Elizabeth Rosendahl

One of our favorite things about our teachers at Rochester Public Schools (RPS) is their passion for the growth and well-being of our students. From kindergarten through 5th grade, our students are challenged to develop academically, socially, and emotionally. Elementary art teacher Elizabeth Rosendahl strives to do this each day through art.

Elizabeth R art in classroomElizabeth has been with RPS since the start of the 2020-21 school year and is currently the art teacher at Folwell, Hoover, and Washington Elementary Schools. She loves connecting with students more deeply and helping them connect with themselves artistically. Elizabeth will tell you that her favorite part of her job is decorating her schools from top to bottom with student artwork and leading many school-wide art projects, which many feel creates a great community-building feeling. The students also get very excited about seeing their art on the walls in the halls.

Elizabeth R art in classroomWhat's unique about Elizabeth's teaching style is that she incorporates self-reflection and writing into her art projects. Because she acknowledges that art is subjective to each person creating and viewing it, she makes it a common practice to have each student in class evaluate their and their peers' artwork with a tool called a “Level Slip” that she developed for them to rank detail from levels one to four, four being the most detailed. This tool helps students see how perspectives can be different from one another because while they may think their project is on a level one in detail, another student may think it's a level four, or vice versa. It also allows students to collaborate, hear others' perspectives, and see where they can improve or try something new.

Level slipElizabeth wants her students to understand that they can continuously improve their work. Whenever a student comes to her expressing that they are not good at art and how it makes them sad, she shows them her old sketchbooks from when she was their age and compares them to the art she creates now to show them that we all start from somewhere. If they keep trying, they can get better at it, too.

Elizabeth Rosendahl sketchbooksAnother part of her self-reflection process is to have students write artist statements about what they like about what they've created and their thought process for their piece. This helps students learn to appreciate their art. Plus, they’re nice to have for safekeeping. Students can look back in the future and see their progress in their thinking and artwork.

Elizabeth Rosendahl art reflectionElizabeth’s art projects for students incorporate a range of subjects, including science, English, and social-emotional learning, as well as different art styles such as comic strips, pop art, realism, clay, and abstract art. Along with doing the actual art projects, Elizabeth teaches her students to preserve and protect their artwork. 

Mat art“One of the moments that defines my purpose as an art teacher was actually outside of working hours,” Elizabeth explained. “A parent had emailed me and told me how their child did not really care for art until he had me as a teacher. Now, he draws every day after work. Reading that touched my heart because that is what I strive to do: to have students feel positively impacted by art the way I was at their age. It’s things like that that make me want to keep teaching.