Jessica and I are both Momprenuers that juggle both the lifestyles of stay-at-home moms and working moms. My art and design business, Kidspired Creations, went on an exciting and unexpected journey this summer that has, to say the least, made it especially hard to find time to blog (my deepest apologies). But let me tell you a little bit about what has been going on and about how we have been giving back to an amazing organization called St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – perhaps you’ve heard of it?
This is Bennett. His story has touched thousands of lives and counting! In December 2013, the Coleman family began an unexpected journey as Bennett, just 17 months old at the time, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He was admitted to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for treatment where he and his family spent the last few months of his life here on earth. On april 28, 2014, the cancer died and Bennett began his new life, healed, happy and free of pain in heaven. The staff, nurses, doctors, patients and families at St. Jude are incredible and held the hands of the Coleman family all the way…
Being close friends with the Colemans, my business partner, Brooke, and I shared updates about Bennett with our kids. They learned all about St. Jude, cancer research and treatment, and the wonderful care that the organization provides families free of charge!
Brooke’s son Cooper, age 4, decided that he wanted to raise money for Baby Bennett. He said, “I love God. I love to paint. And I love Bennett.” He asked his mom to help him sell some paintings so he could donate the money to St. Jude. Brooke started a Facebook page, Cooper Paints, to document Cooper’s donation efforts and art endeavors…
…and this got Brooke and I thinking… thinking about how much our kids enjoy painting… and how beautiful each creation is… and how more kids would probably like to do what Cooper is doing… and who can resist a beautiful piece of artwork made with love from a child?
Photo Credit: Kelsey Ann Photography
And thus, Blue Balloon was born – named for the blue balloons that family, friends and prayer warriors have released to celebrate Bennett’s life. Here, child artists can donate paintings to sell and the proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Bennett Coleman.
Cooper and his friends have created true KIDspired art! Each 8″x10″ piece was hand-painted with love and is available for purchase HERE for $15.
This summer, Blue Balloon has been blessed by our community here in Lafayette, Louisiana. We were given space to host a Paint and Donate station at the Mommy & Me Expo in June where nearly 60 kids donated their time and talents to make and sell artwork for St. Jude!
We then were invited to sell those paintings at Applause for a Cause, a play, also benefiting St. Jude, and the organizers of the Baby & Kidz Expo donated booth space for us to sell paintings at their super successful event as well.
Our wonderful donors, volunteers, artists and vendor events!
Many businesses around the area donated materials and services for Blue Balloon to participate in these events! Many thanks to Office Depot and Lowe’s of New Iberia and Michael’s Arts and Crafts and Super-1 Foods of Lafayette for donating art and cleanup supplies. Also, to Kidz 337 Magazine for donating ad and article space and Kelsey Ann Photography for providing professional promotional pictures!
We surpassed our goal!
With the help of these businesses and events, our high school volunteers, child artists ages 1 to 16 years old, and including the auctioned artwork that raised $200 at Bennett’s Bash in Lafayette, Blue Balloon has raised over $1300 for St. Jude! More than $300 over our original goal!
So, now we have a new goal!
We are hoping to raise $1500 by August 15, 2014! For just $15 you can purchase a painting and help us meet our new goal! Your entire $15 will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help toward research, treatment and care for patients and families as they battle this horrible disease. St. Jude operates solely on donations and at no cost to the families so they can focus 100% on their loved ones.
To read all about Bennett and the Coleman family, you can follow them on Facebook and #pray4babybennett. If you would like to make a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, please visit http://www.stjude.org.
HEAD’S UP, MOMMY TEACHERS! This Sunday is Grandparents Day! My kids love their grandparents so much and wanted to make them a special gift for their big day!
My 4-month old niece, Marley Kate, recently sent me a cute letter and it inspired our Grandparents Day gifts.
Since our printer is broken, I decided to hand paint ours, and leave a spot open for my niece, Abby, to stamp her foot, too. This one below is on its way to Oklahoma right now.
Then I thought it would be a great idea to make a few hand print art templates for you to purchase and download so your children can make beautiful art for their grandparents too!
In addition to a “You Are My Sunshine” template for your baby/toddler’s footprints, I have also made a “You Are o-FISH-ally My Favorite” template for a sideways hand print and an “Owl Always Love You” template for a palm hand print and thumbprints for wings.
These templates are available to download this week for just $1 for all 3! Enjoy!
Casey and I were pumped up about The Mommy Teacher being nominated as a Top 25 Teacher Mom Blog. We would love if all Mommy Teachers would VOTE every 24 hours ! It takes TWO clicks…. you don’t have to sign up. Just CLICK the link and ClICK “VOTE” under The Mommy Teacher! Thanks for the support!
Hi, Mommy Teachers! It’s Casey, stopping by from Kidspired Creations! I am Mommy to James (5) who just started Kindergarten, Leyson (3) and Lena (6 months). I currently stay at home with the younger two but I taught Pre-K and Kindergarten before my Mommy days.
Leyson and I were playing (learning) today and were toying around with different Busy Bag Exchange ideas. We will be participating in a Busy Bag Exchange soon where all the moms participating bring gallon baggies filled with simple, hand-made activities for each of the kids who will be there. If 15 moms participate, your child has 15 new Busy Bags full of super fun (and educational) activities!
