ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School

Welcome back friends!

After a great summer break, with my children who no longer nap allowing me time to blog ;), we are ready to jump into a fun filled, play filled, learning filled...
2012-2013 school year!  

Here at ABC & 123:  A Learning Cooperative we are especially excited to resume our posting schedule including writing from our fantastic feature writers: Ticia, Malia, Ana, and Jedda.  We will be kicking off Show and Tell again shortly.  At this point we are considering a biweekly Show and Tell through the new year, beginning on September 18th.  During the summer months worked on developing relationships with a few key companies.  We look forward to sharing them with you during this year and hopefully offering some giveaways that will be valuable to your teaching situations! 

As always, if you have an idea for a feature column you would like to write and share here on ABC & 123 we would love for you to pitch your ideas.  Send them to our email:  abc123learning(dot)com. 

If you have been reading here for awhile you may remember Feature Me Friday! Since our site is all about finding the best learning ideas and strategies around the web by featuring the amazing activities our readers are doing, we would love to feature you.  Suggestions for a guest post include:

~Photo: blog header, link button, you and your family etc.
~Introductory paragraph(s): A few sentences introducing you, your family, and blog.  Include photos as appropriate
~3-5 of your favorite activities, crafts, etc.: We suggest including one photo per highlighted activity.  Please include a short description or why you liked it etc. and if you have a post about it on your blog a direct link to it.
~Closing paragraph: Give links to all the ways readers can find you, for example your blog link, Twitter, Facebook etc.

Feel free to look through our archives for examples of Feature Me Friday posts.

We would love to offer another opportunity for our newer readers to feature themselves.  If you are interested in a spot in the 2012-2013 Feature Me Friday schedule send us a note and we will send out the directions and your schedule.

Also remember that you are welcome to send us links of your favorite posts any time.  We will add them to our submissions folder and post them when they fit with the topic we are covering!

Looking forward to another season of collaborating with you all!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Lunch Packing Tip

This time of year, we find ourselves bettering back in to the routine of having our children in school.  For many, this schedule requires us to be ready with healthy snacks and packed lunches.  

My two school age children get SO excited about picking out a new lunch box for a new school year.  I, on the other hand, feel a bit less than excited about coming up with the packed goods to go in the lunch boxes.  

eMeals, the online meal planning service our family uses for creating our weekly dinner menu, is now offering  packed lunch plans as well.  Visit to check out a sample plan or to order a subscription to help get your family organized for this new school season.  

The eMeals blog also shares a few healthy choice lunch menus for you to enjoy, like these Turkey Pinwheels.

eMeals is currently offering 20% off all new subscriptions to the lunch menu using the discount code LUNCH.

When you subscribe you will also receive a FREE Back to School planning kit including a week long lunch menu, printable lunchbox notes, and a back to school checklist. 

Speaking of lunch box notes...
If you are looking for some cute ones for your child's fruity snacks, you will want to check out the colorful tags in our post on free printables for learning!

Disclosure: Our family uses, enjoys, and pays for the eMeals service.  This post is not sponsored, but the links are affiliate links.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Educational App from PBS Kids

According to a new study from market research firm NPD Group, tablet usage among kids increased 13% from 2011 to 2012.  I will admit, I held out quite awhile on getting an iPhone and even then did so with the notion that I would not use it for entertaining the kids.  Silly me!  I quickly realized the value of an entertaining app for keeping my 4 quiet and occupied in lines and waiting rooms.  It was still important for me to sneak in a bit of learning, rather than just encourage angry bird tossing.  

There are so many apps for children it can be a bit overwhelming to pick through to find the best of the best.  I started my search by looking for apps based on the educational programming offered on PBS Kids.  One of our first favorites is Sid’s Science Fair
On August 16th PBS Kids released their newest educational app designed for children ages 3 to 6.  Super Why! ABC Adventures: Alphabet is the 4th mobile app based on Super Why!  The alphabet app offers opportunity for practicing sound recognition, upper case, and lower case letters.  With the Super Readers hosting the 5 engaging adventures and offering souvenir sticker rewards.  Games include: Alpha Pig’s Lickety Letter Safari, Super Why’s Z Marks the Spot, Wonder Red’s Let’s Letter Fly, Princess Presto’s Under the Sea Sounds, and Woofster’s Golden Letter Bones.

ABC Adventures: Alphabet is a great tool for families to use to build reading skills wherever they are – covering core areas such as the alphabet and letter sounds.  All of these skills are useful in preparing children for success in school. 

While interacting with the app users can access a collection of alphabet themed music videos from Super Why! to gain further exposure to the alphabet.

This app is available for download from the iTunesstore.  $2.99 for the iPhone or $3.99 for the iPad. 

For more information on the specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more visit

My 2, 3, and 6 year old all enjoyed interacting with Super Why! on his Alphabet Adventure.  My 6 year old especially likes the alphabet dot to dot treasure hunt hosted by Super Why! I enjoyed the graphics and letter sound practice hosted Under Water by Princess Pea. 

Disclosure: ABC & 123: A Learning Cooperative was given a complimentary download of SuperWhy! ABC Adventure: Alphabet to explore before sharing the press release information with you here.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Musical Monday:

Are you looking for some lighthearted fun to add a smile to your Monday?  Have you ever explored  HooplaHa aims to connect the world by sharing positive, funny, and inspiring video stories.    They are certainly feel good clips, certain to put a smile on your face.

Baby Jonah, the Breakbeat Baby, and his parents turned some adorable 1 year old noises into an awesome rhythmic video.    

My 1 and 3 year old boys are hooked.

We hope you add some music and movement to your Monday!

Disclosure: ABC & 123: A Learning Cooperative has not been compensated in any way for sharing HooplaHa with you here.  We do appreciate the ongoing relationship we have been building with the PR company that represents HooplaHa and some of our other favorite children’s brands.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

An ABC Staircase


Let's face it: Life is busy. Between play dates, meal prep and running errands some days leave little time to breathe let alone give your child ABC practice. So when I saw this photo of a staircase in one Singaporean primary school, I was immediately struck with excitement. By covering each step with a fact or visual of the solar system, teachers discovered a simple way to turn an ordinary staircase into a teachable moment.


So I decided to create my own version of this magical staircase. To start, I gathered a few supplies: 26 blank index cards, a pack of colorful markers and a roll of tape. On each card, I wrote a different letter combination like this one.  

Then I taped one card to the side of each step on our stairwell.

Since we have 13 stairs, I posted the first half of the ABCs on one side and the second half on the other.

When my son woke up in the morning he was thrilled to discover his alphabet surprise. We slowly marched up the steps as we sang the ABCs. "A" (step) "B" (step), "C" (step)...   Then we counted the letters as we marched up and back down.   He was thrilled to discover his very special first letter {C} and he LOVED hunting for his brother's special letter {G}.  

Other Ways to Play

  • Call out a letter and invite your child to race to it.
  • Invite your child to trace each letter as she walks up the stairs.
  • Say a word and have your child listen to the first sound she hears. Have her climb to the letter on the stairs.
  • Give your child a short word like {cat}. Invite your child to sound it out slowly and hop to the letters she hears. In this example, she would race to the {c}, then the {a} and then the {t}.

Find more playful ways to help your child learn to read on Playdough to Plato's blog and Facebook page.