ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: October 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Here's to having a wonderful, transforming, rockin', storm trooping trick or treat day. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Show and Tell #111

 Stay at Home Educator shared several leaf activities used in a preschool co-op.  The post made me miss my days as an in home co-op preschool mama.  I love the idea of creating a color wheel with fall leaves.
Highhill Homeschool joined last week's show and tell with some tasty looking molecules.  I am currently tutoring a student in chemistry and this hands on activity might be just what it takes to make some concepts stick! Thanks for sharing!
Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk has been busy creating and learning with acorns.  I especially love the acorn and mini pumpkin village they set up.  What a lot of clever fall ideas.
Bonus Feature: Don't miss the post from Mama of Many Blessings on 50 fun hands on learning and playing activities for fall.

It's Your Turn!  I hope we see lots of great DIY costume ideas linked up to this week's party in addition to all of your other great ideas for teaching and learning!
  abc button

If you are new to Show & Tell or need a quick recap, here are the rules:

~Post your favorite lessons, crafts, traditions, kid friendly recipes, field trip recap, learning games, experiments, DIY organizational projects, holiday related activities, or Ah-Ha moments.

~Direct link to your post, not your home page.

~Include a link back to us or include our link button in your post or sidebar.

~Please try to visit and comment on at least three links. This adds to the positive collaboration that makes our learning cooperative a success!

~Each week we will feature three links from the previous week's party.  Some weeks these are chosen at random, sometimes by theme, and other times according to linky tools stats.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Little People Halloween Makeover

We have had a few very rainy days recently here in West Michigan.  Since our little boys couldn't be outside we were looking for a different distraction.  We came up with a simple, seasonally themed, activity to encourage hours of creativity and imaginative play. 
To begin we set up some of our favorite Little People pieces into a village.  Then we collected all the "spooooooky" things we could find around the house.  With toys and materials collected the transformation of the town was up to the boys.  They worked together to makeover the town of Little People into a fall festival.  Piles of toliet paper became "ninja mummies." My three year old did lots of cutting practice as he turned orange twine into spider webs.  We planted cookie cutter pumpkins in a special patch. Battery powered candles made fun additions when we turned the lights off on the town and played by candle light.  
When our older children came home from school they were excited to add their own touches to the set up with egg carton bats and plastic rats.  They all went to bed tonight dreaming of how they could add on to the scene tomorrow.  Finding a new way to play with the toys I feared the kids might be outgrowing was quite a treat!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

External Motivation for At Home Reading

During the summer months there are many local libraries and book stores that offer incentives for student reading success.  It is just as important to Read to Succeed during this school year.  In my own children's school they are required to log many reading minutes daily as a key part of their homework.  So, what types of external motivators or reading incentives might be offered during the school year?  If your student is already doing lots of great reading here are some fun ideas for recognizing their efforts.  If they are not reading the hopefully this is some motivation to get started!
The Pizza Hut Book It program has been rewarding children for reading minutes for many years. They have a new minute tracking app available for this school year.
Reading Rewards Blog has some clever, penny free, suggestions for motivating readers to spend time in a book. 
Braums has a book buddy program to earn sweet treats.

Sylvan Learning Center has a Book Adventure program to encourage reading.  Students grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to take an online quiz, and earn prizes for their comprehension success.

Earn free tokens for Chuck E. Cheese's by filling out a monthly reading calendar.

Read to Succeed is an exciting program that encourages students grades K- 6 to read for fun. Students who complete six hours of recreational reading earn free tickets to Six Flags! The program is available to teachers and schools at no cost to participate, and it's a great way to motivate kids to read. Homeschool students and teachers are also eligible for this incentive. To register for Read To Succeed for the 2012-2013 school year, follow this link to the registration page.
Log a mile a minute (or hour, if you wish) for all of your students' at home reading.  Set a time limit on this record keeping and at the end of your time add up all the miles and plan a road trip together to a place that many miles away!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Movement and Music: Fall and Pumpkins!

