The Slot Shelters Project and the Seeking Shelter Design Challenge were conceived and designed by Corinne O. Takara. Early drafts of the Explore workshops lesson plans were edited with the assistance of Pantea Karimi. This project began in the 2011-2012 academic year without funding. Takara received funding from Zero 1 and Target for the project to expand in the 2012-2013 academic year.

If you are interested in joining the project, please fill out the form on the “Updates” page. Or email Thank you!

Participating Teachers and Organizations from 2012-2013 school year:

Ms. Lois Girbino, Art 3rd-5th Grade, 220 students participating. Leighton Elementary School, Aurora, Ohio.

Ms. Anna Kogan,Art & Photography, 7th Grade, Hillview Middle School, Menlo Park, California. (Ms. Takara conducted the cardboard prototyping workshop with Ms. Kogan)

Marilyn Silva, 5th Grade class (ESL students and recent immigrant students), Campbell Middle School, Campbell, CA. (Ms. Takara will be conducting the workshop series with Ms. Silva) cardboard prototypes and SketchUp models.

Renaissance Academy, 100 6th graders, San Jose, California. (Ms. Takara is conducting the workshop series) radial patterns, cardboard prototypes and SketchUp models.

Martin Luther King Jr. Library, San Jose, California. Design Thinking/Envision a Better Bus Shelter Model Making Workshop in teen room on October 19th, 2012 at 4:00pm. (Ms.Takara conducted this teen workshop)

Alum Rock Library, San Jose, California. Community Pattern Design on October 4th, 2012 at 3:00pm. (Ms. Takara conducted this youth workshop)

Mary Cantwell, Design Thinking Coordinator for kindergarten through 6th grade, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Cantwell will be engaging First graders in the cardboard prototyping bus stop shelters exercise. i.Design Lab work with the Seeking Shelter Design Challenge.

Bios for participating school site teachers 2012-2013 School Year:

Anna Kogan

Anna Kogan has been an art educator for 13 years, teaching students from 1st grade through 9th grade.  She currently teaches art and photography at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park.  She believes that all students are artists and can use art as a form of expression and a way to build confidence.  She tries to create a collaborative environment in her classroom and designs projects that match her adolescent students’ interests.  Anna’s own art has evolved as she has moved across the country from New Jersey, New York, Washington, DC, Chicago and finally to the Bay area.  She began as a printmaker, concentrating in silkscreens, then a photographer focusing on black and white urban landscapes, and finally as a painter of California scenes.  She is thrilled to have her 7th grade students participate in the Seeking Shelter project.

Lois Schroeder-Girbino

Lois Schroeder-Girbino: I am an art teacher in Aurora, Ohio, an exhibiting artist, and also teach graduate art seminars for a local college. Prior to becoming an art teacher (which I have been doing for over ten years), I was a commercial artist for fourteen years, specializing in surface design with clients in the U.S.A., Canada, and Europe. I have a BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art, an MA in Ed from Ursuline College, where I received the Helen R. Dineen Scholarship. Most recently, I completed my Lead Professional Educator license with 12 post grad credit hours in Curriculum & Supervision, from Kent State (this is the highest licensure level in my state). I am the advisor and originator of our school’s Art Club and Newspaper Club, am webmaster for my school art webpage, maintain a digital gallery on Artsonia, and am the chair for the k-12 Art Dept., and the Specials Dept. For the past four years, my art club students have participated in “Rotoball”, an international, collaborative animation project, and several of my students’ art pieces have been displayed at NAEA conferences, including a fifth grade piece in 2012 shown on Big Screen Plaza in NYC.

