Weden was nominated by Outlook Elementary Principal Maria Hernandez, who says Weden always does her best to engage children in all creative projects.
Weden's work in Language Arts and Art centers around teaching students difficult words and concepts through the integration of art, history, mathematics, and science. For example, in explaining the concept of value which is the lightness and darkness of colors and tones to Saul Marquez's fourth-grade class, she showed the portrait work of Leonardo daVinci including the Mona Lisa and demonstrated shading with pencils to create a shadow effect. Students then spent the class period working on self-portraits while listening to music created during daVinci's time. Students used mathematics to determine the correct placement of facial features such as the nose which falls at the center of the head.
"Allowing students to see the concept and create it for themselves helps them remember the vocabulary," says Weden. "Learning new language can cause anxiety because students are afraid of being wrong or unsuccessful. Using art is a way to do it in a fun, non-stressful environment because there is no right or wrong with art."