Hi, I'm Jedda from This Little Project.  I'm excited to share some ideas about how you can incorporate Movement and Music into learning to make it more meaningful and fun for the kids you interact with and teach.
Pass the Pumpkin is a game I made up for us to play when I want to review something.  If it's geography, each child says a country or state when the pumpkin gets passed to them.  If it's numbers or colors or presidents the idea is the same.  The kids stand in a circle or in two columns and pass the pumpkin back and forth to each other down the line, or around the circle.  
You could use a orange ball, but we use a clementine, orange, or tangerine with a face painted on so we have a yummy snack to celebrate with at the end of the game!
Below I've included some songs that make learning fun and full of movement for a variety of ages.

Where is pumpkin song: (Ideas for older kids below)

Where is Pumpkin? Song:  When I want to do a variation on this song (above) for kids a little older, I hide other things under the leaves that we are reviewing, such as shapes of states, pictures of composers, or numbers, etc.  When we lift up the number, if the pumpkin isn't there we say, "Oh it's not the pumpkin, it's a SEVEN!"  Or, "Oh it's not the pumpkin, it's Mozart!", etc.  

Kids can play this in pairs too and they love to be the one to hide the objects underneath!

Leaves Song:

Nursery Rhyme about leaves: I like that the second half of the song doesn't have singing.  It tests the memory of the words and melody for the students.

Pumpkin maracas!  These make singing and getting the sense of rhythm even more fun!  Just fill the inside with anything that makes sound (ours came from the rice and beans in our October sensory bin!) and glue closed.  You could also use an orange plastic egg and draw a face on!

For ideas about how to use Movement and Music to help kids discover their own skeletons, see my post from the archives last year:

For more learning fun, be sure to come by This Little Project and say hi!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Imagine Childhood - Explore the World through Nature, Imagination, and Play with Sarah Olmsted

Growing up there was always a distinct moment when I knew autumn had arrived.  I'm not sure if it was the light, the temperature or the sight of that first golden tinged leaf on a tree, but as soon as I noticed it everything changed.  Summer always had a sort of length to it, not just in the hours of the day, but in the slower speed of the activities and in the way my mind would wander, moving at the pace of the shadows cast by the drifting sun.  But from the moment fall hit, the energy was instantaneously different.  The cooler air stirred faster movement from place to place and the hours spent indoors at school heightened the intensity of the time spent outside.  Suddenly each moment in the sun was a cherished one, as it stayed around just a bit less each day. Places I'd taken for granted during the preceding months were now special destinations.  The space in autumn is closer somehow than the other seasons, especially as the leaves begin to fall.   Walking in the park, I'd take unnecessary detours just so that I could wander through the patches of trees, so I could enter those golden caves.  I'd shuffle my feet along the ground to hear that familiar crunch and crackle and everything else in the world would disappear... like the only thing that existed in the entire universe was that small bubble of golden trees and their shooting stars shaped like leaves. Growing up, autumn transformed my everyday world into the space of dreams.  The season was magic.  

~ Excerpt from IMAGINE CHILDHOOD: Exploring the World through Nature, Imagination, and Play.


If you couldn't already tell by the passage above, autumn is my favorite time of year.  From the colors, to the smells, to the feel of a crisp breeze on my face in the morning. . . I love it all.  But this year, for the first time in my life, I'm spending the season much farther south.  Where I am, the average temperature lately has been 85 not 55.  There is no drama or fanfare by way of changing trees, there's no smell of damp leaves.   And so, without the usual telltale signs, I find myself having to pay even closer attention to the subtle shifts and changes.  I find myself searching for fall like a detective following clues. 

Whether you live in a place with four distinct seasons, or in a location where things stay relatively the same from day to day, week to week, and month to month, there are always slight changes happening right in front of you. There is magic hiding both in the drama and subtlety of nature.  Take a moment and see what you can find today.

Suggestions for exploring fall:

If you'd like to explore the pages of IMAGINE CHILDHOOD further, today is your lucky day!  Roost is giving away THREE copies right here!

