top of page

Students of Madison Elementary Connect with the Outdoors and Their Inner Poet

Madison Elementary School recently hosted two local artists--Mark Ragonese and Brieghan Gardner--for a school-wide integrated creative writing and visual arts learning experience. In keeping with the spirit of the school's annual theme of "Innovation," students worked outside with Mark Ragonese, crafting a series of outdoor structures, a gathering circle and community beads. Third and fifth grade students also worked with Mr. Gardner to create original, nature-inspired poetry. This multi-day residency came to a close with a Fall "Harvest Festival" where parents, students and community members alike came together to carve pumpkins, tell stories around a campfire, enjoy a live drum circle and celebrate the student's creative accomplishments.  


As a result of this experience:

  • Students experienced the power of "innovation," of collaborating to produce meaningful, creative work

  • Students created a sustainable outdoor space that can be used to gather and learn in for years to come

  • The PTO was inspired to schedule a music technology assembly program for the school, further connecting students with the spirit of innovation

  • Community partners are already planning next years Harvest Festival, with hopes of expansion


Project Coordinator: Cynthia Robinson, Art Teacher

Artists: Mark Ragonese and Brieghan Gardner

170 students, 24 teachers


This project was made possible through partial funding from an Artist Residency in Schools Grant (AIR) through the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts (NHSCA), and also through significant in-kind contributions from Arts Jubilee, Artsonia, and the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Additional partners in this project include The Madison Elementary Wellness Committee, The Madison Garden Club, The Madison Recreation Department and The Madison Mustang Academy.  

Poetry Samples:

"It's nice writing in a nice comforting round house, feeling like it is saying 'good job' as I write. Then looking up at the sky and it is looking down at us protecting us from the rain, and the trees touching the sky say can you let it rain, because I am thirsty."

~Poem By Zachary S.

"The forest surrounding me on three sides, only letting you out in one direction, letting out aromas of pine, maple, oak, standing tall, guarding the meadow, attacking things that destroy their specimen, fighting the sky to win the crown."

~Poem by Devin N.

"The wind moving like light, chilling things to the bone, making the frail stems of wintergreen sway. Blowing rugs gently like a baby, carrying the sweet aroma of wintergreen up to the clouds moving around the world. The wintergreen breaking, feeding baby birds, making their tiny tweeting stomachs fill up with smells and making them tweet. The rugs protecting us from the moss."

~Poem by Sam, Dedicated to Brieghan Gardner


bottom of page