ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: October 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Show and Tell

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Happy Halloween! We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable holiday with your little ones. We'd love to hear what your celebration includes, see all of the creative costumes you've come up with, and any Halloween themed lessons you did. Please link up this week with a post about your Halloween fun. McLinky will be open for one week so hop on!

Were you too late to pick up a pumpkin for carving? Well, it's never too late for your children to have some fun carving a virtual pumpkin:
The Pumpkin Farm
Bloom Petals

Give them a try today as part of your Halloween family fun.
Thanks to Anne for sending us these links.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun In the Kitchen: Pumpkin Recipes

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Arts and Crofts submitted a recipe for Libby's Pumpkin Jack o Lantern Cookies.

Learning Vicariously shared 3 suggestions for cooking with one pumpkin: pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, and Honey Mustard Pumpkin Soup. Looks like a tasty meal!

Put together a healthy pumpkin snack with a hollowed out orange and jello. Check out From the Hive for more instructions.

A List Maker's Life shared a pumpkin soup recipe, along with Jack-O-Lantern quesadillas, that were kid friendly.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin & Halloween Themed Books

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Great children's literature is such a great starting point for many lessons, we were so excited to see all the things you've done that are inspired by fall and Halloween books!
Halloween Hats by Elizabeth Winthrop and Sue Truesdell is a big hit with Susana household. Her son has her read it over and over. Her daughter made the witch's hat out of salt dough, shown above. It goes along with this book perfectly!

Susana at My Family, My Forever also did several fall and Halloween book inspired activities. The read It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall, Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell and The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin by Margaret Wise Brown. Then they made a paper plate jack o' lantern and carved their own Pumpkin Jack.

Their fall rake and leaves activity is in the same post too! Susana also suggests these fall themed books: A Grand Old Tree by Mary Newell Depalma and Fall Leaves Fall by Zoe Hall. Be sure you check out the homemade geoboard also in that post, it's a great learning tool.

We really like this different take on a using real leafs in a book related art project. Based on Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert that Susana did.

Diana at Arts and Crofts shares several of their favorite Halloween picture books AND how to make a really great Math Halloween House book! She writes, "This was a fun little art project, as well as a way to practice several math concepts. The added bonus: Everything fits neatly into a brown bag book." Each paper bag "house" contains an activity that focuses on the concepts of shapes, size sequencing, matching, counting, patterning, and putting together a puzzle.

Thanks to Silly Eagle Books for sharing a list of their favorite fall reading. The list includes poetry selections and books about the color orange.

After reading Autumnblings you will want to try Vanessa's follow up poetry activity.

Melissa from Imagination Soup has submitted a lengthy list of favorite book character costumes. If you're still looking for a last minute costume idea this is the place to go. Or, perhaps, you're ready to start planning ahead for next year's outfit!

Melissa also compiled a helpful list of best Halloween books for kids. She included our family favorite, Where is Babies Pumpkin by Karen Katz.

Starr wrote an article explaining how to create story book characters out of acorns and gourds. What a fun fall activity for encouraging literacy.

Halloween Books, Rhyme, Games, and More! Pre-Kinders is a fantastic holiday resource.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Experimenting with Pumpkins

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Do you have a child who would be fascinated by an exploding pumpkin? Check out this experiment.

Make your pumpkin Glow in the Dark with Steve Spangler's experimental fun.

How Do You Keep a Jack-O-Lantern from Rotting? Experiment with this cutting, carving, and preserving science suggestion.

Use your leftover pumpkins for several different scientific experiements.

Everything ESL has a Pumpkin Science lesson for students grades 2-6, exploring how pumpkins grow.

Teaching Tiny Tots shared a very well explained and layed out tot time experiment using pumpkin.

Use Arts and Crofts' suggestions for teaching your children about the life cycle of a pumpkin.

Watch a bit of Cool Halloween Science. Here is an oozing pumpking experiment!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Projects: Arts & Crafts

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Deirdre at JDaniel4's Mom made this pumpkin project using bingo daubers, that her son proudly points to on the refridgerator. We also love their idea of going on pumpkin hunts in their neighborhood while going walks through their neighborhood.

My Family My Forever put together a Muffin Tin Monday in pumpkin tins. They also made pumpkin magnets.

Put together a cute little pumpkin using a styrofoam ball.

Put together a pumpkin play mat for some creative play dough creations.

Pink and Green Mama shares a Craft-tastic Mini-Pumpkin Creation.

The Adventures of Bear used cookie cutters to make pumpkin prints.

Teaching Two explains how to make a clever 3D pumpkin out of an empty jello container.

Jen made these cute yarn pumpkins .

Search high and low for these foam pumpkins shared by From the Hive. What a fun game for your tot.

These Toilet Paper Pumpkins would be a fun addition for a classroom fall harvest party.

Our Crafts N Things put some great expressions on felt pumpkins using velcro tabs. They also had fun painting with pumpkins.

Deep Space Sparkle Art made these wonderful pumpkin paper collages with her first graders by painting the paper (Eric Carle style).

