ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Independence Day Crafts

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Yellow Mums put together some patriotic cupcake toppers for 4th of July fun.

Junk in Their Trunk compiled a great list of July 4th craft ideas and a USA printable in different color schemes.

Life of a Modern Mom used a tin can to make a patriotic windsock.

Silly Eagle Books suggests recycling bottle caps to make miniature red, white, and blue cap cakes.

Casa Camacho added red, white, and blue glitter to the playdough for some patriotic shapes.

Roots and Wings used Shrinky Dinks to make All American licence plates to decorate children's bicycles.

The Amazing Mess froze up a layered red, white, and blue popsicle for a holiday cool off.

This plastic baggie flag decoration idea is also thanks to The Amazing Mess.

Handprint and Footprint Art turned little fingers into colorful flags.

Polwig painted up some patriotic plates.

Me and Marie reminds us that painting with star shaped cookie cutters is simple and fun.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Show and Tell #61

Oh. My. Summer Fun!  For every 1 activity our family completes off our summer fun list, I am finding 5 more ideas to add.  Last week's Show and Tell was filled with creative suggestions.

Stay and Play has linked up with a great group of Soda Bottle Science Experiments available for download!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas created some sweet edible ladybugs with her little ladies.

Buckets of Grace put together a very special neighborhood ice cream social.  So many cute ideas at this party!

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, June 27, 2011

Music and Movement in the USA!

Hi, I'm Jedda from This Little Project.  Since our country is celebrating it's birthday this coming week I thought that now would be a great time to dig a little deeper and learn about our own cultural dances and music. You might be thinking, "I live here! Surely I know about that!" Well, read on. Chances are, you may rediscover with your little ones some things about our cultural heritage that you don't get to see often.

Today we will be learning about the music and movement in the USA!

I performed as a dancer representing the United States internationally with this group. It was our job to share the cultural dances and music of the United States with the world and at Folk and Cultural festivals. It was an honor for me and helped me realize what a wonderful nation we live in.

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.

First, we'll start with some square dancing.  Here are some kids doing square dancing in some "old-time" western clothes.  Hear the caller telling then what to do?

Fiddling is one of the most American music genres.  Here is one of our favorite fiddle tunes: Orange Blossom Special!  Listen for the train running through the song!

This is clogging:  It's a combination of fiddle music, fancy footwork and some square dance formations like you saw above (traditionally).  This movie has 2 dances: first one by the girls dancing to another traditional song: cotton-eyed joe.  Then a partner dance that is like square dancing only really fast with neat footwork that's similar to tap dancing.  I learned and performed these dances in Europe (but I'm not in this video.)

Here is a chance to compare that form of American dance with another form: tap dance!
This clip will show you some of the roots of tap: specifically relating to jazz music-another American music style.

And where would we be without American musicals?  Here is some tap dancing and musical music!

Native American hoop dancing is a very neat style of American dance to watch.  I have some friends that did this in the group that I performed in.  Clogging actually has some Native American roots in it's footwork too!

Of course, this is just an introduction into the traditional forms of American Dance and music.  Feel free to explore and watch and listen to even more!

Now YOU Try!

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

These activities will help you do that!

With July 4th coming right up, we can't forget about our nation's National Anthem.  This video also has the words so that you can sing along.  Try singing it together!

Make your own simple tap shoes with this tutorial

Put on some bluegrass music (or turn on the movie above) and pretend to play the violin or banjo

Try moving in and out of a hula hoop like the Native American Hoop Dancers did.

Try a tap dance step too with those tap shoes you made!

Thanks for joining in with me today for some great music and movement!  If you would like more ideas on what you can do to learn and share music with kids, come visit my blog, This Little Project  on the first Monday of the month, or search "Music" for past posts.

at This Little Project.

If you missed the past countries in this Music and Movement series, here are the links for the other countries we have explored together: Mexico, China, Ireland 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tiny Tips for Little Bits

Last month I facilitated a professional development training that took me out of my comfort zone! Now, don't get me wrong, I love being in an infant room and I could stay in there all the day long, but to train others about infants was totally new to me. My thought was that all you do is play with them and nurture them and give them what they need throughout the day to be happy babies. From there, Tiny Tips for Little Bits was born!

Hey I can train on how to love them, feed them, read to them and all that good stuff. And so I did. Infant rooms are the heart and soul of an early childhood facility. This is where it all begins; where needs should be meet, where social stimulation should grow and where brains should have the fuel to take flight and soar.

An infant brain IS like a sponge, but it doesn't always absorb everything. It can also miss out on many developmental learning opportunities if not feed the right stimulation. Did you know that if an infant has poor stimulation to an event, that it's brain may not choose to experience that stimulation again? Say for instance, if a baby is not properly nurtured during a feeding time-is mistreated or abandoned during this time-the infant could eventually not show a positive reaction to feeding time. What if that infant is never loved and cuddled with? Is there a possibility that infant will not choose to be affectionate? The brain is a mystery at times, but the one thing we do know is that if you have negative experiences, it's most likely you will react negatively to those same experiences in the future; infant, child, or adult.

