Henrico’s Top Teachers – Anne-Marie Slinkman
Greenwood E.S., art
The art bug bit Anne-Marie Slinkman early in life, but she didn't consider herself an artist until she reached high school. By the time she entered VCU as an aspiring designer, she had found satisfaction in her ability to express her thoughts in a unique way.
But ultimately, that satisfaction with her own artistic path wasn't lasting. So she turned to teaching as a way to help others discover the wonders of art.
Now in her seventh year as the art teacher at Greenwood Elementary School (following two in Chesterfield County and four at Highland Springs Elementary), Slinkman has found her personal happy zone.
"I just have the most special job in the world," she said. "I never wake up and say, 'I don't want to go to work.' It never gets boring – it's always exciting."
Slinkman works with each class once a week – an average of more than 100 students every day. This year, for the first time, she spends all of her time at Greenwood instead of splitting time at other elementary schools.
She particularly enjoys working with students not just for one year but for many.
"It's probably one of my favorite things, working with all different ages," she said. "I get to see them when they're little and watch them grow.
"Most kids love art – younger children in kindergarten to second grade especially. But as they get older, kids start telling themselves that they're not good at it. That is one of my biggest challenges. Everybody has the ability to create art. Helping them find that joy in making something from nothing, which is really what art is, is what I enjoy."
That philosophy played out in a meaningful way at Greenwood, where Slinkman was struck several years ago by the fact that the windows in her art classroom looked out into the school's courtyard – full of potential, yet empty.
So she wrote a grant proposal to Richmond-based Partners in the Arts, which provides funding for projects that connect core learning with the arts. It was accepted and used to hire a professional artist to paint a student-designed mural of various native Virginia animal habitats. It also helped fund an outdoor learning garden, which initially took shape with the help of students and PTA members.
"The whole school participated in this project so all were impacted, as will be any future students whose teachers utilize the outdoor learning space," a nominator wrote of Slinkman's efforts.
Slinkman tailors many of her lessons and projects to the various disciplines that students are learning in their core subjects so that art can assist with the learning process.
"I really feel that art is one of the few places where a child can find their own unique voice, work through problems, persevere and find solutions that work for them," Slinkman said. "There are certain things in life that we can't express in any other way other than artistically."
The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.
The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)
The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.
The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.
The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.
Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.
Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise
Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.
They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.
As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.
Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.
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