ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Share Your Thanksgiving Blog Hop

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We hope all our reader in the US had a very nice Thanksgiving weekend. Today's the day we hope you'll all link up your posts sharing how you celebrated, what you ate, who was there, and all the things you are thankful for!

If your country's Thanksgiving is on another day, like for all our Canadian friends, please add your post to our linky too. We always enjoy learning about how other cultures celebrate. Don't do Thanksgiving? Then please add a link to post in which you share special family time or a tradition.

Before we get to the linky, we wanted to share a few ways to focus on family and being thankful, two things synonymous with this holiday for so many of us.

Michelle at A Little Tipsy, put together this fun family tree file folder activity and has provided a blank version for you to download and customize for your family.
Annette at Live, Learn, Love made these lovely family trees, what a lovely handmade keepsake this will be with all the family member's name's added!

After their big meal, it's a family tradition to go on a family walk, JDaniel4's Mom shares two activities they like to do while burning off their turkey. We think the paint chip idea is especially fun. While you're there take a look at the Thankfulness Turkey and placemat her son made.
JDaniel4's Mom has also been working on this Thanksgiving Chain, it's a fun twist on those paper chains usually seen as countdown to Christmas or decorating a tree. Each day a link is added along with something they are thankful for.

Kami at Nurturing the Tender Years, made these thankful wreaths with her son.

We also like the Thankful Wreath shown on Miller Moments, using hands is such a fun touch.

We're looking forward to blog hoppin' on over to your place! Please add your direct link to your Thanksgiving post below, a link back here to make it easier for everyone to find there way back would be appreciated☺

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Our Families to Yours

Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot

Katie from A List Maker's Life

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Book Reviews

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Shannon's daughter Faith, 7 years old, wrote two Thanksgiving book reviews as part of her writing practice last week and submitted them for us to share with you. Thanks Faith!

The two books she chose are early reader, I Can Read, books. They are simple chapter books and from my (List Maker Katie) second grade teacher perspective they are very popular with 7 & 8 year old readers.

Silly Tilly’s Thanksgiving Dinner
By Lillian Hoban

This book is about a mole who does not remember what she does. When Mr. Bunny came to visit, she did not remember that it was Thanksgiving .When she bumped into a tree, she could not see. She had fog on her glasses! She has trouble remembering everything. I thought that this book was fun for children to read.

I Am the Turkey
By Michelle Sobel Spirn

There were a couple of days until the school play. There were pilgrims and a rock and tree. The boy was the turkey. He felt happy at first, but then he didn’t. He thought the play would be ruined, but he saves the day. This book made me feel like I could laugh all day!

On a different note, if you are already gathering ideas for next year's Thanksgiving unit you will appreciate the book suggestions, craft projects, and notes in Run the Earth, Watch the Sky's Thanksgiving submission.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teacher Feature: The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

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First, I want to say “Thank You” to Katie and Katie for inviting me to write a review of The Read Aloud Handbook. I am delighted to share this information and be a guest on your outstanding blog. You provide parents with many valuable ideas that promote healthy living and learning. I admire you both!

Now onto The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease……

This is a powerful and treasured handbook that explains the importance and benefits of reading aloud to children beginning in infancy through middle school. Jim Trelease states, “This is not a book about raising precocious children. It’s about raising children in love with print who want to keep on reading long after they graduate.” It was first printed in 1979 and recently revised and updated for the 2006 edition. This is a testimony to its' value - 30 years in print and still in demand!

It has 2 major sections. In the first section, there are chapters to guide you as you Read Aloud with your child. Some of the chapters are: Why Read Aloud? When to begin? The Stages of Read Aloud, Testimonials, and the Do’s and Don’ts of Read Alouds. Within the chapters you will find compelling information that motivates you to read daily with your child. The research and studies he sites correlates early exposure to books and later success in school and life. Jim Trelease suggests practical ideas to use daily to enhance your child’s vocabulary, comprehension, enjoyment and promote a positive attitude towards reading.

The second section is a “Treasury of Read-Alouds.” And that is what most people call it – a Treasure Find of the best Read Alouds! The list takes the guesswork out of finding them on your own. There is a short synopsis of the book to help you make your selections. It is a list of read-aloud picture books to novels. The books in this list indicate a “listening level” rather than a reading level because children can listen to a book and comprehend it at a higher level than their reading level. This list is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but instead a starter list and time saver for you.

