ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Wishing you a Merry Christmas 
Happy New Year!

We will look forward to sharing with you all again with some special features the week of January 4th.  Then, the week of January 11th we will be back in the swing of things with our normal posting schedule.  Looking forward to hearing from you then!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Author Challenge: Tomie dePaola

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Tomie dePaola

Here's a bit of an introduction to Tomie dePaola, taken from his official website(pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.

He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.

Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.

He lives in New London, New Hampshire with his new Airedale dog, Brontë.

In the Heart of my Home has put together a fantastic resource for homeschool families, it is a literature unit that integreates many of dePaola's holiday books.  She, by the way, was the winner of a homeschool blog award for 2009.

Good Reads has an extensive list of Tomie dePaola's books.

A Day of Wonders has written a review of a dePaola Christmas favorite, The Legend of the Poinsettia.

The Christmas Season has posted a Children's Christmas Literature Unit called :Have a Tomie dePaola Holiday.

Find out more about Strega Nona from a mom's perspective at flipflops and applesauce.  This review includes a free coloring page.

Bibbidi bobbidi Boo has written a review of The Art Lesson.

Murray Hill 5~In My Kitchen write about Tony's Bread.

Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them has done a review of dePaola's Meet the Barkers.

Thank you to The Adventures of Bear for taking us up on the challenge.  She submitted a book review of dePaola's Watch out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup.  In this second link you will find the follow up baking project she put together to go with the story.  Because of her participation, Julie will be our Saturday Spotlight blogger in January!
Update: We got a last minute submission from Sandra at Monkey See Monkey Do, they read The Legend of the Pointsettia.  See her post for a nice review of the book and to find out how they made their own pointsettia for the tree out of toilet paper rolls.
Update #2:  Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns has sent us a review of dePaola's Country Angel Christmas and pictures of the activity they did to follow up the reading.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Handmade Gifts

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Quirky Momma sent us a fabulous link to 101 Homemade Gift ideas, most are either for kids or able to be made by kids.

Life of a Modern Mom and her daughter made a cute snowman package out of a take out container.

Jessica from Brixton Lane shared this cute popsicle stick photo puzzle gift she made for Grandparent's Day. One side has a darling picture of all the grandkids and on the other side are scripture versus.

How could any grandparent NOT like this sweet Hearts and Handprints art project created at Max andEllie?

Although Katie was the creative genius behind these beautiful notebooks, this idea could easily be adapted for children to help put together to give to teachers and friends.

Elise's son is already enjoying his early Christmas gift.  They put together a robot with lots of working parts.  What a fun idea for an little gadget lovers!

Skip To My Lou has put together a fabulous resource for Handmade Gift Ideas.

By Little Hands has crafted a cozy fringed scarf that would be a useful handmade gift. 

They also have a sweet card idea to accompany this season's handmade treasures.

We can't wait to see what you've been up to!  Show us what you're making or what your kids have made for holiday gifts this year and link up!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Themed Math Activities

Thanks to Adventures in Mommydom for sharing this easy, yet entertaining math game with us.

Kids will learn about numbers and culture with this simple Hanukkah felt set that costs less than $1 to make.

Tired, Need Sleep has put together some Christmas themed patterning and counting opportunities we think you might enjoy trying too.

The Activity Mom sent us the link to this fun Santa Dice Game. Looks like a fun way practice counting and getting into the holiday spirit.

While it's not specifically a math activity, we loved My Bilingual Boys', Christmas sensory tub and surely you can come up with a graphing, estimating, or counting activity that would tie in!

My Bilingual Boys also put together a neat box game for number recognition, addition practice, and more than/less than instruction.

Make a felt tree while learning the important concepts of ordering and sorting by size, thanks to this submission from The Adventures of Bear.

They also put together a construction paper tree to practice ordering by size.

My Bilingual Boys shared a fun activity for I Spy Counting Tree using ornament stickers on construction paper.  To make this activity work for older students, List Maker Katie used to use the same idea in her second grade class and have the students graph how many ornaments of each kind they counted.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Santa Speaking & A Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. The winner, according to, is comment #13!
 Melinda said...That is SO cool. Please enter me.

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Today's Saturday Spotlight features a service to add Christmas spirit to your holiday celebration!

My children are not fans of any characters in costume, which makes mall shopping in December even more frightening. "It's okay if we see Santa's boots from far away mom, but I don't want to go near his line."
I also read an article during the HINI hysteria about the danger of flu spread during the traditional Santa visits.

Yet, our children (5 & 3) are at a fun age for enjoying the magic of Christmas. So, I was very excited to learn about Santa Speaking. Santa Speaking offers live phone calls from Santa to your child.

And tonight Santa called Anne Hope.

When I set up the call I was given a list of specific questions to help Santa sound authentic in his conversation. The questions included things such as: what has your child worked hard at this year, what are some of his/her favorites, what important events have happened in his/her life in the past year, what is on his/her Christmas list for this year. The person who places the order is able to update and edit any of the information provided up until the day of the call.

When Santa called, Anne Hope completely freaked out (as I should probably have predicted). She handed the phone to daddy and screamed in panic when we handed it back. Santa patiently waited out the storm as we explained that she may prefer to talk on speaker phone. She settled down and listened carefully as Santa told her he understood that she might be shy since they had never talked before. As she warmed up they chatted about what she is learning in her preschool play dates, how she is treating her brothers, and what she is hoping to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Santa also asked Anne Hope what type of treats he might be able to expect when he visits on Christmas Eve. He ended the call by encouraging her to head to bed early since we were sure to be toward the beginning of his Christmas route.

