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Nordale Elementary School students celebrate seasons with mosaic project

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Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 12:09 am | Updated: 1:53 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The season of breakup is more beautiful than most imagine at Nordale Elementary School.

Nordale’s version of the season includes tiny bits of glass and glue arranged into a pattern of the sun shining down on a happy-looking house and a boy riding his scooter.

Students at Nordale are creating masterpieces with bits of glass tile. Artist in Residence Sara Tabbert is teaching students how to make mosaic murals for the school.

“We’re doing the four seasons,” Tabbert explained Monday. In January, kindergarten through sixth-grade students completed three 3-foot-by-5-foot murals — one of fall, one of winter and one with both seasons. This month, students are working on three more murals in the same pattern but using spring and summer.

“I had everybody do a couple drawings,” Tabbert said. “I took them home, and I got really sad I could only use a couple of them.”

Tabbert projected a few of the pictures on to the larger mosaic background and was able to capture the students’ drawings. At school, Tabbert has students fill in her outlines with glue and the colorful tiles.

Some fifth-grade students on Monday morning explained their favorite part of the project.

“I just like putting these down — it’s fun,” said Korie Edwards-Sanford as she stuck glass pieces in glue.

Jaeda Logan likes “that we don’t have to do math,” she said, to much agreement from her peers.

Lily Brechan, 11, explained why she enjoys spring as she worked on that season’s mural.

“I like it because you get to splash in puddles a lot,” she said.

The fifth-graders worked quietly and constructively, breaking bits of tile into smaller parts, sorting different colors and placing the bits on the mosaic. Eventually, when their time was up for the day, they gave a collective groan, reluctant to head to their next classes.

Sara Tabbert said the mosaic projects with children are rewarding.

“The project kind of generates its own excitement as it starts to come together,” Tabbert said.

She said the students really enjoy getting out of the classroom and playing with something so hands-on and tactile.

“To see the final result is always fun, too,” she said.

Nordale Elementary will host a student art show, where the completed mosaics will be unveiled, on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Contact staff writer Reba Lean at 459-7523.

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