Myers Elementary’s Gallery Walk emphasizes creativity in math, art skills

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Photo RUSD: Students in Kathleen Schilreff’s second-grade class at Myers Elementary School showcase their “Place Value Pals” that they created. All second-grade students at Myers Elementary School participated in the project that combined math fluency and expressing numbers in multiple forms with art.
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The Dragons are taking academics to creative heights — let’s walk in their shoes.

As Josiah Hester sits at his desk, he showcases his project for the “Place Value Pal Gallery Walk.” Hester highlights the number he chose: 24. Then he points out the construction paper balloons, the sticks that serve as their strings, and then makes special mention of the plastic plants in his project. The artificial foliage creates a platform for the balloons to pop out of a 3-D garden bed.

The second-grade student at Myers Elementary School, in the Rialto Unified School District, credits his mother for a big assist, helping him to complete his project.

“She helped me make this,” he replied. “Mostly she got the plants. They are from mommy’s bathroom.”

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photo RUSD: Myers Elementary School Principal Alberto Camarena (far right) speaks with second-grade students Matthew Olvera (far left) and Joeriel Stanley (center) about their Place Value Pal projects, which combines their artistic skills with mathematics.

Hester is one of three classroom students who participated in the Place Value Pal Gallery Walk. All second-grade students at Myers Elementary School recently participated in the Place Value Pal assignment. Students chose a two or three-digit number. Then they had to represent the number in four forms — written, expanded, hundreds/tens/ones, and model. According to Myers teachers, students were given art supplies to creatively depict the number forms.

Myers Elementary second-grade teachers Jessie Landeros, Thanhtrang Nguyen and Kathleen Schilreff conceived of the project as a creative way to get students to engage with math fluency, show off their artistic skills and create something that represented themselves.

“Our teachers took a risk,” Myers Elementary School Principal Alberto Camarena explained. “They didn’t know what they were going to get back and what they got back was really amazing.”

Camerena added that the lesson is to “be creative, have fun and take risks; that’s what education is about.”

From the beginning of the project, the students’ creativity bloomed. They created works of art ranging from a Boba drink, monsters, trains, butterflies, the solar system and more in order to depict their numbers in different forms.

One design had a striking similarity to Schilreff, complete with a chalkboard to display the numbers and a “Ms. S” nametag. 

“You never know when you assign a project like that how it’s going to come in or if students are really going to want to go after it, but they did,” Schilreff smiled. “I’m just so impressed with it.”

District officials, including RUSD Superintendent Cuauhtémoc Avila, also visited the classrooms, enthusiastically, and enjoyed speaking with some of the students who enjoyed showing them their work.

The three classes also presented the projects to each other’s class, with a “gallery walk,” taking a tour to see their classmates’ works.

“It was so much fun to walk around the different second-grade classrooms and see everyone’s work,” Landeros said. “This is something I know the students are going to remember for a very long time. They came in today and it was phenomenal. It was over the top. They did such a great job. I’m so proud of my students and all the second graders here, at Myers Elementary.” 

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