The Right Brain Initiative


A Year in Review: A Look at Our 2011-12 School Year

November 14th, 2012 by Right Brain Team

As the current school year is now in full-swing, and most Right Brain schools are in the midst of planning their residencies, we thought it would be a good time to provide some inspiration by recapping all the successes from last year. Read on for the full list and description of every Right Brain residency that took place over the 2011-12 school year. Typically, we choose one classroom from each school to spy on, so make sure and click on the “Flickr Links” to get a visual description of the residency as well. We look forward to another incredible year, designing these kinds of arts-integrated residencies with the six school districts we serve.

Ardenwald (1) with Beth Rogers Bundy

Visual artist, Beth Rogers Bundy, worked with 1st graders on a mask making residency designed to incorporate ideas of friendship, family, culture, and self-identification.

Ardenwald (2, 3) with Obo Addy

2nd and 3rd graders were exposed to Ghanian culture and drumming with Alex Addy of the Obo Addy Legacy Project. Students were asked to think about the differences of playing solo versus with the whole group, and were in turn, learning about what it means to be a part of a community together.

Ardenwald (5) with Wendy Dunder

By using the visual art form of mandalas, 5th graders were encouraged to explore ideas of mood and tone, as well as geometric shape during their residency with visual artist, Wendy Dunder.

Flickr Link


Ardenwald (K, 4) with Julie Keefe

While working with photographer, Julie Keefe, Kindergarteners used their new found skills and perspectives to portray their favorite animal characteristics both through photography and poetry.  Meanwhile, 4th graders experimented with the best way to interview and visually represent a classified staff person in their school community.

Beach (PK, K) with BodyVox

PK, K worked with BodyVox to demonstrate their understanding of the similarities and differences of animals through dance.

Beach (1) with Greta Pederson & Dance Like the Stars

1st graders worked with Wordstock artist Greta Pedersen and Dance Like the Stars of Young Audiences to create a Latin-inspired song and dance about the writing process.

Beach (2) with Earth Arts NW

2nd graders made puppets based on species from the wetlands with Earth Arts NW, and worked together to tell collaborative stories inspired by the characters they created.

Beach (3, 4) with NWCT

Third and fourth graders worked with Northwest Children’s Theater to strengthen their speaking and leadership skills by acting out fictional stories.

Beach (4, 5) with Dance Like the Stars

With a focus on the “5th C” of Community, 4th and 5th graders at Beach worked with Dance Like the Stars and learned ballroom dancing.  The goals of this residency were to help develop empathy skills in the students and in their interactions with one another, as well as learning a new skill and increasing their own self-esteem.

Beach (6) with Beth Rogers Bundy

The 6th grade students at Beach worked with artist Beth Bundy to create a tile installation of a student-chosen phrase, Free to be ME, grounded in their studies of ancient cultures.  Students defined culture and created artifacts out of clay that represented their own individual cultural symbols which they then transformed into ceramic tiles.

Beach (7, 8 ) with Portland Art Museum

7th and 8th graders worked with the Portland Art Museum’s Object Stories, using descriptive language to tell stories about objects that are important to them and discovering how objects help us know who we are.

Flickr Link


Concord (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Julie Keefe

Students at Concord explored the languages of math and photography during their residency with Julie Keefe.  Each class learned photography skills and then applied them to convey elements of math from the world around them through their photos.

Flickr Link


East Orient (K) with Amy Steel

Kindergartners created self-portraits with Amy Steel, building an awareness of self by noticing similarities and differences with classmates, and identifying what makes them unique.  The portraits were then made into a quilt.

East Orient (3) with Addie Boswell

Addie Boswell worked with 2/3 grade classrooms to explore natural science through illustration.  Through careful observation and surprising compositional choices, students poetically communicated the life cycle of butterflies and frogs in drawings and paintings.

East Orient (3, 4, 5) with Northwest Children’s Theater

Teaching Artist Lisa Gilham from the Northwest Children’s Theater worked with the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.  Students engaged in theater games and techniques that gave them the tools they needed to deepen their understanding of stories they were reading in their classrooms, and develop a sense of teamwork as they worked as an ensemble, culminating in a performance for their school community.

Flickr Link


East Orient (1, 2, 5) with Lisa Wilcke

1st 2nd and 5th grade classrooms worked with glass artist Lisa Wilcke to make elements of their natural science curriculum come to life in large glass landscapes which now hang in their school windows.

Free Orchards (K, 1, 2, 3, 4) with Addie Boswell

Kindergarten through 4th grade students at Free Orchards worked with Addie Boswell to create self-portraits, draw animals or create books based on characters and storylines the students developed.  The older students explored perspective in the books they created, and then carried these skills over into their weekly writing assignments.