Make sure you put this on your reading list and maybe it is a good gift idea for the upcoming holidays!
Susan Maguire


Monday, November 23, 2009

Advent Ideas & Countdown to Christmas Linky Blog Hops

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With Thanksgiving this week, we know that many of you are also getting ready for the start of December and the beginning of advent or Christmas Countdown projects. In today's post we've got some ideas to get your started from our readers if you're stumped for ways to incorporate it this year.

We also wanted to let you know how we'll be getting ready for spending more time with our family and friends and less time blogging. That doesn't mean that ABC & 123 won't still have plenty of ideas to share with you during this busy time!

We've decided to incorporate linky blog hops to many of our posts in December. That way you can jump on and add your links and ideas as you get to them done and post them on your blogs.

This also gives you an idea of our post schedule. If you post something on one of these topics ahead of time please continue to send us your links. We'd like to start off each post by highlighting 2-3 submissions sent to us ahead of time.

Here is our schedule:

December 3: Favorite Holiday Books and Activities

December 4: Cooking and Baking Holiday Treats with Kids

December 9: Kid Made Holiday Decorations

December 11: Favorite Christmas Crafts

December 14: Holiday Themed Math Activities

December 15: Homemade Cards and Gift by both You and the Kids

December 16: December Author Challenge: Tomie De Paola

After December 16th we will start our holiday break from posting. All linkies will remain active for the entire month of December so you can hop on and add your great ideas, lessons, and crafts at any time. Please add as many as you like to each linky, the more ideas we share the better for everyone in our community of teachers and learners!

Now onto the Advent and Countdown Ideas Shared by our Readers and Contributors!

We love the advent calendar shared at Roots and Wings Co that doubles as a lovely holiday decoration and can be used year after year. We also like their Fabric Advent Calendar that can incorporate candy or their great family activity cards.

We also love the paper chain advent calendar Maureen at Spell Outloud created. She's even encluded a downloable version for you to make your own too!

Annette at Live, Learn, Love was inspired by the Ace Collin's book above to rethink advent.

Nicole at Tired, Need Sleep shared her Jesse Tree advent ornaments and cards. She provides versions for you to use in the form of a Google document. Inspired by her, our next contributor incorporated them into her advent actvities as well.

Julie at The Adventures of Bear made these watercolor ornaments. Each day of Advent, Bear will open up a little felt envelope in which she will find her Jesse tree ornament and verse/prayer card.

She will also find a card with an activity that we will do as a family and a piece of yarn to make the soft bed for Baby Jesus who will be placed in the manger December 25th.

We will also light our Advent wreath after dinner each night and revisit the verse/prayer card from the morning. What lovely ways to bring the focus of the holiday back on the real meaning and away from it's commercialization.

Heather at Raising Memories made this very cute Advent Calendar, filled with a sweet treat for her daughters to punch open and eat each day.

How do you countdown the days to Christmas? Please share with us in a comment!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Break

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Most of our reader in the United States are probably gearing up for Thanksgiving this Thursday. As we both celebrate this holiday too, we'll be taking a short break starting this Wednesday through Sunday.

We are looking forward to making our final meal preparations and spending time with our families. You can be sure that we'll be taking lots of pictures and sharing them on our personal blogs. We want to see how you all celebrate too!

Please plan to link up your Thanksgiving post on Monday November 30th.

If your country's Thanksgiving is on another day, like for all our Canadian friends, please add your post to our linky too. We always enjoy learning about how other cultures celebrate. Don't do Thanksgiving? Then please add a link to post in which you share special family time or a tradition.

To help you finish your party planning we wanted to share three great ideas from our readers that are all based on picture books featuring the iconic American Thanksgiving symbol, the turkey. We thought each of their crafts could be incorporated into your Thanksgiving meal as well!

Our Nifty Notebook read 10 Fat Turkeys and then made 10 handprint turkeys. "I am thankful for" and a family member's name is going to be written on each one. These would make fun cards to send in the mail or to place at each tablesetting on top of the plate for the big meal as place cards.

At A Mommy's Adventures they made turkey's all ready to go to the ball, based on the book The Turkey Ball by David Steinberg. A rafter of turkey's, would be a fun kid made centerpiece.
A Mommy Talks made this adorable turkey headband with her son after reading Run Turkey Run! by Diane Mayr. Wouldn't it be a cute craft for the kids to make and then wear while eating Thanksgiving dinner?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen: Thanksgiving Snacks

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Assemble Paper Jewel's mini peanut butter pumpkins or fall snack mix cornucopia's with yoru little turkeys.

Play a turkey themed game with a few snacks from your kitchen.

