The Beauty of Creation: Decorative Paper and Handmade Books

Decorative paper making and handmade book students have been working with handmade paper, paste paper, and marbling paper materials this week.  While these photos make the work look like it’s a little messy, these students had a lot of fun!

pulp placed over screen

To make the handmade paper, students pour the pulp over a screen and blot dry.


red pulp getting screened

There are many techniques available to make paste paper. Each sheet is unique!

color grabs paper after floating in colors

Marbling is all about floating colors. Students drop in the color and add paper.


wire pattern laid over purple color on paper

Each sheet created by the students is a one-of-a-kind!

It’s always a fun surprise!

This guest blog was submitted by Katrina Martin. Katrina has been teaching at College for Kids for ten years.


Mythology is Everywhere

Take a glimpse into one of the 2018 College for Kids courses: Mythology

greek family tree

Students in College For Kids Mythology are studying different cultural mythology family trees

Mythology continues to be around us in everyday life. Myths are part of literature curriculum at school and part of many history lessons. Even though these are stories from thousands of years ago and across cultures, many students are very fascinated with mythology today.  

Students have spent time discussing mythological references – names, symbols and logos. Think of big companies – Amazon, Nike, Pandora, Saturn, Trident, and Venus. For logos and symbols consider the Midas Muffler’s gold painted muffler, FTD flowers logo of a man with a winged cap and sandals, and the medical profession’s symbol of a wand with two snakes twined around.

student drafting text

Today students are studying different cultural mythology family trees, ranging from Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, and Celtic. Working individually or as a team, they are recreating the mythological family tree from their culture complete with symbols to represent the gods and goddesses. When they finish their family trees, students will compare and contrast the different cultures to see what things are valued and important across the world.


Students will be using mythology family trees to compare and contrast different cultures and learn more about which things are valued and important across the world.

Guest blog by Erin Hoffman. Erin has been an instructor with College for Kids since 2008 and is a gifted and talented educator at College Community Schools. She loves mythology and enjoys exploring myths with the students each summer!

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Welcome to the families and students participating in Grant Wood Area Education Agency’s  31st year of  College for Kids!

For more than three decades, high-achieving middle school students have had the opportunity to engage in a college-like experience during their summer vacations. Instead of spending the months of June and July at amusement parks and playgrounds, many local middle schoolers have chosen to explore their academic interests by taking courses in S.T.E.M, fine arts, history, language, communication, and more.

Follow along through this blog and watch as talented instructors deliver college experiences to local middle school students this summer as more than 1,000 students from East Central Iowa. And welcome! We’re glad you’re here!

31st Annual College for Kids

College for Kids: Photo Walk

On a daily basis, Cedar Rapids is bursting with color… especially during the summer time! But when was the last time you’ve visualized present day Cedar Rapids in black and white?

Last Friday, students in the College for Kids’ Photography class ventured around Downtown Cedar Rapids to snap gallery-worthy images of the community using Black and White Film Photography. By capturing photographs of historical landmarks and local businesses, students were able to practice their photography skills and visualization techniques. Students ended their photo walk at the Cedar Rapids Fire Department’s Central Fire Station and photographed firetrucks and equipment.

Below are some images of students during their photo walk around Downtown Cedar Rapids!


College for Kids: Earthworm Dissection

On the outside, worms seem like boring creatures considering their lack of eyes, arms, and legs. On the inside however, lays a complex anatomy that functions the everyday life of a worm.

Today, students in the Dissection class explored the insides of earthworms and learned about their organs, systems, and the functions of each. Worms won’t be the only specimens examined in College for Kids’ Dissection; In the next two weeks, students will have their hands inside the bodies of bullfrogs, fetal pigs, and perches too!

Take a look at today’s dissection activity as students analyzed the internal body structures of earthworms.

College for Kids is Back!

Welcome back to College for Kids 2017!

Today marks the first day of the July Session of Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids. The June Session was filled with amazing projects like the K’nex built theme park and interesting courses taught by outstanding long-time instructors.

This session will consist of even more fascinating activities – especially in the July exclusive courses like Ancient China, Exploring Biotechnology, World Religions, and Kinesiology. Follow the educational journey of these new and returning middle schoolers as they make unforgettable memories learning at Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids!


Congrats College for Kids Grads!

How often do you hear about 600 middle schoolers graduating from college?

