ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teacher Feature: Book Review

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Jenn, a 2nd grade teacher, recently read the following book to enhance her writing instruction. She shares the following professional review with us here.

“Every student in your class, whatever the grade level, should have his or her own blog.”

Barry Lane, author of But How Do You Teach Writing? A Simple Guide for All Teachers

Barry Lane’s approach to teaching writing is entertaining and informative. His book, But How Do You Teach Writing? is separated into three main parts: getting started, reasons to keep writing, and how to make writing better. In it Lane suggests ways to enhance student performance in both fiction and nonfiction writing. He emphasizes the need for teachers to allow students to choose their own topics and strongly encourages teacher creativity and flexibility. In order to meet individual needs, Lane recommends setting up a writer’s workshop where the process of writing can be explored. He provides some basic guidelines to follow while acknowledging the need for teachers to create their own structure. The “Lane’s Law of Literacy” statements that appear throughout the book give quick glimpses into Lane’s personal beliefs as well as provide helpful insight. In addition, the funny comics throughout the text add a hint of his personal humor. It is an easy read and a great guide to have sitting by a desk. My copy is full of dog-eared pages, highlights, and sticky notes and I reference it often. I appreciate the layout of the chapters and the “Try this” sections that suggest how to put the ideas into practice. There is also a “Yeah, But” part at the end of each chapter where Lane answers readers’ questions. I especially like the top 21 forms that are provided at the end of the book. Barry Lane’s book is a must read for any teacher looking to improve student writing.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Management Monday

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Welcome to our first Management Monday post!

In this series we will spotlight ways to manage the many little details that accompany teaching in a classroom or at home.

Today we'd love for you to cooperate by adding your suggestions in the comment section.

How do you:
~organize your supplies and student materials
~maintain control of your students so you can get through a lesson
~lesson plan for your day (How much time do you allow per subject area?)
~keep track of & evaluate what you've taught
~manage planning, keeping up your home life, and continuing professional development
~keep records
~organize student work
~decide which student samples to save & how to store them

Are there any other techniques you have implemented for managing activities for optimal success?

Please send us your ideas. We will look forward to reading them and posting them on future Management Mondays!

Jill at Controlling My Chaos has a great tutorial on how to make a homework center, great for keeping distractions to a minimum while concentrating on important school work.

She also shared a simple and easy way for kids to personalize their backpack, so it won't get mixed up with all the other bags on the playground.This chore chart can be saved on your computer to help you track weekly assignments. There is also a more "manly" version available for your little man.For controlling the papers and artwork your children want to keep, Jill suggests a magnetic board system.

Peter Walsh from Clean Sweep shares a technique for organizing school work on momready. Manage school projects so they don't become more clutter.

Teacher Trick:
Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot suggests Popsicle Stick Turn Taking

Students are enthusiastic about participating! To keep turn taking fair, write each student's name on a popsicle stick and store them in a mug. Whenever student participation is required, pull a stick and allow that student to answer the question, be the special helper, or "pass" without giving a reason. Once the student has had a turn, put the stick back in the mug with the name side up instead of down. (If the student decides to pass, put their stick back down to give him or her another opportunity). The system allows every student an opportunity to participate some how during each day. Once the class is familiar with this method, the number of "shout out" answers will decrease and if a student does shout out an answer their stick can be turned around. They've then "missed" their next turn; most students don't want that to happen!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quiz Hub

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A key piece of classroom management is assessing students' understanding of the concepts they are learning.

We'd like to introduce you to one online option for reviewing key concepts with your student.

Quiz Hub offers interactive online learning for students from K-12. Retention, of core academic skills, is the purpose of the quiz activities.

The site includes:
~Educational Quizzes: matching & fill in the blank
~Thinking Games
~Logic Puzzles

Quizzes are categorized by grade level and subject area, and cover a WIDE variety of age appropriate skills.

Quiz Hub is offering our readers a FREE account from now until April 5th.
Take a look & play a bit. Review skills typically expected of children at many different age levels. Enjoy!