Cheesy Mini Pumpkins would be an appropriate appetizer for your Thanksgiving meal and entertaining for the kids to help you assemble.

Feeling extra ambitious this season? Put together this beautiful bread dough cornucopia with the tutorial from Chica and Joe.

Check out these seriously sweet turkey treats from Gourment Mom on the Go.

Kitchen Blessings put together a sweet twist on the traditional cornucopia.

Sweet or Salty? How do you like your turkey sandwich? Let your kid's decide when they help you in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. Homespun Emily has put together adorable pb& j and cheese sandwich turkeys.

Make an ordinary snack extraordinary this Thanksgiving with this cute idea we saw on 4 Crazy Kings.

Work with your children to put together this 4 ingredient treat reminescent of the Pilgrims.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Author Challenge: Laura Numeroff

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This month's Author Challenge was to share an activity or lesson based on one of Laura Numeroff's books. The If You Give...series were by far the favorites of our readers. Thank you to everyone who participated! Before we share their contributions, here are some online sources we want to share with you.
Visit Laura Numeroff's website, be sure to check out the links she provides at the bottom of the teacher's page.
To see a list of all of the books currently available from Numeroff, click here.

Mouse Cookie Books, is a great tie in website. Each book in the series has a page where you can meet the main character. Click on activities for each one to see links for games, printables, etc. You can also play a counting game with Mouse, a beginning letter game with pig, or a complete the picture shape game with Moose.

Starr at sent us lots of activities to go with Numeroff's holiday book featuring Mouse! Besides suggesting you trace and make a template for a Mouse ornament,
you can also: "Cut a tree and ornaments from construction paper. Write out numbers on the tree and on the ornaments. Kids can match the numbers and glue on the ornaments to decorate the tree."
"Write out key story events in a circle on poster board or construction paper. Use drawings, cutouts and magazine clippings to go along with each event. Kids paste the cutouts in the correct location according to the diagram."
"If kids are too young to string popcorn with a real needle, string packing peanuts on pipe cleaners or yarn." This is a good way to work on prewriting fine motor skills. "

You could also create "popcorn" numbers and have your child string them in number order.

Make your own fun alliteration book: If you give a Moose a ___________ and think of as many M words as you can to give the Moose. Write the sentence at the bottom of the page and have your child fill in the blanks with "kid writing" (their own phonetic spelling) and illustrate the picture. Staple to create a silly book you can read over and over.

Silly Eagel Books made this delightful Moose sock puppet, based on the illustrations in the book and her daughter has really enjoyed playing with him and the Mouse sock puppet she also made.
A fun way to start the day would be to make letter pancakes and spell out PIG.

Vanessa from Silly Eagle Books and her daughter had a fun time reenacting part of the book, the picture/letter writing segment of the book which comes right after a tap dancing session.

"Then she'll want you to take her picture. So you'll have to get your camera. When she sees the picture, she'll ask you to take more. Then she'll want to send one to each of her friends. You'll have to give her some envelopes and stamps and take her to the mailbox."

They went out and took pictures of their stuffed pig and then really sent their pictures off in the mail, how fun!
Cindy at Izzie, Mac & Me created two math games for her daughter based on If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Check out these fun learning experiences she created for her!
"I made 20 pancakes (Microsoft Word), 10 pancakes with numbers 1-10 and then 10 pancakes with different amount of dots (1-10). The concept is to match the pancakes (number with the correct amount of dots). For more drama, I put the pancakes on a baking sheet and gave Izzie a spatula to use."
"I wanted to create a game that would reinforce taking turns. I made 2 large pancakes and game cards (Microsoft Word) that included the following toppings, 1 chocolate, 2 strawberries, and 3 blueberries. For the game pieces, I used the velcro chocolates, strawberries, and blueberries from Izzie's Just Like Home Cake Decorator Set. We took turns picking game cards and then attaching the correct topping to our pancake. It's a simple game, but it really encouraged Izzie to practice taking turns."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reader Spotlight: Confessions of a Homeschooler

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Since this month's Author Challenge post featuring Laura Numeroff is tomorrow, we decided to showcase one of last month's Author Challenge contributors today. Erica's submission was chosen at random, and if you'd like to be next month's featured participant make sure you get your links into us by tonight!

So without further ado we'd like to introduce you to one of our fabulous readers and contributors!

Erica is a Christian mom, with a wonderful husband of 9 years, and 4 precious kiddos! She currently has a 2nd grader, kindergartner, preschooler, and teeny tiny tot. This year marks their 4th year of homeschooling, although Erica explains that before she began she was adamantly opposed to the idea. She says, "I started with my oldest in preschool and I can’t believe we’ve made it through 4 years already! I love that we have the option to have our kids around all day, and can be the primary influence in their lives!"

