Krout Elementary School's playground is being taken over by creatures.
A lizard, cowboy, giraffe, rocket ship and more have taken up residence on the playground's blacktop.
Alicia Miller, a senior at Columbian High School, has spent time over two months creating eight paintings on the playground. Each features multiples of a number - including multiples of two and going up to multiples of nine - and the images are intended to help children practice counting.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Alicia Miller, a senior at Columbian High School, works on a painting at Krout Elementary School Friday afternoon.
Principal Rebecca Osborne said officials wanted to improve students' math-fact mastery, such as multiplication and division.
Teachers are encouraged to take their classes out to the paintings, split up the students, have them go from shape to shape and have them say the numbers as they step on them. The exercise is teaching students about multiples, she said.
Osborne described Miller as a sweet girl who started the project in the heat of August when school was starting.
"(She is a) very artistic young lady, talented," she said.
The school's parent-teacher organization paid for the paint, and the labor was paid for out of Krout's student fund.
Osborne said she thinks it has been fun for children to see what new things have been added. She said she thinks all of the paintings are cute and wonderful.
Miller said the project has been going well. She said she was nervous when she started it because of the size of the canvas.
She did research, talked with some paint employees at a hardware store and decided to put traffic paint down as an undercoat, which she said worked well. She sketched each image in chalk, put down the undercoat and then used outdoor paint. The chalk is to wash away when it rains.
Miller said it takes her about six or seven hours to create each image and has taken 50 to 60 hours overall.
It has been enjoyable to do the project, she said.
"This is so much fun," she said.
Miller has taken courses in drawing, painting, advanced art, senior portfolio and independent study. She likely will have an art minor, is going to take art classes in college and is considering a career as a math or Spanish teacher.
Miller said she started to get serious about art during her sophomore year when she took an advanced art class. She said she loves trying new techniques and styles.