ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

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

Today is Memorial Day in the United States of America. It is the day when Americans remember those who have lost their lives while serving our country in uniform and honor those who gave "the last full measure of devotion."

We thought that it would also be a good time to share the recent patriotic themed submissions we've gotten. They were done in honor of upcoming Flag Day in the US, which commemorates the adoption of our national flag, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in June 14, 1777. We also think they are very appropriate for Memorial Day, they'd be great to have to wave while at a Memorial Day parade.

Superheros and Princesses did an activity comparing and contrasting the different versions of the American Flag.

At A Cookie Cutter Diva's Life they made two flag inspired crafts. One on day they finger painted flags and on another they made them out of craft sticks.

What does your family do to honor those who have fallen in defense of our country?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Frugal Tips for Learning

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

We're always interested in ways to make the dollar stretch farther, especially when it comes to learning activities. Which can cost a lot! If you've got a great way to save money of supplies or activities, email us so we can highlight your tips too!

I'll start! When I began teaching kindergarten, I had almost no classroom library. To build mine up quickly, so that kids would have plenty of books to look at and explore for language activities I became a frequent shopper at "Friends of the Library" sales. My current library has them once a month and all kids books, videos, etc. are only a QUARTER each! I've gotten some beautiful hardcover books in mint condition that I've even wrapped up and given my daughter for gifts.~Katie, Katie's Nesting Spot

MaryAnne from Mama Smiles share a thifty alternative for a sand table.

Rachel at Quiry Mama shares that "We mix our tempera paint with shaving cream. It makes the paint go farther, the colors seem more brilliant as they dry and the paint is no longer spill-able as the shaving cream makes it stick to the cup. Also, if I add a lot of shaving cream I now have finger paint - a huge hit with my toddler!"
Melinda at Mama Bear's Clubhouse sent us this tip to use page protectors to make worksheets reusable.

Annette at Live, Learn, Love also shared her way to get the most use out of preschool workbooks. Kids need so much practice with writing, this is a much greener way of learning, with less waste for sure!
Starr at shares her tips for finding free and cheap art supplies.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Personalized Fun with & a giveaway!

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

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to Annette W. comment #58 who said, I follow you! on May 27, 2010 2:24 PM

Today we have the cutest personalized stuff to share with you! We were so excited when contacted us, because we fell in love with the modern and clean look of their designs immediately. Not only do we get so show you some of our favorite things from their website but we also get to give one of YOU a $50 voucher to so you can pick out something special for your kiddo! Maybe you'll pick one of these super adorable t-shirts.
Or perhaps one of their personalized invites or cards will catch your eye. Aren't these the sweetest birth announcements? Coordinating thank you cards and envelope seals are available too. Their personalized stationary would make a awesome gift! They have diaries, calendars, journals, and notebook paper to choose from. Their wide variety of whimsical designs mean that you'll be able to find something for everyone on your list, including...dare we say it...the next to impossible to buy for tween. Something everyone could use are these personalized name labels. says that, "All our vinyl name labels / school labels / address labels have rounded corners to help prevent peeling and will adhere to any smooth, hard, clean surface. Perfect for lunch bags, drink bottles, books and pretty much anything else you can think of!!! Our kids labels are waterproof, dishwasher resistant and microwave safe. Our Iron on clothing labels are easy to apply to most fabrics and will withstand washing machines and tumble dryers." We think our favorite thing at might just be their fabulous wall stickers! You can create a complete custom look for your room, like the one above, by combining several sets. There are also some really fun looking chalkboard stickers that you can write on, imagine the possibilities! sent us one of their super stylish personalized bags, the medium backpack in pink with a cupcake checkers design on it. It's the perfect size for a toddler, not too big but still plenty of room. She can grow into it and use it for a long time. It easily fits full sized folders, several coloring books, and a few stuffed animals with room to spare. It will be great for toting things to Grandma's house and to bring activities to keep busy hands occupied while on errands or waiting at the doctor's office.

{Please note the blank pink circle in the photo above has her first name printed on it, it's been digtially removed for privacy} We also got one of their gorgeous personalized canvas art in an sweet and girly hearts polka design. It's the perfect addition to a little girl's room and I love that it includes the year she was born. The classic design is one that will look great in her room for years, and I anticipate it being something she holds onto as a keepsake.
One of my favorite things about is that for each of their designs you get several options. There are slight variations for all of them, for each product. So helpful, when you're trying to match a room's decor. I was able to find one that fit our room's design perfectly. A personalized canvas would make an unforgetable gift and there are lots of fun designs. The surfmobile is another one of my favorites, perfect for a tropical themed room.