Confessions of a Homeschooler is a relatively new blog. She just began her site in August of 2009 with the start of a new school year. "It started off as a way for my husband to ‘see what we do all day’. And it really helps him interact with the kids when he came home about what they’d learned that day." As you will see Erica's blog has morphed into a home for sharing ideas with other homeschoolers!

Similar to many moms, Erica faces the self-inflicted frustration of self doubt.
“Am I doing enough? What am I missing? Am I a good teacher? Should they be in school?”

Yet, the frustration is outweighed by the tremendous joys of seeing her family grow closer together and watching as the kids begin to catch on. "I think homeschooling is one of those slow payoffs, but each day I can see little things that inspire me to keep going! The Lord has really confirmed our decision to homeschool this year and truly brought us joy through our obedience!"
Erica explains that in the past several months she has found great inspiration for her teaching from fellow homeschoolers. "Joining the blogging community has been a HUGE help, and frankly I’m not sure how I ever did school before! There are so many talented and creative moms out there, and I love that everyone is willing to share their ideas and inspiration so freely! It’s truly been a blessing to us this year!"

When they aren't busy in the classroom, Erica's family enjoys learning on the go with walks and park trips. They spend their Friday nights together having some family fun. A typical family fun night includes a special food, movie, or a game at home. "The kids love it, and plan all week for our family fun night!" Her children also really enjoy crafts and have had lots of fun creating together. Sometimes they even save their crafty sessions for when Dad comes home so he doesn't miss out.

Dinosaur week at Confessions of a Homeschooler proved to be popular with her family and her blog readers. She has put together so many quality materials for this unit on the letter D and many of them are available as downloads.

You will also want to check out the dinosaur fossils and other D crafts she has assembled.

Like what you've seen? Take a minute to visit Confessions of a Homeschooler to look around for yourself. Also, take some time to vote in the 2009 Homeschool Awards where her blog was nominated in 3 different catergories: Best Homeschooling Methods ,Best NEW Blog ,and Best Crafts, Plans, Projects!

Thanks to Confessions of a Homeschooler for the opportunity to spotlight all they are busy learning and doing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life Skill: Gratitude

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November is about gratitude, being thankful for what we have instead of thinking about what we don’t have.

Here is a great article with a list of suggestions for teaching children to be grateful. The suggest that your children experiment with going without, offer their service to others, and role play situations.

Find some inspiration for creating a Tradition of Gratitude from A List Maker's Life.

MaryAnne from Mama Smiles has shared two simple Gratitude themed crafts that require only tape, a pen, colored paper, and scissors:

Gratitude Chain

Thankful Hands

Thanks to Valery from Our Journey at Hillside Manor for submitted her suggestion for creating a tree of gratitude. Every memeber of their family will write something they are thankful for on a leaf and then we stick it to the wall. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around they will have a beautiful fall tree full of leaves.

Search these suggestions for sharing your grateful heart with your family at the HappyHome Club: Grateful Rolls, Letters of Thanks, Thanksgiving Gazette, and Leaves of Thanks.

Put together a Gratitude Garden.
A gratitude garden is a fun craft project for kids. Make a list of things you are thankful for. Next, cut some flower shapes from colorful construction paper and write each of your items of gratitude on a flower. Arrange and paste the flowers to a green poster board.

Make Stuff Together: Future Craft Collective has featured a lovely hand made Gratitude Banner.

Start a family traidtion by creating a Tree of Gratitude centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table.

Start a family Gratitude Journal.

List all the things your family is thankful for on a Gratitude Garland or a Gratitude Wreath.

The HappyHome Club's monthly downloadable activities include Conversation Starters about Gratitude, Family Fun Night Turkey Placemats, the Leaves of Thanks tradition of the month, creating a Family Legacy of Gratitude and the Gift of Gratitude card. Download and print these activities for the month of November.

Try the Attitude of Gratitude Building Exercise suggested by Family Cares.

Prepare for the Christmas season by putting together a Giving & Gratitude Countdown. Thanks to Elise for sharing this neat submission.

Part of teaching children about money is teaching them to be grateful for what they have and to be willing to give to those who do not have all they need. Thanks to Amy for sharing her Money post.

Now, it's your turn! We are sure that the rest of our readers have many wonderful activities and suggestions for teaching our children to be grateful during this Thanksgiving season. Please link up and share all of your great ideas!