Preschool Playbook made cute Pumpkin Paper Lanterns.

Check out this adorable paper pumpkin story from Itty Bitty Love.

Anne of Itty Bitty Love also put together a pumpkin matching game.

Thanks to Pink and Green Mama for all the help in compiling ideas for this post!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Math

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Teach Mama put together a counting game featuring pumpkins and wizard hats.

Apples and Jammies submitted a post that features a thematic unit about pumpkins covering math, language arts, science, and social studies.

Print a free Halloween themed counting sheet or maze.

Confessions of a Homeschooler shared several neat activities that she put together for a P is for Pumpkin unit. The pumpkin graphing activity is a perfect thematic math activity.

However, the pumpkin puzzles, lacing cards, size order sheets, and more are all well constructed and effective practice tools.

Ten Kids and a Dog read the book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? and had some seed counting fun.

Pumpkin Counting and Patterns
Learning Objective - Counting and patterning using a pumpkin theme.
Thanks for the great submission Growing in Peace!

Use pumpkin cookie cutters and orange playdough to practice size order.

Pumpkin time is a perfect time for teaching the color orange. Our Crafts N Things also used the opportunity to teach the number three and the triangle shape.

Teach your littlest pumpkin all about colors with this thematic matching game from Crafts N Things.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Life Skills: Honesty

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"Honesty is always the best policy" George Washington

Halloween is all about masks and disguises, so it’s the perfect time of the year to talk about shedding the masks we create to hide who we really are. Many of us are honest with others but not always honest with ourselves, or how we represent ourselves to other people. We are afraid that if we reveal how we really think or feel, others will not like us. Since authenticity (being true to who are) is the foundation for all good relationships, this is one of those important life lessons that will impact your child’s happiness throughout their lifetime.

We need to teach the little people in our lives that it is okay to express their true feelings, as long as they do it in respectful and constructive ways. Young children naturally say what they feel and think, but they learn early in life that many emotions are “bad,” so they begin to lie in order to hide those “bad” feelings.

It is important to tell your children that honesty means expressing emotions that may seem silly, scary or bad. Always praise them for being honest and never reprimand or punish them for expressing their feelings. There should be consequences for behaving in disruptive, unkind, hurtful ways, but feelings should be accepted for what they are – just feelings. One of the best ways to teach your children the importance of honesty is to be honest with them by openly discussing your own feelings as much as is appropriate.

Exercpts taken from The Happy Home Club.

Conversation Starters:
What is honesty?
Why is it important to be honest?
What are the consequences of dishonesty?
Tell about a time you were honest. How did it make you feel?
Is there ever a time when "honesty is not the best policy"

Talk honestly about silly masks and faces with your children while making Glad/Sad/Mad Pretzels

Work with your children to write an honesty pledge. A commitment from them to be truthful in their words and actions. Ask them to sign the pledge after it is written.

With young children, put together this printable honesty train.

The Baby Center has a useful article on how to teach honesty to young children.

Teacher Planet has assembled a long list of Honesty lessons and activities.

Read a rebus story about honesty.
The Honest Mouth from Object Talks For Any Day by Kokmeyer
Ask the students if anyone knows what happens when you eat black licorice? (Put a piece in your mouth. You may want to put extra black food coloring on your piece before visiting the classroom; this will enhance the effect.) A mouth that has eaten black licorice turns black. (After chewing, open your mouth to show the result.) Yuck! Not only does your tongue look horrible, but soon your teeth and even your lips get black. It takes a long time before your mouth returns to its normal color. Dishonesty has a lasting effect on you, just like the black licorice. Like the licorice leaves our mouths black for a long time, we can see the results of telling lies long after we've told them. Others will lose their trust in us, privileges will be taken away, and friendships will be lost. Telling lies will leave a black ugly mark on you--just like the black licorice. Remember: It's always best to be honest and true, don't let the stain of dishonesty leave its mark on you.

The Tower of Flour from 10-Minute Life Lessons by Jaime Miller
Begin by spreading newspaper on a table. Place the dime in the center of the bottom of the plastic cup. Scoop flour into the glass. Pile it to the brim and press down firmly to make it compact. Place the paper plate on top of the glass and turn them over together on the newspaper. Tap the glass gently, and carefully lift it off. The flour will remain standing in the shape of the glass with the dime on top. Explain that the dime represents the trait honesty. Next, take the knife and carefully slice off the edge of the “flour tower’ being careful not to cut
too deeply. This represents what happened when we tell lies. Our reputation is weakened. Others will not trust or respect us, and eventually the tower of trust falls. Notice how each time more flour is removed the dime’s position becomes more precarious. Continue until the dime drops in.