Account: abc123
Password: blue

Leave a comment here letting us know what you see as the benefits of Quiz Hub. We'd love to hear your discussion. What did you like about the site? Do you have any suggestions for enhancing the service the site provides?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Special: Play Dough Recipes

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WHY Play Dough???
~Builds fine motor muscles necessary for holding a pencil, buttoning, zipping, and opening.
~Great for practicing the safe uses of scissors
~Helps sensory development
~Encourages language skills
~By adding simple props (plastic animals, cutters, cars) to the play dough station you can help build imagination
~Provides a calm social-emotional experience - Stress Relief results from the pounding & squishing!

e beanstalk features a colorful set of dough tools which would make for lots of play dough texture fun!

This chocolate playdough from A Foothill Home Companion looks good enough to eat!

My Family Loves It shares recipes for Coffee Playdough and Chocolate Peanut Butter Playdough

Green and Crunchy has a recipe for Homemade Organic Recipe & a picture by picture tutorial.

Use your homemade playdough for this explosive home science experiment...sounds scary doesn't it! It really isn't! Check out the playdough volcanos at Her Cup Overfloweth.

Filth Wizardry has some fun ideas for a playdough bakery. Who knew playdough could be turned into such realistic play food? A fun activity for imaginative play.

3 bay b chicks shares 3 different edible play dough recipes: kool aid, jello, and "Jon & Kate" play dough.

If all these yummy flavored playdoughs have you thinking more about baking than playing try this recipe for Playdough Cookies from Saucy Eats!

There is some debate about whether or not "edible" play dough sends children a mixed message. What do you think? We'd love your comments on this topic.

Felt Board Winner

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Today, chose lucky #1. So, the winner of the handmade traveling felt board is Missy @ Two Little Monkeys.

Thanks to all of you for your participation & enthusiasm during our first 2 weeks of posts here at ABC & 123.

Although our daily kick off giveaways have come to an end, we do have more giveaways in the works for the next few months!

We will look forward to your continued commenting & cooperation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun Friday: Felt

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Felt boards are a valuable teaching tool.
~They provide visual cues and language support for early learners.
~They can make an abstract concept concrete.
~A child can see, touch, and move the pieces
~Felt boards are commonly used to help students learn words, songs, and rhymes.
~They assist in focusing on a story being told.
~They help in retelling stories for better comprehension.
~Simple songs and stories are often illustrated on felt boards.
~The concept of "how many" is often shown through backward counting songs and felt pieces.
Felt boards are useful teaching tools across the curriculum.
To get started, read the posts at Katie's Nesting Spot on how to make a simple felt board & a travel felt board. She is currently using them to teach her daughter about shapes, colors, and sorting by one or more attribute.

Family Fun Magazine has a felt board alternative. They include directions for making a felt board inside of a shoebox, which doubles as storage for your pieces.
Muffins and More shares felt board people and snowman. She has even made complete outfits for her daughter to put on the felt people. This cute heart puzzle is also Miss Muffin's handiwork. Melanie shares a felt board activity for the classic finger play song Five Little Ducks. Use this activity to engage your child in rhyme and repetition, backwards counting, and
independent storytelling.
Sara also shares her version of this classic song and provides a link to where she got her template.
Missy shares this "Who Ate the Food" felt board kit. It accompanies the classic children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Childcare Land share some felt board story ideas, complete with finished examples, directions on how to make and use her examples, free downloads, and resources for purchase. If you are new to felt board activities, the free examples provided will give you a start.

Most recently Thrifty Craft Mama shared a geometric shape pattern for a pick up truck. Follow her links to also build a castle and a train.

The Artful Parent shares an autumn scene and provides links within her post to a storyboard for Chicken Little. She also uses felt board for "build your own" flowers pots & an underwater scene that covers an entire wall! Imagine the hours of imaginative play and story-telling this provides!

Linda demonstrates the use of felt boards for older students: story scenes, counting with a 100 board, Roman numerals, place value, carrying, regrouping, and multiplication.

Today's Giveaway:
Today is our two week anniversary & the last of our daily giveaways. We hope you've enjoyed the ideas you've seen so far and continue to come back for more. Please continue to share the activities you are doing with your own children so we can all benefit from each other's ideas. Submit your ideas by emailing:
Today's giveaway is a travel felt board set handmade by Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot.
You will receive one entry per comment.

To Win:
Leave a comment: What kinds of activities & age levels are you most interested in reading?
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Add our button to your site

Good Luck! We’ll announce a winner tomorrow!

