Monthly Mentor

Sarah Krajewski (June)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Krajewski is a K-5 Art educator in Cambridge, WI, and was awarded the 2019 Wisconsin Art Educator of the Year Award. Join in her art room mantra: “I am positive. I am creative. I am mindful. I am amazing. I am an artist.” Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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December 19, 2018

Do you ask for permission or forgiveness?

By Shelly Breaux

As you walk around your campus, do the colors in the halls remind you of the dentist office?  Are the bathroom stalls tones of red or blue? Do the display cases have dust growing on the items that are possibly older than the children that attend your school? Do you walk the halls thinking of a million ways you can help make your campus more visually pleasing?

I am very fortunate that my campus is barely 20 years old, with some portions of the building being only 2 years old.  Even in a space not built in the 60s, I still find ways to spruce things up.

Last year I noticed our front flower beds were in desperate need of some love. These flower beds line the walkway to enter our school. This is our guest's first impression of our campus. Students would walk straight through the flower beds not even realizing they are there. I don’t have a green thumb, but kept thinking if someone could replant this, I can line it with a design of colored rocks. My problem was rocks are expensive.

I knew that our school has an account with funds just for campus beautification. I also knew that going ask admin for $500 for rocks would seem absurd. I have learned a long time ago to show my principal what I am asking for. Give him a visual.  


I done this at my house so I had a few bags of rocks left over. With the help of a few students, I was able to get a sample of what I was thinking to show admin. Immediately they loved it and didn’t think twice when I asked them to fund this project giving them a quote of how much it would cost.

During final exams, I got an email to go see my Principal. He informed me that a Parent Group would be redoing the entire front flower bed and he added rocks to their list of supplies. We are set to go!

Here is where I messed up.

At the end of the school year parents, students, and teachers spent days redoing our flower beds. (Including lining them with rocks) The hard work paid off as the front of our school looked amazing.

Upon returning this year, with my project in mind, one of the first things I thought of was how was I going to get ALL THOSE ROCKS IN TO MY CLASSROOM? Why didn’t I have them give me the rocks first? Why did I let them put them down only to be dug up?

So after our first week of policy, procedures and assessing where my students were in their art ability, we started digging up rocks. It took a few days of 200 students, a bunch of buckets and one wagon to haul these rocks in to my room.

We then started our color theory lesson! See what I did there. I made us painting rocks part of my curriculum. Secondary Tuesday!  Primary Thursday! Complementary Friday!

I really thought we would be able to paint the rocks within a few weeks. Boy was I wrong. Here we are December and we are just starting to look like we are putting a dent in the rock pile.




Obviously we haven’t been painting rocks since school started. I had to move on with lessons. Since, I have made this a school wide community project inviting everyone in to help get this done. Over our Christmas break I need to think of new ways to get people involved so we can finish this project. Most students are “over painting rocks.” What I thought would only take a few weeks is now taking the entire school year.



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