Local artist brings hands-on learning to Nampa middle school

NAMPA – With charcoal and paper as their tools, seventh graders at Park Ridge Middle School were creating their own moving worlds Thursday, with the help of a local artist. 

One enthusiastic seventh grader sketched out a scene with Iron Man as its focal point. 

“See – he’s gonna fly away and fly across the forest,” the student said. 

The artistic creations were part of a stop animation workshop led by local Boise artist Luma Jasmin. Originally from Iraq, Jasim resettled in Idaho in 2008 through the Idaho Office for Refugees.

Boise artist Luma Jasim is teaching a series of stop animation workshops at Nampa’s Park Ridge Middle School.

The workshop series Jasim is offering at the school is funded by a Building Bridges grant received from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. According to the foundation’s website, the program “supports … projects that engage U.S.-based Muslims and their neighbors in online and/or live arts-and media-based experiences designed to advance relationships and understanding for mutual well-being.”

The animation projects, Jasim said, allow students to develop storytelling skills and communicate their thoughts and ideas in their own personal way.

“Since I was a kid and later through life, I had no doubt that the effect of art from an early age can stay with us forever if we get to be exposed to it as early as possible, especially if it’s introduced in an exciting way and by making them feel that they can do it,” Jasim said.

 Jasim believes that kids tend to have a stronger imagination than adults, so introducing different art mediums in the classroom opens up the possibilities for this imagination.

“I feel like the teamwork is so beautiful,” Jasim said. 

Students prepare their stop motion sketch during a workshop at Park Ridge Middle School.

Stop motion uses repetitive photographic frames to produce a continuous motion on the screen. Using charcoal and paper, Garrett’s students drew a small change in their scenes, took a photograph, and repeated the process over and over to produce short videos with music.

The technique is used in classic movies – think “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Clash of the Titans”, “Gumby”, or Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Teacher Ryan Garrett, who was leading the workshop with Jasim, said the way students demonstrate high-quality work in his classroom can come in many different forms.

“Luma being able to come in here to give the kids an opportunity to learn this different way of expressing their work will enable them to, if they choose, have another means in which to communicate the knowledge that they have during school,” Garrett said.

During Jasim’s workshop, students were engaged in the process and asking meaningful questions. 

A seventh grade student works her her stop motion project.

“It is very relevant information in the world we live in today,” Rick Jordan, the school’s principal said. “And most of us learn better when we can ‘do’ rather than just ‘sit and get.’”

A K-7 school of choice in Nampa, Park Ridge relies on working with its community for authentic, hands-on learning. And teachers are continually seeking out ways to expand elective course options. 

“We love having the community bring its knowledge to our students and staff,” Jordan said. “I know that our students have really enjoyed this in the past.” 


Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

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