Sharing a Subscription

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
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Noelle @ Lil' Bits and Pieces of Me , you are the winner of a subscription to Parents magazine.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

National Nutrition Month

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Healthy Snacks and Food Games:

This Early Childhood Education site lists nutritious snack ideas & recipes you can put together with your children.

Shannon at Fly to My Window recently played two meal time games. The first game requires an eye mask. Kids use their other 4 senses to experience the meal.

After your meal play, "Don't Eat Pete!" Shannon links to the site where you can download a free game board. Anna at k e household shares sneaky smoothie recipes. Making smoothies provides opportunity to teach basic math concepts, while preparing a healthy, yummy snack!

Teaching Two made adorable little ladybug snacks!

Flipflops and Applesauce suggests beginning a Tasty Tasty Club. Each time your child tries a new food, punch a hold in their club card. When the card fills up the reward is a special activity. A Tasty Tasty printable card is provided.

For a space inspired snack try NASA's activity. Construct an edible model of a space transportation system. Although this lesson isn't intended to teach nutrition, the outcome is a healthy snack. It just might be enought to encourage little space enthusiasts to give carrots and celery a chance.

Nutrition for Kids has a few simple and brightly illustrated free games your child can play on the computer

Story Time Activities:

Use this lesson with Gregory the Terrible Eater. It was created as a K-2 group lesson, however it could be down in stages at home.

A Listmaker's Life has 3 ideas for learning from the book The Pie is Cherry.

Introduce the names of healthy fruits and veggies with the picture book Eating the Alphabet.

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato is about siblings Charlie and Lola. Lola is a very picker eater. Find out how inventive Charlie gets his little sister to eat mouthsquirters. The book could be a springboard for an imaginative writing activity. Ask your child to choose a health food and make up their own use and name for it. Ocean nibbles, i.e. fish sticks anyone?

Food for Thought, by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers, shows off the duos flair for food sculping. You'll never look at fruit and vegetables the same way again. This book covers the basic concepts of shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and opposites. In the process your child will be exposed to pictures of some some new healthy foods to try. We love the different expressions and edible characters. Now, Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot can identify a bunch of new fruits and vegetables.

The Vegetables We Eat, by Gail Gibbons, is a picture introduction to vegetables. With its' bright watercolor paintings it is informative, while not overwhelming. It introduces readers to the different types of vegetables: leaf, bulb, flower bud, root, tuber, stem, fruit, and seed with clear and concise text. Read this book before planning a simple vegetable garden to tend this summer.

Worth Checking Out: Unfortunately Oliver's Fruit Salad is no longer in print but if your library has it try to borrow it. Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot read this at the end of a week long fruit unit. The pictures are bright and colorful. Accompany the reading with a class cooking project: a healthy fruit salad

Good Enough to Eat is a beginner's guide to nutrition, aimed at kids 5-9. The publisher has a readers' guide with suggested activities such as: drawing your family's favorite meal on a paper plate, cutting food pictures out magazines, and checking how the meal measures up to the food pyramid. Suggestions for older students include: keep a food journal for a week, compare the journal entries to the food pyramid, and use the 2 resources to create a healthier eating plan. Activities for food labels are also suggested.

Eat Healthy Feel Great is used in this activity provided by UEN. It is appropriate for first graders. Pdfs of food cards & a stop light are provided. It is a lesson complete with anticipatory set and details for assessment.

Nutrition Units:

DLTK has nutrition activities that include coloring pages & crafts. A simple, predictable reader is available. Accompanied by a worksheet, sequence cards, printable bingo cards, dominos, memory cards, and even name tags. There is also another story There's a Crocodile in Our Pickle Jar, with a more advanced story line, sequence cards, word search, etc.

First School has several health and nutrition activities for preschool many of which would also tie into alphabet or seasonal studies.

Kidz Club has a number of free worksheets and printable activities including: fruit & vegetable pictures you can use to sort, a farm to table matching activitiy, and a food pyramid art project.

Additional Reading:

How to Teach Nutrition to Kids, was written by a registered dietitian and shows that healthful eating and physical activity can be fun and positively impact your life. The book provides information on helping children learn to evaluate nutrition information, how to choose the right things to eat, and food preparationg techniques that make healthy eating fun. Step-by-step instructions are provides for 200+ activities.

Now that you've learned all about nutrition, it's time for a fun, nutritious snack... try Apple Cupcakes, we think serving them in a cupcake holder is a must!

