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Stuffed Monster Exchange brings joy to Monroe Elementary students

Art teachers Megan Anderson, left, and Kelly Tannian, right, flank Monroe Elementary School second-graders who are excited about their stuffed monsters.

Students in Monroe Elementary School art teacher Megan Anderson’s second grade class made clay monsters and drew their characters, and the drawings served as blueprints for stuffed animals made by Jockey Hollow STEM Academy seventh graders.

Art teacher Kelly Tannian’s class used material to make patterns for the drawings, stitched it together and added stuffing.

“I gave them a lesson in making patterns and sewing basics,” Tannian said Friday. “It’s a textile lesson.”

Tannian and Anderson decided to have their students team up for a Stuffed Monster Exchange project. On Friday, each one of the second graders who participated received a stuffed animal of their drawing.

While her students made the stuffed animals, Tannian said she made sure they brought their keen eye for details, while keeping in mind that second graders were relying on them.

“They were excited for the challenge,” she said. “One student has a younger brother in the second grade, so she included a note to him.”

Her letter said:

A Monroe Elementary School second grader reads a letter from his sister, a STEM Academy seventh grader who turned his drawing into a stuffed animal.

Mikey,

It was so much fun creating this masterpiece that you created! Hope you love it!

Love,

Camille

Anderson recalled teaching her second grade students during the project.

“I said, ‘just imagine sending someone your picture and saying, here, make this,'” Anderson said. “They have been so excited about this.”

On Friday, the children in Anderson’s class sat on a carpet, eager to hear Tannian call them up to get their stuffed monster.

The children sat wide-eyed with broad smiles, while admiring their monster and showing it off to their friends.

The art teachers recorded the event and took pictures, and sent a thank you video to the older students in Tannian’s class.

Mike Crowley, director of instruction for Monroe Public Schools, watched the children receive their stuffed animals.

“This real world connection is huge,” he said. “It was a real world task in the art world with problem solving and creativity — all those competencies.”

“Mrs. Anderson is always reinforcing with every child that they are all artists,” Monroe Elementary School Principal Kelly Svendsen said. “We also teach that hard work leads to success.”

“I am so happy that in this case, all students got to see their artwork come to life, and I’m thrilled that the seventh graders were able to use their skill set to make it happen,” she added.

Tannian shared photos of the project and Friday’s exchange. Here are the images in two photo galleries:

STEM Academy students at work

MES photos from Friday:

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