Cynthia McPhetres

News from Cynthia McPhetres


I have a degree in Studio Art from UVM with an English minor.  I have attended Breadloaf Writers Conference on the basis of my poetry writing and I also attended a year at Law School long ago.

I liked to travel. I lived 18 years on Martha’s Vineyard, and I lived in  Key West, as well. My daughter was born on Martha’s Vineyard.  As Vermont is a wonderful place to bring up a child, and I have a lot of relatives, I returned.  I went back to school to get my teacher’s certificate, and started teaching Art!I taught Art for a year at South Royalton, then was hired at Rochester. I moved to Rochester a year later as I love the school and wanted my daughter here!She was a  a great softball pitcher and won the state championship her senior year.

The first major Art project will be for the Tunbridge World’s Fair!  We will all work on a collaborative project for that, involving weaving fabric strips through garden mesh.

Library Keyboarding classes in the Elementary will be shared between myself and Jeanette Bair.  We are so glad to have her back on board!

The HS Library is all changed.  The books are now all in the Information Center, that used to be the computer lab.  Since all students 4-12 will have their own laptops, we have no use for a lab. Kelly Foy donated beautiful shelves from her former bookstore, which now house most of our books.  With help from Keith Bush and Alex Munyon over the summer, the fictionand biography bookcases were painted. I painted the makerspace cases.

The former library is now the Learning Commons! It is a beautiful bright, spacious area with a “green screen” and a Makerspace! A makerspace is a DIY area filled with tools and supplies. Any donations of Legos and any other building sets  would be appreciated!

We would also appreciate donations  of sofas, and comfy chairs in very good, sturdy condition to enhance our Commons.

There is also an Online Learning Room where students who take courses online can go to work.That too needs comfortable furniture.

An exciting new year is ahead of us in Art and reading and making!

The class of 2021 finished the large mural outside of Mrs. Carroll’s room. Mrs. Carroll  asked the class for a mural reflecting the subjects she teaches- Spanish and FCS. The students came up with the idea of a Mexican market, in the style of Diego Rivera!
Beautifully done with warm colors that we need to see in the winter, the mural is a great success! This undertaking was huge for the small class, but they persevered!
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The Artroom and Makerspace and both libraries were very busy this week!

The BIG project was a group, K-6 school, project for the Tunbridge Worlds Fair!! We did a giant weaving 7′ x4′. Using a garden fence donated by Liz Steventon, and tons of cloth donated over the years, cut into strips, Rochester students wove an abstract of VT greens and blues, with fall colors interspersed. It is not quite done but just about. I will deliver the weaving Wednesday evening to the Tunbridge Fair.
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The Elementary Library is becoming very busy with listening to stories, learning about the illustrator, the publisher, and the author. There are  many facts one can find in the first pages of a book.

The MS library is hosting keyboarding lessons, as well as work on spelling and vocabulary. Grade 6 just started reading ” The Seeds of Change” . There will be many makerspace projects built around this book!
In Art News, it is rumored that the K-6 giant weaving has a blue ribbon on it at the Tunbridge Fair!! Blue ribbon pics coming soon, hopefully!!!
Eighth grade is completing their profile self portraits with personal symbols of the past, present, and future. K-4 is working on self portraits. They will be in the hallway of the Elementary.
Cynthia McPhetres, Art Teacher and Librarian



Week ending 9/22/16
Rochester Elementary Library~
The Elementary Library classes are exploring the Dewey Decimal System! Every week we will look at books in each 100 category . That plus returning books, taking out new books, and listening to a story keeps class BUSY!
Rochester Art
The Rochester Elementary Art project for the Tunbridge World’s Fair DID win a blue ribbon for first place in School Group Art!!! However, we ALSO won in the Best In Show category- winning an Honorable Mention in that category!!! We got a large rainbow ribbon for that!
The weaving is now in the Learning Commons adding brightness and warmth to the area. Go Rocket Artists!
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There was lots of Art to display this week as projects students have been working on have been completed!

There was incentive to hang Art too, as Fall Celebration Day was happening Friday.
First, 8th grade finished their Self-Portraits with personal symbols that were of the Past, the Present, and the Future.
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Kindergarten has finished their self- portraits, that are remarkable!

