ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Health & Nutrition

Welcome to Wondertime Wednesday's Science Corner!
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Run the Earth...shared a neat post called Red Light, Green Light about eating like a traffic light!

Apples and Jammies submitted a link to plans for a two week study of healthy eating. She has included many fun picture books, field experiences, and hands on activities.

Thanks to Starr for the following submission.
Back to school lunches: creative and educational solutions
Description: Make packing lunches fun by letting children help plan meals based on the food pyramid, create an ongoing lunchtime story, make secret codes and create fun crafts.

The Masked Mommy put together a really clever art lesson that highlights healthy eating using the food pyramid. You won't want to miss out on this link! It's appropriate for kids of many different ages.

It's not too early to start thinking about a healthy alternative for dealing with all the Trick or Treat loot. Thanks to Nicki for this idea:
"For Halloween (the biggest candy holiday at our house), the boys leave all but 10 pieces of their candy in containers by the front door when they go to bed. During the night, the Halloween Fairy visits and uses all the energy in the sugar to change the candy into a toy! Whee! :) It's usually a book, puzzle, game, etc. They get to eat their 10 pieces, one piece a day, after dinner each night. So far, no complaints!"

See 'em! Serve 'em! Sing 'em! Wear 'em! Food Group Fun from The Home Teacher.

Daily Whisper and Er-u-di-tion Giveaway Winner

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Congratulations to Annette the winner of the Daily Whisper, Daily Affirmation Cards for Kids Giveaway!

Annette said...
I also left a post on Opey.

and our other big winner is...

Congratulations to Kellie the winner of the Er-u-di-tion Game Giveaway!

Kellie said...

I follow ABC & 123

Happy Reading!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Feature: Author Study Challenge

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
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We are looking forward to rolling out a new monthly feature beginning in October!
Introducing the Monthly Author Challenge!

Today we will be throwing out the challenge. You will have until the end of October (October 22nd, to be exact) to familiarize yourself with the author, plan an activity using one of his/her books, publish your post, and send us the link!

Unlike our Saturday Show and Tell we will be compiling all of the links and ideas into our scheduled post. You will want to submit your post to us via email to be included. You Author Challenge submission should include: your name/blog's name, the book(s) you used by that author, the ages of the children who participated, and a link to your post. (If you do not have a blog and would like to participate, that is great. Please send us a bit of information about the activities you completed and any pictures you'd like included). If you use an idea you have seen somewhere else, please give credit where it is due within your post.

We are really looking forward to seeing what types of creativity abounds, finding new ideas, and trying some new activities of our own!

Ready for the October challenge...

Eric Carle

Some Inspiration:
The Official Eric Carle Website
The Eric Carle Booklist
Eric Carle's Blog
Eric Carle Bio Info
The Eric Carle Museum Site
Eric Carle Scholastic Author Study
Have fun!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Musical Monday: They Might Be Giants

Welcome to Musical Monday! New to ABC and 123?
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Thank you so much to Alex, husband to Holly (creator of Mother Is Not Concerned) and daddy to their two boys, Zachary (6) and Corey (3) for guest writing today's Musical Monday! Alex has dabbled in music review writing since high school, both for his college newspaper and on his own blog, The Curiouser Music Review. When not listening to, writing about or creating his own music, he works as an advertising copywriter.

If your kids are anything like mine, then they just can’t get enough music. When they’re not listening in the car or on the stereo (usually accompanied by an impromptu interpretive dance), they’re plugging into their iPods, banging on their collection of toy instruments or randomly bursting into song. Now, we all know that music is, by and large, a good thing for a child’s development. But what about the parents? I mean, if our kids are going to insist on listening to the same album over and over again (as they are wont to do), shouldn’t there be something in it that we grownups can tolerate or, better yet, actually enjoy on some level?

That’s where They Might Be Giants comes in. Since the early '80s, the duo of John Linnell and John Flansburgh (known to fans as “the two Johns”) has been creating quirky, amusing, likable and—let’s just say it—bizarre rock music for adults. It’s the kind of group more inclined to write songs about palindromes and birds that live in electrical outlets than love, and who are as adept at accordion and tuba as they are guitar and synthesizers.

