ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eric Carle Activities and Lessons

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We sure hope you have had a wonderful month of reading and celebrating books! It sure was fun to put our posting focus into one area for a few short weeks! There are so many great authors that we would have loved to feature and more books that a year's worth of blogging could hold. Hopefully, you discovered a new favorite during your March reading adventures. Today we will end our celebration with a few great favorites from Eric Carle.
My (List Maker Katie) children put together a simple, yet cute Very Hungry Caterpillar craft with their Gram. The used paper strips to create the links of the caterpillars body and decorated a giant leaf for it to sit on. I thought it was cute that they punched holes in the leaf to show the caterpillars little nibbles. My daugther, who loves to craft and create, also wanted to make the other foods and did so with a pile of construction paper scraps. Perfect for scissor practice and story retelling props.

Planted by Streams put together cheerful sunflowers inspired by Carle's book The Tiny Seed.

Art Smarts 4 Kids explains the step by steps to making Eric Carle inspired Valentine cards.

Deep Space Sparkle displays the work of an art teacher who is also an Eric Carle fan. This first link explains an Eric Carle inspired Snowman project used with Kindergarteners.

For a small fee, Deep Space Sparkle, also shares a downloadable file of Eric Carle Lesson Plans that inspire creativity.

This blog is a fun resource for Eric Carle themed lessons to accompany many of his famous books.

The students impacted by MaryMaking put together colorful Eric Carle inspired City Scapes.

Feels Like Home put together a wonderful post full of Eric Carle links in celebration of his birthday.

Adventures in Homemaking used magazine cut outs to create Carle inspired insects.

My littlest boys enjoyed watching and listening to this YouTube video featuring Carle's I See a Song.

Apology: We have fun pictures to highlight each of these links, but for some crazy technical reason today none of them will publish in the post. Sorry!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Choosing the Right Book

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We all know how very important it is to read to kids. There are SO. MANY. wonderful books to choose from. Yet, sometimes stepping in to the bookstore or library presents too many options which makes it over whelming to pick out a few appropriate read alouds.
Today we are pleased to share the following list, from Bola Ajumobi, on the 7 Keys to Successfully Choosing the Right Book.
You might have heard that getting kids to read is a good thing. You are charged up to introduce the kids in your life to some good children's books. Here are seven things to consider when selecting a children's book, that way you get a book that your child relishes and picks up time and time again.

1. Age
The age of your child will help you determine the book format to pick.
Think cloth or rag books for babies. They put everything in their mouth. You want to get a book you can throw in the washing machine when soiled.

Bath books are also a good option as they are waterproof and will survive many messy spills and make bath time lots of fun.

Board books are best for toddlers. Kids in this age group are very active and may I replace the word destructive with curious. Paperback books will be ripped apart.

Don't be upset if your child tears apart a book, it's all part of the learning process.

2. Gender
Boys and girls are very different in how they learn and read. For most parts, language development comes earlier in girls. You might find a girl reading better than a boy initially. This often leads to boys being mislabeled as "reluctant readers"

3. Personality
Is your child a social butterfly, pick a light-hearted book. If you have an introverted kid, a mystery or adventure plot might be a better pick.
4. Hobbies
This is by far the best way to get a child interested in reading. Look to get a title on what piques their interest. If a boy loves trains or truck, get him a book on truck or trains. If your girl loves playing the princess part, get her a book with a princess theme.

5. Current Events in a Child's Life
Think milestones like graduation or puberty. Loss of a loved one or a beloved pet, adjusting to various life changes are various examples of what could cause stress for a child. A book on the relevant topic could bring solace.

6. Current World Events and Holidays
These events are teachable moments for a child. You may select books to open up discussion on ancestry or holidays.

7. Important Concepts
Are you working on potty training? Are you trying to instill manners? You can get them a book written in the language a child can easily grasp.
Once you've had a chance to think through each of these questions and suggestions browse over to Slimy Bookworm to search out just the right title to fit your criteria!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Show and Tell #51

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

Thank you to HoneyBunny Studio for sponsoring this week's edition of Show and Tell! HoneyBunny Studio has created an adorable line of clean and modern looking prints for babies, kids, and families that embrace childhood. HoneyBunny's creator believes that "Education is Essential," therefore you will find a great selection of educational prints appropriate for your home or classroom.

Take a minute to browse the full color illustrations available! From now until the end of March (hurry...only 3 days left) HoneyBunny Studio is offering 40% off your purchase of an 8.5x11 print.

