Hooray for the Arts!

Anyone who has visited the lower school recently has more than likely taken note of all the artwork that now adorns our halls. New art teacher, Trevlin Alexander, is a magician at getting the boys’ artwork not only completed, but labeled and displayed throughout the school. Sculptures fill our display cases and decorate our library spaces. Glimmering outdoor winter scenes, or native masks line the walls of the lower lobby. A particularly dramatic display of gold and copper mask images against a red background welcomes students and visitors to the art space. While the artwork on show clearly points to wonderful lessons being taught, you only have to walk into the art room to see the amazing learning experiences happening. Culture, art history, and technique are discussed and modeled. The boys will begin class huddled around a classroom table listening and watching as Ms. Alexander shares the art “story” of the day. If a visitor returns a short time later, they will observe boys at work crafting, creating, and conversing with each other about the projects. As a former art teacher myself, I can appreciate the thought and talent that go into each art lesson. The other day, fifth grade teachers were informing the boys about what class to head to after lunch. When art was announced for one homeroom, the boys cheered! Enjoy some images below of the art work and artists in action.



I have written previously about our equally amazing music program. Amy Cyman continues to instruct and inspire our boys through music. She also leads our weekly Morning Meetings often choosing songs that relate to the message Dr. Webster is discussing. We sing of “peace in our hearts” and “ I love the rolling hills” together in unison. Singing is such an uplifting way to start our day!


A discussion of the arts in Gilman lower school would not be complete without mentioning John Layman’s design and woodworking shop. The craft of woodworking builds many skills for our boys, among them patience, perseverance, and cooperation. The boys work through projects based on careful listening and observation. They often team up to help each other with the more complex assignments or just when four hands are better than two. For many of the boys, working with tools to build an object that is both useful and decorative is challenging but great fun! The picture below is from “pajama day” in lower school when peeking through the D&W glass window at the workshop in action was particularly enjoyable.


I have often referenced articles and TED talks in my blog. There are so many thought-provoking ideas out there. Below are some references related to the “creativity crisis” in education today. These articles and TED talks reinforce the idea that the arts need to have a prominent place in our schools- something we truly believe in here at Gilman.

Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk

Newsweek Article

The Creativity Crisis Article

Eight habits of thinking learned from artists

I hope that my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” based on recent school events.



  • If you are in Kindergarten- Did you enjoy the field trip to Irvine Nature Center? What did you learn about making maple syrup?
  • If you are in Prep-One- What happened in the story, The Bear Snores On? What subject will you be exploring in your book project?
  • If you are in First Grade- What have you learned about subtraction? Can you retell the tall tale Pecos Bill? What was the tall tale about Dr. Webster about?
  • If you are in Second Grade- Did you enjoy the speaker on Thursday, Ms. Morisi from Immigration Legal Services? What did you learn about the process some children go through in order to find a home here in America?


  • If you are in Third Grade- Are you finding it challenging to write a full report on a Native American tribe?
  • If you are in Fourth Grade- What are you learning about writing a research report? Are you planning on going to Makerspace before school next week?
  • If you are in Fifth Grade- What stocks are you choosing to invest in? What are some things your classmates made or took apart in Makerspace this week?

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