ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: November 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Show and Tell #78

Wow!  Last week's Show and Tell was packed with fantastic Thanksgiving crafts, foods, and lessons.  You have all had some busy little learners in your lives.  I think I am going to bookmark the entire post to be inspired next November.  In addition to some great holiday links, there were some fun imaginative play suggestions I'd like to feature here today!
Jada Roo Can Do set up an outdoor shoe shop for some practice and play.
The percentage lesson from Smallgood Hearth would be useful for helping older children understand how to figure out the prices and savings on Jada Roo's shoes.  It is also a good review for all the holiday shoppers out there!
Liz has designed some colorful layouts for documenting all of her (and yours!) learning experiences by the month. (Don't miss the digital storybook giveaway that closes this Friday).
The Iowa Farmer's Wife suggests three DIY gifts for kids that all offer opportunities for pretend play.
It's your turn!

abc button

Please remember these rules:

~Post an Ah-Ha moment, an 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, November 28, 2011

Music and Movement: Large muscle coordination and Music Memory

Hellow again!  I'm Jedda from This Little ProjectI love it when a song comes on at our house and my kids say, "Hey, I know what song this is!"  One of the best ways to teach kids songs is by getting their large muscle movements involved.  And the bonus is that it's waaaaay more fun that way too!

We did an activity like this last month when I was writing about skeletons and the the song, "In the Hall of the Mountain King."  These kinds of activities are very memorable for the children and make learning and recognizing tunes and classical music easy and fun.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies is one of my daughter's favorites.  We get our "wands" out (which could be a finger or a pencil or whatever) and we tap our wands "123" every time the music does the bell sound 3 times.   We skip, walk, fly, or dance around the room. 

 It gets her to really listen to the music and get ready for that part of the song where she gets to sprinkle "magic fairy dust" with her wand. Be sure to tell the children the name of the song.  You could tell them about magic sugar plums that they are gathering to help them remember the name.

 Here is the music:

Russian Dance
 Russian Dance from the Nutcracker is a fun song to jump to.  There are some great crescendos (where the music grows louder) that tells you it is almost time to jump!  My little boy loves this one.  To increase the difficulty put something on the floor to jump over or try to jump farther to a certain place on the floor.  You could also wave a scarf or ribbon in the air (like my daughter likes to do) on each jump.
Be sure to tell the children what song it is.  You could say, "Russian" for the first jump and "Dance" for the second jump.  And "Tchaikovsky" for the third jump.  He's the composer who wrote this piece.

Here's the song:

Waltz of the Snowflakes
This is a fun song to pretend you are a snowflake and move around like a snowflake does.  You could also make a paper snowflakes and put it on string to help it float around.  I have the kids listen for the "da da da" tune (at the beginning and again at about 4 minutes) that the flutes play and shake their paper snowflake to the rhythm.
You can also sing along along with the chorus of "ah ahs" at about 3 minutes into the song and again at 6:50 when the snowflakes fall on the stage.
Be sure to tell the children the name of the song.

Here is the song:

 Dressing up always makes it more fun too!

Silver Bells
This is a fun song to "see" because the lights are timed to the music of Silver Bells-which my kids love!
Get out any kind of bells and ring them each time you hear "Silver Bells."
Here is the song:

You can do all kinds of things with bells to explore different movements.  
Here my little daughter was balancing the bells as she walked:

Feliz Navidad
This Feliz Navidad movie is with lights again- it's fun to see the music "come to life."
For this song, right after you hear, "Feliz Navidad" you do this large motor skill: clap clap clap, clap clap clap (or stomp stomp stomp).  The rhythm is 123. 123. 
So it sounds like, "Feliz Navidad" 123 123...
Tell the children that this is how you say, "Merry Christmas" in Spanish.


Thanks for joining in with me today for some great music and movement! 
I hope you enjoy learning to recognize some well-known tunes for this holiday season while gaining some great motor skills and exercise!
 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. The first Monday of the month is always about music!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Stories of Your Life

The giveaway here is now closed.  Congratulations to Comment #9, as chosen by, who will be receiving the complete Storybook Template download from Digital Scrapbooking Albums.

Blogger Mrs. I said...

I am subscribed to the newsletter and follow on Facebook. My favorite story is The Monster at the End of this Book.
In addition, all of those who let us know that you liked Digitial Scrapbooking Albums on FB and subscribed to the newsletter will be receiving your freebie downloads via email shortly!  This part of the offer is not closed, so if you are interested in these great products for FREE let us know.  Thank you all for your participation!