       I am a member of The Ohio Watercolor Society, NAEA, OAEA, Art Ed 2.0, and Creative Artists’ Association. Currently, I am facilitating a “365 Challenge” on Art Ed 2.0, where you make a piece of art every day (topic of your choosing) for one year. I am documenting my creative challenge on one of my blogs, More Art 24/7:

       I believe that by modeling the creative thinking I am trying to foster in my students, I am being a better teacher and artist. One of my greatest joys is helping students realize their full potential as original thinkers. By working with my fellow staff members, many of my projects are fully integrated with their curriculum, and I truly believe that the days of academic silos are over, making art education more important than ever! In addition to Slot Shelters and Rotoball, my students will be designing characters for our programming club (“Scratch”), learning Photoshop and Illustrator techniques, participating in a national project called “My-Thology”, sculpting with clay, printing, painting, and cartooning. My “design heroes” are my own children and Steve Jobs.


Participating Teachers and Organizations from 2011-2012 school year:

Cobey Doi: 4th grade teacher, Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea, Hawaii                                                                                                                                                Donna Pence: arts educator, 4/5 grade class at Beacon Heights Elementary, Salt Lake City, Utah                                                                                                                     Andrea Withers: 4th grade class, International School of Azerbaijan, Baku, Azerbaijan                                                                                                                                     Arlene U. Illa and Kelsey Rothrock: 5th grade teaching team at Cureton Elementary in Alum Rock, San Jose, CA. (Ms. Takara conducted the workshop series).                         Harry Blaker, Jeanifer Tsukamoto, Amy Vidunas and Kelli Lueder: 5th grade teaching team at Steven’s Creek Elementary, Cupertino, CA (Ms. Takara conducted the workshops series)                                                                                                      Beatrice A. Butler, Orca K-8 Seattle Public Schools, Seattle, WA                                       Jesus Guerra, Renaissance Academy, Alum Rock, San Jose, CA (Ms. Takara conducted the workshop series)                                                                                                                         Heather Herbay, Streams Elementary School, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                                                                                                                       The 2012 Steinbeck Festival, Visual Rhythms: Community Patterns Workshop explored the radial pattern design component of the workshop series, Alisal Salinas, CA.

Bios for participating school site teachers 2011-2012 School Year:

Andrea Withers

Andrea Withers, the International School of Azerbaijan

My professional repertoire includes thirteen years of teaching experience ranging from first through fifth grades to adult immigrants and refugees.  I have had the opportunity to teach in Southeast Asia, Central America, North America, Africa, and the Middle East.

The International School of Azerbaijan (TISA), where I am currently teaching, is an International Baccalaureate school, which facilitates integration of all subjects as a natural part of the learning experience in the Primary Years Program.  As such, our first unit in Grade 4 was within the transdisciplinary theme of How We Express Ourselves, with a focus on outdoor public spaces in Baku as the means through which we facilitated this learning.  The slot card project enabled the students to critically analyze outdoor spaces in Baku, focus on aspects of forms important to Azeri culture, reflect upon the function of the structures in our capital city, and consider the perspectives and needs of others who visit those structures.  Students were able to communicate their opinions both verbally and in writing, show their understanding of the concepts and objectives via artistic expression, and develop their own action projects around the idea of evaluating public spaces.

Donna Pence

Donna Pence, Beacon Heights Elementary, Salt Lake City, Utah

My name is Donna Pence and I am the art specialist at Beacon Heights Elementary in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am interested in participating in the Slot Shelter project with our two fourth grade classes at Beacon with the intent of integrating Art and Geology. We would like to reference our amazing Utah geological formations in the design of our cards so that we might eventually display them at either our State Capitol Building, the New Natural History Museum, or the Utah Valley University new Science Building.

For nearly all my life I’ve described our world in the medium of stained glass. I approach it as a medium or a prism for life as well as for light. I began working with glass in 1977 and I immersed myself in the stained glass foil technique, and soon began teaching classes for Westminster, the University of Utah, and some smaller institutions. I opened a glass studio and became a working artist through commissions, teaching opportunities, festivals and shows. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Utah in 1984. The techniques that I learned in 2006 in Ravenna Italy mosaic and glass painting workshops on portraiture have been the focus of my recent work with “glass on glass” mosaics.