Just mention that you read about the 40% off deal here when checking out on etsy to receive your discount!

Now, to feature some of your great suggestions from last week's party!

Making Memories explains how to make a fun bacon and eggs dessert, which would be a perfect fake out for April Fool's Day this week!

Playing House inspired me to get into gear with some of my own spring cleaning with her great post on how they organized their toy mess!

Primary Graffiti shared a neat idea for creating a "Vocabulator" for encouraging students to incorporate new words in their writing.

It's your turn!

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Please remember these rules:

~Post an "Ah Ha Moment," favorite lesson, experiment, learning game, field trip, whatever you're currently working on, 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!

~Most importantly, please try to visit and comment on at least three links. Spread the comment love and make someone's day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Music and Movement: Ireland!

Today we are THRILLED to be introducing you to our newest writer! Jedda, from This Little Project, will be joining us the fourth Monday of each month to share her specialty with us in our newest feature: MUSIC & MOVEMENT We are so lucky to be able to learn from her in this subject area and look forward to all the fun ideas she has to share as she travels through different cultures in song and dance. Please help us welcome Jedda to the team! 

Hi, I'm Jedda from This Little Project and I'm excited to be here!  One of the things that I love about being a musician and a dancer is that it brings me full circle in what I am learning about. It's one thing to read about a place in a book. But if you really want to get to know a people you've got to listen to their music and language and watch (and try!) the movements of their people's dance. That's where you will find a true reflection of a people's traditions and culture.

I hope that you will enjoy traveling around the world-in the comfort of your own home-to learn about cultures as well as the joy of music and movement and dance with your children and students!

Since I can't share my personal library with you, I'll be sharing some links online. Some come from youtube, which can be a great resource. Please be cautious and supervise your students/children when they view them.

I taught Irish step dance at my dance studio for 10 years. Now I'm a stay-at-home-mom and dance and teach music with my kids! I love the music and feel of the Irish step dancing. The world became more aware of Irish Step Dance with the shows of "Riverdance" and "Lord of the Dance." While the footwork and music in the shows is representative of the traditions of Irish dancing, the costuming is not traditional in those shows, as you will see below.

In Ireland, the dancers wear either "ghillies" or "hard shoes." They stand straight and tall. And they keep their arms down to their sides. There are many stories about the history of the arms being down. Most have to do with the people being oppressed by conquerors or trying to dance without getting caught!

Irish step dancers keep their feet turned out and pointed. This is much like ballet.

They also keep their feet "crossed." This means that the feet stay close together and the knees are right together-one in front of the other as much as possible.

Irish dancers don't smile as much when they dance because it is considered to distract from the dancing-especially at competitions.

These are the guillies, or "soft shoes."

These are the hard shoes. They are the shoes that make the sound.

Below is a movie clip is a girl dancing a slip jig in her soft shoes. Listen to the music. The counts go by quickly. The timing is 9/8. A dancer is good at hearing the beats in the music so he or she can stay on the beat. Hearing the beat of the music takes a lot of practice. The more you listen to music and try, the better you get!

Learning to hear the beat of the music is an important skill to learn. Children learn it easily. But it's a skill that if it isn't learned early, it's so much harder to learn as an adult!

This is a clip that will allow you to practice clapping to the beat of the music. The tune is called, "Irish Washer Woman." It is very well-known. You get to see some Irish fiddling and try to keep up with clapping to the beat as they go faster and faster!

After you finish listening to it see if you can remember the tune and try singing it!

This movie clip is about a 10-year-old girl who is in full competition dress. She will dance a "reel" and a "slip jig" for you to see.

What did you notice about the music? Is it music that you usually listen to at your house? Have you seen or heard that kind of instrument before? What instrument do you think it is?

This is a paper doll of an Irish Step Dancer to color: LINK

Here is a chance to hear what the Irish/Gaelic language sounds like with music: Listen to this to hear the beautiful sound of these songs: language and music together.

You might also enjoy This is of a woman singing with two other traditional musical instruments of Ireland: the accordian and the penny whistle.

And the music and dancing are not just for girls! This video shows the guys taking the stage and how the music and culture you are from changes the dancing. It begins with American tap danced to jazz music and then takes on some Irish dancers from Ireland. (It has a few subtitles at the first)

Now YOU try it!

Some things you really have to try to appreciate or understand them.

These activities will help you do that!

Try making rhythms on a drum with your hands or on the floor with your feet like this boy playing an Irish drum!