It wasn’t until 2002 that the band released their first proper children’s album. Still, their impressive pedigree of absurdism and songs on such erudite topics as former presidents (“James K. Polk”), the animal kingdom (“Mammal”) and geometry (“Particle Man”) makes their moonlighting as a hip kiddie band seem like it was destined from the start.

Over the past seven years, They Might Be Giants has released four full-length kids’ albums, and, in many ways, they aren’t all that different from the kind of material they’ve been creating all along. Each has all the strange lyrical twists, the memorable power-pop-meets-kitchen-sink melodies and, of course, those unmistakably nasal vocals.

The major difference is that most of these albums, particularly the Here Come… series, focus on a single topic, whether that be the alphabet, numbers or, in their most recent release, the wonders of science. Most also come packaged with a video DVD, setting each of the songs to whimsical and artistic animated videos, along with spoken-word interludes from a puppet or cartoon version of John and John. The added visual stimulation does a great job of keeping kids engaged with the topic at hand, while still being every bit as fun and entertaining as the music itself.

So, which albums to get first? For younger kids, say six and under, I’d recommend starting with either Here Come the ABCs or Here Come the 123s. These cover everything from the importance of vowels and how to make numbers bigger by adding on zeroes, to reciting the alphabet backwards and identifying a nonagon.

Grade-school kids will enjoy these as well, but will probably appreciate the more sophisticated lessons of Here Comes Science, featuring songs about the scientific method, the elements, evolution, the solar system and more. The band even cleverly illustrates how science is constantly refining its findings by following the song “How Does the Sun Shine?” (one that’s long been in their repertoire) with the more scientifically up-to-date lyrics of “How Does the Sun Really Shine?”

Meanwhile, No! stands as a perfect all-purpose Giants kids album, featuring weird and wonderful songs on topics such as violins, robot parades and The Edison Museum.

No matter which They Might Be Giants release you go with, your kids are sure to enjoy all the new facts they’ll pick up, delivered with the Johns’ trademark creativity and wit. Just as important, they’ll be listening to some great music by one of the best bands of the past quarter-century (and so, thankfully, will you). Hey, it beats Barney any day.

To get a better taste of They Might Be Giants’ music for kids, check out the YouTube videos below, subscribe to the TMBG Family Video Podcast, or visit the band’s Web site at

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In the Kitchen: Apple Recipes

Welcome to Saturday Show and Tell!

This week's edition will feature all the fun ways you have used apples with your "Kids in the Kitchen." We've already shared several ideas and recipes in the last few days, but we are looking forward to hearing more from you! Please link to a new or archived post that shares a recipe including apples!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen: Apple Recipes

Welcome to ABC & 123: A Learning Cooperative.

Today's Fun Friday with Kids in the Kitchen has a seasonal flavor. We're talking apple recipes!

If you have other delicious apple ideas you make with your family, please post it and be ready to link up to tomorrow's Show and Tell Saturday!

Family Fun has a bushel of apple recipes for: breakfasts, sauces, snacks, desserts, and more!

Make them smile with some apple smiles, like at Katie's Nesting Spot.

Beth at From the Hive shares this super simple 3 ingredient apple dip, sounds quick and yummy!

Susana from Our Homeschool Fun was also inspired by Muffin Tin Monday to make mini muffin tin apple pies. We bet they were delicious and the apple party picks stuck in some of them are really fun! Find her post with the recipe, here.

National Network for Child Care has posted an Apple Cookie recipe. They also have a unique recipe for Apple Pudding.

Caramel Apples are typically a fall favorite.

Kaboose also explains how to make Red Candied Apples.

Here is an entire blog devoted to apple recipes, Just Apple Recipes Blog!

Maryland Apples has a clever recips for Apple Fruit Roll Ups. Their Apple Jigglers also sound like a kid friendly food!

Baked Apple Ice Cream sounds like the perfect topping for a warm apple crisp!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!

