Birch Creek teacher Natalie Nish is named the UAEA Elementary Art Teacher of the Year

Natalie Nish teaches her art class
Congratulations to Birch Creek Elementary School's Natalie Nish, who was recently named the Utah Art Education Association's Elementary Art Educator of the Year! According to the UAEA, this award is given each year to one elementary classroom teacher or specialist that "stands out above and beyond all their peers at the local and state levels of participation, education, and advocacy."
We stopped in Nish's art room yesterday to snap a few pictures and found a group of First Grade students hard at work making monoprints. After a brief introduction to printmaking, Nish demonstrated to students how to do the project, which entailed painting on the back of a cookie sheet, creating a design in the paint with a Q-tip, and then pressing a folded card over the paint to make the print. The most fun part was watching students' faces as they peeled the card off and flipped it over to reveal their masterpieces.
A male First Grade student paints    A female First Grade student paints     Natalie Nish with a female student
"The fine arts give students a way to express themselves and to explore new mediums," Nish explained. "I personally try to expose them to as many mediums as I possibly can in all the 1st-6th grade years they come to me. I especially love to expose them to the messy stuff, because a lot of students don't get that opportunity at home." She continued, "My favorite part about teaching is seeing the excitement in the students' eyes when they realize they actually get to create that awesome project. Or when they are struggling and don't give up—when they keep trying and end up creating something special with their own hands. I hope that I can instill a love of the arts and that they can pursue it further after they leave elementary school."