How about learning an Irish dance step or two?

You can even turn your own shoes into "hard shoes" to try out some of the sounds with your feet! I've done this with my kids and it's a lot of fun. Scroll down to the bottom of the page-link to see more fun things you can learn and do with your feet too!

Put a shamrock on the floor and play a game of right and left. Someone says "right" or "left" and everyone tries to quickly put the correct foot or hand on the shamrock. You could try this with pointing your toe too! It's even more fun if you have some Irish music going while you play! Try learning a new word in Gaelic.

Now when someone uses the phrase, "danced a jig" you know all about it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reading Achievement Incentives and Certificates

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

Hard to believe that March's Reading Month is just about to come to a close. Perhaps you are looking for a special certificate to recognize all the great reading your children have done this month. If so, you've come to the right place! Here are several award certificate links to choose from!

123 Certificates has a large selection of customizable, printable certificates to award your child's reading.

Free Printable Certificates is another fantastic resource for many different types of incentive printables.

Hoover Web Design has a reading achievement award that features a trophy.

Teacher Vision celebrates Bear-y Good Reading with their thematic printable award.

Super Teacher Worksheets has this free printable bookworm award.

Although not an award, Alchemy Junk has a nice Owl themed reading log. printable.

Success Crtificates features both color and black and white award certificates for very specific reading milestones.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Author: Robert Frost

Welcome! New to ABC and 123? Please check out our FAQ in the sidebar. Robert Frost was an American poet who was born in 1874 and is still remembered today for his realistic poetry about rural life. He is still quoted often. Since I was very young I have had the lyrics of Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening committed to memory. It is my Gram's favorite poem and she would recite it for us often. "...The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." Today, we challenge you to find a Frost poem to read with a child in celebration of his special day. Perhaps choose a poem or two to add to your favorites list. Favorite Poems and Poets provides an extensive link list of Frost's poems. Spend some time in rhyme and verse as inspiration for planning some National Poetry Month activities for April, which is right around the corner.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Feature Yourself Friday: Meet Angie

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

Hi, my name is Angie Kerrick and I work for the Child Care Council of Kentucky. We are a non-profit agency working with parents and providers to offer quality care to all children. In addition to the training hours we offer to child care providers we also work hard to get parents involved in their children’s educations. At the CCC we understand that parents truly are their child’s first teachers and they do not need a Master’s Degree or a million dollars to be involved. We have a campaign called “Kids Matter®” that was started in 2004 to raise awareness of issues affecting families and children around the world. The core values that the campaign promotes are: Education, Health/Nutrition, Family Involvement and Economic Development. As a portion of the core values we started our blog Kids Matter 1 in 2010.

If you stop by you will see lots of fun activities: On Mondays we focus on Monday Meanderings, which are where we find links focused on a particular subject to help parents searching online. On Tuesdays we focus on Tuesday Teachings, where we focus on a lesson plan idea for parents and teachers. On Wednesday we follow many blogs and have a Wordless Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday we are freer in our writing and bounce from one hot topic to another.

At the beginning of each month we try to post a “Family Fun Calendar” full of inexpensive or free ideas of things to do with your kids. Above is our March Family Fun Calendar for you.

Since lots of early childhood centers do not have a strong science curriculum we try to provide lots of science activities on our blog. At least once a month we encourage our families to have a Family Science Night and we post some experiments using everyday items. During the month of February we studied static electricity for our Family Science Night. Check out our other Science Activities here.

We also try to provide lots of great craft ideas. Here is one we did with the book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Find our other crafts here.

We really encourage families to use inexpensive supplies to make educational toys/games for their kids. Felt is a supply that we use often. It is affordable and can be purchased just about anywhere. The picture above is a fishing game that not only can be used for color recognition but also counting skills.

In addition to the calendars, printables and general fun activities you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. We hope to see you soon. Kids Matter - Invest Early, Invest Often!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Few Favorite Book Lists

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

Katie, from A List Maker's Life had the opportunity to share 5 of the books the children enjoy in her house as part of Silly Eagle Books' 5 Books series. When you check it out you can browse all kinds of fun 5 Book posts from bloggers.

Jamie, from the Hands On House, shares a list of what they are reading as part of a blog carnival where you are likely to be introduced to all kinds of great new titles.

LitLad dedicates all of their posts to reviewing books enjoyed by two literacy learning boys.

Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns hosts a blog carnival called What My Child is Reading. The links are another fantastic resource for finding children's books.

