Education - Teachers First

Dec 12, 2007 5:00 PM by Bea Karnes

Art teacher's lessons lead to success in academics

"Oh, that's going to be great... we'll work on it next time."

Tom Burkle loves art. But more than that, he loves teaching art. "It's really fantastic when they bring their own lives into their art work and they're making art about themselves or their community," said Burkle.

Students at Chipeta Elementary School in Colorado Springs take Mr. Burkle's art class from kindergarten through fifth grade. All of that time together allows them to dip deeper into the subject.

"I do observations in the classrooms," said Lori Butler, Chipeta Park Principal, "and every time I'm in his room I learn something about art, or drawing, or shapes, or color, or textures."

And that art training is paying off in other classrooms. Butler said the creative thinking that children learn from Burkle allows them to look at probelms from a different perspective. Consequently, Chipeta Park is one of the highest achieving schools in the state. "He's really good about looking at the different disciplines-- reading, writing, math, science, social studies--and incorporating his art standards in with their programs as well."

It's that special ability to make art stick to the lives of his students that makes Tom Burkle this months Teachers First award winner.


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