This past weekend my husband gave me quite a gift.  He offered to solo parent our four little loves while I spent the time at a retreat center crafting!  It was a wonderful getaway.  While I had a few hand made holiday gifts to work on my #1 goal was to get caught up on our piles of pictures.  I have always enjoyed scrap booking with stickers, paper, and tape, but it isn't always the most effective way to stay current on my albums.  In recent years I have become more excited about digital scrabooking.  With premade pages that require only a drag, a drop, and a digital embelishment it is easy to document our family's stories.
photo selections
Hopefully you have noticed the links in our recent Show and Tells featuring Digital Scrapbooking Albums.  This online service is the hard work of one of our dear readers, Liz.  She Yes. I want the review! In addition to creating many thematic premade digital layouts for putting together digital albums, Liz has several digital pages intended for students, teaching, and story tellers.

We all know that reading to our children and inspiring their love for learning is one of the most powerful academic gifts we can give. What better way to introduce literacy than by designing stories that feature your children as the key characters?  Liz has put together a selection of storybook layouts to help you tell your family's stories.

There is no need to purchase an expensive program to use these premade storybook templates.  While I was able to easily add the pages to my digital scrapbooking program, these pages can also be used with programs that are available free online.  Liz explains how to use these free program with her pages on her website.

I started with the simple text Little Child, Little Child (which follows the pattern of Brown Bear, Brown Bear) to put together a storybook for our youngest son as a reminder of the many people who love him! Below is a sample page.

In addition to the Storybook collection, which I believe to be a perfect fit for our educating audience, Digital Scrapbooking Albums offers a variety of layouts for life's special events: pregnancy, babies, vacations, holidays, family, and more.

Digital Scrapbooking Albums also offers an ABC Memory Book  ideal for parents of preschool age children.  The page layouts have plenty of space for picturing the many activities your family uses to learn the individual lettesr of the alphabet.  Re-reading this memory book is an opporunity to review the letters and sounds while building memory skills.

Scrapbooking may not be for everyone, but creating digital storybooks for your children and students easily can be.

Exclusive Offer!
Liz would like to get you all set up and on your way to putting your pictures and memories into your own stories.  For anyone who subscribes to her newsletter and likes her Facebook page (where she lets her fans in on fun freebies as they become available), Liz will be sending you a FREE link to her ABC Memory Book template bundle! Leave a comment on this post or email abc123(at)gmail(dot)com, letting us know that you have done so and we will forward your information to Liz who will pass on your free download.

We would also like to offer one of our readers the complete Storybook Template Bundle ($60 value). Leave a comment letting us know you are interested in this giveaway to be entered to win.  We would love if you would share the title of your favorite children's storybook. A winner will be chosen randomly after comments close at 10PM EST on Friday, December 2nd.

Disclosure: Digital Scrapbooking Albums provided me with a free download of the Picture Perfect Childrens Storybook template bundle for the purpose of review. No purchase or specific requirement is necessary to be entered in the giveaway. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Show and Tell #77

My Homeschool Tale put the idea of fact families into an appropriate graphic organizer - a house.

At Raising Memories they give thanks for the special people in their lives with a Thank Attack!

Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Oh My! put together a simple project using the crowd favorite book I Stink.

Will the long weekend give you a bit of time to catch up on a project of two? Perhaps it would be a great opportunity to reflect on all that your students have been learning this year and put together your own show and tell with these digital scrapbook school layouts.

It's your turn!

abc button

Please remember these rules:

~Post an Ah-Ha moment, an 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, November 21, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: Cumulative books

We're all familiar with "I Know an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly," and it's many variations and renditions.  

In Texas one of the TEKS is to expose kids to different genres and styles of literature.  Cumulative books are a fun way to do that, and they're great for building literacy.

Cumulative book- a book that expands and repeats itself with each new page.

Reasons they're good for literacy:

1.  It's easy to predict.  By the end of the book the kids are "reading "along.
2.  They often rhyme, enhancing phonemic awareness.
3.  They are usually high interest so kids want to read them over and  over again.
4.  Easy meter for reading, that aids fluency.

Lessons that can be done with the "Old Woman" books.

1.  Make a puppet and act out the story again, there are several versions, the most common uses a ziploc sandwich bag.  For ours we used the smaller size manila envelopes and cut a hole for her mouth.  The kids had fun drawing the Old Woman.  Pictures for "An Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly" and for "An Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie" and finally because I just found it "An Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell."

2.  With a class or by polling several people in the larger group you can find out what everyone's favorite thing is that she ate.  You can then graph it, and tie in math.

3.  The original version of "I Know an Old Lady......" is good for predicting what she will swallow next because there are holes to show what is happening.  The other versions depending on the rhyming can also help with prediction because of the rhymes in them.

4.  Finally Enchanted Learning, which if you haven't checked out that site has a slew of ideas and printables for many different topics has some wonderful printables for the original version, with many extensions.

I couldn't do justice to the topic of cumulative books without bringing up two more, that sadly don't have many printables online.