Flickr Link


Free Orchards (5, 6) with Lisa Wilcke

The 5th and 6th grade students worked with fused-glass artist Lisa Wilcke of Young Audiences to explore six Oregon ecosystems.  While learning about the scientific properties of glass, students researched plants and animals and then collaborated to create fused-glass panels representing the life and habitats in each ecosystem.

Glencoe (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Jan Abramovitz

Movement specialist, Jan Abramovits, worked with the whole school on a residency designed to improve focus and boost an understanding of math principles through a wide range of movement activities.

Flickr Link


Hayhurst (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Rick Meyers

Young Audiences artist Rick Meyers brought a music experience to K-5 students in the Neighborhood and Odyssey programs.   Exploring 19th century American folk music, students were introduced to unfamiliar musical instruments, connected songs to the social studies curriculum, examined how music can be used to inform, persuade or tell a story, and built community between the two programs at Hayhurst School.

Flickr Link


Hollydale (K, 1, 2, 4, 5) with Julie Keefe

Julie Keefe worked with K, 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th grade students at Hollydale this year.  Increasing self-awareness and respect for others, students wrote poems while also learning about the artistic process of taking and displaying photographs.

Flickr Link


Hollydale (3, 4) with Carrie Moore

The 3rd and 4th grade students learned and applied the elements of design with Young Audiences artist Carrie Moore.  Through the creation of an individual piece using chalk pastels and then collaborating on a larger installation, students had the opportunity to discuss, experience, and learn about organisms and their habitats, applying design skills to their math and science content.

Jackson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Obo Addy

All 1st through 6th grade students at Jackson celebrated the rich culture of Ghanian drumming with Obo Addy Legacy Project.  Beginning and ending with whole school performances, a common language and experience was developed while learning drumming technique and rhythm patters.  The power of patterns learned through music was often utilized by students in their math lessons long after their drumming residency was completed.

Jackson (6) with Portland Art Museum

The 6th grade students and teachers participated in a new collaboration between Right Brain and Portland Art Museum called Object Stories.  Students chose objects that were important to them, and then used descriptive language to tell the story of their objects and communicate how objects help us know who we are.

Flickr Set 1

Flickr Set 2


James John (K, 1, 2, 3) with Greta Pedersen

K-3 grade students worked with Young Audiences Greta Pedersen to develop their own personal voice and improve oral fluency & reading skills; some even went on to create a new school song for James John.

Flickr Set


James John (4, 5) with Bernie Duffy

4th and 5th graders at James John worked with Young Audience teaching artist Bernie Duffy, using theater as a medium to enhance self-awareness, esteem, and confidence while exploring personal/family immigration stories.

Lewis (K) with Tears of Joy

Tears of Joy worked with Kindergartners on a puppet-making residency that helped to introduce students to the art of storytelling, character development and personal voice, all of which culminated in a final performance put on in front of their peers.

Lewis (1, 2) with Lisa Wilcke

During a residency with Lisa Wilcke, 1st and 2nd graders were able to combine their study of insects with the art and history of glass making, while ultimately creating beautiful glass panels of bugs and insects that were hung throughout their school.

Lewis (2, 3, 4) with Maranee Sanders

Maranee Sanders worked with grades 2 through 4 on a mask-making residency that was designed to empower students with new tools to create and give them a chance to experience transformation, while also combining it with their studies of Ancient Egyptian cultures (2nd grade), animals (3rd grade) and NW Native cultures (4th grade).

Flickr Set


Lewis (5) with BodyVox

With an emphasis on studying the solar system, 5th graders worked with BodyVox to learn not only how to use movement to explain scientific studies, but to also help develop coordination, strength and social skills.

Lincoln Street (K, 1, 2, 3, 4) with Beth Rogers Bundy

Exploring theme of self identity, cultural identity and school community, Beth Bundy worked with K-4th grade students to make drawings and water-color self portraits and explore clay.  The 1st—4th grade went on to translate their self-portraits into clay, creating large tile letters that spelled out LINCOLN STREET!

Flickr Set


Lincoln Street (5, 6) with Julie Keefe

Photographer Julie Keefe and the 5th and 6th graders at Lincoln Street used poetry and photography to examine themes of self-identity: exploring sense of self, cultural identity, school community.

Linwood (3, 4, 5) with Beth Rogers Bundy

At Linwood, students worked with Beth Bundy, investigating the concept of themselves as artist-explorers and idea generators, collaborating to design their own sculptural tools from recycled materials.

Markham (K, 1, 2) with NWCT

Northwest Children’s Theater worked with K – 2 grade students to create short plays based on books the students already knew.  Each student developed a role through projection, expression and character development; while also experiencing the team effort required of theater – everyone has an important role to play.