Thank you so much Katie for hosting me on your lovely blog!
~ Sarah Olmsted

It is our pleasure to have Sarah here on ABC & 123 today.  Her book IMAGINE CHILDHOOD: Exploring the World through Nature, Imagination, and Play is a beautiful and inspiring piece for every classroom resource collection and parent's tool kit.  We are thankful for the generous offer of sharing 3 copies with our readers.  Please submit your entry for this giveaway x3 in the Rafflecopter below.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Math Games and Manipulatives from Our Readers

We are always happy to receive the neat submissions you send to us here at ABC & 123.  We typically wait to feature them until we have several that fit a specific theme or unit of study, but we do visit all of the links you send and look forward to spreading the word about your fun work! Here are a few neat math ideas we have been holding on to for awhile!
Makie Do headed outside to find materials for a hands on introduction to simple fractions.  
Roots and Wings Co.  has the most adorable bushel of apples manipulatives to use for patterning, counting, and more.  Do you think we could convince "Mom" to make more crochet apples for all of us? (smiles!)
A Mommy's Adventure reminds us that Roll N' Color pages are an entertaining way to practice many math concepts: counting, number recognition, one to one correspondence, fact memorization, and more.
chicken babies puts packing material to good use by making a snappy game out of learning simple computation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: 5 Little Pumpkins

My kids are crazy about Halloween.  They love to think up costumes, they plan out decorations for our house for months.  They love the imagination and creativity behind it.

So, I always try to do lots of activities during Halloween, and one of my favorites when I was teach was "5 Little Pumpkins."  It's a fun cute poem that you can do many different activities with.

Art Project

Supplies needed: printable, orange paint or ink pad, markers

It's simple and fun.  On each page create a fingerprint pumpkin using paint or an ink pad and decorate for the words.  My kids enjoyed doing this and took the time to really decorate it all.


This is one of many similar poems that are set up perfectly for some nice easy beginner subtraction.  Stuart J. Murphy has a book called "Monster Musical Chairs," that teaches the same principal.  After your art project is all done, go through and write the math problems for each page.  5-1=4, etc......


Go through each page and look for your sight words for the year. Circle them with crayon. If you have a multi-age class have them look for parts of speech, what adjectives are there?


 Learn about pumpkins, how do they grow?  What is their life cycle?  Do they float?  Currclick has a great science unit that we used last year and the kids loved.  

Social Studies

Compare the Big Pumpkin to The Enormous Turnip.  How are they similar, how are they different.  Follow on Language activities, find synonyms for the word "big," and put them in order by size (big, giant, enormous, gigantic, etc).  You'll notice not everyone puts them in the same order.  Is there a right order for the words?

Show and Tell #110

 Last week's Show and Tell post might have been easy to miss.  If you didn't get a chance to see it you are going to want to look it up for all the "pin-worthy" projects!  It was so fun for me to explore all of the interesting links.  You guys are  SO clever!

Hey Mom, Chocolate Milk will inspire you to be a little corny with her fun fall suggestions.
Just Another Step to Take used balloons to make mathematical concepts come to life.

CraftoArt put together a literacy integrated art activity with 4 Season TP Trees.

It's Your Turn!

  abc button

If you are new to Show & Tell or need a quick recap, here are the rules:

~Post your favorite lessons, crafts, traditions, kid friendly recipes, field trip recap, learning games, experiments, DIY organizational projects, holiday related activities, or Ah-Ha moments.

~Direct link to your post, not your home page.

~Include a link back to us or include our link button in your post or sidebar.

~Please try to visit and comment on at least three links. This adds to the positive collaboration that makes our learning cooperative a success!

~Each week we will feature three links from the previous week's party.  Some weeks these are chosen at random, sometimes by theme, and other times according to linky tools stats.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bilingual Wednesday

Hispanic Heritage Month

Let's review some South America facts to help you to get acquainted with it, or simply to refresh some basic facts and figures as a manner of introduction.
The Western Hemisphere, or the Americas as they are commonly known, is composed by North America , Central and South America.
South America is the fourth largest continent in the world with aprox. 17,849,000 square km. (6,890,000 square miles) and a population of 371,090,000, estimated by 2005.
Connected through the isthmus of Panama to its northern counterpart, it is bordered by the Pacific ocean to the West and Atlantic ocean to the North and East. 

It is politically divided into twelve sovereign states: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, plus the overseas administration of French Guiana.

