Thursday, January 31, 2013

1/29/13: Blick Art Materials Art Room Aid - Support Art in Schools

Providing funds for our school's art program is near and dear to my heart as I am the President of our PTO and I also run the Art Show yearly.  I love giving kids the tools and ability to show off their creative side.  In support of this initiative I was lucky enough to work with Blick Art Materials Art Room Aid to support our school and provide Art Room Supplies to them.  Read on to see how you can support my children's school's art program and how you can build an Art Wish List for your school.
Art is so important for children.  It is a great way for them to express themselves.  As you enter in to the first hallway in our school you can see the beautiful art that students have made.  I love walking in to school and seeing their creations.  Even though these kids are elementary level some of them can draw far better than I ever could.
It is so fun to see kids work on art they are passionate about.  Last year my son decided to center his Art Fair project around Angry Birds.  He absolutely loves Angry Birds and had such a good time creating and displaying them at school.
Back in 2009 Art Room Aid was created by Blick Art Materials.  Art Room Aid allows art educators to create a "wish list" of items similar to a bridal registry.  This wish list is online and can be shared with your PTO, other teachers and your community in order to provide art materials to your school so students can continue to create works of Art such as these:
Love the colors on these.
I hope you will join me in contributing to the Art Supply Wish list that our Art Teacher has created.  You will be helping the over 700 students at our school be creative.  You can go here to donate to our school:
It is extremely easy.  You can contribute as much or as little as you would like.
These donations will allow our students to create and make wonderful works of Art like I have displayed here from our Art Show last year.
A wish list can be created by looking at the Blick Catalog online or by going to one of their stores.  I was lucky enough to go to their store at 619 Mass Ave in Cambridge, MA.
As much as I love to shop online I still like to go in to stores and see the merchandise.  Here is the inside of the Cambridge Store. 
All the items are so beautifully displayed. 
 Love the colors of paper.  Sometimes when you look online it is hard to see the actual color of certain items.
So beautifully organized! 
 I love the items in the kids area.
 If you would like to setup a wish list for your school's art program you can create it easily by going to The Art Room Aid Website.  You start by creating an account:
Then from there you can create a Project for your School and add your Wish List and post the list online.  This will allow sharing through Social Networks.  This FAQ is very helpful:
Don't let this be your child's only view in to an Art Room.  We can all make a difference.  Work with your school, your PTO Board, and others in your community and help Art Education stay alive and well in our schools.
BLICK Art Materials you are truly inspirational to create Art Room Aid!
Check out Art Room Aid here:
Blick Art Materials website:
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Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post and our school is being given a credit towards art supplies from our wish list.  All opinions are my own and I fully support this project.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/27/13: Elmo's Super Heroes at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium

We went to see Sesame Street Live, "Elmo's Super Heroes" at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium this past weekend.  The show was tons of fun for kids and adults!  
 I think everyone has watched Sesame Street at one point in their life.  We all grew up with Sesame Street so this show was fun for both kids and brought back fond memories for me from when I was a kid.  Hearing Doin' The Pigeon by Bert was fun as I remembered back to dancing to it when I was a kid.  Even my husband was laughing out loud when Cookie Monster was doing a little hip hop dance.  This was something I thought I would never see, but was very happy I did.  It was awesome!
The whole gang was there performing and they did super cute little songs about hygiene, eating well, and getting exercise so that Grover could get his super powers back and become Super Grover again.  
 You can go to the Sesame Street Live Website for show schedules for additional cities. 
Personally my favorite character is Grover.  He always has been.  My favorite color is blue, so that is part of the appeal.  He always made me giggle.
 Plus I would like to give some positive words to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.  Snacks were reasonably priced which is not the norm at these shows.  Popcorn was only $2.50 which I was very impressed with.  Plus the venue is a perfect size so that kids can see all the action.  Another plus is that they started the show right on time!  This is much appreciated for parents with young children.
 Of course Elmo is a big hit.  I liked how many of the characters wandered through the aisles of the auditorium during the show and interacted with the kids.
Of course it is always exciting when there is a bunch of streamers that shoot out.
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Disclosure:  I received 4 tickets to attend this show in exchange for posting.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