I currently teach 7th and 8th grade Art Foundations, High school Art Foundations, Digital Photography with Photoshop, 3D Design, and AP Studio Art-2D Design at Beehive. I am currently in the graduate program at Utah State University, and will have an MED in the summer of 2011. I am a member of The NAEA and The Glass Arts Guild. I am always seeking opportunities to learn more about art and teaching.

Beatrice Butler

Beatrice A. Butler, Orca K-8 Seattle Public Schools

I am a recent graduate of the University of Washington Danforth Leadership in Education, Principal Certification program; I hold a Master’s Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College where I also received my Teaching Certification.  I have a B.A. Degree in Graphic Design from Central Washington University.

My favorite hobby is Art. I have been in education for 11years, mostly teaching in urban elementary schools. I am a 4th and 5th grade teacher. I am always looking for positive ways to integrate the arts into my everyday curriculum.  I am interested in participating in the Slot Shelters project because I believe that the arts are cognitive tools for academic development. This project I feel will enhance our Social Studies curriculum and make a lasting and meaningful impression on the students.


Corinne Okada Takara

Corinne O. Takara is an exhibiting artist and arts educator based in Cupertino, California. She creates mixed media narratives exploring intersections of cultures. Her large sculptures composed of ethnic food wrappers, wire, and silk grace numerous hospitals such as Boston Children’s Hospital, John Muir Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente in California. A graduate of Stanford University’s Design Program, Takara has been recognized as the recipient of the 2010 KCI Rambus Innovation Award for her collaborative youth art projects exploring culture and community. Most recently, she was honored as one of 102 national innovative educators for the You Are Here Street Banner Project in the Microsoft 2011 Innovative Education Forum.

Takara has explored digital pattern design and textile databases in a de Young Museum artist residency, Rhythms in Space (2008-2009), and in the collaborative art experiments fusionwearsv and TECHstyleSoftWEAR: Surface and Shape(2010). Much of Takara’s work examines patterns in the seemingly mundane artifacts of daily life and how these merge to reflect shifting visual vocabularies of rapidly changing communities.  She had taught art in numerous schools (elementary, high school and university level classes) in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as, has worked with many museum education departments. In March of 2011, Takara was an invited speaker at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in the Architecture Department and assisted in the workshops series Urban Tools.

Pantea Karimi is an exhibiting artist and arts educator based in San Jose, California. Karimi has been teaching art and design courses and writing lesson plans for both youths and adults for the past eighteen years. She taught private art classes and worked for several graphic companies in Iran, and while residing in England, 2001-2005, she taught fine arts and computer graphics programs to Hastings’ youth community for Education Action Zone (EAZ), a K-12 educational innovation and technology information based organization. In America, she taught visual arts courses at San Jose State University as both Teaching Associate and Teaching Assistant between 2007 and 2010. In spring 2011 she was the Leading Teaching Artist at Nimitz Elementary School for a collaborative installation project, We Are Socially Networked, installed at the Euphrat Museum in Cupertino, CA. Presently, she teaches printmaking and visual arts classes at the TechShop in San Jose, at the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) in Mountain View, and for the Euphrat Museum at De Anza College in Cupertino, California.

Karimi earned her MFA in printmaking and painting from San Jose State University in 2009. She also holds a Diploma in printmaking from Hastings College of Arts and Technology in England and an MFA in graphic design from Art University in Tehran, Iran. Karimi’s work is informed by how contemporary social and political issues are captured and delivered to the world through text and image. Her prints and paintings have been exhibited in various venues in Iran, England, and America and her fine art and graphic works have been featured in several publications in Iran, Italy, England and America including Los Angeles Times in October 2009. She is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Artist Award in Cupertino, and the 2011 1st ACT Silicon Valley’s Multicultural Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) award in San Jose. She is represented by Togonon Gallery in San Francisco, California.


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