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Apples are often synonymous with autumn and back to school and it looks like a lot of our members have been enjoying this popular seasonal theme. We'll also be featuring favorite cooking activities with apples tomorrow, so come back for some tasty ways to use apples!

And this Saturday will be our first Show and Tell Linky, we'd love for you to share your in the kitchen with kids posts. Any activity that incorates food, tips on making cooking with kids successful, or receipes that are kids friendly would be great ones to link up. You are of course, always welcome to link up any kind of post that you'd like to show us!

Maureen at Spell Outloud made up these very helpful apple pattern cards, using pictures she took herself! You can find the print out as well as several very useful links in her Everything Apples post.

You should also visit Spell Outloud to see how she incorporated apples into an activity to learn about technology.

Being primary teachers, we've seen A LOT of apple ideas, but this one is new to at least one of us! Aren't Beth's paper bag apple trees cute? We also like the apple stamped note cards and napkins that they made previously.

Jackie at Pocketful of Posies did several apple themed activities. They started with a Ten Red Apple's book activity, that would also translate well into a felt board retelling activity. They made apple prints and also used the apples to paint letter A's before enjoying peanut butter and apple slice sandwiches.

They also made paper scrap paper plate apples, and Jackie had a great idea to incorporate cutting practice into it. They laced around apple shapes and played a fun apple fishing game that practiced number recognition.

Mama Jenn shares this fun "Worms in My Apples" file folder game that teaching one to one correspondence. She got it from a great resource that Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot has personally used A LOT, Hubbard's Cupboard. There are several other apple related activities on the site, pictures of suggest activities we like and have used can be seen under The Fall of Man, scroll down to the bottom of the page under Related Resources for links to many of the printables used in the hands on activities.

Joann at Ten Kids and and Dog made this adorable seasonal handprint apple tree book with her kids, inspired by the book The Season of Arnold's Apple Tree. What a fun way to show the changing seasons.

Rachel at Quirky Momma used Muffin Tin Monday as a jumping off point for several apple related activities from counting, fractions, shapes, tastes, and textures. Head on over to Her Cup Overfloweth for many other apple inspired Muffin Tin's, it was the theme the week of September 14th.

Kristi at Run the Earth, Watch the Sky taught her daughter about the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) using this apple print activity. She also gives a good tip to use freezer paper so the paint doesn't bleed through. She also shares many other apple related activities such as comparing different types and using comparison language and shares her successes with their first dictation project. Kristi, we're glad to hear it went so well!

We love the happy faces on The Harris Family, shake those apples girls! Crystal also shares other fun projects, like one based on an apple tree originally on one of our founder's blogs. She also provides links to some fun related resources like the a apple puzzle and books she used.

Beth at Apples and Jammies, appropriate that she's contributed to this post don't you think, shared her apple unit. It's very well organized into content area, and we love this apple doll perfect for upcoming Halloween.

Root and Wings Co. had a great idea for an apple themed bulletin board with a twist. Each child will get to add something that they are looking forward to during the coming year, add it to an apple, and then to the display. This is away to show our children, that they can to choose to be happy. Great idea!

More great apple units can be found at:
K-Crew, Apples Unit
Kinder Korner, A is for Apple
The Virtual Vine, Apple Pickin' Time

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sight Word Games

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Sight Words, by definition, don't follow phonetic rules. They are not easy to sound out. They have to be memorized. However, memorization can be a tedious process when words are presented in endless lists with only auditory or visual clues. Sight Words are best learned though games.

You may want to begin by familiarizing yourself with some of the many different sight word lists from CanDo.

Suggestions for practicing with sight words are given at Literacy Connections.

For another overview of sight word games you may appreciate this Sight Word

Er-u-di-tion is a sight word review game. Unlike most sight words games, this is a colorful & competitive board game. The game is built around the Dolch and Fry sight word lists, and while playing your child will learn over 300 key letters and words necessary for successful reading.

As adults and children interact with this game they will make their way around a board designed to look like a community. There are opportunities along the way to encourage vocabulary, ask questions, and build awareness. The game comes with 5 solid colored playing pieces. However, after learning the game my family has used Match Box cars and zoo animals as fill in pieces to add variety to the game.

