Land Forms Leap at Ocean Avenue Elementary

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Art Classes, drawing, school visits | 2 comments

In the month since I drew with second graders at Ocean Avenue Elementary, my Side x Side colleague Pamela Moulton had been working with the students on creating sculptures of land forms based on their drawings and research. With every visit, the classes grew more curious about Professor Sneedlebaum. Good news! He would be stopping at the school on his way to a conference in Canada! She worked with the students to create a special celebration of their learning. Here she works out the sequence backstage on April 28 with Mia, intern art teacher and intrepid volunteer.


How exciting when Professor Sneedlebaum addressed the classes!


He expressed  his appreciation for their hard work in creating a model of land forms, and collected their data, which he will use in 3D computer studies at his university to predict future earth changes.


All the land forms, like this impressive glacier, were arranged around the edges of the stage.


Ms. Nogar and Ms. Partridge and Pamela watch a video with everyone of the making of the land forms.


Each group of students came on stage and performed a movement of their land from. This is Canyon and Arches!


Next each group placed their sculpture on a paper map of the island.


Then each group gathered before a projection of the drawings they’d made, and leaped up with the word of their land form. Hooray!


Meanwhile, the Professor examined and measured the models carefully.


He was clearly pleased, as was Mia!


Each group came forward until all the land forms filled the island.


Here it is, complete with a canyon and arches, hills and a river, two volcanoes, a mountain and valley, cliff and waterfall, a cave, a plateau and plain, a coastline, a hoodoo and canyon, a glacier, a mesa and butte, a peninsula, and it’s own little island with a lake!


Next the students performed a special Sing Sing dance, in honor of the Professor’s native Papua New Guinea, where there is a rich diversity of bird species.


And the teachers, too!


The Professor graciously took questions, such as why do you study land forms?


He replied, “I love nature and it’s beauty. What has happened to the Earth and it’s changes has an impact on us now and in the future.”



Q: What’s in your suitcase?


He had keys, a field guide to birds, an old stamp collection, letters, measuring tape, and a stack of envelopes for the teachers, with certificates!


The Professor dashed off to catch his plane. The students returned to their classes.

I am SO proud of their efforts, and ever grateful to have worked with a great school and this visionary artist, Pamela!


Together, with the teachers and volunteers, we engaged the students to embody their learning in multiple ways, from observational drawing, to sculpture, to painting and performance. As I headed back to my own island, I carried their vibrant wonder with me. Thank you, Side x Side, and Ocean Avenue’s honorary explorers!



  1. We did a lot of this type of project in Ketchikan. One entire classroom was turned into an underwater environment, complete with papier-mâché fish, hanging kelp, and strips of transparent film hanging down. Kids walked through and below the sea. Very cool. Another room was a zoo model/amusement park, complete with “hot air balloon” rides. Kids had to create habitats for their animals. At the end of the two week complete school art immersion, there was a public art opening, printed guide funded by local advertising, and demo tables run by the kids.

    When art is used to combine science, observation, aesthetics and social awareness, it really sings. It also tends to remove the kids’ fear that they “can’t draw” and will mess up. Art is simply another conduit for thought and exploration.

  2. Wonderful & very cool to see the kids & teachers happily engaged while learning about land forms. It is important to orient yourself. Where are you? Among what? Where? Felt like a wonderful time was had by all while learning about this wonderful world we live in. Thanks for sharing.


  1. Land Forms Leap at Ocean Avenue Elementary by Jamie Hogan - Side x Side | Awakening Tomorrow's Innovators through Art - […] > read more of this blog post by Jamie Hogan at its original location […]

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