By the time the call ended she was giddy with excitement and insisted on calling all of her grands to report all of her news. Way to go Santa!

Even though we ended up hearing the entire conversation because we resorted to speakerphone, I am still excited to receive the MP3 recording of the call that Santa Speaking sends as a memento of the event. The kindness in his voice and the sweet words he said reminded me of the way I remember Santa from my childhood. This service is a hit with our family. I will be sure to add this address to my files and save our family the stress of the mall Santa visits for years to come!

You'll want to schedule your call soon as Santa's schedule fills up quickly for the week before Christmas.

However, Santa wants to give the child of one reader of ABC & 123 a surprise call! The winner will be chosen and announced in time to still place your call for this year.

To be entered to WIN please leave a comment on this post. If you are a subscriber or follower please leave separate comments letting us know. If you've linked to ANY of our holiday blog hops that will earn you an additional entry. You may also earn 1 entry by tweeting about this giveaway. There you go, 4 chances to win and 48 hours to enter!

This giveaway will close at midnight EST on Monday, December 14th.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Crafts

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Make a stained glass Christmas tree and let the light shine through.  Thanks for the idea Raising Memories.

Childmade has a fun collection of holiday crafts for children and adults.

Put together some colorful tissue ornaments with the step by step picture guide from Dalle un Colino.

This is not super crafty, but it is super fun and we'd love for you to have the idea in plenty of time to use it this month.  Inspiration Surrounds...Creativity Abouds has put together a set of printable Christmas themed game cards to get your children up and moving.

Darcy and her children put together a cute handprint tree.

Katie and the kids had a lot of fun making a silly foam snowman from an And Then kit.

Doesn’t it look like this peppermint plate would also be a fun Christmas craft?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Teaching Generosity

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When I (List Maker Katie) think of the word generosity I think of giving abundantly to others out of the great abundance we've been given.  Although I am sure we would all say we hope to encourage generosity in all seasons, December is an obvious time to find opportunities to generously bless others with our time, conversation, attention, hospitality, and gifts.

To be generous is defined as giving or sharing without hesitation.  I love that!  There are many synonyms for generousity, to name a few: bounteous, bountiful, charitable, liberal, openhanded, unselfish, unsparing, hospitable, humanitarian, and benevolent.  Now those are some characteristics I hope to develop in my family!  Below is a collection of several resources that may be helpful.

The Suburban Journals suggests practical ways to turn holiday gift giving into lessons about generosity.

This books in this list all have lessons about generosity.

Robyn gives a fantastic list of 22 ways to teach generosity to children in her post.

Check out the printables from happyhome club for some generosity inspired family fun and conversation starters.

Wonder How To?  Check out Factoidz for an article on teaching generosity to your child.

Read more about teaching children generosity at Motherhood Inc.
Check out the list of Top 10 Christmas Service Projects, sure to open the discussion about being generous.

Families with Purpose has also put together a helpful list of suggestions for giving of our time and resources to others.

Work with your children to clean out their toy boxes and clothes closets to find items to donate to families in need.  Generosity starts at home.

Be sure to check in next Friday on our Holiday Blog Hop devoted to Homemade Gift Giving.  What better way to teach generosity than to get your children involved in creating gifts for others.

Please feel free to leave links in the comment sections to posts that show your families demonstrations of generosity this holiday season and all year through!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kid Made Holiday Decorations

Monky See, Monkey Do submitted some neat ideas posted as part of her Have a Recycled Christmas theme. Use boxes and milk cartons to decorate a Christmas scene and put together a nativity.

Mama Jenn and her kids put together these sweet little clothespin reindeer decorations.

These pinecone trees from, Way More Homemade, are adorable and fun for the kids to do!

Raising Memories has shared with us a recipe for making homemade salt dough ornaments.

Teaching Tiny Tots submitted a fun variation on the handprint Christmas wreath.

Make an angel decoration using hand & foot prints, such as this one shared by Our Cozy Little Book Corner.

They also have a fun idea for putting together a textured Santa Claus.

Don't forget about the great fine motor practice opportunity while making the traditional favorite paper chains - also good for counting, estimating, and measuring practice.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Silver & Gold

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The official Hershey site has a collection of craft ideas made from silver and gold wrapped Kisses.

Hang a disco ball and dance the evening away, with your children, under the silver sparkles.

Tin Foil Sculptures

My (List Maker Katie) oldest 2 children had fun creating tin foil characters using the instructions we saw in Family Fun.

Practice sorting and counting nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Elise has put together, and shared, a Christmas themed counting and patterning lesson with a dash of sparkle!

Make a holiday wreath , like this Modern Mom's, out of silver bells or golden balls.

Don't Eat the Paste is on to something shimmery with these glittered recycled ornaments.

Put together a Gold Cone Angel with instructions from Craftbits.

Stamp and emboss some holiday greeting cards using silver and gold. Just Deanna has put together a card holder with a silver star to get your wheels turning.

Put together Little Elephant's shiny gold and silver advent cone line or use a similar idea to practice counting.

Molly's Sketchbook has explained a dreidel game that uses shiny gold coins.

Put together a golden pasta wreath with inspiration from Our Worldwise Classroom.