PARKDALE — Last Thursday, Feb. 9, was a very exciting day in Luis Ziegner’s classroom.
The fourth graders at Parkdale Elementary were embarking on a project that has been in Ziegner’s teaching repertoire for 15 years: Tin punched art. Students use (small) hammers and nails to punch a pattern into recycled tin plates, the kind that are used by newspaper printing presses.
“The people at Hood River News were always very kind and donated the tin plates every year right before Christmas,” he said. “This became a tradition in my class every Christmastime.”
This year, he received the plates courtesy of Columbia Gorge News in time for Valentine’s Day.
Ziegner got the idea when his children were in Nancy Waller’s Mid Valley Elementary classroom, and brought it to Westside Elementary, where he taught for 10 years. When he moved Parkdale — where he has also taught for 10 years — the project came with him.
“My students were very proud of their amazing art, and they would wrap it and give it to their parents as their Christmas gift,” he said. “Many parents had told me how much they loved it and still keep it in a special place in their homes.”
He said last year, his wife, Lisa Ziegner, a fifth grade teacher at Mid Valley, needed ideas for a holiday art project, and she loved the tin project idea. “Luckily, I had enough materials for her to use. Her kids loved this project!”
Ziegner is always on the lookout for new patters for his students to use as templates, he said — whether that’s animals or hearts and flowers. Some of his students like to hunt, and this year’s deer pattern was chosen by several. Also popular with students were birds and hearts.
As for his students, they clearly enjoyed the project — and showing each other the progress they were making.