ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: December 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

From Our Families to Yours

Merry Christmas from Katie at A List Maker's Life

Merry Christmas from Katie at Katie's Nesting Spot

Merry Christmas from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler
Merry Christmas from Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom
Have a wonderful celebration. We will look forward to hearing about your fun in our ongoing holiday linky party!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Show & Tell: Special Holiday Edition

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Thanks for checking in with our modified Show and Tell this week. With Christmas just around the corner we are ready for a bit of a winter blogging vacation to be sure we are giving our time and efforts to our families. It is likely our amazing contributors are doing the same. However, we are certain there is a lot of creativity going down in our community even if it isn't being posted as it happens. We would love to encourage your participation in this December linky party to compile a fantastic resource for future holidays- even if you won't be able to post your top ideas until the holiday dust settles.

Please note, the following link lists are divided by category for easier browsing: Holiday Themed Educational Activities & Lessons, Gift Ideas, Crafts & Projects,Meals & Tasty Treats, Advent & Countdowns, and December Traditions. Add your show and tell to the appropriate linky. Feel free to encourage friends and fellow bloggers to link up their ideas as well. There is no limit on the amount of posts you may submit. The links will be open to join until we get back in the swing of things on January 10th, 2011!

Holiday Themed Educational Activities & Lessons

Gift Ideas, Crafts & Projects

Meals & Tasty Treats

Advent Activities & Christmas Countdowns

December Traditions

Making Ornaments

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

If you are stopping in for our weekly feature, please stop back this evening to begin linking up to our special holiday edition of Show and Tell. Right now we are excited to introduce you to today's creative guest writer.

I'm Sara from Mom Endeavors and am so pleased to be here at ABC and 123, sharing with you a few ideas for homemade Christmas ornaments.

In our house we have an ornament tradition, part of which includes homemade ones. Even though they may not be the most ornate or prettiest, many are favorites for the memories they hold.

For our oldest son's first Christmas a few years ago, we made a handprint ornament to remember those precious little baby hands--one for us and one for both sets of grandparents.

We continued that tradition this year for little brother's first Christmas...

To make ornaments like this, you'll need:

- clear glass ornament balls (you can pick them up at your local craft store for a few bucks), acrylic paint, a paint pen that writes on glass, and any decorative stuff you want to put on the inside (paint, fake snowflakes, tinsel, glitter, etc. There's a great tutorial here on putting glitter inside.)
This year, I opted to paint the inside by just squirting some paint inside adding just a bit a water & swirling around.

Once that's had a bit to dry, then paint your little one's hand and apply to the ornament. If it doesn't look right, you can just wipe it off while it's still wet! (Getting a baby's handprint on there is definitely the hardest part of making this!)

You can also make cute whole family ornaments in a similar fashion--instead of handprints, we used everyone's thumb prints to make our snowmen family:

Paint each person's thumb with the white paint and (starting at the bottom of the ornament) apply to form snowmen. Let the thumbprints dry (about an hour) and then you can paint them to your liking. Just dip toothpicks into the colors of your choice and paint!

Then use your paint pen to write the year, names, a Christmas message or anything else you'd like!

If you don't want to mess with acrylic paints or glass ornaments, here are a few other kid-friendly ideas:
Let them paint wooden ornaments! You can pick them up at the craft store on sale for less than 50 cents a piece.

Set your little one up with some washable tempera paints and let them go. Here's "big brother" making his star ornament presents last year (2.5 years old):

His first hand-painted ornament!

Other good homemade ornament ideas with kiddos involve pictures! Use paper, foam sheets, popsicle sticks, or anything similar to make a decorative photo ornament. Even very little ones can get involved by finger painting or dumping glitter on glue that you put on.
This is little brother's first ever "homemade" ornament:

And, last but certainly not least are some of my favorite kid-craft ornaments...
candy cane reindeer!

They bring back fond memories of making them with my grandparents as a kid! And, they are so easy to make too! You need some candy canes, pipecleaners, pom-poms, eyes, any other embellishments you'd like (bows, bells, etc.), and hot glue.
If your kids are too young to make these all by themselves (like mine), then get out all the supplies and let your kiddos make choices about the reindeers' look--like what size/color nose, what kind of antlers, bows/bells, etc. We made "Rudolph & Clarice". Fun!