Discount Code:

Have you seen something you've just got to have? We know you have! Guess what? You can save 20% now through the June 15th! Just enter this promo code: abc873

{Please note that this discount cannot be used with any other offers}


Now that we've shown you some what they have to offer, leave us a comment to tell us you'd love to win a $50 voucher to!

Please Note the Following Fine Print:
  • The winner's voucher expires on 06/30/10
  • voucher does not include shipping cost
  • voucher cannot be redeemed for cash
  • no change is given on a voucher balance that is not used on the 1st transaction.

Extra Entries:

While there is no purchase necessary, or special requirements, to enter this giveaway we would love if you would also consider the following options.

This helps us as we continue to spread the word about great educational sites and resources, as well as connect with amazing teachers and parents like you! Let us know by leaving a seperate comment for each additional thing you do!
  • Check out, we're sure they'd love to know which product of theirs is their favorite! It helps them provide the best products for you!
  • Leave a suggestion for another type of product you'd like to see at, for instance, we'd love to see their designs on reusable water bottles.
  • Follow and/or Subscribe to ABC & 123
  • Join us on the ABC & 123 Community on Blog Frog, our Facebook Fan Page, and/or on Twitter!

Giveaway open until June 3rd at midnight EST, to all our readers, WORLDWIDE! Good luck and make sure you leave us a way to contact you, should you win!

Disclaimer: Thank you to for providing the review products and giveaway. The opinions expressed in this review are personal and unbiased; they were in no way influenced by the sponsor.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Little Cooks with Books ~ Blueberries for Sal

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

With blueberry season on the way, I thought  Blueberries for Sal was the perfect chose for this week's Little Cooks with Books activity. This Caldecott honor book is about a young girl and her mother and a young bear and his mother, who are both looking for blueberries. The illustrations consist of a single dark blue color and block prints.

Samantha and Gracen are very familiar with this book.  However, it was new to Wes.  He thoroughly enjoyed it.  His favorite part was when the young girl and young bear get mixed up and begin following the wrong mothers.  He thought it was a hilarious mistake.

To accompany this book, I decided that we would make a simple, no-bake blueberry pie.  Gracen was at a birthday party, so I let Samantha make it all by herself.   I gave her the recipe and let her go at it.  She did a great job, and did not require much help.  She did ask what "fold in the blueberries" means, so I modeled how to do it and she finished.  She was so proud that she had made the entire pie all by herself.

Little Cooks With Books ~ Blueberries for Sal

My goal for this activity was to have Samantha do as much as she could by herself.  She was successful  because she has been cooking with me for a while.  If your little cook is younger or is just starting on his or her cooking adventure, here are some objectives you can use for this lesson:
  • Practice reading a recipe.
  • Discuss abbreviations commonly used in recipes (For example:  T for tablespoon and tsp for teaspoon).
  • Washing fruit (blueberries).
  • How to "fold" in an ingredient.   
  • Juicing a lemon.

I hope you and your little cook have lots of blueberry fun with Blueberries for Sal and this yummy pie.

See you in two weeks with another Little Cooks with Books activity!

Keep Cookin',

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Show and Tell #9

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

It's time for Show and Tell! It's time to find out what our readers have been up to, but first here are three featured participants from last week's linky.
Find a great tip on how to cut watermelon at Mama Smiles. Thanks MaryAnne that'll come in handy with the warmer weather, as I'm sure we'll all be eating a lot more of this summertime favorite. Heather Lynne at Raising Memories turned a little scraps of fabric into a cute headband.
Roots and Wings made this really adorable fairy garden, a fun way to learn about how plants and vegetables look!

Now it's your turn! Please hop on and link up!

abc button

Please remember these rules:

  • Post an "Ah Ha Moment," favorite lesson, experiment, learning game, field trip, whatever you're currently working on, or your child's fridge worthy artwork, handmade gifts or anything holiday related.
  • Direct link to your post, not your home page.
  • Include a link back to us or our link button in your post.
  • If you come back and your link is missing, double check to make sure you've followed the directions!
  • Lastly, please try to visit and comment at least three links. Spread the comment love and make some one's day☺

Monday, May 24, 2010

Play To Learn: Phonics Fun Part 1

Welcome to "Play To Learn"! This week I’m looking at fun ways to practice spelling and phonics skills. Worksheets can be boring, so we’ve come up with some new ways to work on our phonics skills without all the yawning!

