ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Learning Activities

Arts and Crofts submitted a great list of egg related science books for children. They used the books to prepare the kids for a animal classification science experiment.

They also had all kinds of math fun using chenille chicks: egg carton addition, chick wars, hide and peep, and chick patterning. Great ideas!

No Time for Flashcards did a simple preschool experiment using eggs to determine if objects would sink or float.

Basia used plastic Easter eggs to teach the concepts of empty and full and light and heavy.

Adventures of a Flake has shared a post highlighting the book The Story of Easter and follow up activities.

Nicole from Tired Need Sleep thought you might be interested in a game they've been playing with plastic Easter eggs. It is mostly for fun, but it's also good for counting practice, color recognition, and learning to take turns. She has included the printables needed to put this game together.

Here is one of United Teaching's Easter activities, an Easter Treasure Hunt in a Sensory Table.

We also love the bunny tangrams they put together.

Alicia from Discoveries of a Teacher has given us an Easter gift by sharing her wealth of Easter themed center activities. You'll really appreciate this resource which includes: an addition game, sorting game, tracing boards, number & word matches, and more!

You may or may not already be familiar with the resource called File Folder Fun. Valerie has recently put together a great collection of Easter themed file folder games that are FREE for download!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Show and Tell

Welcome to the first of many weekly Show and Tell blog hops!
We know that you, our amazing readers, are always doing great lessons and we don't always find them or feature them fast enough. Now you won't have to wait for us to get to a content area that fits you latest and greatest. You can link it up each week!

This is the place for you to share your teaching "Ah Ha Moments," favorite lessons, experiments, learning games, field trips, whatever you're currently working on, and of course your child's fridge worthy artwork, handmade gifts and cards for all the holidays!

It is our hope that you have all kinds of fun visiting each other's blogs, getting to know each other, and being inspired. Each week we'll randomly pick three people linked up to feature at the beginning of the following Tuesday's post.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, March 29, 2010

Confessions of a Homeschooler Joins Us!

Please help us in welcoming long time contributor, graphic designer extraordinaire, and friend, Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler! You likely remember Erica from our reader spotlight and most recently from her fantastic letter of the week preschool curriculum giveaway. Erica will be joining our team as a regular feature writer, posting every other Monday, with a new column called “Play to Learn!”

I'm very excited to be a part of the ABC and 123 Learning Cooperative with a new feature called “Play to Learn!”. ABC and 123 has been one of my favorite blogs since I first entered into the blogging world, and I am so honored to be a part of their team!

As the title Play to Learn denotes, I plan to write about fun and creative ways to learn! As homeschoolers, we have a great opportunity to think out of the box and incorporate all kinds of different hands on learning tools to make the learning experience more fulfilling and FUN for our children! Here are some of the fun things we’ve done in our homeschooling adventure:


We love lapbooking! We mainly use lapbooks as a fun side-unit to our regular studies. The kids get to each pick a subject they are interested in and that is their “Fun Box” for the week. Here was one we did while doing our Letter S for snowman week, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. You can read more about this lapbook here.

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My kids seem to love anything that doesn’t involve being chained to a desk, for example we play hopscotch to learn our numbers, we write with sand, practice logic skills and shapes with Tangrams, we do math in shaving cream, we dig for fossils in our sandbox, and we count with anything that we can find!

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Arts & Crafts:

While I love doing crafts, I hate the mess! Homeschooling is slowly breaking me of that, and I do my best to share our fun as we go!

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Along with tons of FREE printables, I’ve also just introduced my Letter of the Week Curriculum! Click the button below for more information!


So those are just some examples of things I hope to share with you all here at ABC and 123! I’m excited to get started, and I am also happy to use my posts as a forum for answering any questions you might have.

Please feel free to email me at and ask away! Just let me know you're coming from ABC and 123, and I will try my best to help.


We could not be happier about adding Erica to our team! It is exciting to be able to offer our readers high quality ideas from parents and teachers who love what they are doing with their students!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Books by Tara Giveaway

Books By Tara
Update: This giveaway is now closed. The winner, chosen by, is comment #12.
Congratulations The Mom I Want to Be!
Today we have our last birthday celebration giveaway to share with you! We are thrilled to be sharing Books By Tara with you. Tara is an Early Childhood Education teacher, who was just two classes away from her masters degree, when her life took a turn. Her son needed intense therapy to treat his severe autism, which she understandably wanted to focus on.

Tara says, "I am passionate about all children, and I have total respect for the miraculous development process and the challenges today’s kids face in our fast-moving, stimulus-bombarding world. Working with Jake has taught me to how to slow down and take it all in as well as how to help him to do the same. I am deeply grateful that he’s helped me learn to appreciate and receive the blessings available to us all every day – challenges and all. To God be the glory. My hope is to share this inspiration with others.