Yesterday, parents and families gathered with students at the June Showcase of Learning – College for Kids’ version of a mini graduation! Students shared the neat projects and performances they have been working on for the past two weeks, and some parents even got to help them finish with the final touches. In the end, families celebrated with their College for Kids Grad at the graduation photo booth. Check out these students on their last day of College for Kids!

Coming Soon: College for Kids Theme Park

What would College for Kids students imagine if they had the chance to engineer their own amusement park?

Carousels, roller coasters, and ferris wheels built by College for Kid’s very own engineering students! Students in the Engineering Structures with K’Nex class constructed their own mini models of thrill rides by combining the K’Nex toy system with their creativity. Take a look at their work in progress as students experienced the excitement of designing the ultimate amusement park.


A Day at College for Kids

What does a typical summer day look like for middle schoolers on a college campus?

Well, at Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids, students have their hands and minds engaged in a variety of interesting activities all over the Coe College campus! Whether it’s by throwing spears with atlatls in the Archaeology of Iowa, weaving colorful fabrics in Be Weave it, or practicing their new verbs in Spanish, College for Kids always keep these students learning in an engaging environment. Check out a typical day at College for Kids… and get a glimpse of the college experience brought to these students this summer.


College for Kids: Arts Hall of Fame

Did you know Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids program has been around for three decades? That’s right! Since 1987, College for Kids has been a popular summer alternative for gifted middle schoolers in the area. Known for its wide range of fascinating courses, College for Kids has filled students’ summers with life-long learning and memories that wouldn’t typically be offered in middle school general education.

Of course, behind every College for Kids course is a talented instructor with extensive knowledge and experience in a unique subject. For example, many of the fine arts courses in College for Kids’ Art Program are led by many artistic professionals. Some of these instructors have even taught at the program for over 20 years! Check out some of these amazing instructors at College for Kids who have shared their artistry and expertise with students for many years:


Kim OMeara

Kim OMeara is an art educator with an interest in fine arts. She has experience with painting, drawing, sculpting, and even jewelry making. For about 15 years, Kim has enjoyed sharing her artistry with talented art students at College for Kids. “College for kids is a great extension for me to enjoy art,” she says. “My Students really inspire me as well, they’re a great dose of energy.”

Kim currently teaches Watercolor Painting, and has also taught Pastel Chalk and Charcoal in previous years. Kim was also an art educator for the Cedar Rapids Public Schools for 36 years, until she retired five years ago. She now teaches art part-time in California to 2nd and 3rd graders, and returns every summer to Iowa to continue instructing with College for Kids. Such dedication!


Jeanne Dudley


Basket weaving professional Jeanne Dudley has been an instructor at College for Kids for 20 years, since 1997. She says “College for Kids is a wonderful program for students to learn new skills in the summer from experienced and passionate teachers.” Consider Jeanne’s Basket Case course as an example; She teaches students the essential techniques to basket weaving so that they too can become skilled basket weavers. Some students have enjoyed creating large beautiful baskets with Jeanne so much, they even have taken Basket Case three years in a row. Their homes must definitely be filled with extraordinary basket pieces!


Richard Butschi 


Richard Butschi has been an instructor of Arts for 23 years at College for Kids. Throughout his years in art education, Richard has taught a variety of courses that focused on charcoal drawings, watercolor painting, photography, cartooning, finger drawing, and self-portraits. One of his first courses was Charcoal, Chalk, and O’Keeffe – based on the american artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

His current course, The Portrait in Pencil, emphasizes the importance of “seeing” before actually drawing. “It’s called Portrait in Pencil but it teaches students how to see,” he says. “It’s like a singer – you have to hear yourself in order to become a good singer.” Richard believes this is an important step to self-portraits because it helps students become better observers before they draw the world around them.

One of Richard’s previous students actually won first place in the Chalk The Walk festival at Mount Vernon for her recreation of the Afghan Girl portrait. “She was up against adults, professionals, semi-professionals… and she won,” he says. “She says she owes it all to me, but it actually comes from the individual. I just lit the fire.” Richard says his student has since then returned to the program as an aid and occasionally speaks to his students about her experience with College for Kids.


Jim Jacobmeyer

Meet Jim Jacobmeyer, College for Kid’s instructor of Altered Books and Claymation. Jim has been teaching with the program since it began 30 years ago!  He has taught a variety of arts courses throughout his years with College for Kids and enjoys challenging students academically and creatively. After receiving a degree in Art Education with a focus on filmmaking, Jim became interested in the animation process. Through his Claymation course, Jim shares his expertise in animation by integrating 3 dimensional objects with film.