#WhyCFK, CFK Program Partners

Third Grade Students Destined for the New York Times Bestseller List

Hundreds of Change for Kids students this year had the opportunity this school year to participate in Story Pirates workshops where they let their imaginations run wild. Change for Kids partners with Story Pirates to promote creativity at our partner schools. Story Pirates hosts a series of creative writing workshops, where students learn that there are no bad ideas! After students finish their works of art, the Story Pirates bring to life select stories by acting them out at an all-school wide assembly. Change for Kids volunteers also read the students’ work and provide them with positive, hand-written feedback–aka a lil’ bit of “Story Love.”

Now meet the up-and-coming New York Times bestseller authors!

The Walking Pizza Who Became a Robot

“Once there was a pizza walking in the woods. Then a mean wizard turned him into a robot. Then he saw his body and it was metal. When he was a robot he named himself Robot Pizza Star. Then he loved being a robot.”

Looks like one happy piece of pizza!

Robot Pizza

Scarm the Alien (Who, By the Way, Loves Chess)

“Once an alien time there was a kid alien named Scarm. He liked to play chess, strategist, play with its horns, to wiggle its tentacles, and learn new things. Scarm lives on a planet called Tar. One day when Scarm was digging, some humans were investigating planet Tar. He was very scared of the humans. He thought they came from the sun. But the humans had sleeping darts. Scarm started to dig faster. Scarm was 5 yards away from getting to the core of Planet Tar. Then a loud sound went, “pew, pew, pew, pew!”

Scarm was frightened. The humans got closer and closer. Scarm had stumbled in his hole. Scarm tried to gather all of his chess pieces, but it was too late. When Scarm woke up he had been glued to paper. The people asked, “Who are you alien?” Scarm replied in an alien way, “squigily, squiggly, X doo.” The humans did not understand.

What do you think happens next? (We hope they became friends and played chess together.)

Scarm the alien

The Carrot Who Has Banana Arms, an Orange Head, and Eight Eyes and Plays Soccer

“Once there was a carrot named Mr. B.J. He has banana arms and an orange head. He also has eight eyes. He likes to play soccer with the team he made up. But one time he accidentally ate his arm when he was playing. He said, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh! I can’t believe I ate my arm! Ahhhhhh! My arm really burns!” So he said, “I’m going to go to the doctor.”  Once he got there they were out of banana arms, so they went to the forest to get some. Unfortunately there were no banana arms in the forest. So they had to get plum arms. But plums don’t grow in carrot land, so they had to go to plum land. But the plum arms didn’t fit.”

How do you think Mr. B.J. solved the banana arm problem?

Mr. B.T.

We don’t know about you, but we’d love to meet these characters in real life!

CFK Program Partners

Behind the Scenes at Story Pirates HQ – VIDEO

One of CFK’s most beloved volunteer opportunities, Story Love puts our students’ whimsical stories in the hands of grown-up readers. Readers provide our budding authors with crucial positive feedback, while our students share unforgettable heroes, villains, plots twists and one-liners, like this winner from a recent session in May: “If life gives you disco balls, just disco.” Excellent advice, future Tolstoy!

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But attending a Story Love session at the Story Pirates HQ in the Drama Book Shop on West 40th, volunteers get a glimpse at the madcap creative engine behind the stories they are commenting on.  Just before Memorial Day, a group of readers from the Junior League gathered there to offer feedback on stories from 4th and 5th graders at P.S. 160 in Queens. They worked in a space packed with props from past shows–dolphins, a giant Hello Kitty doll, and masks that would give Jim Henson a run for his money.  Behind the readers was a wall of kid authors whose stories have been performed at Saturday shows.

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In the room next door, the Story Pirates were rehearsing at full tilt, and readers couldn’t help but laugh at overheard lines. We caught a sneak peak of the Story Pirates’ amazing creativity at work–check out this video of a few select scenes from a story about a muscle-obsessed lonely cow. Many thanks for this insider’s view, and to our friends in the Junior League for volunteering for Story Love!

Behind the Scenes with the Story Pirates for CFK from Change for Kids on Vimeo.

P.S. 160

Chef Maneet Chauhan Dresses to Impress at P.S. 160

When Super Chef Maneet Chauhan comes to your school, you know you are in for a treat–a fruity, tangy, delicious treat you had no idea you could whip up from things sitting at home in your fruit crisper.

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For the students at P.S. 160, she created a fresh fruit kebab. Students skewered chopped cantaloupe, honey dew, pineapples, oranges, strawberries and grapes to make their own snacks.

Then, explaining that everyone must work together as a team in the kitchen, Chef Chauhan had groups of students create single kebabs for guests in the room.

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Once the kebabs were done, Chef Chauhan started in on a dressing. She introduced the class to the tastes of mango power and mint powder, which she combined with lemon juice and pomegranate seeds and drizzled over the fruit.

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The trick to getting pomegranate seeds out of the rind? Cut the fruit in half, turn it over, and tap a spoon on the back.

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Students were impressed with how the dressing changed the flavor and texture of the fruit, and left eager to try recreating the snack at home. Thanks, Chef Chauhan!

For more photos of this class with Chef Chauhan, click here.

