Teacher Spotlight: Fran Mason - Ivywood

Teacher Spotlight: Fran Mason

Fran Mason is our art teacher and comes with a wealth of experience. Read her interview below to learn more about her journey and love for the visual arts. 

Where were you born and raised?

I was raised in Lambertville, Michigan, but lived all over the country as an adult— seven states to be exact!  As a youngster, my sister and I played school all the time. I would create lessons and “teach” her. I even used a red pen to correct papers.

Where did you attend college? 

I studied Art Education and Sculpture for my undergraduate degree, which I received from Colorado State University.  I earned my M.A. in Art Education and Painting/Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design (called RISD >> “riz-dee”) in Providence, R.I.  

This is my 22nd year of teaching and during that time I’ve taught PreK through college graduate students. Even after all this time in the classroom, I honestly and truly still LOVE teaching the visual arts!

What is your favorite classical book and why?

“Charlotte’s Web!”  As a matter of fact, I have the original copy from when I was in school.  The pages are yellowed and dog-eared from use.  

“Charlotte’s Web” transported me: I felt like I was part of the family and that Fern was my friend and we both loved Wilbur.  The book became part of me.  It inspired a magical sense of WONDER that I still have today.

What do you do outside of the classroom? What are your hobbies?  

In addition to being a teacher, I am also an illustrator. I create pen, ink and watercolor greeting cards as well as wall art for children (www.franmasonillustration.com).

I continue to be an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction.  I consume about a book a week and think the library is one of the most amazing places on earth!  I’d rather read than do just about anything! 

How would a student best describe you? 

Firm, but fun! 

What techniques do you use that students really gravitate toward? 

Formative assessment is part of every phase of my instruction.  I want to know if kids are getting it or if they need additional support. 

I endeavor to really see kids, to know them and understand their successes and struggles.  I spend a good amount of time at the beginning of the year building relationships with the kiddos which pays off big time for the rest of the year!  There are fewer behavior problems and I see higher quality work, which also builds intrinsic motivation over time. It’s a win-win!