McDonald PTA wants YOU! 

There are several ways for you to help the McDonald community continue to flourish. Pick one (or two!) volunteer opportunities and lend a hand. Immediate help is needed in the following areas:

Art Room
International Night 2017
Library: email our librarian, Pat Bliquez
Playground paintingTentative project date: Saturday, May 6th or 20th, weather permitting.

Find out more about these and other volunteer opportunities on the Volunteer page.

Apr 27

Update from the Art Room

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Hello McDonald Families,

Spring is in the air and in the Art Room. It's been such a pleasure teaching your very enthusiastic kids about welcoming the joys and the challenges of the creative process into our lives. All of McDonald's students, staff, and community members I have been fortunate to meet have been so warm and kind, just as Kate Baker described you all.

Our first project was an all-ages exploration of Japanese Zen gardens. Our inspiration: short docs from the Portland Japanese Gardens of raked patterns in pebble stone fields within the planting, and the harmonious balance of natural and created elements. Using tempera paints, colored pencils, and sometimes some unique additions (wood pieces, paper pop outs, saranwrap-over-blue paint streams) students across the grades explored visual patterns and textures, and having a calm, repetitive, rhythmic approach to their work, to create their own fantasy Zen gardens. The process allowed us to make cultural connections to Japan, and to discuss the idea of sharing and mixing cultural traditions here in our own communities.

Our second projects combine several media, genres, and techniques for exploring a single concept: representing multicultural and multiethnic people in art. K-2's created oil pastel landscapes of their favorite real or imagined outdoor environments, then collaged in colored pen and pencil figures in a range of skin tones, posed to show how bodies-in-motion would move in those environments. The kids lent their own insights to our conversations about diversity and appreciating our physical similarities and differences. They also loved doing "action poses" for their friends to draw. 3-5's are creating multiethnic/multicultural portrait quartets, based on the art of British contemporary artist Lynnie Z's graphic for a New York Times story, "What Biracial People Know". Using only cut paper, students are exploring how to represent four faces, so their quartet will represent diversity in several forms: gender, age, culture, ability, ethnicity, and personality. Lynnie Z.'s bright, non-natural color palette is inspiring us to get creative in representing people's individuality. The project inspired conversations about how to be a working artist, how art influences and reflects larger social conversations and trends, and how classic elements of portraiture help to connect the viewer to your piece, even if your people are blue, with purple hair!

Even Free Choice Day yields creative surprises (like a Matisse sculpties + snap stacked marker bridges)!

Looking forward to more!
Karen Willemsen/ Ms. Karen

P.S. We are still hoping for a few more Art Room helpers, especially during the K-1 classes. You may bring your kiddo if you would like to help after school, M,T,Th, or Fri from 2:15 to 3:15. See the Art SignUp Genius link.

Questions, Comments, and Volunteering: My door is open or email me.

Apr 27

Host Family Testimonial: The Perry Family

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There are so many compelling reasons to host a language intern, from the obvious benefits to the kids of extra language practice, to giving back to the McDonald community in a meaningful way, to learning about another culture. But one of the best parts of hosting for our family is getting the chance to introduce some of our favorite Northwest activities and sights to someone new.

Julian arrived this past fall from Colombia having never seen snow in person. It was such a thrill to share in his excitement upon seeing his first snowflakes during a flurry in Seattle late last year. Even better was taking him up to Snoqualmie Summit for his first skiing experience. He spent a lot of that day sprawled on the ground with his skis pointing in different directions, but he also had a blast. Later, we took a ski trip together as a family to Idaho where he really started to get the hang of it. That drive to Sandpoint, crossing the snow-covered expanse of eastern Washington, was made much more interesting traveling with someone for whom it was all new. Between sleigh rides, snowball fights and the unique thrill of a Seattle snow day (complete with sledding in Lower Woodland Park and hot cocoa), we had a wonderful winter introducing Julian to the upside of all of our precipitation. Throughout it all, Julian’s sense of wonder and adventure helped the whole family to appreciate this beautiful place we call home even more.

Next year McDonald will have four Spanish interns and three Japanese interns. If you have an extra bedroom and are interested in hosting or just curious about the experience, contact us. More information, including the host family application, is also available on the PTA web site.

Apr 27

Reminder: Walk for Water - May 7th


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