I have found simple books and pictures to be one of the best interaction tools available. They help establish a mutual focus for making social connections. I have also found that there are a limited amount of simple books that aren’t too babyish. I created Tara Books to help fill that void. Thank you for your interest and God Bless you on your journey with that wonderful child in your life. "

BooksByTara are designed with an easy, flexible format to entice children’s interest and participation on every page. Intriguing photos of familiar scenes provide oodles of opportunities for looking; pointing; vocalizing sounds, words, phrases, and sentences; answering questions; and beginning in-depth discussions. Playful themes make learning easy and fun.

Unless specifically noted otherwise, all Books By Tara:

  • Promote awareness, thinking, and language development
  • Are 20 pages in length
  • Include an introductory poem
  • Include 19 pages of 8 X 10 photographs
  • Are printed on gloss cover paper
  • Are spiral bound (great for isolating pictures)

Currently seven titles are available: HOLES, tiny HOLES, WATER, Car Wash, Snowman, Jack-O-Lantern, or Autumn Leaves. Some are wordless (except a poem at the beginning), Snowman and Jack the poem tells the “story”, and Car Wash has sound effects.
We think this title, HOLES, is especially fun! We can imagine our kids having fun seeing all the holes that can be found around them: in the house, amongst nature, and in the neighborhood. We haven't seen a book in person, we from their website, we like the large picture format and interesting variety of photos.

One reader will win their choice of Tara's titles, pick from: HOLES, tiny HOLES, WATER, Car Wash, Snowman, Jack-O-Lantern, or Autumn Leaves.

Tell us which title from Books by Tara you'd pick if you win and why.

Extra Entries: {leave a comment for each one}

  • For TWO extra entries, be sure to leave two comment for both to count, sign up for Tara's enewsletter.
  • Follow Tara on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway with @BooksByTara in it.
  • Publically follow our blog, using Google Friends Connect.
  • Post our link button.
  • Subscribe via email to our posts.
Giveaway open through April 8 midnight EST to US residents.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Books by Tara for sponsoring this giveaway! Materials from the Books by Tara website were used to write this post, with permission.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mama Smiles on ABC and 123's Birthday Celebration

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
Please check out our FAQ in the left sidebar.

MaryAnne from Mama Smiles wished our blog a very happy birthday with a fantastic line up of party suggestions!

Looking for a simple homemade birthday cake idea?

Your child can help you decorate this cute cake.
Use this fun suggestion to decorate your own drawstring goody bags.

Perhaps you want an age appropriate table art activities available for toddlers at your celebration.

After the party, work with you little ones to make thank you cards.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review and Giveaway: This is Me: A Kid's First Keepsake Journal

Congratulations to Pati at A Crafty Escape, comment #3 and winner of this giveaway! Pati, we left you a comment on your blog, please email us right away! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Today we have another fabulous birthday celebration giveaway! We especially love the "This is Me" journal because it gets kids to begin expressing themselves by recording their feelings and memories through writing.Journaling can provide a snapshot of your child's thinking, language, and writing developement. Journaling habits begun at an early age can last well into adulthood. It can provide an outlet for them to cope with their fears and frustrations as well as promote self-awareness and increase self esteem. Both you and your child can look back at entries and see how they've grown.

The "This Is Me Journal" is the perfect way for your child to begin recording their memories and provides a simple, easy, and fun way to do so. It provides lots of space for drawings, photos, and writing. It's also a great way for parents to connect with their child. Pre-writers can dictate their answers to their parent and young writers can start off with the simple prompts.The first part of the"This is Me" journal, pages 1-31, is comprised of pages with subjects ranging from “My Favorites” to “My Family” to “I Feel Proud“. The writing and drawing prompts are not only designed to capture your child’s life but also promote creativity and self-esteem.Pages 32-49 covers eight major holidays (including the child’s birthday) and also has a generic “Celebrate!” page to fill with another family specific holiday celebration. Pages include questions about each holiday celebration as well as holiday specific drawing prompts and spaces for a few choice holiday photos.The second half of the "This is Me" journal, pages 50-93 is set up as “free space” for weekly journal entries and drawings (or whenever there is something to write or draw about). Writing spaces can be used to record events, activities, and emotions that were not already covered in the journal. Drawing spaces can be used to accompany journal entries, doodling or even for small photos or mementos.The online descriptions says that "The journal ends with a couple pages for parents to record all those awesome things your child says that you never want to forget. Now they are all recorded in one place!" This may refer to an updated version, our reviewers copy did not have these pages, but we think they'd be a great addition. Our copy ended with a one page parent's guide with tips on how to use the journal and on the back cover was a pocket titled "My Most Important Things", a place to store cute notes, special drawings, or other keepsakes.