That's why as teachers, caregivers and parents we understand the importance of infant development and choose to give those babies experiences that nurture them and allow them to progress physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.

I had the most fun during the workshop and it was an on-the-floor workshop! Where else would you train infant teachers? I think my theme for the night was how to entertain and teach infants with a bag. Teachers were amazed at the difference a bag made when it came to story time and what fun homemade finger paint can be.

I demonstrated a story time with the teachers showing them how to peek an infant/toddler's curiosity with a story in a bag. By putting the objects into a bag along with the book, it supports the curiosity of the infant/toddler. If you have crawling babies, this works wonders!

Always use the same bag for each experience (i.e. story time, play time, etc)so that they become conditioned to know what is about to happen. Have enough objects (puppets, babies, stuffed animals, rattles, etc.) to hand to each infant. You want them to know that as you read, they will get to hold something. This give them the ability to be involved in the story, not just getting read to.

Have a song that you sing to gather them to the quilt (I think you should always have a quilt or something for them to gather on, otherwise it's wide-open space). The quilt provides spatial awareness. Then as they begin to gather, ask about what is in your bag and then begin the story telling process.

You want to first peek with curiosity by changing your voice and asking, "Ohhh what's in my bag today?" Gestures and voice tone go a long way to get the attention of children.

The importance of having an object for each child is to introduce and nurture the concept of self regulation. Children who know that they will get a turn will self regulate until their need is meet. By beginning at the infant stage with self regulation, you are preparing them for developmental milestones that they will encounter over the next few years. Social abilities thrive on self regulation and when a child can self regulate they can have many more successful learning experiences.

Every step from an infant room to a prekindergarten classroom is vital to the success of a child. It's very important for teachers to see and understand that experiences should begin in the infant room and those experiences should be a continuum for years to come.

You will make many impacts as an early childhood teacher, don't you want those impacts to bring a smile to the face of a child...

Until next time, go teach the children!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Farm Themed Learning Activities for Preschool and Elementary Children

{photo credit Nurturing Naters - see lesson idea/link below}
Suite 101 explains how to play a  Barnyard Boggle Game.
Around the Farm has a themed worksheet on prepositions that you may like to print.
Old McDonald's Farm animal printables for acting out the rhyme.
Musings of Me offers a downloadable EIEIO farm pack.
Hands On: As We Grow put together a grain counting activity, using a tractor, that is very hands on!
Nurturing Naters has a montessori preschool farm themed unit that includes a great sensory tub, links to printables, book ideas, and more.
Miss Kindergarten is enjoying her time Down on the Farm with haystack math, jumbled letter trees, and matching animal activities.
Random Extra...
Our family headed to the farm this week to cross something off our summer fun list.  Check out this amazing berry - that's a lot of delish in one GIANT bite! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: mini-patriotic unit

Fourth of July is around the corner, and I know I'm starting to think about what we can do to celebrate it and teach my kids about our great country.  I actually did this as part of our Maryland state study, but I'm going to expand this out from what we did for it with some more ideas.

Here's a list of books/CDs I found at our library.  The last one is an Adventures in Odyssey that nicely acts out the events.  My kids are big fans of it, and it's a different way to go about the lesson.

For full instructions head to my post about the Star Spangled Banner, but essentially. You're going to cut out the fort and ships attacking it, and glue them on, and then paint.  Adding in flecks of red, orange, and yellow for the explosions (the rockets red glare).

Printable here.

Alternative project: illustrate each verse and make it into a multi-page book.


Obviously, there's the War of 1812.  You can talk about why the United States was fighting England, again.  Create a timeline of when different battles happened.

In geography you can find the state of Maryland on a map, and look for the city of Baltimore.


Read the lyrics, and look for the rhymes.  This is going to be harder than a Dr. Seuss book because it's not a straight ABAB rhyming scheme.  Star Spangled Banner lyrics.


Study the flag.  Count the number of stripes.  How many white, how many red?  Look at the pattern of the stars.  How many are in each row?  Do all of the rows have the same number?  Look at a picture of the different flags.  How many stars were on the flag during the War of 1812?  What different shapes have they made with the stars?


This is a very martial song, and to me calls for marching.  You can also teach them the etiquette for the song, how you're supposed to stand, where to put your hand, what to do if you're wearing a hat.


You can make a rocket.......

Don't forget on 4th of July we're going to link up any and all posts about Pennsylvania, it could be your visit there, or an activity you did about the state, but I can't wait to see what you guys have done!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time to Play: Summer Bucket Lists & Summer Jars

We all know that the best learning happens through play.  This summer I want to be intentional about making time to PLAY!