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STEAM class completed artwork created to show how the Indians in the Bahamas felt when Columbus arrived.

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STEAM class also made “Stained Glass”  by dying flat pasta that they had “chipped” with alcohol and liquid watercolors. After drying, they arranged the shapes and colors on 1 piece of clear contact paper , then carefully put another piece on top. They taped both pieces together making a frame. Then they used Sharpie to create the black around the shapes. In a window, the light glows through the pasta!

All in all, it was a great Art week!
Ms McPhetres
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We had a very exciting week in STEAM class. After reading “The Seeds Of Change” about 5 changes that came about after Columbus discovered the Americas, each student chose a “seed ” and started a big creative project illustrating it. They are using each component of STEAM- Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Projects range from a corn mill to a Paper mache horse. Stay tuned to see the variety of projects coming to fruition.





December in the Art room.

The holidays are a VERY busy time in the Art Room!

LONG before Thanksgiving we started on ceramic ornaments and hopefully another ceramic piece. The Art classes this year, for the first time, are only once a week for Elementary. So it is hard to lose a day to a snow day, or drumming, or concerts. It impacts the lessons planned so gifts can be done before vacation. This year possibly only an ornament will be finished in time. Students LOVE working in clay! It is also such a surprise and so rewarding to see how the dull glazes,  after firing turn into glassy, glossy, brilliant colors!
STEAM classes are working on chalices that were used during the time of Columbus, keeping with the overall focus of the class which is the changes that came about with the discovery of the New World.
Even though there are no High School Art classes offered this year, there are four Seniors coming in after school, or during Planning time doing senior projects or Independent Study. One is doing a Mural on Louis XlV in the hall near the Art room, one is doing Chainsaw Art, one Photography, and one is doing a trilogy of Altered Books! There are also lots of students coming to the Art Room to work in Art projects for other classes, or just to do Art! Especially on Friday afternoons. Lots of great art being created!
STEAM class also decorated the auditorium foyer for the Holiday concert! They moved the tree from the Commons to the foyer, which was a feat of engineering as the tree stand was rather full of water. Going through 2 doorways shorter than the tree, was interesting, but managed! The tree looks great decorated with ES ornaments of clay and paper!

Included are some photos!

Ms McPhetres
STEAM class practicing engineering!
Decorated tree!
Glazed and in the kiln for the second firing!
Items fired once and ready to be glazed.

Elementary Library is busy working in their research skills. After having gone through the Dewey Decimal system for the first half of the year, learning where different subject books are, now we are working on alphabetical order and how to find books.

Various games and handouts are assisting even the youngest to learn how the alphabet can help in finding a book.

In the photos here, first grade is putting various combinations of letters in alphabetical order as practice.

Ms Bair is doing very well after getting her second hip replaced. Everyone is glad she is back!




Feb. 17, 2017

Elementary classes are working on a contest entry about their favorite tree. They are writing a story and illustrating a poster about it. It is for the VT State Forstry Dept. We had 2 winners last year, and one the year. Edited! The winners go on the UVM TV show” Across the Fence”.

Middle school Keyboarding classes are improving every day! Fun online programs and games make this a good time.

Elementary Library classes have been exploring the Gale data base. They have also worked on how to search for books.

STEAM class is working on Altered books. Using old books that were headed to the dump, each student chose a book with good bindings and paper . They will alter the subject matter for a few pages, but will also alter it to be a subject they are j terested in. The first assignment was tracing their hand inside the front cover, and drawing patterns on the hand. They also had to put their name in by using the tape transfer method. By putting magazine letters under packing tape, they soak and roll off the paper thereby transferring the ink only into the tape. The tape is still sticky and can be taped down.

STEAM will learn all sorts of ways in altering their book to make it theirs.

MS Art class is working on their own version of a Blue Dog statement painting.

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Grades 1-6 have entered into the VT State dept of Forestry Growing Workd of Art contest! This is the third year of this particular contest and we are hoping for another win! Rochester won the first year with third grader Maggie Klingensmith. Last year we won with eighth grader Tessa Stewart AND second grade Virginia Mongeur! The winner gets to go on the Across The Fence TV show on WCAX-TV. There is a poster to be drawn and a story to be written this year about ” My Favorite Tree”.

Here are some of the  entries this year.
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