My class loves singing, and this year “God Bless America” has been a favorite song. How do I know? Children sing it from the loft in the classroom, and when using the bathroom. They sing it while building with toys, playing on the playground, and at lunch. When something becomes a passion for children, I do something more to bring that passion to life.
A relative of one of my students is the Coast Guard Liason to the White House. Yes, I was the brave one; I emailed her to tell her how children love the song. I asked if we could send her a video of the children singing, as a Memorial Day Remembrance for the White House.
She was thrilled! So, we got to work to practice and videotape the performance. It is fabulous! Off the video went to the White House, and a few weeks later we had mail!
We received a package from the White House! Our “God Bless America” video was well received. Each child was given two packages of candy, signed by the President. That was very exciting. The letter reads:
Dear Aqua Room,
It was such a wonderful surprise to see the video of you singing patriotic songs for Memorial Day! You sounded fantastic and it made me so proud see you commemorate Memorial Day.
I showed your video to lots of people in the White House and they loved it!!
Hazel’s favorite aunt
What an experience for children to sing their favorite song for the White House, and then receive a thank you letter and a gift.
In a separate email to me, she said, “Thanks for teaching the kids about Memorial Day and recognizing those that gave us everything we have today!”
P.S. I told her the story of making the God Bless America quilt years ago, and how it came to go to the Intrepid Museum and then hang at the Fisher House in Boston. She knows Fisher Houses, and visited the one at Dover Air Force Base. That must have been a humbling experience.
How exciting, Jennie. I’m sure those chocolate packages will be treasured for years, long after the chocolate has been devoured. What a memory for the children and their families.
It was very exciting! A nice surprise for children to end the school year.
What a wonderful piece of post!!
Thank you, Ritu! 🥰
Girlfriend, you are the kind of teacher we all wish we had, or wish we were! How wonderful for these little ones to see how people react to simple acts of kindness!
Awww…that’s so nice. When children are recognized for their acts of kindness, it is a big deal. Thanks, Annette.
that is amazing!!! yay for all of you –
It was a wonderful surprise! I keep telling teachers to reach out and ask; the worst thing that can happen is either nothing or a no. I’m so glad I reached out. Thank you, Beth!
you are so right, Jennie
What an inspiration!!! ❤️💙 🇺🇸
Great news for the kids, and for you. It was nice of them to send the signed gifts.
Best wishes, Pete.
It was very nice. A letter is one thing, candy in a box signed by the President is another. Best to you, Pete.
How special! I love how you take every opportunity to make the children feel special.
It was, Darlene! And thank you, I really try to seize the moment and expand on it with children.
Fabulous result for all!
That’s so exciting for the children! I hope they keep that song as favorite throughout their lives.
I hope so, too. So, here’s what happened today (the life of a teacher is always met with surprises) in the middle of playing with new playdough:
When we sang songs and prepared for Memorial Day, one of the songs I played on our big screen was the Singing Sargents singing “God Bless the USA.” That was a while ago. Today a child came up to me in the middle of playdough and sang, “And I wont forget the man…” She knew the rest in her heart, so I sang the rest of the song with her. Other children joined in. How did they know all these words? We had a spontaneous serenade. It was wonderful, and nothing I could have planned.
Oh my gosh, that too gave me goosebumps, a lump in my throat, and tears welling up. That’s such a moving rendition of the song too! WOW. What a moment. I wish I was a fly on the wall in your classroom then. 🥰
I wish you had been there, too. Thanks so much, Deborah!
Thanks for sharing this, Jennie. 😁
You’re welcome, John.
Wow!!! The ways that you engage with your students and help them engage with the rest of the world is an ongoing inspiration to us all!!! I imagine that Irving Berlin, who emigrated to the lower east side of Manhattan with his family when he was a little older than your students (to escape anti-Semitic persecution in the Russian Empire) would be delighted — if he were still alive — to learn how much your students love his song…
Will, I love your comment! I often think about Irving Berlin and his childhood. In my heart, I know he would be very proud. Years ago, my students fell in love with singing “God Bless America.” They couldn’t get enough, staged themselves singing on the playground, so we invited soldiers into the classroom to sing “God Bless America”, then made our own God Bless America book, and of course made the quilt that hangs at the Fisher House. In a way, Irving Berlin might pump his fist in victory, because he disliked our National Anthem and wrote “God Bless America” as a better song. Irving, it was a better song. Thank you, Will!