There are many levels of play, which make this game beneficial to children of many different ability levels. My 2 oldest children are currently working on very different literacy goals, yet they are able to play the game together.

After playing for just a few months in our home, I sent the following testimonial to the creators of Er-u-di-tion,
“We have been having a lot of fun with Er-u-di-tion as a family. My 5 year old has declared it to be his favorite game of the summer. That is exciting to me as we are already seeing a lot of improvement in his sight word recall. The game is motivating and effective! My 3 year old is close to having the alphabet cards mastered too - yeah!”

Er-u-di-tion is offering one of our readers a chance to win a game of their own.
Parents - you will want a copy of this game to play at home.
Teacher - this game is a fantastic classroom resource appropriate for differentiating instruction based on the unique abilities of each of the students in your classroom.

To be entered to win, simply visit Er-u-di-tion's website and report back to us with something you learned about Sight Words and/or the game.

For additional entries:
~Follow ABC & 123
~Subscribe to ABC & 123
~Become an ABC & 123 Facebook Fan (in our left hand side bar)
~Tweet about this giveaway
~Comment about which sight word list your child is currently working with

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, September 29th at 10PM EST. However, this fantastic learning game is always available for purchase.

Bloem and Grow Blocks Winner

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
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Thanks to all of you who entered the Bloem and Grow giveaway. It was exciting to Kate to see your positive feedback and support. We were also all excited about the many creative learning ideas for using ABC blocks.

If you live in or around the West Michigan area you may be interested in seeing Bloem and Grow this Saturday (September 26th) at Zeeland Christian Schools Fall Craft Sale.

The winner of the Alphabet Block set is comment #27. Congratulations Natalie!!!

Natalie said...
You can do matching games with the blocks

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Red Activities

Welcome to Toddler Tuesday! New to ABC and 123?
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Theme Suggestions:
Fire Trucks
Lightning McQueen
Clifford, the big red dog

Check out the collection of Red Craft Ideas at Preschool Education.

Sing a Song about the color red.

Make some red bath paint using Quirky Mom's recipe.

United Teaching submitted her post which includes downloadable Montessori cards for the color red.

Put together a Red Glitter Discovery bottle.

Snack Suggestions:
Red Licorice
Sliced Red Peppers
Fruit Roll Ups
Tomato Soup

Info Soup has a fantastic list of books about the color red!
How to Teach Kids also has a nice line up of red books.
Little Red Hen
The Red Pony
Little Red Riding Hood
The Red Umbrella
Make your own Red Mini-Book
Red Light, Green Light
Red Rover
Little Red Wagon Races
Scavenger Hunt for Red Autumn Leaves

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Chance to Win!

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
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Hi Everyone! We hope you're all enjoying the great counting activities we're sharing today! But...

We think our giveaway for The Daily Whisper's set of Daily Affirmation Cards for kids might have gotten overlooked in the Back to School craziness. We wanted to make sure you all had an opportunity to enter and win a very useful took to teach your kids one of the most important life skills you children can develop, self esteem! We're going to keep the giveaway open one more week, until Monday September 28th midnight EST. This giveaway is open to all our readers worldwide.

We'd also like to remind you that our giveaway for the Bloem and Grow blocks ends tomorrow September 22nd at midnight and tell you about a big giveaway for a children's art easel and paint set worth $89. Stop on by Katie's Nesting Spot for a chance to win, it would make a fabulous big ticket Christmas gift!

Speaking of getting a jump on early holiday shopping, both Katies are also hosting giveaways for rolled poster prints. Framed up and ready to hang, we think lot of grandparents would probably love one for their wall and it would look great on your walls too! Enter at A Listmaker's Life and at Katie's Nesting Spot.

Counting Activities

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Today's Math Monday will focus on COUNTING! We had so MANY fantastic submissions. If you don't find your link in this post watch for it in Counting Part 2.

Mama Jenn put together Q-Tip counting trays.