Over all, we thought the "This is Me" journal was very eye appealing and liked how it starts with prompts that help reluctant writers know where to start. It includes many high interest subjects such as favorite sports, pets, and food. The format is fun with some areas to check off, fill in the blanks, complete the sentence, and cute doodled frames for drawing in. While portions are guided there is still ample space for your child to write on topics important to him or her. It's a great tool to help your child capture their childhood in their own words and pictures and will definitely become a treasured keepsake.
The author Carrie Lundell is also the talented blogger behind This MAMA Makes Stuff, it's where first got to know Carrie. She has great tutorials there for fun things like hydrangea headbands, Kid's Art Christmas Ornaments, and the one that's been bookmarked on Katie's Nesting Spot almost from the beginning, her art case.

One of our readers will win a copy of This is Me: A Kid's First Keepsake Journal!!! Thank you, Carrie!

To Enter:
Tell us which feature you like about the This is Me journal the best.

Extra Entries: {leave an extra comment for each additional entry}
  • Tell us which TIP from the This is Me Journal website, is your favorite.
  • Publically follow our blog, using Google Friends Connect.
  • Subscribe via email to our blog.
  • Follow either Katie on Twitter (links in right column), tweet this giveaway, and leave us a link to your tweet.
  • Fan our blog on Facebook.
  • Post our link button on your blog.
  • Share this giveaway on your blog and leave us a link to your post.
  • Publically follow Carrie's blog, This Mama Makes Stuff, using Google Friends Connect.
  • Follow Carrie on Twitter, @thisiscarrie or @thisismejournal
Giveaway open through April 6, midnight EST to US residents. Good Luck!

Disclaimer: Thank you to Carrie for providing both the reviewers and giveaway copies of the "This is Me" journal. This review relates our own personal opinions and experiences with it, and yours may differ.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Teach Mama Joins Us & More Special Announcements

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
Please check out our FAQ in the left sidebar.

Please help us in welcoming long time contributor and our friend Amy from Teach Mama! She joins us our first regular contributor and will be posting every other Monday as our Literacy Consultant!

I remember feeling completely stumped as a high school English teacher when a 9th--or 10th--grade student sat in my class, reading on a pre-primer or first-grade level. I had no idea what to do to get those kids on track. I could talk about diagramming sentences, teach them how to write an organized, well-supported thesis essay, or facilitate a great discussion on The Lord of the Flies or Romeo and Juliet. But if my students didn't read the text--or rather, couldn't read the text--what could I do?

This dilemma sent me back to graduate school to become a Reading Specialist, and in many ways, I'm glad it did. Although at this point, I cannot help those students who sat in my class unable to read, I am able to help my children, my friends' children, and many other children--and that's why I blog at teachmama.

I know what parents can do to help ready their children for reading, so why not share it? For me, the process of reading acquisition is fascinating, amazing, and incredible. And I know that there are tons of teeny-tiny, sneaky ways that parents can help with this process and support their children's education with games and hands-on learning. I'm doing a bunch of it already with my 6, 4, and 3-year-olds, and I'm sharing as I go.

Here is a sampling of what I do at teachmama:

Tic-Tac-Toe, Owen in a Row

Family Photos + Playing Cards = Three Games!

I'm more than excited to be a part of the ABC and 123 Learning Cooperative as the Literacy Consultant. I totally adore what the very talented Katies are doing over here, and I am grateful to be a part of their team.

As the Literacy Consultant, I plan to write about early literacy and reading-related topics, and I am happy to use my posts as a forum for answering any questions you might have. Please feel free to email me at and ask away! Just let me know you're coming from ABC and 123, and I will try my best to help.

Please join us in welcoming her! Amy, we are so glad to have you on board and can't wait for you to share your expertise with us all.
Join us at We Teach, the NING Group

Not only is Amy joining us at here on our blog but we are joining her at her NING group We Teach!!! We've even started our own group there, and we're so excited about the possibilities for this way of communicating with you! Please join us at We Teach and then don't forget to become a member of our group there so you can leave us comments and talk to each other.

This is a great way to communicate with others interested in the sharing of educational ideas and it's a fabulous way for nonbloggers to join in on the conversation. There are several different groups all divided by content area and you can share lessons or ask other members for help. It's a great way for you get help and ideas for specific areas, right away.
Introducing: Show & Tell Tuesday

The last announcement is that we're starting our own weekly blog hop! We know that our readers are always doing great lessons and we can't always get to them fast enough. Sometimes you do a great activity and want to show it off immediately. Now you won't have to wait for us to get to a content area that fits you latest and greatest. You can link it up each week!

We'd love to see your "Ah Ha Moments" with your kids, favorite lessons, experiments, learning games, field trips, whatever you're currently working on, and of course your child's fridge worthy artwork and their handmade gifts and cards for all the holidays! We think everyone will have a lot of fun visiting each other's blogs, getting to know each other, and being inspired.

Each week we'll randomly pick three people linked up to feature the following Tuesday.
Please plan to join us starting next week, when we'll also unveil our blog hop's link button.