Inspired by Jodi Michelle's summer jar project, last night's family fun activity was to brainstorm summer entertainment.  Everyone contributed some of their own wishes and dreams for the lazy days of summer to our list. 
Inspired by Little Wonders' Day, who turned her family's "summer bucket list" into an adorable subway art-ish gift, we grew our list with a few more ideas.
Wanting to put together a list like display that was functional {but still cute} we decided on a spin off of the bulletin board put together by The Stories of A to Z.
As we complete each activity I hope to have the kids share a favorite moment or overall reaction that we can write inside the fold along with the date.  By the end of the summer we will have a memento of our attempt to make the most of Summer 2011
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{By the way…the idea to make super balls is inspired by a link in Show and Tell #59 from Making Memories with Your Kids.  AND you can find LOADS of fun sidewalk chalk recipes here!}

Now that school is officially out for summer we are ready to our Totally Summer To-Dos.
Still looking for other summer list ideas:
Rebecca also put together an adorable Summer Bucket list that is featured in the Sweet Shoppe gallery.
Junk in their Trunk framed their colorful summer fun list!
This might be an idea to file for next year, but I also love this summer checklist for teachers made by the kiddos at Sun Scholars!
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Show and Tell #60

We apologize for the break in Show and Tell lately! Yikes, 2 weeks with no chance to see all the great things you are doing and making.  I don’t know about you, but I have been missing the inspiration!  We have decided during the summer months we will only be doing show and tell every other week, but we hope you will continue to link up when it’s new and feel free to leave as many great links as you would like!
The Moffatt Girls is offering parents and early childhood educators a Ready2Read program.  If you are looking for a program and blends both whole language and phonics this resource will be of interest to you.
The Princess and the Tot put together a great Father’s Day gift full of love and compliments: 365 Things We Love About You Jar.
My Little Princess World got creative with paint and squirt guns.  My little guys would love to give this a try with their new water guns!
It's your turn!
abc button
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, June 13, 2011

Play To Learn: Break The Ice!

Welcome to this week’s Play To Learn series! Today we’re having fun with Don’t Break the Ice! This game is super fun and a great logical thinking game for little guys.


The object is fairly simple, each player takes turns hammering out one little chunk of ice. The goal is to get your chunk out without dropping the bear through the ice.


They learn to systematically try the ice cubes to see which ones are lose, much like in Jenga. The player to send the bear through the ice loses, but that doesn’t seem to mind any of my kids. They just re-build and start over!


It’s a great way to teach game playing skills, taking turns, patience, and logical thinking. Plus, its just plain fun to hammer out those little chunks of ice!

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!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: Symbols of the United States and Delaware

Okay, I have to admit I don't have super a lot about the Symbols because we're mostly covering these as we come to them in that particular state, but I want to share a WONDERFUL resource online.  Here in Texas one of the required things to teach about in first and second grade is national symbols.  So, when I taught about this we did it as a webquest and the kids answered questions.
Uncle Ben's Guide to U.S. Government.  This does a great job of explaining everything at an age appropriate level, and from this site I was able to plan a fairly comprehensive study of the national symbols.

The one activity we've completed so far is the Liberty Bell, which you'll need an egg carton, popsicle stick, yarn, and paint.

It's fairly straight forward, cut one of the cups apart, and then paint it.  When the paint is dry punch holes near the top and string the yarn through.  Wrap the yarn around the popsicle stick, and voila you have your very own liberty bell, pre-crack.


What I actually do is limited to what is at our library, so I'm going to tell you what I did, and then provide some other suggestions.  I'm also looking forward to anything you have to share because I'm sure there's a lot more that I don't know about.

Here's what our notebook page looked like:

left hand side: Me on the Map

Right hand side:
State animal page- horseshoe crab (link is to download)

We also made our own horseshoe crabs to play with from a milk carton bottom.

State symbols page- I tend to choose similar state symbols for every state, bird, tree, insect, mammal, fossil, flag, so the kids can get an idea of the similarities and differences.  For older kids it could be interesting to graph some of the state symbols.  It amazes me how many states have milk as their state beverage, and ladybug as their state insect.

Activities that did not have a lapbook component:

Read the book "Crab Moon," and created our own horseshoe crabs.  If you're planning on doing this make sure you start saving those milk cartons in plenty of time, because I almost didn't..........

Read the book "Canonballs and Cornstalks" and made their own "soldier" from a clothespin doll.  I tend to do this type of activity once every couple of state studies because it gives them something to reenact history with later on.  And clothespin dolls are cute.

Other things to study, which I didn't follow up on: ladybugs, Betsy Ross' flag was first flown in Delaware (tradition), make peach pie, Fenwick Island lighthouse, grey fox, mollusk

Many of these books weren't checked in when we studied Delaware, so I can't vouch for the content, but this is what I was able to come up with for my local library.

Now, it's your turn. Do you have any posts about Delaware or National Symbols to share? I'd love to see them.