homemade city

Downtown chillin’

Fave trio tbh.

A LAIDBACK GEAR FOR AUTUMN - model: Andreea Diaconu - photographer: Dan Martensen - fashion editor: Clare Richardson - hair: Tamara McNaughton - make-up: Chiho Omae - Telegraph Fashion September 2015 -

  • Holy Cow Ice Cream: 7270 South Broadway #1, Red Hook, New York 12571  845.758.5959  M-Su 11am - 10pm (approx. 100 miles north of NYC)

IM DONE WITH THE ADAM YOUNG FUNKO POP! The only I have left for it is to order a plastic box for it to go in so the card stock box I made doesn’t get ruined.

I’m giving this to Adam in less than 2 weeks and I’m so excited! I hope he loves it and the book I made too (with the help of other hoot owls :))

How My 4th Graders Raised More Than $1,100 For Foster Children

One of my personal teacher goals this year was to do a service project with my fourth graders.  I wanted to guide them to think about helping others and giving back.  I decided to do the project around Thanksgiving/Christmas, since it’s a time when kids are normally thinking just about themselves (and when we have a little more free time in our schedule!).

Rather than starting with the details of the fundraiser itself, I wanted my students to understand the purpose behind a fundraiser.  I started by asking my students “What needs do all people have?” and wrote down their replies.

We then discussed if everyone had all these needs met, and who had unmet needs.

In groups, students then made proposals for who they would want to help and what needs they could help people meet.

In my free time, I work with foster children through the CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocates).  I’d mentioned that to my students a few times throughout the year but wanted them to think of their own purpose.  To my surprise, more than half of the groups proposed we help local foster children.  Over the following weeks, I read the students some great books and we had discussions about what it means to be in foster care.

We then turned our focus to the details of the fundraiser.  Again, I wanted it to be really student-led, so I put them in charge of planning.  They decided to have a store in our classroom.  They wrote up a letter to send to all families, made presentations in classes, and spoke over the loudspeaker.  They also made posters to put up around the school:

Some with unfortunate spelling mistakes that we corrected:

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what kinds of things the kids would bring in to sell. Most of my students come from lower to lower-middle class families themselves, so I didn’t know if they would have much to give.  I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my students’ families.  We ended up with lots of toys, stuffed animals, books, and food.  One mom brought a giant pot of homemade Posole on the city bus.  On the second day we had nearly sold out of everything and a few families made last-minute trips to the store to restock our food.

Because we were selling mostly to other students who carry around very little money, we priced everything very cheaply.  My students were champs at running the store and became really good at handling and counting money. Moreover, I was a proud teacher as I listened in to them explain to our “customers” about our cause.

I thought we would make maybe $100 and the kids would have a good experience and learn about giving back.  Well, I underestimated how quickly $0.50 purchases can add up.  When we counted our money the first day (and had a great math lesson in the process!), we had made over $400.  After our second and final day of selling, we had made $1,040.20!  A few days later, we got an additional $100 donation from a school board member, bringing our grand total to $1,140.20!

After totaling up our money and closing up shop, I put the kids in charge of deciding which organizations to donate to.  We did internet research about local organizations who serve foster children and then had a class discussion about which to give to.  I was really surprised by their maturity: I thought they would want to give to organizations that provided things like cakes and toys to foster kids, but they decided that those aren’t kids’ greatest needs, and chose to give to groups that help older foster kids transition into adulthood and provide mental health services to foster kids.

Together, we wrote emails to the organizations and sent in our donations.  We’ve already gotten some great responses, which has been fun for the kids to see.

Overall, the fundraiser was an amazing experience for us all.  My students were SO proud of themselves and empowered. It was a perfect way to make those few weeks before break really meaningful.  I can’t wait to do it again next year, and I would totally recommend it to other teachers!