1.Cut an apple in half
2.Put the half into a cupcake liner
3."Frost" with peanut butter or low fat cream cheese
4. Add raisins or granola "sprinkles"

Giveaway: A One Year Subscription to Parents Magazine

For today's giveaway we will be sending one reader a year long subscription to Parents Magazine.

You will receive one entry per comment. Please submit separate comments for each entry option you choose.

To Win:
Leave a comment
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Add our button to your site

Good Luck! We will announce a winner tomorrow!

Tuesday's Winner

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
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Congratulations L Harris @ Just Our Thoughts.
You are the winner of the First Words workbook & flashcards.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ABC Learn with Me: Letter Identification

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It is important to practice learning all the letters of the ABC! As you do your child will become familiar with each individual letter.

Is your toddler interested in using the computer, but lacking the skills needed to find specific keys? Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot's uses this simple introduction to the letters computer activity from Fisher Price to help her toddler. It says each letter in order and with a push of a button the letter morphs into the next one. There is also a zoo animals game which says the letter and the corresponding zoo animal, but her daughter prefers the no frills version.

Alphabet Bang offers a similar format. The game takes your child through the alphabet. An animated child says each letter and identifies a corresponding object.

AlphaSong provides a song & activity for each letter of the alphabet.

Homeschooling & Home has an article explaining the "why?" behind using sandpaper alphabet letters and provides a link to templates you can use to make your own.

Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot has used sandpaper letters. They are great for students who learn best from a multisensory delivery. Students also enjoy making crayon rubbings. Place a sandpaper letter under the paper and scribble on top of the paper until the letter appears. One fun "game" is called mystery letter. Don't tell your child which letter is under the paper. Let them guess and "discover" for themselves.

Blissful Moments suggests an ABC activity using a recycled cereal box.
Print two sets of alphabet flashcards. Try these or these and play Alphabet Go Fish, Alphabet Old Maid (add one blank card for the old maid), or Alphabet War (just decide which one wins closer to the beginning or end of the alphabet). Here are some cards without pictures and some game descriptions.

Thanks to Michelle for submitting this fantastic letter identification lesson.
Her Cup Overfloweth pictures a Scrabble Tile Sorting idea as one way to practice letter identification.

Having Fun at Home, shares a wall pocket matching activity and ABC Tuna Cans.
Mama Bear's Cubhouse shares this great magnetic alphabet activity. It may take a little work to put together, but she shares ideas on how to make this a multi-level activity. You can start by working on matching letters and move to ABC order and spelling. Best of all, it's in a metal tin so you can use it for studying on the go.

Montessori Mom has some Alphabet Bingo cards you can download in pdf form for free to play with your child.

Flipflops and Applesauce shows us how to make and play an Uppercase and Lowercase Alphabet Matching Game and provides letter templates to use.
Today's Giveaway:
We have a learning set suitable for reinforcing alphabet skills. The workbook has colorful pages and the flashcards can be used for learning beginning and ending sounds.

You will receive one entry per comment. Please submit separate comments for each entry option you choose.

To Win:
Leave a comment
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Add our button to your site

Good Luck! We’ll announce a winner tomorrow!

Monday's Winner

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The winner of Monday's flashcards & workbook is Tracey @ Girls to Grow

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ABC Learn With Me: Printing

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Learning to print is a tricky skill to master. It requires a lot of practice and hard work. It is difficult for little ones who are just developing fine motor skills. While traditional worksheet practice has it's place, it's best try to vary the way students practice. Look for activities that incorporate printing practice and play!
Preschool Playbook does a great job explaining the wet, dry, try method from the handwriting program Handwriting Without Tears (HWT). This is an excellent program that Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot has used with numerous classes and highly recommends. The wooden pieces to form letters are worth the investment as are the workbooks, when working with young learners. Check out their website for more information on this sucessful program.
Michaele from Kindergarten's 3 R's shares her writing center. It is stocked with a handy alphabet for kids to reference for letter formation, stencils with flip books of the matching words for copying, and an assortment of papers and pencils. It's a lot more fun for students to practice printing in a station like this than on endless worksheets.

Another activity used during center time in Kindergarten is Write the Room, Katie's Nesting Spot describes the activity and tells us how she used it in her classroom.