Storytime Under the Stars is a site dedicated to reviews of children's books. This site is the home of the Book Lover's Blog Hop.

What are your favorite books? Have you written a post highlighting your list? We'd love to hear your recommendations.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tap Into Your Talents with a Tangled Giveaway

Updated 4/2: Congratulations to Commenter #8, as chosen by Jade =) said... "Encouraging kids in their talents means you have to give them some room to figure out what they enjoy and are good at. I know a lot of parents, myself included at times, have tried to push their kids to do hobbies or sports they (the parents) want them to do, and the kids rebel. You have to let the kids figure it out for the most part, that way they'll really be into it. Then help them with it, root for 'em, find ways for them to showcase their skills." March 23, 2011 9:09 PM UPDATED 3/24: The comments being left on this post are so thoughtful and inspiring. We appreciate it! In fact, the movie promoters are so impressed with all of you that they would like to upgrade the prize to a Blu-Ray Combo Pack, instead of just the DVD. In addition, we would love to build a post (or series of posts) around your comments on encouraging talents in young children. It would be fantastic if you would submit pictures of your talented children in action. It would also be awesome if you would send us pictures and/or post to your blog and send us the link of your family discovering their hidden talents with the cooking, crafting, hair styling projects and more found in the Rapunzel widget! Thanks & HAVE FUN!!! As parents, and educators, we often recognize amazing talents in our children that they may not yet be tapping in to. In the newest Disney movie, Tangled, Rapunzel's overprotective mother, Gothel, unfortunately doesn't recognize all that Rapunzel is capable of. Instead she hides her away in a tower where Rapunzel is left to dream of discovering all the possiblity the world holds. It isn't until a silly drifter, Flynn Ryder, stumbles into her life and takes her on an adventure that ultimately leads her to discovering the strength she never knew, that Rapunzel recognized her amazing talents. What can we do to encourage the talents in our kids? How do you help your students realize their potential? Do you have a new found talent? Leave a comment, answering one (or all) of these questions, from now until April 1st for your chance to WIN a Tangled prize package from Disney! Your package will include the Tangled DVD to be released on March 29th and a t-shirt or beanie baby plush of one of the movie characters! While you wait for this fun DVD release and for our winner announcment, enjoy the many features found in the promotional widget below. Your children will love following along as Rapunzel helps them discover their own hidden talents. Personally, I enjoyed the tips from Claire and Glen Keane on decorating a magical room much like Rapunzel's.

Printable Bookmarks for Your Readers

TheFamily Portal has a great collection of thematic printable bookmarks available for download.

TheKrazyKraft Lady offers two "primitive" art bookmarks for your printing pleasure.

Punk Projects drew some funky fun bookmarks that she offers as free printables.

Gingham Cherry has adorable printable bookmarks that feature miniature owls.

Jinjer Up created some colorful chic bookmarkers and explains how to put them together.

TSOH Graphics offers many cute printable bookmarks that feature values and verses.

Wild Olive put together an easy printable for magnetic bookmarks. Love the bacon!

Blue Yonder designed some "Fall Into Reading" printable bookmarks, as shared on The Crafty Crow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday: Randolph Caldecott

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

Randolph Caldecott was a distinguished English illustrator from the nineteenth century. At the time he was known for his own art work in children's picture books. Today he is better known for the awarned named in his honor, the Randolph Caldecott Medal. In the United States, the Randolph Caldecott Medal is the highest honor a children's book illustrator can earn. The Caldecott Medal is awarded by the American Library Association.

Check out Embracing the Child's detailed list of every Caldecott Medal & Honor book from 1938-2011.

Show and Tell #50

Happy Spring!

Tons of Fun linked up with a quiet box full of math activities. Fun for a rainy Spring day.

Creekside Learning put together a forsythia tree craft - a sure sign of Spring!

Craftionary shares a step by step tutorial for making a message board. Perfect for organizing the family's busy Spring schedules.

We would like to tell you about one of our new sponsors, Too Busy Moms. These two homeschooling moms create adorable handmade outfits and accessories. We hope you'll take a minute to check out their site, or their facebook page, to say hello!

Now, it's your turn!
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Please remember these rules:

~Post an "Ah Ha Moment," favorite lesson, experiment, learning game, field trip, whatever you're currently working on, 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!

~Most importantly, please try to visit and comment on at least three links. Spread the comment love and make someone's day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: insects

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

I almost forgot to write my post for today, but realized I better get that done.

