Soddy-Daisy Middle School students and teachers, with the help of artist Rick Jacobs, will erect a totem pole on school grounds this fall semester for art students to design and paint.
SDMS art teacher Lachone Narrimore and school librarian/instructional coach Karen Smith took a trip through a Fund for Teachers Grant to the Pacific Northwest to learn about the history and environments of Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, Canada. They were in awe of the history of the First Nation in Vancouver, where Native Americans erected totem poles.
"Each animal on a totem pole represents different beliefs," said Smith, adding that many gardens in Vancouver still showcase totem poles today. "We will let the students decide which [totem pole] animals represent the school best. We will have a museum exhibit in the library with miniature totem poles too."
Smith said students will compare the Cherokee Native American history of this area to the First Nation history of Vancouver. She said all Native Americans typically settled in areas near a body of water. She and Narrimore returned with a suitcase full of teaching tools to use in the school library for exhibits. The pair took lots of photos of Cannon Beach in Oregon, where they viewed hundreds of starfish clinging to Haystack Rock.
"To me the most amazing part of the trip was the tide pools with orange, purple, red and blue starfish on Haystack Rock," said Narrimore. "The rocks on the beach are huge. Some have trees growing out of them."
While there, they prepared fresh salmon at EVOO Cannon Beach Cooking School and later visited Tillamook Cheese Factory.
Stopping in the forests in Oregon, the pair took in the beautiful vegetative moss clinging to the trees towering above.
"You go from the city to a lush forest with coniferous trees to the beach. It was just amazing," said Narrimore. "It's like stepping into the movie 'Twilight.'"
In the outdoors, they also trekked through the International Rose Test Garden, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls in Oregon, a totem pole park inside Stanley Park and Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada. Indoors they went to Powell City of Books, a museum titled Experience Music Project, University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver and the King Tut exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.
"We thought that a lot of our kids may never get to go there [the Pacific Northwest]," said Smith, who is preparing videos and slide shows for students. "So we want to bring back the experience, make it real to them and show them what it's like."
Smith said a unique adventure on the trip was a whale watching experience where they tried to take photos of whales jumping.
"We saw harbor seals, eagles and whales that day," said Narrimore. "It was amazing to see."
Narrimore and Smith also enjoyed walking through Pike's Place Market in Seattle where people throw fish and sell arrangements of freshly cut flowers and fresh seafood. The pair also viewed Seattle's Hiram M. Chittenden Locks as salmon swam up fish ladders.
"Fund for Teachers wants you to experience and feel a revival of education to share the experience with others," said Narrimore. "It spoke well of our school that three Soddy-Daisy Middle School teachers got the grant. [Band teacher Anthony Henderson traveled to Europe.] You learn so much every time you go somewhere."