Download a free set of word wall cards in my  blog

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rhythm & Beat: Musical Monday

Rhythm is measured movement and patterns of harmonic beat. Formal studies aside, it is quite obvious to parents and early childhood teachers, children learn rhythm through play.  Even the youngest little ones attempt to clap, stomp, nod their  heads, and shake their booties when they hear a good beat. Rhythm is a building block for speech and literacy, as well as musical achievement.  Here are a few resources to further explain the importance of rhythm instruction, lessons to teach rhythm to children of various ages, and toys that encourage exploration with rhythm.

Primary Singing Time Ideas suggests using actions and motions to get children kinesthetically involved in learning rhythm and musical symbols. 

Live Strong suggests several fun rhythm learning games including Echo Patterns and Word Clapping.

The Drumbeat Poem by Richard Macwilliam is written to teach the basics of rhythm. At the bottom of his page he explains how to clap the poem with your students.

Explore the powerful connections between literacy and rhythm with the links found at The Educational Cyber Playground.

The Creativity Institute lists the many reasons it is important to teach rhythm, many of which relate to character development.

Help students feel the rhythm with a Halloween themed dictation and movement lesson from Pianimation

Make learning rhythm more fun by assigning a known animal to each pattern, as seen in Runde's Room. 

There are many examples on Pinterest of creative outdoor percussion sections.  One example of such a "banging wall" is found at Inspiring Play, Inspiring Learning and another at Pre-School Play.

My own four young children love experimenting with rhythm using the Parum Pum Pum Drum from B. Toys.  The colorful, creativity inspiring, set includes: a drum to strap on, centipede drumsticks, jingly ant, busy been maracas, caterpillar tambourine, and shaker eggs.  Parum Pum Pum Drum is intended for children 18mo-3 years, but is thoroughly enjoyed by my 8, 6, 3, and 1 year olds!

{This rhythmic toy is available on Amazon, but if you do a Google search using the product name you will find a particular retailer, at the top of the list, which currently has Parum Pum Pum Drum available at an amazing clearance price}

Disclosure: B.Toys are a favorite in our house.  They are affordable and enjoyable toys that keep the attention of all of my children at their unique ages and stages.  Since I am such a fan I continue to enjoy building a relationship with their public relations staff who subsequently sent Parum Pum Pum Drum our way as a gift.  I was not obligated to write about it here on ABC & 123, but enjoyed doing so as it fits perfectly into our Musical Monday feature.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fun with 5 Little Pumpkins

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. The costumes, the candy, the pumpkins... I just can't get enough. So as soon as the weather turns cooler and the leaves start to fall, my husband and I bundle our boys up and head to the pumpkin patch. From that moment on, THEY have Halloween on the brain too.

This year, I started celebrating Halloween a little earlier than usual. As the boys and I were driving through town one day last week, I began chanting the popular rhyme "Five Little Pumpkins". If you're unfamiliar with it, the words:

Five little pumpkins sitting on a fence.
The first one said, “Oh my it’s getting late!”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “But we don’t care.”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun.”
“Ooooooo” went the wind and OUT went the lights.
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

As we were singing together, I started thinking about all of the fun follow ups we could do. The moment that my boys' heads hit the pillow that night, I got to work.

First, I created a set of printable puppets my almost 3 year old could use to act out the rhyme. Reenacting favorite rhymes and books is a great way for kids to learn how to tell stories.


Then I made a set of large pumpkins that could be strung onto yarn to make pumpkin props. We'll be using these to act out the rhyme when we gather together 4 other "big kids".   


And finally, I made a 5 Little Pumpkins mini-book so that my son could practice "reading". Even though he won't be able to actually sound out the words yet, he'll be able to "read" it perfectly because he already knows the rhyme by heart. It's a great way to help C see himself as a reader - and seeing himself as a reader will motivate him to learn how to actually read.  


We've been having fun playing with our new Halloween-themed activities and hope you will too. You can download your own copy of the "Five Little Pumpkins" printable packet on Teachers Pay Teachers' website by clicking here. 

