passes

Looking deeply at a Jackson Pollock piece. Students are learning to look and in doing so, learning how to articulate ideas, think critically and think creatively.

A student describes a work of art that speaks to him and explains to the green group why that particular piece made an impact on him. It was eye-opening to hear students speak so candidly about their own experiences and how they relate to historic works of art.

The American Mural Project: Our upperclassmen were selected to represent Washington, DC and Ward 6 in the creation of the largest indoor collaborative artwork in the world! Over 10,000 kids in diverse communities across the country have contributed their artistic touches to the awe-inspiring mural. Once complete, this historic work of art—and tribute to working Americans—will stand 120 feet long, five stories high, and up to ten feet deep!

The brain and brawn behind this ambitious operation is Ellen Griesedieck. Ellen is the fun-loving artist, teacher, and funder in charge of AMP. She has dedicated the last 12 years of her life to seeing this project through and to involving American youth every step of the way. Last week, Ellen graciously spent an entire day with our fourth and fifth graders, out on the black top, getting them started on their small piece of history. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for all involved.

Maury, and the rest of the DC artists involved, are in charge of representing government workers on the mural. Students sketched, painted, and printed original images of what government workers meant to them. Some drew pictures of their grandparents. Others used symbols such as badges, musical notes, and stamps to express the diversity of government employees in their lives.

The work we started with Ellen is only the beginning. In the art studio, over the next few months, students will take their works-in-progress and transform them into rich pieces for Ellen’s vision. In order to take these flat, unfinished works to the next level, we need your help collecting 2D and 3D objects that represent our government workers. Old badges, buttons, uniforms, letters, paperwork, pens, and anything else that you or your family members can donate to the creation of this historic mural would be wonderful. Our finished, individual works will then be donated back to AMP, poured over with resin, and sculpted to create layer upon layer of Ellen’s 3D mural, which will be permanently installed in Connecticut.

I am very excited to help our students enhance their creations for this historic mural. Please help us put Maury on the map! Visit for more information on the American Mural Project or our dynamic artistic leader, Ellen Griesedieck.

The girls engrave their foam boards to create  monotypes for printing on canvas

Next, the artists covered their designs with acrylic paint

After pushing down with our entire body weight, the paint transferred our images to the canvas. In the studio we will take time to enhance our works-in-progress to become 3D sculptural pieces.

Studio Updates:


Putting the “Finn-ishing” touches on his caterpillar’s antennae.

Eric Carle would be proud!


Below are a few examples of our preK, 3D collages. Students cut a variety of materials, hypothesized about how difficult each would be and why, then demonstrated overlapping techniques.


kindergarteners are working on tracing (lids!) and cutting circles of various sizes out neatly and carefully to create layered collages in the style of Kandinsky’s, Farbstudie Quadrate.

In the zone!

Right on target!

First Grade:

Our tape paintings are hanging from the rafters in the hallway connecting the East and West wings.  They are reminiscent of our caterpillar’s chrysalis stage.

Second Grade:

Our cosmic alphabets are decking the halls. Layer upon layer of funky fonts, lettered lines, and dizzying designs sprawl from ceiling to floor. Good thing the nurse’s office is right across the hall from this colorful and chaotic display!

Fifth Grade:

The wild world of wire is upon us! Check out how great these continuous line, wire portraits came out. Can you guess who is who?

2 thoughts on “In the words of Bonnie Raitt…Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About (how about art?)

  1. Awesome job Ms. Bomba! It is wonderful to read about all the students -You obviously love your job! Keep up the great work!!

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