Magnetic Letters:

Magnetic Letter Spelling Practice! Each week I take the spelling words for my daughter and print them out on card stock. Then we’re free to practice our spelling in all sorts of ways!
We use magnetic letters on cookie sheets & our magnetic white board.
IMG_3690 IMG_3244

Stair Phonics:
I do this with all 3 kids at the same time. They each get a question and if they get it correct, they may hop down one stair. If they are incorrect, they hop back up one stair. First one down wins!
  • Prek: Letter/number flashcards: Name the Letter & Sound
  • Kindergarten: I show a word card, he reads the word
  • 2nd Grade: I say a spelling word, she spells it

Letter Tiles:
Letter Tile Spelling: I found these blue magnetic letter tiles at Lakeshore Learning.
We also use them with these cool Practice cards from Lakeshore Learning. They have beginning, intermediate, and advanced cards so everyone can play!
IMG_4231 IMG_4230

Hop-a-long Phonics:
These jumping balls were the best $10 I’ve ever spent! I eventually wised up and realized we could use them for school. Not only were the kids getting a chance to move around, but they’re a great tool for quizzes!
I sit in a chair and the kids hop around the room in a circle. Every time they get to me they have to answer a question to pass through the “Gate” (My arm sticking out blocking their way)
I use the same tactics as the “Stair Phonics” game earlier in this post.

Those are just some of many ideas for Phonics fun! If you have more ideas to share, or would like to be included in future “Play To Learn” posts, please email me at homeschoolerconfessions {at} gmail {dot} com, we’d love to hear from you!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Alphabet: The Letter W

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

Whimsical Ways kicked off a W day with Wubbzy toys hiding in lock boxes.
W is for Wagons and Wheels: This great post includes printable games, a great craft, and a wagon song.
W is for Worms: Pocketful of Posies is on a roll with the great W ideas. This post includes a fun worm song, painting with worms (bet you are wondering what they used for this), a book suggestion, and printables!
W is for Weather: In addition to the two book suggestions in this post there is a fun printable weather patterning activity.It's Quiet Now, What Do You Say? submitted a prewriting activity using Hot Wheels. We thought it would be appropriate to share a writing with wheels activity here in our W post!
Counting Coconuts shared their letter W link. They had fun with a watermelon craft and a watermelon sort game.W for Walrus: Thanks to Our Alphabet Adventure for suggesting this cute W craft.
W is also for Whale, make a paper bag one at Katie's Nesting Spot.
W is for Winter: Arts and Crofts has a great list of Winter books to use with W (if you are ready to think snow again now that we are finally feeling the spring)!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Teaching Kids to Tell Time

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

Who Would've Thought? Get the kids working on some large motor fun while learning to tell time in the fresh air. Love this!
Recognize clock as an instrument for measuring time
Distinguish between short and long hand as hour and minute hand, respectively
Tell time to hour, half hour, quarter hour, or in 5 minute increments, whichever level your child is working on.

Miller Moments demonstrates how to make a Tick, Tock Clock out of a paper plate.
Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns put together a math box equipped with tools for learning to tell time.

Parenting Toddlers has an informative article on the "best steps to follow" to teach children to tell time.

Monkeyin Around has shared a post showing printable clock matching cards that are useful for practicing time.

Dalle Un Colinho put together a wonderful activity for helping children understand the passage of time using a time line. She used circles cut out of cereal boxes to create the events for the time line. The children chose the events they wanted to, then pasted the circles on the wall. .

S.B. Creatively has a cute idea on a variation of the paper plate clock. It is nice that the kids could participate in putting the numbers in order without needing to know how to print their numbers yet.

Living Math Book List has put together a useful list of childrens' books that are about telling time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Crafts, Activities, and Experiments

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

The Adventures of Bear celebrated Spring will a fun study of birds.
experiements with bird beaks,

a robin craft to accompany the book A Nest Full of Eggs,

and an art project based on the book Birds by Kevin Henkes.

Along the Way used spring as an opportunity to study the impact of water pollution. They suggest a couple useful books in the post explaining the experiment.

Our Crafts N Things put together some toddler friendly spring activities: a springcounting book, a spring tree, and a planting plan.

Inspiration Surrounds, Creativity Abounds made gorgeous butterflies out of paper towel and pipe cleaners.
We also love their rainbow felt flowers. Colorful creativity!
Mama to 3 Blessings made multisensory shaker eggs with her children.