Parenting

Artist/Writer in Residency at Sonoraville Elementary!

Filed under: Events,Growing Up Writing,Parenting,School Visits | October 1, 2018

All last week, and for the first time ever, I had the pleasure of working with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders of Sonoraville Elementary School in a writing and illustrating workshop! It was so much fun and very successful I thought! (But my feet thought otherwise :) I was definitely reminded how hard teachers and media specialists work for our kiddos. Much RESPECT.

Mrs. Beth Mitchell, the Media Specialist there, was awesome to plan and scheme with. She almost never sits down and remains die-hard-patient with her students. I was impressed an encouraged to be more patient with my own kids after watching her. Our whole Artist in Residency concept began with her approaching me and just throwing the idea at me. And because I’m local to her school, it worked out really well and simply.

In order to maximize the potential of our program, Mrs. Mitchell spoke with the teachers of the grades we wanted to involve and asked those educators what they would like to see covered in the program to help reinforce skills their students are already working on. After that, Mrs. Mitchell and I developed the 3 day curriculum, and I worked hard to add in some good ‘ol cheesy fun too. We put it all to the test last week, and I think we have a winner!

If you are interested in me doing this 3-day workshop at your school, click here and scroll to the bottom.

-Shanda!

This sheet was inspired by Debbie Ohi’s character sheet on DebbieOhi.com!

Gifting Books To Kids (the cool way) #2 – Halloween Edition!

I got a great response from my original post about “Gifting Books To Kids (the cool way)!” So, it gives me an excuse to put together and share more book/gift ideas – which makes me happy :) I hope it inspires you.

I love Halloween like a little kid. Nothing too scary, but everything else about it is SO MUCH FUN! So when I saw a couple Vampirina Ballerina books ($18 each) (illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Luyen Pham) in the bookstore, I grabbed them up! I found a headband ($2) that looked similar to Vampirina’s and a black tutu ($5) to go with it, a fun little make-up set ($3) and a plastic set of vampire teeth ($1). A $27 gift if you include one book or a $45 gift if you include two books :)

The next idea is very simple, inexpensive, and still lots of fun! “Boo!” by Leslie Patricelli ($8) is visual Halloween candy! I paired it with a couple of giant googly eyes ($2), a headband ($2), and 2 Cuties ($1) that I drew Jack-O-lantern faces on with a Sharpie. A $13 gift for a young Halloween lover!

I’d love to see or hear about what you come up with!

Happy Fall book gifting!

-Shanda

The Checklists that Saved Us!

Filed under: Parenting | August 29, 2017

Checklists beside my kiddo’s bed. (Beware of toddlers drawing on the wall with the marker.)

My daughter started second grade about a month a ago. She’s a good girl who enjoys school for the most part, but she has her fair share of issues that will probably challenge her for life. For one, she’s the youngest in her class, yet the tallest. And she was delivered 3 weeks early when she was born. I think that may play into her actual “age” a lot. So she’s young. It can be difficult for her to focus. Reading hasn’t come as easily to her as it has to most of her peers, but she’s constantly getting stronger and stronger. That’s ALL that matters to me. But I see her little confidence wavering sometimes, and that can be tough to watch as a parent. So when I see her light up with empowerment over something in her life – it’s GOLD! Which is the case with 2 simple checklists we started using at the beginning of this school year.

They are nothing more than a basic “getting ready for bed checklist” and a “getting ready for school checklist”, but they have truly given her the success in independence she craves! When her alarm goes off in the morning, she gets up and starts checking things off the list. So simple. She’s usually ready for the day with a smile on her face before I even stumble down the stairs. I no longer have to yell or repeat “did you brush you teeth?” a thousand times. I used to be the angriest morning mom, and now I’m much cooler (and so is my daughter :) It’s night and day from last year’s school mornings!

So, I’d love to share these with you if you think they may help your family too. They are FREE! Just print them out and laminate at a UPS Store or somewhere like that (I used a friend’s small home laminator that he got for $30), then hang a dry-erase marker next to the list tacked on the wall for your kiddo to start checking things off :)

I’d love to know how it goes if you give it a try.

So simple. So powerful.

Cheers to a great school year!

-Shanda

 

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author