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First-Graders Receive Pet Monsters Created by WMS Fiber Arts Students



Wydown Middle School Art Teacher Molly Lawless delivered the pet monsters her Fiber Arts students created for the first-graders at Mason Elementary School in Saint Louis Public Schools on Friday, Nov. 30. During a ceremony in the Mason Elementary gym, Mason Art Teacher Karen Norman read each of the 47 “monster bios” her students filled out when imagining what their pet monster would be like. The first-graders then guessed who wrote each bio before the monster was given to its joyful owner.

After the ceremony, the school’s principal asked the first-graders who was planning to sleep in bed with their monster that night, and all of the students screamed, “ME!”

Based on the success of the service learning collaboration between the art classes at Mason and Wydown, the two schools plan to continue the project again next year.


Wydown Middle School Fiber Arts students have been putting the skills they have learned this semester to good use through a “scary” service learning project with the first-graders at Mason Elementary School in the Saint Louis Public Schools. To kick off the project, the first-graders’ art teacher, Karen Norman, asked them to draw their vision for "my pet monster." Using these drawings as a prototype, the WMS students brought the monsters to life by creating stuffed animals.

“This is an amazing service learning project for my students and they are so excited to be a part of this,” said WMS Fiber Arts Teacher Molly Lawless.

Prior to beginning the project, Lawless talked with her students about service learning and the six pillars of character education. After learning more about the project and its likely impact on the Mason Elementary first-graders, the WMS students decided that this project represents the pillars of citizenship and caring.

With those character traits in mind, the Fiber Arts students got to work, conceptualizing and sewing a three-dimensional version of the stuffed animals that mirrored the concepts designed by the first-graders. After completing their projects, the WMS students wrote self-evaluations, reflecting on any challenges they faced and their feelings about creating a product they would give to someone else.

“The students were really eager to make the stuffed animals,” added Lawless. “They wish they could deliver them in person.”

Lawless will visit Mason Elementary on behalf of her students on Friday, Nov. 30, to deliver to pet monsters to their new first-grade owners.