1/27/13: FIRST Ring It Up FTC Qualifier in North Andover

My company PTC sponsors the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge to inspire the Engineers of the Future.  I have been lucky enough to be a judge three years in a row at the competition.  This is a competition for students to build a robot and compete with it in the ring and in many other categories.  The teams can win awards for Innovation of Design, Design aspects, Motivation, Connection with the community, Think - for their Engineering Notebook, and Inspire as a combination award of who placed highly and did well in matches. 
Vision for FIRST: "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders." - Dean Kamen, Founder  
Here I am at the Opening Ceremonies speaking on behalf of PTC.
This year's competition was called Ring It Up.  The full game description is here but the highlights are that teams need to put rings on pegs with their robot.  The first 30 seconds is done autonomously and then the last 2 minutes is done by controlling the robots.  There is also extra points for lifting up another robot.
It was so nice to see so many young people with a true excitement for the engineering design process.  It was also wonderful seeing so many women involved.  Being one of 3 women in my Aerospace Engineering classes I knew what it was like being in the minority in an Engineering field.  The skills these students are learning at such a young age are phenomenal.
Here you can see the PTC logo on one of the robots.  I have been with PTC for over 14 years so this is always exciting for me to see our logo proudly displayed. 
I loved seeing the enthusiasm for the game.  Seeing the teams with matching team shirts and hearing shouts from the crowd for their school's team was so fun. 
Here is an example of game play.

An attempt at trying to lift one of the robots for extra points. 
  PTC is a Strategic Partner of FIRST and provides donated software and nearly a million dollars of funding in support of the program.  They donate the most advanced CAD (Creo) and Collaboration (Windchill) software to all FTC and FRC teams.  Here is a video that PTC put together around FIRST that I showed during my presentation.

I hope all of the teams had fun today, I know I did.  Get involved if your local school has a FIRST team, or better yet, start one up and join in the fun.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

1/26/13: Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: Get The Sillies Out! VIP Party in Boston

I took Lauren to see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: Get The Sillies Out! at the Orpheum Theatre tonight and we extremely lucky to attend the VIP Party.  Check out one of the people we met.  Lauren giggled as DJ Lance Rock spun her around.  I think that was the highlight of her night.  
But let me go back to the show as the VIP Party came after.  It was extremely high energy and got kids out of their seats dancing and having a great time.  You could hear the screams of excitement from little ones as their favorite Gabba friend came out.
 From the second DJ Lance came out and the confetti sprayed you knew it was going to be a fun time for kids and adults.
 What is better than dancing with your favorite Yo Gabba Gabba buddies?
 There was lots of dancing and singing.
 How cute are all of these characters?  If you aren't in MA, here is a link to all the Tour Dates: 
I personally liked the There's a Party in my Tummy song.  I loved the dancing carrots, green beans, juice boxes and other foods.  Fun seeing healthy foods dancing around.  Biz Markie was even there singing You Got What I Need.
 The bug song was a big hit too with the kids.
 The show was a ton of fun.  My only complaint was that it started late.  We were at a 5 o'clock show and it started about 20 past.  On their website it said that they try to never start more than 5 minutes late.  For little ones you could tell by the end they were starting to get very tired.
The other complaint I had was that the Orpheum Theatre in Boston was freezing!  I actually asked one of the ushers and she claimed it was because they left the front doors open.  I was very cold in the theatre and at intermission went to the ladies room and warmed up by the heat of the hand dryer. 
 Overall the kids had a great time and the show was extremely well done.
We were then fortunate enough to attend the VIP Party.  When you got in to the theatre you checked in and they gave you an envelope with directions to where the party would be along with wrist bands to wear to enter the party.
The highlight of the VIP Party is to meet all of the characters up close and get a photo op with them.  This is the only reason to buy this VIP Package as it is pricey (over $100 a ticket).  You can see all of them individually but it is not a dance party with them, it is strictly a picture with them.  If your child is a fan though this is worth it as it will be the only time they can meet their favorite Yo Gabba Gabba friends.  When you get to the VIP Party you line up and then they let you in.  You can only take one picture (one time through the line) with the characters and they also state that they will not take pictures with your camera, so be aware of this.  We got to see Brobee.  He is one of my favorites.  He is just so cute. 
Of course I had to love Flex and so did Lauren.  Earlier in the day I had been judging the FIRST FTC Qualifier and judging robots and how they performed.  Needless to say it was a full day of robots. 
Lauren really liked him. This VIP experience is run by CID Entertainment.
 Here is Lauren with Toodee.
 Lauren likes this guy too, Muno.  She said he felt rubbery.  
 Here is Foofa.  Lauren of course likes her because she is pink.
 The party was setup at a nearby venue which was a short walk from the theatre.  They were setup with water, yogurts, yogurt drinks and some other snacks.
 They also had an area setup with merchandise from the show that you could buy.
 There was one small table with some coloring sheets and stickers.  Lauren of course wanted to color.
 Once the line is complete of people meeting with the characters they swiftly leave, but when you are led upstairs you are led in to the line to meet everyone so you should not miss it.  DJ Lance Rock came in later after most of the line had completed with the other characters.
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Disclosure: I received a set of VIP Tickets for the show to promote it. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.