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TR Explores 'What's Behind the Mask'

With face coverings hiding a portion of our facial expressions, second-grade students at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School embraced a new way to convey their feelings — through art. In a project called “What’s Behind the Mask,” art teacher Ms. Meredith Brustman asked students to draw their emotions in a fun and creative way.


First, they folded a piece of paper lengthwise. In the folded section, students drew and colored a picture of themselves with a face covering. Then they unfolded the paper and created a picture of themselves without a face covering, surrounded by words that describe how they feel.


“The idea is to provide an outlet for students to convey their facial expressions that are now hidden by a protective face covering,” Ms. Brustman explained.  “We talked about when you are behind a face covering you don’t know if someone is happy or sad or surprised because it covers all of your emotions. When you open it, you see what they are really expressing.  Students, both in-person and those learning remotely, really enjoyed the process of this project and having a creative way to show their peers their emotions.”


I feel “beautiful, loving and kind,” read one. I am “fun, smart, silly, caring and happy,” read another. Some had toothy smiles, others showed big, red lips. One thing they all had in common, their artists were extremely proud to share their creations.


Ms. Brustman said the idea came from a Facebook post that was shared with her by Fine and Performing Arts Supervisor Mr. Anthony Femino.


“The project was so well received by viewers, it inspired me to be a part of it,” she said.


The projects will be featured in the Theodore Roosevelt art exhibit in the spring, which may be virtual due to the health situation.