by Kristen Miller

Big, bright, beautiful and bold are four words that describe the paintings hanging in the hallway of the elementary school.

First-gradersproducedlargerthan-life images of seed envelopes decorated with tomatoes, broccoli, beans and begonias.

Rebecca Boardman, the school's art teacher, said she is pleased with how the paintings turned out, but not surprised.

"In the past, some parents have framed them," said Boardman.

To get ideas for the paintings, Boardman said she had the students go through seed catalogs and find a seedpackage theyliked.The youngsters designed and painted their masterpieces in three 45-minutesessions using brightly colored tempera paints.

Boardman said the paintings have become somewhat of a tradition at the school. She began doing them with the students three years ago as a tie-in to the Common Roots program there.

Boardman explained the program uses gardening as a teaching method by tying it into as many parts of the curriculum as possible. Each class takes care of its own garden and, ideally,teachersusedifferent methods to relate the gardening to science, math, art, social studies and literature.

In the spring, classes plant the gardens and throughout the summer they are weeded by parents and children. In the fall, they are harvested.

Principal Jeff Teitelbaum explained the Common Roots program was developed about six years ago in an effort to tie the environment to teaching.

"The idea was to write a curriculum that would teach as much as you could through an environmental outlook," said Teitelbaum.

Today,Teitelbaumsaysthe program is not what it should be. He explained that just a skeleton social studies curriculum relates to the Common Roots program.

"It needs to be rejuvenated," said Teitlebaum, who is happy about the first-graders' paintings.

As the curriculum is redesigned, Teitelbaum said he hopes that Common Roots will be worked back in.


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