Back to School and Blogging for The National Postal Museum

November 11, 2011 at 2:42 am (Artist Musings)

I think it’s really important to give back, especially as an artist. Today’s elementary, middle, and high school students become tomorrow’s art collectors. This week I had the opportunity to blog about my experience teaching fourth grade art on The Smithsonian National Postal Museum blog. Below is a copy of the post. The original post can be found at the Pushing the Envelope Blog. This is the third time I have had the opportunity to be a visiting artist in the schools. I was proud to be a Visiting Artist in The Dade County Public School System in Miami for two consecutive years as part of my participation in The Coconut Grove Arts Festival. I spent a day each at Southwest Middle School and Pincrest Elementary School (the elementary school I attended).

Fourth Graders at Partnership Elementary School Love the National Postal Museum’s Curriculum

By: Guest Blogger Lauren Van Hemert, Parent Volunteer Teaching Art

I am a parent volunteer teaching art to 57 fourth graders at Partnership Elementary in Raleigh, NC. Like many schools, we don’t have a large art budget or even an art teacher, just a team of enthusiastic parent volunteers who coordinate art projects on a bi-monthly basis.

I am always on the lookout for free resources I can bring into the classroom. Since the fourth graders love using technology, online games, activities and slide shows are a big hit.

So, I was thrilled to find The National Postal Museum’s Design It! Giving Voice to America curriculum for upper elementary school students. Since we only have art twice a month, I was not able to divide the curriculum into four lessons, but used the online resources to create a 60 minute lesson plan, at the end of which the students designed their own North Carolina state commemorative stamps.


The Postal Museum’s curriculum and online resources not only reinforced the elements of art the students have been learning since the beginning of the year, but also tied into the Wake County’s Fourth Grade Social Studies curriculum, a bonus not only for teachers, but also for home school parents as well.




At the end of the lesson, one student suggested I call The National Postal Museum to say that this was a ‘fun and great’ class. The students were so enthusiastic about the lesson that one of the fourth grade teachers even asked me to provide her with a link to The National Postal Museum’s Activity Zone so that the kids could complete some of the online activities during their free time.

Many of our students may not ever have the opportunity to visit a Smithsonian Museum. My goal this year is to bring our nation’s great museums, like The Smithsonian, to them, a kind of virtual field trip made possible through the use of free, educational lessons, materials, and resources like that of The National Postal Museum.

As for me, a mother of two, I can’t wait to visit the museum the next time I am in Washington, D.C.


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