First, "The House that Jack Built," which I believe predates any others, and is a wonderful nursery rhyme.  This would be wonderful to compare the two stories and see which one they prefer.  I'm guessing they will prefer "I Know an Old Woman...."

Second, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  There are several picture books for this song, and from my teaching days I have a wonderful worksheet about it, but I have no clue where it came from.  So, I'll explain some of the things I did with it.

1.  Put the days and cards in order.  This is a wonderful song for number order and counting backwards. Here is the best coloring pages I found.

2.  For older kids, upper elementary, how many presents did she get each day?  How many did she get in all?

3.  Comparing numbers and quantity.  What type of thing did she receive the most of?  Did she receive more birds or more food?

4.  Music appreciation.  You can listen to the many different versions.  My favorite version from childhood is the Muppets singing this song.  Then as an adult I heard the Veggietales 8 Polish Foods of Christmas, and really enjoyed it.  Compare the different ways the songs are heard.

Do you have any cumulative books that you enjoy?  What is your favorite version of "I Know an Old Lady...."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lesson Opportunities in Thanksgiving Preparations

Next Thursday morning many of us are likely to be found scurrying around the kitchen in the midst of final preparations for the Thanksgiving meal. Rather than getting frustrated with our little helpers underfoot, what can we do to get our children involved and even sneak in a lesson or two?
Plan the menu as a team. Typically the Thanksgiving meal is bigger and often requires shopping for more people than usual. Compare and contrast the ingredients necessary for this holiday meal to a regular weekday meal in your home. Discuss the concepts of doubling recipes and shopping accordingly.
Get the kids involved in the pre-holiday shopping by putting together their own grocery lists. Make it even more intriguing with the Shopping Store Scavenger Hunt from Mikey R. Singlemomdom.

While shopping the produce department spend a little time weighing your cranberries, squash, and potatoes in the store's scale.
When it is time to unload the groceries into your fridge and cupboards, have your children unpack the bags.  Encourage them to sort items by size, package color, shape, etc.  How about making some patterns: can, can, box, can, can box...
Help your children put together one of the many kid friendly Thanksgiving themed snacks found in our archives.

Teach the children to properly set the table, perhaps making a placement like these by Mama Jenn would be helpful.

For the moments you need to work without help a Thanksgiving sensory bin activity in a large cake pan or mixing bowl with a few fun cooking utensils might be the perfect distraction. There are many examples of Autumn sensory bins to be found online. Mini gourds, Indian corn, bags of unpopped kernels, feathers, cranberries, and acorns would all be interesting materials to throw in!
Set the kids up for some fabric origami (aka napkin folding) using these creative suggestions from Suite 101.
Encourage children to imitate your mixing, rolling, cutting, stirring, and more using play dough. Pumpkin Playdough Pie anyone?
Happy Planning, Shopping, Cooking, Baking, Eating....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bilingual Wednesdays- flashcards

Vocabulary flash cards are the traditional method for learning vocabulary. Either in English or Spanish they are a wonderful, easy-to-do resource to learn new words.

They are cheap and easy to do.You need paper, pictures and glue. You can laminate them for durability.

If they are fun, colorful, and creative, they will help to remember vocabulary words. You can use them for a small or  a big group. 

Flashcards are a tried and tested teaching and learning device inside and outside the classroom, for kids and adults alike.

The key to using flash cards is to look at the word or definition, then you can cover the word, and test your kids  if they can remember.

These are a set of flaschards I made to review Thanksgiving words such as

  • cena
  • calabaza
  • Peregrinos
  • Aborígenes
  • Maíz
  • Cornucopia
  • Tarta

Show and Tell #76

Time for a little turkey...

The Golden Gleam put together a lovely nature-full turkey.

Tons of Fun Preschool Activities has a Roll and Color Turkey activity that my preschooler is going to love!

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons explains how to make a turkey treat worth gobbling up.

As my own children share things they are thankful for each night during November, I am reminded of how thankful I am for family!

Liz has a neat collection of premade scrapbook layouts dedicated to family!

It's your turn!

abc button

Please remember these rules:

~Post an Ah-Ha moment, an 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!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Mommy is a Blogger by Sommer Poquette

We consider students' academic needs, brainstorm appropriate objectives, plan engaging activities, assess their understanding of the new material...

... then post the lesson photos and outcomes online to share with all of our other teacher/mommy friends. 


My own children have become suspicious.  Why are you taking pictures of our papers again?  How did my project already get on the computer?  What are you going to write about it?  Why are you doing that?  These are all questions I have heard from my oldest two who are becoming more aware of what I do when I am on the computer.

Have you ever explained blogging to your children?

This summer I had the privilege of meeting Sommer -  a preschool teacher, an engaging public speaker, a social media expert, a blogger, an environmentally conscious mommy, and the author of My Mommy is a Blogger.

