VIDEO: Edison Elementary Fine Arts Wheel

Thomas Edison Elementary School | Funded Fall 2017

To fill the gap in arts education curriculum at their school, the Edison Elementary community came together to develop the Edison Fine Arts Wheel, which was launched in the 2017-18 school year for all students, TK-5. Planned in collaboration between Principal Laura Flosi, parent leader Brenda Etterbeek, Curriculum Specialist Gretchen Gray, and a team of parent and artist volunteers, the Wheel provided students with a series of 6, 8, or 10 week rotations focused on different arts disciplines. One of the rotations for 3rd-5th grade students was a Woodworking workshop, for which Edison sought funding support from Burbank Arts for All Foundation. With the granted funds, they were able to bring in a teaching artist to lead the popular Woodworking rotation.

“The Edison Fine Art Wheel has been an incredible collaboration with students, teachers, staff, principal and parent volunteers.  The students at Edison are being inspired in all areas of fine arts and finding passion for hands on learning.  Our goal is to empower all students to develop and achieve their creative and expressive potential, while motivating students to instill lifelong involvement and appreciation for the arts.  Our first year was a success and our we are excited for the future of arts education at Edison.”
-Brenda Etterbeek, Thomas Edison Elementary PTA Arts Chair & Parent Volunteer

Music courtesy of Emoto Music, Los Angeles.


The Fine Arts Wheel rotations were structured to enhance Common Core curriculum, with several of the rotations highlighting real-world applications of mathematical or scientific theories taught in the classroom. For example, one 5th grade class tied the mathematical concepts reinforced by the woodworking rotation to a portion of the standardized state tests through hands-on learning. In addition, a 4th grade class was able to tie what they learned in woodworking to their study of the novel City of Ember. The Wheel not only enhanced other curriculum, but also “awakened an increased level of enthusiasm and energized outlooks toward art and its increasing power to deepen student learning both academically and in character-based developments, such as ownership of and pride in work, motivation, collaboration, and engagement.”


“It’s been magical watching the Arts Wheel go from just conversation and dreams to seeing it in every classroom throughout the school year.  The way children shine when they find something new that they love or are great at is the reason we need to keep doing this.  It is inclusive of all children, English learners, GATE students, students with learning disabilities and even those shy or outgoing children.  Rotating through the wheel offers another dimension to our curriculum.  Can’t wait to see what next year will look like for Edison!!”
-Laura Flosi, Principal at Thomas Edison Elementary

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