When my wife went to the White House – both time she was given the M&M’s – so cool!
Yes, very cool! Way to go, Alex!
Omg that’s so amazing! What a wonderful surprise! I feel like this teaches children to do good things without any expectation of anything in return! What a bonus!! 🙂
I think so, too, and that’s definitely a bonus. It was a wonderful surprise!
Yet another Jennie adventure leading to candy from the President in the mail!
I know!! Best to you, Laura!
You, too, Jennie!
This is awesome, Jennie. A great experience for children and adults alike!
Thanks so much!
WOW! The children must have been over the moon when they received the package!!
They were!! 😍
Now that is a memory for a lifetime!
Oh, such wonderful event for the children, Jennie.
Thank you, Don. It was!
Wow, what an accomplishment! The children are going to remember it forever!
I hope they do. I bet they save the candy boxes. Thank you.
What a wonderful experience for the children. Their White House responded to them. That’s pretty special.
Thank you, Pam. Yes it is.
Oh that’s awesome, congrats to you and your class for the achievement. Keep that spirit.
Thank you, and will do!
What a wonderful series of events, Jennie. The children are very lucky. They are learning that anything is possible.
You hit the nail on the head, Dan. Thank you!
I love how you just go for it, Jennie. I know it hasn’t always worked out, but look how many times these experiences have turned out unbelievingly well. It must do your heart good to hear the kids singing God Bless America passionately.
I know! Yes, my heart is full. I tell myself the worst thing that can happen is they’ll say ‘no’ or won’t say anything at all. And when they say ‘yes’, it turns into a wonderful experience. Yesterday at the playdough table a child started singing to herself, “And I won’t forget the man…” WELL, I put my arm around her and jumped right in singing. Then others came over, too. We sang that chorus over and over. We were loud and proud, I love those moments.
Pete, If I had to pick one time that ‘going for it’ turned into the best experience ever (and over and over again) it was Milly the quilter. The summer after she died I wrote about my adventures with her. What started as a blog post turned into 10 parts. It’s my favorite read, too. Search for The Legacy of Milly and enjoy.
BTW, the children want to give you our Starry Night painting. ❤️ When we take everything down in a few weeks, I’ll send it to you.
That would be very special, Jennie. I’ve read many of your posts about Milly, and you light up when you’re talking about her. I often think of the people in my life who have passed but continue to influence me.
Milly was one in a million. We both have influential memories (did I say that correctly?), which is a wonderful thing. With age comes great experiences and memories. Best to you, Pete.
This is exciting and fun and no doubt memorable for your students. Think of the lesson these kids will take with them, try something good and see where it goes.
It was exciting and fun. I think we made some memories. 🙂 Yes, try and see where it goes- a great lesson. Thanks, Ally.
You managed to take something so simple as children singing a song and turn it into an event they can treasure forever. That’s big! Those kids are so blessed to have you and your creative mind. How exciting for them.
Marlene, you always hit the nail on the head. Yes, it was such a simple thing, but as soon as I knew it was big, I had to do more. Frankly, I think that should be Teaching-101. Many thanks!
How absolutely wonderful!
Being a teacher is a great job and especially sharing the beautiful view point of the children.👍🏻💐💐
Yes, it is. Thank you.
Hi Jennie, you really do think of the most amazing things to do with your children. Fantastic!
Honestly, it’s not me. It came naturally when I learned there was a relative in the White House. I pay attention and seize the moment. Thank you, Robbie.
You are a star Jennie. All the way to the Whitehouse! ❤
What a terrific surprise it was! Thanks, Debby. 🥰
This is so awesome. I love how you do everything you can to highlight your children and their achievements. It is great that she took the time to respond to the kids. So special, Jennie.
Thanks so much, Carla! Getting a response was very special for the children.