Here in Texas, Spring is in full swing.  Trees are blooming, birds are chirping, and insects are starting to come out.

I know most of us traditionally get caterpillars about now and watch them turn to butterflies.  I'd like to suggest an alternative, or additional study:


Why crickets you might ask?

1.  They're part of Eric Carle's insect books, so you're probably going to already have a literature tie-in.

2.  You can pick up about 50 of them for $2.00 at a pet store.

3.  They're fascinating to study.

4.  There are a lot of experiments you can do with them.

Here's a few that we did:

1.  Straight observation, it's fascinating to watch them and write down what you see, some of ours:

They can walk up the walls.
They make noise.
They climb on each other.

2.  Check their reactions to different temperatures.  Watch how active they are at different temperatures.  First check room temperature, then put them in the refrigerator and see how much they move around in there.  Next, see how long it takes for them to become more active.  And finally if it's warmer outside, then you can take them outside to see how active they are.

3.  A secondary one to go with the temperature is to record how often they chirp at different temperatures.  They tend to chirp more if it is warmer.  They also get pretty noise at night.

4.  Observe what type of mouth they have.  Insects have 3 different types of mouths, chewing, sucking, and lapping.

5.  What do they eat?  The suggestions I saw was to put dry dog food soaked in water.  You could try different kinds of dog food and cat food to see which they eat the most of.  As a warning, they will eat their each other, so if your kids might be squeamish about that, take the dead out immediately.

Of course, even better than buying crickets from the store is catching them.  Texas in the fall is teeming with them, but at that point in time I'm so grossed out by them that I'm not willing to do this experiment then.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Author: Lois Lowry

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

Today, novelist Lois Lowry is celebrating her 73 birthday. Perhaps best known for her Newberry Award Winning books, The Giver & Number the Stars, Lowry has written many books enjoyed by children and young adults.

Lowry has spent time introducing her readers to well developed characters such as Anastasia, Sam, Gooney Bird, and The Tates to name a few!

Lois Lowry keeps up her own blog if you are interested in reading her updates.

Check out this link for a complete list of Lowry's books, including short synopses of each.

Jennifer had the priveledge of sharing a sneak peek of Lois Lowry's creative spaces.

Indiana Literacy Specialists have put together a list of resources intended to provide an introduction to Lois Lowry.

The LiteraBuss suggests an activity for introducing the book, The Giver, to adolescent students.

Reading Rockets features several of Lowry's books in a round up post.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Feature Yourself Friday: Meet Michelle

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

Hi, My name is Michelle and I am a stay at home mommy to 2 beautiful little girls,
Emily (4 years) and Juliette (20 months). I started my blog A Mommy’s Adventures right after Emily turned 2, as a way to document all the things that we did together. It has turned into an amazing way to learn and share with others in the process, that I am so thankful for and feel blessed to be a part of!

If you stop by you will find all kinds of fun things going on, we are always up to something exciting!

First, we love to read and do art projects. I host stART ( a Story + Art = A Great stART) on my blog each Thursday. To participate all you have to do is post about a book that you read and a project to go with it! Come and check out all of the great books and amazing art projects that every one links up each week.

I host an Art Group at my house each week. One of my favorite units was our Color Wheel Project. Each week the kids collaged a different color on the color wheel and then did an open ended art project with that color. The finished product was an amazing Color Wheel Collage that we still have hanging up almost a year later!

We are always up to something crafty. Emily and Juliette love to color, paint and glue. Be sure to check out this fun Fruit Loop Rainbow and all the other different crafts that we have done together.

We also Love to bake, here we are working together to make Whoopie Pies. There are so many amazing learning experiences for a child in the kitchen so Emily is always in the kitchen helping me prepare something. Even Juliette (20 months) is starting to join us in the kitchen the is always asking to help dump something into the bowl. Of course she loves tasting too. You can see some of the different recipes that we love to follow together here.
We are always having fun while we are learning together. Both Emily and Juliette love playing with their friends, and going to Music Class, TOTSchool and Preschool at Sarah’s house. I usually post about our week Having Fun Learning. I like to include the books, games and activities that we do.

Both Emily and Juliette love Muffin Tin Monday and ask for it almost every day during the week. I have to say I love finding different foods to fill each muffin cup for a fun and healthy muffin tin meal. We are always looking for new supplies to add to our muffin tin stash, and sometimes we even use our Muffin Tin for muffins :0) Check out some of our Muffin Tin Meals here.

Come see all the fun things going on at A Mommy’s Adventures!! You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.