Sunday, April 20, 2008

ok, here goes:

Been thinking for months now that I want to get back into posting here. After I got back from Cape Town, I was knee-deep in holiday cheer/apartment finding/starting new classes - before I knew it, I'd sunk so far I was having trouble keeping my head above water. But I'm back now, and I plan to stay, or at least make an effort to do so.

I believe I left off with the promise of a thank you, specifically to Duke and Cheryl Krauspe, and I intend to make good on my word. Below are pictures from the unit inspired by "Dr. Krauspe's" donation of toothbrushes and floss - the kids went WILD for this stuff! A couple weeks before the actual lesson/toothbrushing, I taught them the Raffi song "Brush Your Teeth," which they loved. We sang it almost every day before launching into the meat of the lesson, as follows.

The kids cut out giant paper teeth and drew smiling faces on them. This was definitely one of my favorite projects - the results were so cute!

Using egg cartons, construction paper, white paint, and pipe cleaners, I made this giant mouth to demo proper brushing for the kids. It might not be anatomically correct, but it did the job!

We made our own toothpaste using baking soda, water, and flavoring. Then we graphed the kids' flavor selections. Math and science all-in-one - what could be better? :)

Beyonce (l.) tries to show off her teeth, but the resulting funny face only hides them. On the right, Sinalo is too tired to fake a smile!

So THANK YOU, Duke and Cheryl, for inspiring this fun and important lesson! I've never seen kids more excited to brush their teeth. And they loved that they got to keep the colorful toothbrushes, too!

While I was away and since I've been home, a number of people and schools have taken it upon themselves to donate to Angels and Starfish. I'd like to thank:

  • Claudia Krauspe and her coworkers at Helen Plum Memorial Library in Lombard, Illinois, for their donation of beautiful baby dolls. Also a HUGE thanks for the gorgeous box of books - I had so much fun reading with the kids, and many of the books inspired lessons. Hands are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi, PhD., for example, led to a lesson on diversity and non-violence, in which we made a colorful "handprint banner" to hang in the classroom:

  • Students in the choir program at Wheaton Warrenville South High School raised $1,500 to pay for a year's worth of music . A group of Starfish began working with the Hout Bay Music Academy this past February (the start of South Africa's school year). This wouldn't be possible were it not for WWSHS, whose generous donation covers the costs of teachers, instruments, and transport for the children.

  • The "Buy a Cookie, Help a Kid" bake sale at the College of DuPage raised over $800 for Angels and Starfish. Huge thank you to the Honors Program at COD for organizing and sponsoring this event!

  • Sixth graders at Haines Middle School in St. Charles raised over $500 - enough to cover an entire year's worth of school fees for two children! I gave a presentation at Haines in December, and the students worked together to raise this money in a matter of weeks. So impressive and so appreciated!

In case I haven't said it enough: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all who have contributed to Angels and Starfish. I'm so amazed and inspired by the generosity I've seen these past few months. It makes such an incredible difference in the lives of these children. So let me say, just one more time: Thank you.