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M is for Monster: A Journey from Kinder Creativity to Middle School Generosity

M is for Monster: A Journey from Kinder Creativity to Middle School Generosity

Story by: Melane Woodbury, AISD Communications

In a heartening collaboration that spanned across generations and classrooms, Slayter Creek Middle School's Makerspace classes teamed up with Bryant and Rosamond-Sherley kindergarten classes for a unique and imaginative project just two months ago. The project revolved around the letter "M," a pivotal point of learning for the kindergarteners, who embarked on a journey of creativity and expression.

This initiative began in September when the kindergarten classes dove into the world of the letter "M" through engaging read-aloud stories that supported social and emotional learning (SEL). Guided by their dedicated teachers, the young minds set out to design their very own monsters. Little did they know that these drawings would soon come to life as lovable stuffed animals, thanks to the skilled hands of the middle school students.

Mindy Powell, a kindergarten teacher, reminisced, "I get teary-eyed and chills thinking of how special and fun this project has been, especially since some of these kiddos now in middle school were once mine." The connection between past and present students added an extra layer of sentimental value to the project. 

The kindergarten students approached the task with enthusiasm, creating monsters that ranged from happy and silly to sad and excited. A total of 243 vibrant and imaginative monsters were carefully colored, named, and sent over to Slayter Creek Middle School, where Leslie Brazell and Michel Lain's Makerspace classes eagerly awaited the chance to bring them to life.

The middle school students, ranging from seventh to eighth grade, embarked on a journey of skill development as they delved into the world of machine-sewing. Learning techniques such as the straight stitch, curved stitch, and hand stitch, they also encountered the occasional frustration of ripping stitches and starting all over.

Leslie Brazell, the visionary Makerspace Teacher behind the entire project, expressed her delight at witnessing her students fully engaged in the process. "Students put more of themselves into this project than previous because they knew someone would receive it instead of another project to throw away," she shared.

This past week, the middle school students hand-delivered the stuffed monsters to their original kindergarten creators. The teachers and middle school students expressed the joy shown by the five and six-year-olds as they received their unique companions.

This collaborative venture showcased the creative side of the young minds and instilled a sense of accomplishment and generosity in the older students. Brazell said that her students realized the profound joy that comes from giving to others, turning this project into a valuable lesson in empathy and connection that transcended the typical classroom experience. The "M is for Monster" project stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and the enduring spirit of generosity that bridges the gap between different stages of education.