Visual arts

I once read a quote “Everyone is a genius at something” which is the closest description I can find to my philosophy of teaching art at Dixie Canyon. Our students continue to amaze me with what they can do, they just need a chance to try out as many creative outlets as they can. Drawing, painting, printmaking, weaving, ceramics, fashion design, architecture drawing… all are covered in our school’s art curriculum.

Over the years I have built a collection of projects that overlap other areas of study as often as possible. For instance, when 3rd graders are working with a Friendship theme in Open Court, I show them how to make friendship bracelets, which links back to the weaving lesson recommended by the CA Visual Art Standards. This year the first graders will make ceramic pinch pots with faces, which will turn into small planters as they study a unit about plants. Fourth graders studying missions learn about architecture drawing. This list grows every year as I find more ways to link subjects together, in my continual quest for “the perfect art project”.

For those of you that are interested, my background includes a B.F.A from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, followed by almost 20 years of working in graphic design. In my “spare time”, I also create stuffed animal patterns which can be seen at and blog about art projects at But by day, I have the best job in the world, teaching art to kids at Dixie Canyon Community Charter!

Kathy Barbro, Visual Arts Professional Expert 

Performing Arts

What is new with Drama Sue during school?

“A CLASS ACT” – Exploring Theatre – Art in Action

“A CLASS ACT” is an opportunity for ALL children to:
Explore their imagination
Increase concentration
Improve listening skills
Build self-esteem
Gain confidence
Express and Control Emotions

“A CLASS ACT” is a Theatre Arts program offered to kinder through 5th grade.

Students attend a weekly program designed to ensure that they reach the proficient level of achievement in each of the five strands of the content standards: artistic perception, creative expression,
historical and cultural context, aesthetic valuing; and connections, relationships and applications.

“A CLASS ACT” introduces students to the basic Art of Theatre.

Young actors are lead from skill to skill, first learning the basics of acting, then participating in a variety of theatre activities designed to reinforce these skills, and increase their reading, oral language and comprehension capabilities.
This building-block method takes children, step by step, from the basics of acting to the more complex and difficult techniques used in the theatre. In this way, students will gain self-confidence and an appreciation for one of the most demanding of the fine arts.

For after school programs Drama Sue click here.

“Drama Sue” Robinson


The Vocal Music Program for Dixie Canyon involves students in meaningful, enriching and fun activities based on California State Music Standards and the LAUSD Music Instructional Guide.

During weekly 30 minute sessions students explore their singing voice and how to use it expressively, reading and writing musical notation, movement and dance, and using classroom instruments to create rhythmic accompaniments. Songs, singing games and listening lessons are chosen from folk songs of many cultures and other music in a variety of styles and musical genres. Other areas of the school curriculum such as math, language arts, and social studies are enhanced and enriched by concepts taught and materials used in the music lessons. Classroom teachers are encouraged to learn the songs, dances and activities along with the students and practice them on days without the music teacher, as time allows.

In addition, upper grade students sing together in their grade-level to prepare songs for presentation at the Winter Concert and Culmination. In these large groups, students learn more about healthy singing and learn to sing in two-part harmony. A select auditioned chorus of 4th and 5th graders also meets during lunch once each week to prepare music at a higher level and to present their own performances.

We are excited about the great work that the students accomplish and hope to add more classes in the near future to provide music to a broader base of students. Because music learning is sequential, the years of training add up and children really reap the benefits of having consistent music lessons year after year. Music learning also provides a much-needed break from the regular routine for the students and classroom teachers. Dixie is such a creative school with extremely talented children, and music can provide an outlet for them and a different experience than they have in their regular classroom.