Hope you and your kiddos have a great time making some homemade ornaments!! Thanks to ABC and 123 for inviting me today! And please come join us for more Christmas and everyday mom endeavors! Merry Christmas! ~Sara

Monday, December 20, 2010

Teaching with Ticia: Skip Counting tips and tricks

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I don't know if your kids are like mine, but mine have been struggling with skip counting. So, I've been working on a plan for that.

I'm still trying to find a fun game to get them going for 2's, but we've got it down for 5's and 10's.


I traced out lots and lots of their hands. If you want to see very cute pictures of the making process go to my original post here, but I figure you all know how to do that. After cutting them out, I passed out all of them to each kid and myself, and then we took turns putting the hands back in place in order.

As we were playing this game I thought of all sorts of ideas of how to expand on this.

Here's what I thought of.

1. You could plan ahead and actually make this into a patterning exercise. My numbers randomly ended up on different colors, but imagine if you had two different colors and put the 10s on the same color every time. That could automatically lead into talking about counting by 10s.

2. If you trace both hands together it could make a wonderful butterfly and be counting by 10s. Again it could also be made into a patterning activity by doing different colors.

3. Number identification. You could build it with base 10 blocks, or whatever you're using.

Photobucket4. Ours is currently making a very lovely garland, and you would not believe how incredibly proud kids are to see their work hung up for everyone to see. They point it out to anyone who comes within 50 feet of our house.

5. This also leads into greater than and less than. My kids are working on this concept, and it was fun for them to start making the connections between the different numbers.

6. If it's slightly sturdier than the fun foam I made mine out of you could walk on it. My boys started walking on it as they were counting and laughing like it was the best game in the world. I was less than pleased because the numbers were not looking too healthy afterwards, but it helped them get it down better.

Anyone have any other extensions for this? One of my readers said she uses clovers for counting by 3's, and I've been thinking about other things I could use.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Themed Activities to Pass Time and Count Days

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I've been on the look out for more holiday themed project to do with the kids. Specifically, I wanted to find a final product that would fit on the empty, narrow shelves at the top of our corner tv stand. On my search, as well as in our submissions, I found more Christmas ideas that I wanted to sqeeze into a last minute post.

Recycle Christmas Cards to make memory games and puzzles using the tip from Nurture Store.

Everday Teaching has put together a month's worth of activities for December. Click on the hidden numbers in their calendar to find projects and more.

Mommy's Little Helper made a sweet torn paper tree out of fun scrapbook papers.

Simple Christmas Tree Chains, like this one from Mommy's Little Helper, are a favorite. They can be easily adapted to match your tree decorating theme.
Mom Endeavors created a muffin tin advent calendar. A great learning activity would be to put an academic or thematic question under each number to practice problem solving. Another classroom variation would be to have a writing promppt for each day. Love it!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Feature Yourself Friday: Meet Valorie

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I am a mom of three kids: a six-year old boy and twin girls who are 4 years old. One of my daughters, Brooke, is hearing impaired. I began Lend an Ear after her diagnosis of progressive sensorineural hearing loss when I began focusing on teaching her to learn to listen. I searched and searched for a website to offer me support, ideas, and encouragement. I found very little. So, I decided to start my own blog. It is my hearts desire that my blog will be used by parents of hearing impaired children as a source of encouragement and tools for teaching. I have no degree, no training, no experience - I am just a mom that loves my baby girl and wants to provide her with every advantage possible. Lend an Ear chronicles our journey as I teach my children to listen, speak, obey, and love the LORD. Please share my site with friends and families you may know who have a child with a hearing disability - and check it out yourself and see what fun "learning to listen in the everyday" is for our entire family
Nursery Rhymes We have lots of fun with nursery rhymes at our house. Nursery rhymes help children to develop phonemic awareness which is critical in learning to read. A hearing impaired child benefits from the rhyming, vocabulary, and oral language. Our Humpty Dumpty lessons were very memorable.

Encouraging Conversations The more opportunities a child with hearing loss has to listen and participate in conversation, the more quickly she will learn language. We do many lessons to get Brooke talking and learning and they are so, so, so easy to plan. Our letter B and buttons really encouraged conversation.
Books Having fun reading books is so important for every child's development of language and vocabulary. A child with hearing impairment may need some repetitive readings of the book. So we try to read a book more than once and extend it with some recipes and or crafts. When we read Eric Carle's Little Cloud, we made cookie clouds and painted clouds.

Itsy-Bitsy Miniatures I originally saw this idea at Counting Coconuts and have adapted it to our family. And, wow, my kids love to play with itsy-bitsy miniatures. There are so many ways to use these toys to develop memory, language, story-telling, and auditory skills.

