I was once asked to help out my kid’s class of first graders in making a mural about their ‘trout project,’ which involved raising trout and then releasing them in a reservoir. Along the way, they learned the trout’s life cycle and other wondrous things about aquatic life.

I put a long sheet of paper and a bunch of boxes of new, fat, first-grader crayons outside the classroom. I had drawn an outline, kind of like a giant coloring book, of various things like water and trout and other critters and plants. Kids came out in groups of three or four to help make it fabulous, whatever way they wanted, and then sign their name as one of the artists.

Fabulous Trout Mural, detail. The alevin at lower left is “stilish” with its long lashes.

One kid took all of the crayons in the box in their fist, and made big multicolored circles.

Another kid took each crayon out of the box one by one, made a single line, and put the crayon back in the box.

Some kids added fish or whales or bugs.

Some colored huge areas of the water.

Some decorated and bedazzled everything.

More Fabulous Trout Mural. I think that green fellow is an alligator. Not sure who that is sneaking up on the bear.

Kids making art figure out infinite ways to barf out their thoughts and ideas, and if they so choose, to show that to someone else. But mainly it’s a conversation with themselves, who they are, what they have to say in the world. It is so good.

We put the explosion up on the wall for open house. It looked like a beautiful galaxy.

The whole glorious thing. I think the Eagle might be pooping.