P.S. 15

P.S. 15 Kindergarten Artists Make Fine Feathered Friends

An integral part of the art program at P.S. 15 is a field trip to the Children’s Museum of Art, our program partners at the school. On Friday, January 24, 23 kindergarteners spent a morning in the gallery at CMA, where the main exhibit, “Tweet,” features birds of all sorts rendered in different kinds of media—from MetroCards to found feathers to water colors.

After students learned about some of the ways birds can be represented in art and what they symbolize, they got to make construction paper totem poles. They topped their creations with their own mythical bird.

Using chalk, students drew three half faces on the left side of dark construction paper, one on top of the other. Then they folded and pressed the paper in half to transfer the chalk from one side to the other, creating three perfectly symmetrical totem heads, the top one, to be transformed into a bird.

After decorating the faces with bright colors, students refolded their papers and clipped small chunks from the open edge, creating three distinct head shapes.

They decorated and glued wings to their bird. Once attached to the repurposed arm of a hanging file, the totems could be attached to the edge of a desk and would stand  upright.

When asked what they liked about this project, students answered “drawing faces,” “the wings!” and, of course, “the colors”–bright chalk that glowed on the blue paper.  One student explained that he liked getting to make whatever he wanted, and a lot of it. “What I like about art is that you just create a lot of stuff,” he said.

When the glue had dried and they were lined up on the tables, the class’ totems were bold, eye-catching and totally fly.

 

 

P.S. 15

P.S. 15 Plants a New Program

At P.S. 15, teachers, PTA and CFK are sowing seeds for a new program for next spring: a recess garden club. The club is the brainchild of second grade teacher Sarah Strong, Kindergarten teacher Ashley Mendolina, and two amazing PTA members. They hope to build a garden, designed and cultivated by students. Teachers would be able to tie science lessons into club time, bringing learning out of the classroom and into the real world.  And vegetables, fruit and herbs grown right at P.S. 15 become the edible tools of nutrition education.

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“I was super excited when Laura, the literacy coach, told me that the school was thinking about starting up the garden club,” said Alyxe Lett, our School Manager at P.S. 15. “My Peace Corps experience included a lot of hands-on work around environmental conservation, including composting and creating gardens with recyclable materials, so I really wanted to help out anyway that I could.”

Ms. Strong and Ms. Mendolina are working with Alyxe to research and write a grant for supplies. We are particularly excited to support their efforts as it overlaps with a new initiative at CFK–to help our partner schools grow their ability to write grants so we can bring in more resources to the school together.

“I’m just so blown away by the passion that these two teachers and the two PTA members have for creating something that would not only be of academic benefit to the students, but also get them to think critically and analyze how their community and surroundings (and daily life!) are an integral part of a greater ecological system,” said Alyxe.

Once the garden club is up and running it will serve 15-20 students, and we’ll be looking for volunteers to come help out. So be ready to get your hands dirty in the spring of 2014!

CFK Events

Super Chefs: a New Event Becomes an Instant Classic

This year was the inaugural Super Chefs event, and a step in a completely different direction from Bowl for Kids. But by the end of the evening,  it was clear to everyone that we would have to do Super Chefs again next year…and the year after that. It was a huge success!

The super chefs themselves created mouth-watering tastings to please a crowd of 400. Chef Chris Santos prepared pork belly B.L.T. tacos; chef Maneet Chauhan prepared moong daal chaat in semolina puffs with mint cilantro water; chef Gabe Thompson prepared pork meatballs with polenta, bacon, tomato and Parmesan; chef Abraham Salum prepared Guajillo chile, wild mushroom and Oaxaca cheese tamales with braised chicken and Komali’s finger salsa tamale; and chef Vincent Chirico prepared a hamachi and yellowfin tuna duo with preserved ginger sauce and avocado.

From a campaign that raised more than $250,000, to chefs who are eager to  stay involved with their partner schools, Super Chefs was a remarkable–and fun–experience. And we think, by looking at these photos, you can see that on every face.

Want to see more? Click here. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Super Chefs campaign and event!

 

P.S. 81

Chef Salum and P.S. 81 Play with Their Food

On Thursday, November 7, the Fan4Kids students at P.S. 81 had a special visitor: Super Chef Abraham Salum! Before he flexes his culinary muscle at our benefit on the 14th, he got to know the kids he’s supporting.

Armed with a selection of ingredients chosen by our students, including cream cheese, Nutella, banana, cucumbers and yogurt, Chef Salum taught them to “play with their food,” in other words, to experiment with taste and presentation, because that’s where the real fun in cooking and eating lies. One brave student volunteered to be a guinea pig for the class: Cream cheese – who knew it was so good? Cucumbers and Nutella – not such a good idea.

Chef Salum was a natural teacher, and gathered the 20 or so fourth graders, parents, teachers and on-lookers around him to watch him work his magic. Then, to make sure everyone got a taste, he broke everyone into teams. Working with the ingredients at hand, which also included strawberries and Nilla wafers, the students whipped up their own dishes. Each group had their own unique spin on taste and presentation, and a healthy snack to eat at the end of the class.

“The visit to the school was fantastic!” Chef Salum wrote to us. Now, he’s gearing up for Super Chefs, where you can meet him  and share your love of P.S. 81 and good food in person!