The art of engagement

Amanda Feterl says there’s just too much common in this old world of ours.

Common tests.

Common standards.

Common everything.

And so this Sibley East Elementary art teacher is on a mission to be … uncommon.

One day, she’ll dress up for class like a crazy art critic complete with green, shaggy hair, floppy black hat and a nutty accent.

The next day, she’ll show up as a mad color scientist, wildly bent on giving the rainbow a run for its money.

She even found an uncommon way to raise money for a 3D printer – crowd sourcing.

Playful? Absolutely.

Engaging? Exactly.

“It’s these uncommon activities that have really given my students an opportunity to be more engaged,” Amanda says.

“And it’s these uncommon activities that I’ve seen have an impact on their attitude to school.”

One of Amanda’s favorite uncommon activities is something she calls an art-a-thon.

It’s a late night, after-school event where students spend several hours creating masterpieces.

The aim of their creativity is a lesson in itself. The students auction off their works for charity.

“Ultimately,” Amanda says of her uncommon approach to learning, “I hope to make an impact on student achievement.”