If you need some basic worksheets to supplement your lessons with, has a set of free alphabet practice sheets available for download and set of number writing worksheets each one with a number formation poem on it. You need to sign up for a free membership in order to have access to the downloads. Other useful downloads such a numberous school themed poems and song cards are available as well as songs for each month of the year and months of the year book (you can use this for a super simple memory book, have your child do a self drawing every month on that month's page and compile at the end of the year. Looking back at the changes is fun), a couple of free emergent readers, and a free font are also given with the free membership. Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot has incorporated many of the free songs into calendar activities and her students really liked the A Dot Will Do song for helping kids use glue independently fun.

Practice printing tricky letters with a game of Tic-Tac-Toe from A Listmaker's Life.
Flips and Applesauce shares a great idea, get your kids to practice their writing by helping you complete a fill in the blank letter for a pen pal. You could brainstorm answers together, write a model out for them, and then have your child complete the fill in the blanks by copying from your example.

Did you practice cutting with paint chips? Now you can practice printing with them too. Katie from A Listmaker's Life has created a printing and matching game with the recycled cutting practice squares!

Kid Zone has a collection of Pre-Printing Skills Practice printables you may be interested in.
As we have suggested that worksheets are not always most effective, use the ideas/line suggestions from the free traceables to try with other mediums such as: shaving cream, pudding, finger paint, and more!

If you are up for practicing with finger paint, Kathie at Frugal, Fit & Fabulous has a recipe for edible finger paint you could try.

Katie's Nesting Spot shows ways that picture word cards or picture flashcards can be incorporated into printing practice.

She made simple picture dictionaries on a word processing program but you can also use these cute blank books that Filpflops and Applesauce made. She provides a tutorial so you can make them too. Once the child gets older, wouldn't a kid created short story with self drawn illustrations look cute in one. Or you could make one together now as a parent & child activity. Have your child dictate a story, you write it in on the pages, and the child can illustrate. If your child can write some letters, share the pen and have them write some letters here and there or if they're beginning to sound out words have them figure out and the beginning sound of a word and write that letter.

Today's Giveaway:

We have a learning set with a color workbook and phonics cards. The workbook is perfect for early learners and has colorful pages and the cards can be used for the activity featured in today's post.

You will receive one entry per comment. Please submit separate comments for each entry option you choose.

To Win:
Leave a comment
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Add our button to your site

Good Luck! We’ll announce a winner tomorrow!

Calendar Giveaway

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Congrats to Missy from Two Little Monkeys who is the winner of the calendar stickers & sorting set!

Monday, March 23, 2009

123 Learn With Me: Calendar Skills

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When Katie, from a Listmaker's Life, was teaching second grade one of the math standards required students to write the names of the months in order and sort them by season.

Although many of our children are younger than second grade, it is not too early start working on calendar skills. In fact, in almost all preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st grade classrooms a portion of the day is spent on developing calendar skills.

Often calendar time includes:
Naming the days of the week
Naming the months of the year
Counting days
Looking for patterns
Grouping days by 10's
Identifying the names of days and months

Kelly's Kindergarten has helped you out by providing free printable calendar date pieces and provides links to other sources of free calendar materials. Scroll down past the weekly graph for the links.

Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Snapshots provides many ways to calendars, see her calendar wall with instructions for a step by step calendar lesson done whole class. Her students follow along and add to their own calendar binders, calendar file, or calendar notebook.

For more kindergarten calendar activity descriptions see Mrs. MacDowell's website, scroll down past the morning message portion of the page, but don't forget to read that too. She has some great ideas.

If you would like to incorporate graphing into your daily calendar lists of graphing ideas can be found here and here. A list of celebrations throughout the year to add to your calendar can be found here.

Instructor Web provides several lesson plans to teach calendar skills to students at several levels.

Recycle your old planners and/or calendars for an educational purpose. Cut the month labels off each page.

1. Work with your child to identify the names for each month.
2. Order the month titles from January to December
3. Sort the months into the seasons.

You can use old calendar pages with these activities.

Learn NC gives instructions for playing a calendar review game called BANG!

Today's Giveaway:

Creative Memories Jumbo Great Length Calendar Stickers
Mary Engelbreit Months of the Year Laminated Labels

You will receive one entry per comment. Please submit separate comments for each entry option you choose.