Flickr Set


Markham (3, 4, 5) with Oregon Children’s Theater

The upper grades also explored theater skills with the Loud & Clear program from Oregon Children’s Theatre.   As 3rd through 5th grade students learned oral presentation skills; such as volume, inflection and eye contact, through theater experiences, they were able to examine a topic from a new angle.

Oak Grove (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Portland Taiko

Portland Taiko worked with the whole school (K-5) on a residency that combined traditional Taiko drumming with ideas of respect, self-expression, cooperation and perseverance. Students not only learned about Japanese culture, but were also encouraged to think about what it meant to be a part of an ensemble and in turn, to be a part of a community.

Flickr Set


Quatama (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) with OBT

As a way to bring about a sense of school community, Oregon Ballet Theater worked with the entire school (K-6) on a dance residency that used ballet to help students learn core subject material through the use of their bodies. K-3rd graders used dance to better understand math skills, while 4-6th graders represented science and the life cycles through the principles of ballet.

Flickr Set


Rigler (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) with Jan Abramovitz

At Rigler, the school community built on its second year of working with movement artist Jan Abramovitz to focus on how an individual’s actions affect others.  Using their bodies to be creative problem-solvers, students explored concepts such as cause and effect and self-management while developing their movement vocabulary.

Flickr Set


Scouters Mountain (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Beth Rogers Bundy

Scouters Mountain students worked with Beth Bundy around the idea of perspective, seeing the world from different points of view and portraying their world through their own lens, using photography and collage to explore these concepts.

Sitton (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Jan Abramovitz

Jan Abramovitz worked with Sitton students using brain-based movement to focus on self-management and expressive skills.

Flickr Set


Spring Mountain (K) with Addie Boswell

With artist Addie Boswell, kindergartners created unique individual collages about their own homes and neighborhoods, discovering how buildings are made up of geometric shapes.

Flickr Set


Spring Mountain (1, 5) with Lisa Wilcke

1st and 5th grade students who worked with Lisa Wilcke discovered connections between glass-making, science (like transformation through heat) and math concepts like fractions, geometry and measurements.

Spring Mountain (2, 3, 4) with Caitlin Shelman

Caitlin Shelman worked with 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders, who became experts in shape and line as they described their community through drawing, watercolor, and printmaking and went on to make a mural that hangs in their school entryway.

Sunnyside (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Julie Keefe

The entire school (K-5) worked with photographer Julie Keefe on a residency aimed at using photography and poetry to express personality and confidence. In pairs, students picked up cameras and focused in on each other to create beautiful portraits using their new skills of perspective and self-identification.

Flickr Set


Vestal (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 3-5(IS), 5-8(IS), 8 ) with Maranee Sanders

To help foster uniqueness and creative thinking, grades K-4; 8, and 3-8 (IS) worked with Maranee Sanders in a mask-making residency that encouraged students to think beyond themselves and tackle issues of personal identity.

Vestal (5, 6, 7) with Julie Keefe

Grades 5-7 worked with Julie Keefe in a photography residency which aimed at helping students shape and articulate their views and dreams for the future through their personal exploration of the creative process, which included partner interviews and portraiture photography.

Flickr Set


View Acres (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with Jan Abramovitz

Teachers at View Acres collaborated with Jan Abramovitz to take the movement skills and tools he teaches and integrate them with their classroom curriculum – using dance as a method of connecting curriculum to students’ bodies.  Students also explored what is feels like and looks like when they are focused.

Flickr Set


Whitman (K, 1, 2) with Beth Rogers Bundy

In a residency with Beth Rogers Bundy, K-2 graders explored their own personal identity by building on the concept of family trees by each creating their own unique leaves to add to a large school community tree that will stay in the school and be a constant reminder of how all students are connected through a multitude of ways.

Whitman (3, 4, 5) with Caren Graham

3-5th graders integrated literacy concepts with drama using the frozen picture or “tableau”  in a residency with Caren Graham that brought literature to life, while also discovering deeper understandings of character perspective and elements of story.

Flickr Set


Woodlawn (PK, K, 1, 6) with Oregon Symphony

With connections ranging from animals to literature to Egyptian culture, the Oregon Symphony worked with grades PK, K, 1st and 6th on a residency that integrated music into multiple areas, giving students an opportunity to interact with music on a whole new level.

Woodlawn (4, 8 ) with Rick Meyers

Rick Meyers worked with students in grades 4-8 on a residency that helped to recreate life on the Oregon Trail by introducing students to historical music, dance and games that were played during the time of our pioneers.

Woodlawn (PK, 2, 3, 5, 7) with Portland Taiko
Respect, cooperation and perseverance are just three of the principles that Portland Taiko worked on with the PK, 2, 3, 5 and 7th graders at Woodlawn.


Want to know more about our successes from 2011-12? See more Year in Review reporting on the blog. Or, download our 2012 Annual Report from our Resources page.


Right Brain Team