Chances are, when it comes to “mittens,” you’ve been seeing more than just your child’s this month. There has been an explosion in state pride products, ranging from Love Michigan’s bumper stickers, to Michigan Awesome’s “Smitten with the Mitten” sweatshirts, to the soothing voice-over of Tim Allen’s Pure Michigan Commercials.
Last week Thursday, Sandy Hill tipped its hat to our great state in their own “Pure Michigan Family Night.” The night kicked off with Keynote book illustrator Tom Woodruff offering drawing tips in the gymnasium. With several books to his credit, Tom set the stage for the evening by spending the entire day at Sandy Hill, customizing illustration lessons for each grade level.
Children’s Book Illustrator Tom Woodruff
“I’ve been drawing all day long! Today we’ve done everything from shipwrecks to ocean adventures to fairy tales!” he shared excitedly.
“Going to schools is so fun. I get infused with their energy and am fueled by the kids. I love to draw and I know they do, too. My goal is to raise awareness across the disciplines and show how art can link to science and history and provide a springboard for other learning.”
Fifth grade students also used the evening to put their wax museum on exhibit. They waited expectantly for the drawing session to wrap up so they could bring history alive.
Lauren Slagter, posing as Ben Franklin, was thrilled with a social studies project that allowed so much creativity and drama. “I love performing in the costumes — it’s really cool to educate people about the dates of Ben’s life, his marriage and family, and other important information about him. The hardest part was writing the paper!” she said.
Drysen Geoghegan brought James Madison to life, saying, “I didn’t have to worry about being nervous about with this project. I just did my best!”
Embodying Anne Hutchinson, a fighter for religious freedom, was Grace Weeldreyer. “The coolest part of the wax museum was practicing our parts and working on it in class. The hardest part was memorizing my entire presentation!”
Over in the “Pioneer Days” break-out session, students watched a short video and then had the opportunity to shake their own whipping cream into fresh butter! Quinn Palmer (pictured left) was impressed with the results:
“Just the fact that you do it all yourself — you don’t just go to the store to buy it– is cool. You make your own and really savor it,” he said.
The pioneer days room also gave families the opportunity to use a butter churn and create simple toys once enjoyed by children long ago.
Other breakout sessions included Great Lakes Activity, Economics Activity, Family Destinations in Michigan, and Orienteering Scavenger Hunt in addition to the Wax Museum and Pioneer Days.
Teacher coordinator Julie Allerding was thrilled with the results and was quick to credit the generosity of the Jenison Education Foundation for awarding her a grant to not only make the night a possibility, but a success. The grant provided funds for snacks and refreshments, as well as supplied for all of the wonderful activities that were planned for the two-hour event.
As Keynote presenter Tom Woodruff said last Thursday night, “Michigan is a place I hate to leave and I’m always glad to get back to.” We applaud Sandy Hill and their team of teachers who made us feel the same way!