Foundation Funds At Work At Crow Island

Makerspace Comes to Choice Time

First graders at Crow Island will have opportunities to explore and experiment with new materials, such as nature blocks and magnetic marble rolls. They will design tin can magnetic robots, ball mazes and giant geoboards for science and math exploration. During Choice Time, children can create art, turn an idea into a product, and make design challenges. The students will communicate, collaborate and persist as they work on projects and solve problems with unstructured time and materials. (Grant Recipients: Mary Byker, Jean Fink, Veronica Petrillo and Eva Tarini, Crow Island School)

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Crows On Parade Highlights Student Creativity

One morning every spring, brightly painted and decorated plaster crows appear on the front lawn of Crow Island School. Parents, students, and teachers wander among them and admire the creativity on display. This program, known as Crows On Parade, is now a memorable part of each Crow Island fourth grader’s experience. It started in 2000 with the help of Foundation funds.

Dozens of creatively-decorated crows cover the lawn in front of Crow Island School.

Dozens of creatively-decorated crows cover the lawn in front of Crow Island School.

In 1999, while teaching at both Crow Island and the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Crow Island art teacher Lillian Johnston incorporated the “Cows on Parade” tourist attraction (then on display throughout the city) into her Chicago classroom. As she sought a way to bring it to Winnetka, she came up with the idea of incorporating life-sized crows into the art curriculum at Crow Island, and a Foundation grant made her idea possible.

Partnering with local artist and sculptor Victor Martinez, Ms. Johnston creates 80 plaster crows every year. In her words: “When I introduce the project every year, I tell the kids this story. They learn about the Chicago Cow project and then hear about the process of making the mold and the crows. They hear about how the Chicago Cow artists carefully planned their ideas to develop a theme for each cow before attempting to paint it. The students are asked to carefully plan their ideas for their crows and then spend about three art sessions painting and decorating their crows.”


Other Examples of Past WPSF Grants

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Machines and Chain Reactions

Machines and chain reactions are used to explore, take control, and understand how forces and interactions make the world go 'round. Through a Foundation grant, kindergarten and first grade Crow Island students are introduced to forces and interactions as they build models of simple machines using large-scale Lego Education kits.

“This grant enables students to explore, investigate, and solve tasks related to mechanical principles of machines, as well as principles of energy, balance, and force. Through this form of play and material exploration, students learn through designing, problem solving, and building.” – Jean Bierner, Science Facilitator, Crow Island School

(Grant Recipients: Jean Bierner, Mary Byker, Jean Fink, Veronica Petrillo, Eva Tarini and Tony Spreitzer)

Author/illustrator Matt Cordell visits the Crow Island second grade classes.

Author/illustrator Matt Cordell visits the Crow Island second grade classes.

Second grade students creating their own Cordell drawings.

Second grade students creating their own Cordell drawings.

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

  • Kay Thomas, Sumi-e Ink Project, 4th grade
  • Carla Tarini, Poetry and Myth Writing, 3rd grade
  • Matt Cordell, Author/Illustrator, 2nd grade
  • Ella Jenkins, Musician/Singer, K-4th grades
  • Jamie Cervantes, Mariachi Ameca Band, K-4th grades
Ella Jenkins visits the Crow Island students.

Ella Jenkins visits the Crow Island students.

Curriculum enhancements

  • Yoga Bash introduced into KW curriculum, teaching students stress management skills and healthy lifestyle skills (physical and emotional)
  • Peace Power Committee curriculum writing and planning
  • CyberSafe program (M. Monroe)