BEST Funds Art at Spofford

In April of 2014, Ms. Ashmore-Davis (the Art teacher at Spofford Pond Elementary School) received an iPad cart, with funds provided by BEST from the Harriet Ernst Endowment fund. Students went to work right away with the iPads, using them for their art projects.

Here are descriptions of some of the art projects that are happening right now in Art class.

Grade 5: Grade 5 students used the Brushes app on their iPads to create digital version of their still-life  tonal collages.  Each image was created by using 5 different layers, separating each color onto a separate layer, and combining them to make the resulting image.  Students then had the opportunity to share their digital image and show how the image was created. You can see some examples of this work in the photos above.

Grade 3: Grade 3 students are working on a unit exploring Prehistoric Cave Art.  They watched a short video on the Apple TV that described the story of an 8 year old girl who actually discovered the cave paintings in Altamira, Spain. Students are now working on tutorials on the iPads that teach them how to draw cave-style animals step by step.  They will eventually be transferring these drawings to their own ‘cave walls’ using earth tone chalks.

Does your company give?

You may not realize it, but BEST raises funds every year by writing grants. We have written grants to several foundations who have, over the years, kindly made donations to BEST. Last year, we raised over $6,000 by writing grants.

This is where YOU might come in: the company you work for may have a grant program. Many of these companies will only accept grant applications from their current employees. If you could take five minutes of your time to contact your HR department and see if there’s anything available, you may be able to help BEST raise funds for our schools! If you find something promising, contact BEST at and we’ll work with you to get the grant written.

Fall Grant Deadline is almost here!

The Fall, 2014 grant deadline for BEST has almost arrived. Teachers need to complete their Grant Application by October 8 and submit them to the principal, who will review and approve them. The grants will be reviewed by the BEST Grant Committee, and then the board will vote on the grants.

This is the most exciting time to be working with BEST: we get to see all the wonderful ideas our teachers have. We also do diligently review the grants to choose those that we think have the best chance of success.

Of course the work doesn’t end there – we keep raising funds so that we can continue to support these and future grants.

BEST Funds Art at Cole

In the fall of 2012, Ms. Dalton (Art teacher at Cole school) approached BEST with a grant for a few iPads that she could use in small workgroups, during the children’s WIN block. That program was so successful, that she returned a year later and asked us to fund a full one-to-one iPad cart for her classes, so that all students in a class could use the iPads as part of their art class. In April of 2014, we were pleased to be able to provide Ms. Dalton with her iPad cart.

Some of the artwork made by the students is shown below. Ms. Dalton writes:

This gallery is a sampling of the digital iPad painting K-2 students have made this year. Each painting in inspired by the traditional media project we created in art class. These are original paintings using a new media.

We asked Ms. Dalton “How has this changed or enhanced the learning of art concept and techniques in the art room?”

Thanks to BEST the art room at Cole School is full of creative opportunities for growth in new media art. Students are using the iPads funded by this grant to expand prior knowledge of a subject taught during art class. For example, the first graders are just finishing up a mix-media project called “Giant Leaves”. As an extension of this mixed media paint project students have the opportunity to create the same project on an iPad. In order to achieve the effect of digital splatter painting, paint scrapping and chalk pastel smudging, higher order thinking skills will be used.   Through experimentation students will determine how to use opacity, layering, and erasing to create the desired effect.

Then we asked “How has this improved art instruction and children’s knowledge and skill in art?”

This grant has improved art instruction and children’s knowledge and skill in art because the process of digital art creation captures the students’ creations stoke by stroke and allows students to view and self-assess their work by pressing the play feature of their painting. This enables the students to “interpret intent and meaning in their artwork” Responding Anchor Standard of the new Nation Core Arts Visual Art Anchor Standard/Responding.

This pilot project was so successful that it has been reproduced in the Art room at the Spofford Pond elementary school, as well.

Get your weather from Spofford Pond School

In 2009, BEST funded a Weatherbug Tracking Station for the Spofford Pond elementary school. This weather station is on the roof of the school. You can check on the weather at Spofford via WeatherBug any day.


The Weatherbug Tracking Station technology tracks 27 different weather related variables in order to record data in real-time from the Spofford Pond School rooftop. The Weatherbug Schools Network consists of schools across the country. Schools share data collected with identical tools to compare and contrast data from different regions. WBZ-TV is a part of the network and will use data collected by the Boxford School in their weather report from time to time.