Villa Montessori Elementary School, Phoenix, Arizona
Ms. Willa's Super Students
& Part-Time Wombats

Phoenix, Arizona

Billie Jo Harned is the class wombat wrangler, part-time veterinarian, and teacher's aide. Billie Jo writes:

Ms. Willa's class at Villa Montessori in Phoenix, (yes, that is Ms. Willa at Villa!) is a blended 4th, 5th and 6th grade Montessori class.

As an art project, we decided to explore tessellations. After all, pattern is all around us, we wanted to explore it as an art form.

We requested and received permission to use your instructions for the "paper cut" and "slide" method of drawing tessellations. Like all aspiring artists, some students found one method easier to understand than the other, but we tried them both.

Click on any Polaroid™ to see the complete tessellation it represents.

In our exploration, we looked at historic patterns, we talked about Pompeii, Egypt, and eastern countries. Our wombattiest students merely growled and tried to bite our historians' ankles. A couple of the students tried the "ogee". Some preferred the "ogosh", and at least one has a real flair for using the "Ohdagnabbit".

While Mrs. Floogletinker, the school nurse and part-time cassowary, was patching up the historians' ankles, we tunneled to freedom and went on to explore the work of Kolomon Moser and MC Escher, and how they changed the way we look as tessellations and patterns. I must say we also looked at your art, Webmaster Sethness.

(Editor's note: That was after receiving proper wombat rabies vaccinations and strong blindfolds.) website was opened and the students were encouraged to spend time browsing through the artwork.

(Editor's note: This sort of tragedy is easily preventable by asking your school's I.T. manager to block access to Alternatively, you could hide all the school computers in a disused closet with the sign "beware of leopard" pinned to its door.)

Then... on to our own project! Eight of the students have finished their work, other students are working out kinks or are waiting in quarantine until their wombat vaccinations kick in.

Now that we are done with the project, I'm pleased to say the students are constantly pointing out patterns, and telling us whether they're tessellations or just repetitive patterns. Why, just yesterday, they correctly identified the pattern of Vice Principal Tinkenfloofer's hair transplant as a repetitive doll's hair and sea urchin spines. The identification was correct, although the teacher deducted several points for overkill because the students printed out billboard-sized blowups and full color brochures of V. P. Tinkenfloofer's hair transplants.

Vice Principal Tinkenfloofer is still in hiding.

With the exception of the vice principal and school nurse, we had fun and would like to thank you for letting us use your instructions. Also, we wanted to send you some of our finished work in the hopes that our school can be posted on your website. The school nurse is demanding wombat pay.

If you

  • want to show off your or your students' tessellations in the guest artist gallery on, or
  • know how to cure wombat rabies, or
  • know how to calculate wombat pay and veterinarians' retirement benefits,

please contact's webmaster or The Greater Phoenix Task Force for Wombat-Rabies-Free Schools

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