To Win:
Leave a comment - What is your favorite month of the year? Day of the week? Why?
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Add our button to your site

Good Luck! We’ll announce a winner tomorrow!

Thanks for your Cooperation

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It was interesting to read your many comments on cooperation. Thanks for sharing your favorite activities that require kids to cooperate.

The winner of The Little Red Hen read along giveaway is Kim @ Caldwell Cuties.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life Skills Lessons: Cooperation

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In the week since we have begun posting here on ABC and 123 we have already experienced the benefits of cooperating. There are so many fantastic ideas floating around the web and we seek to compile them as we all work together to teach the next generation of learners!

What is cooperation?
~a common effort
~working together for a common benefit
~team work
~form a common association
~to be compliant

~Cooperation promotes a good working environment, encourages peace, and advances humanity
~In order to cooperate we must first tackle our own feelings of greed or jealousy, often accompanied by wanting to achieve something by ourselves.

According to good cooperation requires: Compromise, Listening, Sharing, Encouraging, Taking Turns, and Doing Your Part.

We have compiled a collection of activities that are apporpriate for students of all ages!

Conversation Starters:
~What does the word cooperate mean to you?
~How does your family cooperate?
~What is fun about working in groups?
~What can be frustrating when working in groups?
~Tell about a time you cooperated with your friends.
~What is something you have to do to cooperate at school?
~Can you think of any examples of cooperation in nature?
~Alexander Graham Bell said, "Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds." What does that mean to you?
~When is it okay to be un-cooperative?


Ball in the Blanket
Split your group into groups of 4.
Give each person a corner of a blanket to hold
Place a ball in the center of the blanket.
On the "GO" signal ask the teams to work together to throw the ball off the blanket into the air and catch it on its' way back down.
How many successful bounces & catches can each team make?
It takes cooperation to make this happen!

Frogs on a Lily Pad
Set up 1 lily pad (carpet squares work) for each child
Start the music and ask the kids to walk around like musical chairs
When the music stops pick a pad to leap too
Start the music again, but remove a lily pad each time
Each time the music stops everyone should work together to find a lily pad to be on
As long as part of their body is touching the lily pad the "frog" is safe
No matter how many frogs end up each pad they need to work together to make room for all
As you continue playing have the frogs leap, skip, hop, and "swim" to the music.
When the music stops, how few pads can people manage to fit on if they work cooperatively?

Stand Up
Sit back to back with a partner. Link elbow and work together to stand up.
Try it again in a group of three...four...

Balloon City
Place a large number of balloons in a small area.
The challenge is to keep them all in the air any way they can without holding them.
No hands! Takes lots of cooperation!

Activities for Kids suggests several indoor and outdoor games for practicing cooperation! Many of the are quiet, as the children are not allowed to talk while they cooperate...hmmm...

Living Values Education focuses their attention on teaching cooperation to children between the ages of 8-14.

SandBox Learning has listed a collection of fun activities for teaching cooperation.

Art Projects:

Group Doodle
Give each person in the small group a piece of blank paper and doodling tools (crayons, markers, pencils) On the "Go" signal each person doodles on their own paper for 30 seconds. After the short time each person passes their paper to the person next to them. The 30 seconds begins again and this time each person adds to someone else's doodle. Continue passing around the table until the doodles return to the original artists. At the end of the circle take time to explain what they see in the group doodle and how it turned out.

Group Portrait
Learning Objective: The group will cooperate to create a "self portrait"

~crayons, markers, paint, or colored pencils
~1 piece of large white construction paper per participant

1. Begin by asking each person to fill their paper with a picture of their own face.
2. Individuals may use whatever art medium you provide to create their own face.

3. When all of the faces have been finished, collect them and cut them each into 4 equal pieces
4. Mix the pieces and work as a group to reconstruct the portraits using 4 different pieces from 4 different people.
5. Glue the 4 different pieces together on one piece of paper to create a new face.

6. While you are working on this project talk to the group about what it means to cooperate and how we all have to do our part to create something together.

Today's Giveaway:

Teach your children about the need for cooperation with this delightful version of the classic book, The Little Red Hen book and book on CD set.

You will receive one entry per comment. Please submit separate comments for each entry option you choose.