Leyson and I came up with 3 different ideas today and I thought they would all be fun to share with you Mommy Teachers!
We used word strips (found at the Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1 per package) to glue colored squares in AB, ABB and ABC patterns. I cut additional colored squares for Leyson to COPY the patterns on the strips by placing each of the colored squares below the square on the strip. This will get him used to making patterns. Saying the color out loud reinforces the pattern so he can also HEAR the pattern (helpful for an auditory learner – someone who learns better when hearing information).
After he was able to copy the pattern, I then taught him how to EXTEND the pattern. At the end of the strip, he must finish the pattern by placing the appropriate colored squares that would come NEXT in the pattern.
The next step is to create his own patterns without looking at the strip. From there you can create more complex patterns! The options are endless! Patterns are difficult to understand, so it might take a little time for your little one to be able to catch on.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?:
Kids are so funny when it comes to learning how to spell their own names. Most often kids learn how to spell their names before they completely understand the concept that letters make words when put together. Take my son Leyson, for example; anytime he sees a word that starts with an L, he says it spells Leyson. He thinks he owns the letter L. The same goes for the letters E, Y, S, O and N… he owns them all. You see, for young toddlers, they will not understand that the ORDER of letters actually makes a difference when spelling words.
Even in my kindergarten classroom, students who knew how to spell their names would sometimes slip into the idea of “owning” all the letters in their name and would write their names out of order. LUIS would spell his name UILS… still thinking that it spelled the same thing. Even more common would be for kids to write their names backwards (SIUL)… and several, get this, would write their names in mirror image! I can’t even do that! All of these are totally normal progressions when your child is learning how to spell his/her name, so here is an easy activity to help:
You need two word cards (or index cards). Write your child’s name evenly and legibly on each card. Leave the first card whole, and cut out each individual letter on the second card. First, have your child put each cut out letter on top of the letters on his/her name card, matching letter for letter. Then, have your child put his/her name together underneath the name card. Last, take away the name card and have your child put together the letters to spell his/her name from memory. Be sure to say the letters out loud in order so your child can hear how to spell his/her name in addition to seeing it. Jessica had a great post on singing a catchy song to learn how to spell a name.
This game was Leyson’s idea. He picked up a circle I cut out and pretended to eat it, saying it was a hamburger bun. Bam! Instant Busy Bag idea!
I used construction paper to cut out a top and bottom bun, hamburger, tomato, cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, and bacon and we made a hamburger! Not only is this a great pretend-play activity, but it was a great way to encourage language development and sequencing. I had Leyson explain to me exactly how we should make a hamburger. I encouraged him to use words such as “first,” “next,” “then,” and “last” in his explanation. You can also add an extra element by writing numbers on each of the pieces to teach your child number order (1: the bottom bun, 2: the hamburger, 3: cheese, etc.). For the beginning reader? Write the words “bun,” “pickle,” etc. on each of the pieces and then enjoy your nice, tasty treat!
I am still brainstorming different Busy Bag ideas! If you have a good one, please comment below and share! Hopefully after the Busy Bag Exchange I will have another post for you, so stay tuned!!!
Casey Dellinger Hilty
“One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.”
Teach For America
LA Corps 2005
Great learning opportunities do not have to be completely planned out nor do they necessarily have to require much time at all. They do not have to come at a certain time of the day and do not always have to be over-the-moon exciting. Great learning opportunities DO need to have a goal in mind and this one, in particular, needs to be routine.
I give you the every-time-we-leave-the-house-4-second-learning-opportunity…
My kindergartner came home with his first day of homework. He had to trace the word RED three times, color the picture red, and do a word search where he had to find the word 4 times. After, I asked him how to spell RED without looking at his paper… r-e-d. Perfect.
The next day he came home with his homework for the color BLUE. After completing the same tasks as he did with the color red, I asked him to spell BLUE, but he couldn’t remember.
Then I remembered a teaching trick I used to get something to stick in my Pre-K and Kindergartners’ heads: repetition. How can I guarantee that I remember to enforce this repetition? Through practiced routine. And what better routine is there in a classroom than how to enter and exit the classroom? It is, in fact, the most rehearsed and the most repetitive… going in and out and in and out all day long.
I always had a sight word of the week (Kinder) or letter/number of the week (Pre-K) posted on the door frame and any time a student entered or exited the classroom they first had to hit the door frame and say (and spell) the word/letter.
For your beginning reader…
“B-l-u-e! Blue Blue Blue!”
or for your 1-3 year old…
“Big A, little a, /a/ /a/ /a/!”
You can even have just a colored piece of paper and use this repetition to teach colors. Or math facts…
“2 x 3 = 6!”
Or Bible verses! Or pictures of animals for toddlers! The learning opportunities are endless! Keep your one word/letter/color/number on the door for the entire week and any time you and your child leave, make sure to hit it on the way out! Be careful, though, it’s super easy to just remember the SOUND of this repetitive activity without looking at the actual word/letter, so make sure your child is also LOOKING at the card on the door frame to also remember its visual representation as well.
What other things can you teach using this 4 second activity?