Sounds Brooke often struggles with hearing sounds and producing sounds. Often, we focus on specific sounds. Here is a lesson on the /f/ sound that can easily be adapted for any other sound we are focusing on developing.
I have enjoyed sharing a little piece of my blog with you today. Check it out at Lend an Ear anytime - I would love to have you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Holiday Math Games & Teaching Tips

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Shared From Way Over Here has her girls busy counting and graphing do-a-dot ornaments.

Free Homeschool Printables featured a Build a Christmas Tree game from our very own Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Growing Kinders has a great explanation of their favorite math centers.

Growing Kinders also put together a list of favorite holiday themed units, one of them focuses on math.

Homeschool Parent suggested simple math sorting activities using the bows from gift wrap.

Mrs. Siravo's 2nd Grade Class practiced double digit addition with regrouping using this Christmas Tree Math game.

Let's Play Math shares a link to an advent calendar that encourages one math game a day from now until Christmas.

Christmas Unit Study has a great list of suggestions for teaching math concepts while sticking to a holiday theme. Ideas include: measuring gifts, estimating how much wrap is necessary, recording North Pole temperatures, and more!

Heidisong's Resource has many great thematic activites for math, writing, reading, and more. Check out the count by 10's Tree Hats or the number matching trees. Her post includes the free download for the activity.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kids in the Kitchen: Christmas Edition

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Mom Endeavors got clever with pretzels to put together these shimmery snowflakes.

These beautiful Stained Glass Gingerbread Cookies are from Nurture Store. Find the recipe and instructions at this link.

Cobweb Christmas Simple Spider Cookies to accompany the book The Legend of the Christmas Spider, found on Storytelling, Cooking, and Kids.

A Pocketfull of Buttons has several adorable Christmas themed Bento lunches. You will want to see them all!

A Rinkya Blog also has a great round up of Christmas Bentos

Muffin Tin Mom has a fun collection of Christmas Mufftin Tin Meals. Perhaps some of our very own contributors are included in her post. Cute!

A Little Fun With Me and Lu put a Winter Wonderland Frosted Tree Project together for her little one.

This is a gingerbread house decorating craft for those children which are still too young to decorate a real gingerbread house.

Learn. Create. Imagine

Books typically written for children under the age of 5 that deal with numbers and counting, shapes,sizes, colors, and the alphabet are commonly refered to as concept books. Concept books engage young children by introducing them to abstract ideas in an enjoyable way.

Typically, learning to identify and name colors is a simple concept that children as young as 15 months are able grasp. That being said, this book intended to teach the names of basic colors is very appropriate for toddlers.

{Colors, by Lazoo}

Children enjoy imitating animal sounds. This board book give the opportunity to do just that, but also offers an element of surprise. It is a valuable resource for reinforcing sounds children have hopefully experienced first hand.

My two year old is currently in speech therapy to exercise his motor movements and one of the key recommendations is to read him concept books that require him to imitate animal sounds. Making individual animal sounds is useful for practicing many different consonant sounds and tongue movements.

{Hidden Animals, by Lazoo}

This specific title reinforces animal sounds while instilling a sense of wonder. As children reaad they are able to make predictions and to be surprised by which colorful animal is hiding behind each cut out.

The two dads behind Lazoo books have further developed their product line to incorporate products that foster a child’s creative process.

{Squiggles, by Lazoo}

Squiggles is a drawing book that encourages preschoolers to practice the art concept of lines in several imaginative scenes. Each scene also contains simple, and sometimes silly, text.

In addition, Lazoo offers a line of whimsical clothing designs for children ages 6 months to 4 years old.

{Reindeer, by Lazzo}

The shirt on my expressive 2 year old, is just up his alley. The adorable design is creative and encourages imagination. This particular reindeer reminds me of the book Imogene's Antlers. The colors of the fabrics are vibrant and I love the dimensions with elements sewn on top of the print.

To see more, check out Lazoo's Holiday Look Book or visit Babies R Us. As of November 15th Lazoo Plush Toys, Books, and Clothes are available in the US. In fact, right now all Lazoo clothes are 40% off at Babies R Us. If you are shopping at Lazoo online you will receive 40% off all book orders using the discount code "lazoobooks10"

Add some imagination to your holiday celebration!

Disclaimer: Lazoo was kind enough to send a sampling of their product line for our review. This gift did not buy my opinions, as written above, it only served as a great way to introduce me to all they have to offer.