Book Suggestions for Honesty

Franklin Finders Keepers, Paulette Bourgeois
Berenstain Bears and the Truth, Jan Berenstain
Jamaica’s Find, Juanita Havill
Arthur’s Computer Disaster, Marc Brown
To Tell Truth, Patti Farmer
Sly Fox and the Chicks, Carl Sommer
The Big Fat Enormous Lie, Margorie Weinman Sharmat
Tyrone, The Double, Dirty Rotten Cheater, Hans Wilhelm
Too Many Tamales, Gary Soto
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, Diane DeGroat
Honest Abe, Edith Kunhardt
Summer Wheels, Eve Bunting
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, Gordon Korman
The Summer When I was Ten, Pat Brisson
The Honest to Goodness Truth, Patricia C. McKissack
If You Had To Choose, What Would You Do? Sandra McLeod

Saturday, October 24, 2009


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Today's Saturday Spotlight features a spectacular option for your stationary needs! Minted offers professional art and graphic design, as well as high quality printing, for all your stationary needs. Offering baby announcements, wedding and shower invitations, save the date cards, menus, party invitations, open house announcements, holiday greetings, stationary, and more, Minted has the freshest designs on paper!

Today we are specifically highlighting their creative holiday photo cards, as well as their adorable personalized kid's stationary.

Minted offers innovatives design for enhancing the familiar picture cards and family letters. They combine contemporary colors with fabulous fonts. Some designs are quite traditional looking while others are funky and fresh! Isn't the peace, love, and joy written in theatre light font fun?

I was especially excited about the two alternatives to the "traditional" copy paper Christmas letters offered by Minted:

Yearline Holiday Cards
This card gives you several text boxes to enhance your photos in a timeline fashion or as a feature box for each member of your family.

Holiday MiniBook Cards
These mini matte paper books are bound with stylish grommets and hold 3-6 photos with accompanying text.

You are sure to find a style you love as you browse Minted's variety of very modern designs. This was one of my many favorites, if we only had one child to feature this would be my first choice. However, I'm searching the options for something that won't be too busy with three kiddos in the photo. I'd love to hear which design stands out for you!

Once you have your holiday greeting cards shopped for and ordered you're going to want to check out the great personalized stationary options. The stationary collection includes seriously adorable notecards. This personalized kid's stationary would make a useful addition to your child's stocking gifts and they'd be all set for writing their post holiday thank you notes!

My favorite girly design is the floral frame shown here. I was fortunate enough to be able to order a set of this stationary for my daughter. (Although, I was very tempted to have my own name printed on these floral beauties).

Animals, Trees, Trains, Cars, Dinosaurs, Pirates and Princesses....
They're all offered in Minted's collections of gender specific and gender neutral options.

In addition to just being super cute, personalized stationary could be a wonderful teaching tool for your budding writer. Help your child use their personalized note cards for:
~Writing Thank Yous
~Keeping Track of Goals
~Lunch Box Notes
~To-Do Lists
~A Birthday Wish Lists
~Pen Pal Correspondence
~Name Writing Practice
~Record & Display Favorite Verses and Quotes

There are three different paper options available from Minted: Signature Paper, Recycled Paper, and Pearlescent Paper. They are all very high quality papers, but I was especially excited about the pearlescent option for holiday cards as it is unique and special!

There is no need for Minted's customers to be proficient in digital designing and fancy uploading. The system for creating your beautiful stationary is quite simple. Begin by picking a unique artist's design, edit the text to fit your needs, and upload your picture of choice. Minted will promptly respond by sending you a proof for final approval. In my experience, the system was effective and yet it still felt like I was still receiving personalized attention and service.

Thank you to Minted for supplying a sample pack of the 2009 Holiday Card Collection, as well as the current Kid's Stationary, designs for our review. My experience with Minted was nothing but positive and I intended for that to be evident in today's spotlight. Although I can't guarentee your impression will be the same as mine, I hope that your experience is similar.

Families With Purpose Winner

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Congratulations to comment #39 which was the lucky winner of a Families With Purpose gift certificate. ENJOY!

Debbie said...

We had a fun family night a couple days ago. We had a picnic at the park, and then the kids played on the playground.
October 10, 2009 5:51 PM

Our winner was chosen using's random number generator.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Letter Nn

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We hope you enjoy the Letter N activities sent in by our readers! Don't forget to send us your Letter O activities now, we don't have very many in our submission folder for next time!

Apples and Jammies made a noodle necklace and then used it to form the letter N.

Sarah at The Fift Street Academy, also used noodles, but they filled in the letter N with noodles. They also went on a nature walk, and laced with a needle, and made nickle rubbings.

Eva at Handmade Beginnings, turned letter activites into some active fun! Check out her Nylon Tennis!

Sandra at Celebrate Every Day, made neckties out of newspaper for the letter N lesson.

Brandy at Adventures of a Flake, read The Best Nest as part of their letter N work, and then she took the kids out to look for real nests and to make their own! She also shared in another post, how her son counted out nine objects.

Jase & Cassie at Our Alphabet Adventure also used nests as their letter N word, and made this adorable letter art project.

We love that Susana at Our Homeschool Fun had her son make a nest for Open Ended Art AND make a tasty looking...

edible bird's nest. What a yummy way to end our letter of the week activities!