Put together a personalized counting book similar to Basia's at United Teaching.

Roots and Wings Co submitted a link full for suggestions for fun things to count.

A simple math grid game makes for quick and fun practice. Thanks Princess with a Half Price Tiara.

Adventures of a Flake put together a Muffin Tin Monday with a Counting Twist.

Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary repurposed their ice cube trays to make them into counting manipulatives.

Children's Resources Galore featured a Friends to Ten resource for counting practice.

Michelle mentioned her cute If You Give a Moose a Muffin counting activity.

Miller Moments made counting fun for an active little one with the Number Hop.

Storytime and More put together a count and color notebook.

Michelle submitted counting 1-2-3 with Cookie Cutters.

Susana at Our Homeschool Adventures submitted this idea for counting and graphing Gummy Bears.

Her child also practiced by counting pom-poms.

KC at the Wonder Years shared the following lesson.
What can you do with math manipulatives?
Objective: To use math manipulatives in a variety of ways to illustrate mathematical concepts from counting, sorting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Have fun counting!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Alphabet Activities: Letter L

Welcome to Fun with Letters Friday! New to ABC and 123?
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L is for Llamas & Lasagna

L is for Lacing Beads & Letters

L is for Lapbooks about Ladybugs

Ladybug Rock Projects and Matching Games

Ladybug Counting, Stickers, and Fine Motor Practice

L is for Leaf Wreaths and Leaf Rubbings

L is for Lavendar and Lime Green
L is for Listening
L is for Leopard Masks and Lion Crafts
L is for Little and Large - do a categorizing lesson using these 2 terms.
L is for Lunch, Licorice, Lemonade
L is for Leaning, Climbing Ladders, Laughing, and Letting Go
L is for a Visit to the Lake, playing Laser Tag, Visiting the Library, Riding in a Limo, and Writing a Letter. Visit the Home Teacher for Lots More L Ideas.
L is for Love

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Community Helpers

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Welcome to the Community Helpers version of Thematic Thursday! Learning about the people and services that help keep a community running smoothly is an important part of social studies.

PreKinders has shared some colorful graphics and suggestions to assist in teaching about Community Helpers. Also within their Community Unit there are very helpful book lists , songs, and more.

Beth at Apples and Jammies shared her Community Helper's Unit, during which they made a map of the community. She also gives book suggestions and even a bible tie in.

No Time for Flashcards has several ideas for pretend activities that can help teach about the community:

Get traveling on the Foyer Airplane, when learning about airplane pilots.
Learn about bakers, by read Mr. Cookie Baker and then have fun making a puffy paint cookies and doing this sorting activity. Check out the rest of Monica Wellington's books, several would be good for other occupations.

No Time for Flashcards also has great ideas for a pretend Coffee Shop, making a Hospital out of box, kitchen grocery store, for making your own mailbox and a mini art musuem. All of these would make great extention ideas. You could also play to learn about the different occupations and then follow it up with a related field trip, like their trip to the Fire Station.
Community Helpers is one theme that definitely lends itselt to field trips! After all what better way learn about doctors, dentists, firemen, the police, postal workers, chefs, and all other workers who help us everyday then going and seeing them in action. One of the coolest community field trips we're heard about is when Teach Mama took her kids to the Supreme Court. While not everyone, okay most of us aren't likely to make it to the highest court of law in the US, many of us DO have access to local legal institutions. Don't forget this wonderful way to show you kids the legal system in use!

Don't forget that we're always looking to hear about the great field trips you've taken! Be sure to send us links to them so we can feature the day you took learning on the road!

Making Learning Fun has printables and activities to enhance and round out a Community Helper's Unit:

Mrs Nelson's Class has a Community Helper's Unit with many links for further resources like this Mail Carrier's Hat and a whole powerpoint presentation on the hats community helper wear. We especially like her idea for a Helping Hand's Wreath: make a wreath using hand shapes each one with a name of a community helper written on it and the related Helping Hand's Venn Diagram she provides for comparing and contrasting two different helpers. There is even a Helping Hands writing and drawing page you can use to make a book.