My Mommy is a Blogger is a clever story about how one child comes to understand what blogging is while celebrating her mother during career day. The text is humorous and the colorful illustrations are very kid friendly. Reading this story with my children helped me explain a bit about social media, tweeting, review posts, linky parties, and more. (Maybe it would be helpful to read it with my husband too, so he can better understand - wink!)

In addition to explaining blogging as both a hobby and a career, the book provides a great reminder of the importance of language.  It points out the gap between what we sometimes think we are clearly explaining to children and what their actual understanding is based on our actions and unfamiliar vocabulary. I also love the obvious ties between blogging and creativity, graphic design, story telling, and grammar - all necessary components of a successful online site.

When you order an autographed copy you will be given a link to download  a complimentary activity and lesson plan readers response eBook that accompany the book.  I enjoyed offering a bit of input as Sommer put this activity packet together.  Using her teaching background she has created a useful resource for parents and classroom teachers to build excitement about online writing opportunities.

The follow up activities are appropriate and FUN for students PreK - 3rd Grade.  The packet includes  resources and engaging activities for using the blogging platform to enhance writing instruction for children.

Not only is this a great book to share with our own children who may not understand why we spend time documenting their many learning adventures for the rest of the world to benefit from;), it would be a fun addition to an elementary school library collection.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.  It was my pleasure to meet Sommer during a West Michigan Blogger's Meet Up and I was excited to share her work here on ABC & 123.  I have a personal copy of the book that I purchased myself.  The links in this post are affiliate links.  When I began putting together this post I became aware of the program. When you click through you will also have the opportunity to sign up to be an affiliate if you are interested.

Veteran's Day

Today in the USA we celebrate Veteran's Day.  We would like to take the opportunity to thank our Veterans for their incredible service to our country.  
Perhaps you are looking for an appropriate book to share with your children today.  Here are a few titles to choose from:
The Wall by Eve Bunting
H is for Honor: Devin Scillian
America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Chaney
America's White Table by Margot Raven
Granddad Bud by Sharon Ferry
Pepper's Purple Heart by Heather French Henry
Veterans Day: Remembering Our Wars by Elaine Landau
Veterans Day by Mariene Targ Brill
The Holiday Zone has an excellent list of books appropriate for upper elementary age students and teens.  There are also brief descriptions available on many of the books. 
For children who are a bit older, and perhaps mature enough to handle the content, there are many insightful quotes about Veteran's Day.  It would be beneficial to read them together and work together to explain the meanings found within.  Here is a brief sampling of some of the quotes I found:
Mark Twain: 
In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned.  When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
Cynthia Ozick: 
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.
Bernard Malamud: 
Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don't know how far we can go.
Carol Lynn Pearson: 
Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Book Picks and Reviews

No Time For Flashcards used the book Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation to put together a timeline activity.

Thanksgiving Day at Our House (reviewed by Wild Rose Reader) is a poetry book for very young children. My children love this book and have memorized several of the simple rhymes.

Wild Rose Reader shares personal reviews for many Thanksgiving books.
My Teaching Heart has a great visual list of favorite Thanksgiving texts, in addition to many other turkey themed activities.
What are we reading this holiday season?
My 2 year old son enjoys My First Thanksgiving.  It is a simple text in board book that explains Thanksgiving. The highlight of this book for me are the illustrations by Tomie dePaola.

My 1 year old's favorite thanksgiving book from our shelf is Five Silly Turkeys.  He takes great delight in turning the crinkly feather pages. A Mommy's Adventure shares a stART activity for this book if you are interested.

My 5 year old daughter is a beginning reader.  She loves to show us her stuff by reading More Snacks! A Thanksgiving Play. It is from a series of Ant Hill Pre-Level 1 readers.

When she allows me to read to her, I love to share the story The Littlest Pilgrim and a precious pilgrim girl who wants to do big things. It is appropriate for preschool and kindergarten age children.

My 7 year old can not get enough of the Magic Tree House books and their accompanying research guides. The Thanksgiving books are Thanksgiving on Thursday and Pilgrims. I was excited when I found the printable book guide for Gavin to work on while he reads Thanksgiving on Thursday. (By the way, the site actually has book guides for almost all of the MTH books!)

All four of our kiddos love Arthur's Thanksgiving, although I know I have shared before that it is not one of my favorites;)

Throughout the month I will share poems from Jack Prelutsky's It's Thanksgiving compilation with the kids.  Giggle Inducing!

Disclosure: Several of the book titles mentioned are linked to Amazon.  They are not affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Number Sense

I posted a few months ago about number sense and because I'm working really hard on this concept right now with my students, I figured that you might be too.

This math game can be played in partners, groups, or independently.  Just copy the game pieces on cardstock, laminate and cut-out. Then, have the students match each number to the number word and record on their recording sheets.  I've included a number-word reference sheet too!  Enjoy!

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