Have a spook-tacular month! {I couldn't resist.}


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: Maine and Missouri

It feels right to be discussing Maine in the fall, since I've heard they get a gorgeous fall with beautiful autumn leaves.  Down here in Texas, I've never really heard of these "fall leaves," so I'm always jealous of the shots I see other people taking.


Sadly our library didn't have a plethora of books on Maine, it had oh........ three.  And those three weren't what you would think of, but it still gave my kids an idea of Maine.
Abbie Against the Storm- is a wonderful true story about a young girl who is left in charge while her father goes to get more supplies.  She weathers the worst storm in history, keeping her sick mother and sister alive.  I used this as an opportunity to bring in an art lesson on lines and contours.
The Sea Chest-While the last is a documented true story, this one is a compilation of several stories.  It has a wonderful story about finding a treasure chest and what was inside of it.  The book is very well written and is delightful, if you have a chance to read it, DO.  For this activity we predicted what was going to be in the chest, then wrote down what actually was in it.  Finally they wrote/drew what they would put in their treasure chest.
Wakame Gatherers- This book takes place mostly in Japan, but it's a comparison of two grandmothers, one in Japan and one in Maine.  They talk about their lives growing up, and what they did.  It also talks about sea weed that can be found off the shorelines of both places.  After reading it we talked about different uses for sea weed, and what our favorite use for sea weed was.  Overwhelming answer: ICE CREAM!


Blueberries for Sal- This book, and a follow on book both take place in Maine, sadly our library copies were all checked out, and my personal copy is on walk-about.  With young kids you could count blueberries or do a comparison of mother bears and human moms.  Older kids you could study bears, or cook blueberry muffins.
Lobsters-with the waters being colder, Maine is supposed to be a good spot for lobsters.  You could observe lobsters at the grocery store, check a book out on them.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow- read some of his poetry

What else would you suggest for Maine?  At the time we studied it, of the 10 books on my list all but 3 were checked out or were not truly appropriate.


For whatever reason Blogger does not want this picture upright, but on its side, so I apologize for that.

Again the books choices were limited for Missouri, so I had only two activities, much to my chagrin.

Tom Sawyer- Mark Twain was from Missouri, and many of his books take place there.  I found a great easy reader adaptation of Tom's adventure painting the fence.  All of the usual elements of a story were easily identifiable in this story, so we took some time to identify what the elements of the story were, characters, setting, and problem.  I liked this activity because it's easily adaptable to several ages.  Younger kids can draw the answer, while older kids have to write sentences or more details.

The Gateway Arch- One of the most outstanding features about Missouri is the Gateway Arch, it was designed to memorialize the starting of the Oregon Trail in St. Louis.  We talked about all of the different ideas people had, and what we might have created if we were in charge.  After all that talking we designed our own monument to Westward Expansion.  Apparently this group of kids was going to make a lot of statues.


Oregon Trail and Westward expansion- St. Louis was the starting point for many of the wagon trains heading West.  You could talk about what you would bring with you in your wagon, or what it takes to plan an expedition.

Legend of the Dogwood Tree-I saw this idea later on and saved it for possible using at Easter time as well, but the flower of Missouri s the dogwood, so it could also be used here.

Anyone live in Missouri with some great ideas?  I didn't see any great ones that popped out at me as I was planning our unit.

Show and Tell #109

Highhill Homeschool linked up to our last Show and Tell with several suggestions for practicing estimation. 

Mommy Minded has come up with a simple solution for making sure her son's sight words are always easy to find when it is time to practice them.

Brighton Park explained how to make your own maracas.

It's your turn!

  abc button

If you are new to Show & Tell or need a quick recap, here are the rules:

~Post your favorite lessons, crafts, traditions, kid friendly recipes, field trip recap, learning games, experiments, DIY organizational projects, holiday related activities, or Ah-Ha moments.

~Direct link to your post, not your home page.

~Include a link back to us or include our link button in your post or sidebar.

~Please try to visit and comment on at least three links. This adds to the positive collaboration that makes our learning cooperative a success!

~Each week we will feature three links from the previous week's party.  Some weeks these are chosen at random, sometimes by theme, and other times according to linky tools stats.