To Win:
Leave a comment - What is your favorite childhood game that requires cooperation?
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Display our button on your site
If you've posted about our site in the past week, let us know for another entry

Good Luck! We’ll announce a winner tomorrow!

Sew, Who Is Today's Winner?

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The winner of the sewing card kit is The Girl Who Painted Trees @ The Adventures of Bear.
Check out her most recent post sharing another fun version of a personalized ABC book!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Special: Sewing Cards

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Sewing and lacing cards are a good way to develop fine motor skills and hand eye coordination skills. Choose fun shapes and interesting illustrations and they'll also keep your child happily occupied too!

Kids Sewing Projects site will link you to a resource for printing your own alphabet sewing cards. You can also find large alphabet printables perfect for tracing onto foam craft sheet for making your own letter shaped lacing cards here. These would be suitable for many different alphabet activities.

Mandy at Doodle's Place has come up with a clever "needle" to go with her sewing cards.

Bella Dia has a set of 5 adorable vintage sewing cards available as FREE downloads.

Katie's Nesting Spot suggests saving old greeting cards, gluing the closed, punching holes, and then using them as lacing cards.

If you'd prefer to make your lacing cards out of fabric, Dyeing to Knit has an embroidered owl lacing tutorial. Her four year old twins are enjoying learning how to sew and the end result is really precious.

Today's Giveaway:
Our Sewing Cards Kit Giveaway is a nice activity for quietly passing time & fine motor practice.
It Includes:
~Foam sewing cards of many shapes and colors
~8 Sewing Strings
~A handmade storage bag
You will receive one entry per comment. Please submit separate comments for each entry option you choose.

To Win:
Leave a comment - What is your favorite hobby? Are you teaching your kids to also enjoy it?
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Add our button to your site

Good Luck! We’ll announce a winner tomorrow!

Ready for a Little Experimentation?

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The winner of the 2 simple science experiment books is k-e-household!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun Friday: From the Pantry

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Please see our FAQ in the left sidebar.

Today we have activities that incorporate many items most of us already have in kitchen for learning.

Use your noodle to think of a fun project for these colorful little pastas. These would be perfect for practicing patterning skills. Thanks for the fun idea Mama Bear's Cubhouse.
Anna at k e household uses her macaroni for an indoor sensory play tray. Her daughter enjoys scooping, dumping, and touching the pasta with her hands and feet.
Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot suggests stringing fruit loops onto pipe cleaners to practice fine motor skills, especially if your child is having difficulty with a bead and string set. The stiffness of the pipe cleaner really helps prevent frustration.
Jennwa at Ramblings of a Crazy Woman shows us how to make plastic stencils out of butter lids that might normally end up in the trash. This would be a fun and simple art project for even the youngest of artists. It could easily be tied into your learning content area, just make the stencil in a shape related to your unit. You could easily make a little counting book or illustrate a counting poem using this craft.

Discovery tables can be filled with all different items from your pantry. They tend to provide hours of fun for young children as they sift through rice, pasta, beans, and more. For an adaptation appropriate for elementary age children, try this. Hide many different coins in the rice. Have the students search for coins, name them, count them, make change, and more!
The Official HSB Community devoted an entire post to discovery table alternatives.

Lee Wade has a series of Cheerio Play books perfect for working on one-to-one correspondence with very little learners. Notice at the bottom of the link there is also a similar book that uses raisins. Both cheerios and raisins are staples in our pantry.
This toast looks too pretty to eat. Check out the instructions on Teaching Tiny Tots.

Try making a 123 lunch, the combinations are endless and at the end of a counting lesson you get to eat it! Here is an example from Katie's Nesting Spot.
1 cheese stick
2 tomatoes
3 green peppers
4 pieces of cucumber
5 pieces of clementine
6 spirals of turkey
7 marshmallows (for dessert!)

For Elementary Aged Learners Try this Lesson:

Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes shares an idea about examining teas with the five senses.

Today's Giveaway:
2 Simple Science Experiment books for putting more of your pantry items to use!

You will receive one entry per comment. Please submit separate comments for each entry option you choose.

To Win:
Leave a comment, and if there is a way you incorporate kitchen items such as food or recyclables into learning lets us all know!
Send us a submission
Become a follower
Add our button to your site

Tweet about ABC and 123, come leave us a comment so we know you did it!

Good Luck! We’ll announce a winner tomorrow!