ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: November 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Show and Tell #113

We are really looking forward to this week's Show and Tell! Bring on the holiday ideas: sensory bins, handmade gifts, favorite recipes, history lessons, ornaments, advent activities, thematic math, favorite winter books!  'Tis the season for some holiday sharing!

Growing Book by Book linked up to our last party with a suggestion for making gift tags as an extension to reading the book The Legend of the Poinsettia

The colorful cloud experiment shared by Keeping My Toddler Entertained looks like fun for children of all ages!

Watch me Play and Learn made beautiful pictures of Aurora Borealis using dark construction paper and clear nail polish.

  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.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Movement and Music: Using Puppets!

Hi, It's Jedda from This Little Project.  I'm here to share one of my favorite tools for interacting with kids that is also a great way to teach music and movement: PUPPETS!
One thing that is sure to get your student or child's attention is a puppet!  Sometimes it seems that children and are more comfortable interacting with a puppet than directly with an adult.  A puppet has the added benefit of being able to say and do things that adults cannot say and do directly.  
And they are FUN!
There are lots of kinds of puppets: string, hand, or stick puppets.  Children love to make their own and they are a great prop for teaching many skills.  If you are worried about singing in front of your students, use a puppet.  They will focus their attention on the puppet instead of you :)
Below I have included some ideas for how to utilize these fun friends to  
make your teaching experience more successful  
as well as some 
puppet ideas to make.
 Here are 5 ways to use puppets in the classroom
This video shows how to use a puppet to teach a counting song:
The Book Chook has ideas on how to use puppets to encourage children's literacy.
This video highlights how to teach another language with puppets, movement and music.

You don't need a  puppet theater to use puppets to teach.  But kids can learn a lot about role playing, social interaction, listening, story telling, imagination, and more through one.
  Here's how to make one in a doorway.
puppet theater
Some puppets are edible!
We have made stick puppets with Marshmallows:
And bananas too.
It's fun to have an excuse to make your food talk :)
And my children love to use peg dolls like puppets too.
Puppets are a simple tool you can use in so many ways to stimulate many skills, not just movement and music.  I hope they make teaching more fun for you and your students :)
Be sure to stop by This Little Project for more fun learning ideas!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Author Jeff Kinney - The Third Wheel Book Giveaway

leaving school early + take out pizza in the car + a brand new book + meeting and interviewing Jeff Kinney + touring his travel bus...
It all adds up to a 3rd grade dream and the perfect inspiration for his next personal narrative!
Are you familiar with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series?  On November 13th Jeff Kinney released his 7th book, The Third Wheel. On the 19th he was touring through our hometown in his own amazing wheels.
The following excerpt from my son's journal is a recap of the interview and a glimpse into the man behind the wildly famous series for upper elementary age students.
How did you get started in your writing? I always wanted to draw cartoons, but could not find a newspaper who would pick them up. I ended up putting my cartoons into books and they were picked up by a publisher.
How long does it take for you to write each book? About 9 months
How many more books will be in this series?  Hopefully 3
What is your favorite book in the series so far?  This new book.  The Third Wheel is my favorite because it is my best writing so far.
Would you ever consider writing a series about Greg when he was a very young child? Well, have you read this new book yet?  It starts out with Greg as small as a child can be.
In what ways are you most like the main character in the book?  In all the bad ways I guess.  The naughty things he does are most like my childhood.
Do you have an annoying brother? I do have a brother.
What advice would you give to a student who wants to get published some day?  (paraphrased) Find someone who will offer you constructive criticism about your writing even at a young age.  I always heard about how great I was and it made it difficult to grow my talent and accept rejection later in life.
As a parent I think the vague answer about the annoying brother is especially hilarious.  
As a teacher I think the advice Jeff Kinney would offer young writers is very important for us to consider.  Are we just teaching writing or are we really training young writers in all areas of the craft?  Our kids need to learn to gracefully accept feedback and use it to grow. Food for thought this Thanksgiving weekend!  

If you have a Wimpy Kid fan in your family, are looking for a silly book for a reader on your holiday shopping list, or you are looking to add a fun title to your classroom library, enter to win a copy of The Third Wheel! A winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter on Tuesday, November 27th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seasonal writing: Letters to Santa

I'm sure you haven't realized this yet with all of the holiday music blaring and the stores telling you every few days, but Christmas is coming.

"What?" you say it's every year.  I know, I know it is.

But in all seriousness, Christmas is coming, and it's a great time to work on letter writing skills.

Back when I was teaching my class always wrote a letter to Santa, and he always wrote back to them.  It was a magical moment.  But, I want to share another way kids can write to Santa other than just what they really want.

When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! is a super cute book with lots of great reasons to write letters.  Santa loses his "Ho ho ho," and is depressed.  Children write him hundreds of letters to cheer him up, but nothing works, until finally he gets that ONE letter.

Last year I read this book to my kids and then they spent a lot of time thinking of ways they would make Santa laugh.  Teacher Files has some cute Santa lined papers that would be great with this book and activity.

For early or pre-writers have them draw a funny cartoon.

All 3 of my kids are still at the early writing stages, so we concentrate more on process and how to create ideas.

So we brain stormed together what makes things funny.  Is it what you write or what you draw?  Why is one joke funny and another isn't?  After everyone had an idea we talked through if the idea needs a picture.  The letter that made Santa laugh in the book had a funny picture to go with it.  Did their funny idea need a picture to help explain it?

When they started writing I emphasize a lot that I do not care about spelling right now.  I want them to write.  My kids are worried about it being perfect.  I want them to get words on the page and then we can edit it for spelling or grammar.  This can be a very hard thing for kids to understand and grasp at a young age, but if they can get past wanting it to be perfect it can really help them be more willing to write on their own.

I'm always on the look out for other good books to lead into writing prompts, do you have some Christmas favorites for my kids to write about this year?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plan Ahead for Smart Spending

While Thanksgiving is a day to rest and be thankful for all we have, the very next morning millions of us will wake up before dawn to begin furiously preparing for the remainder of the holiday season. The turkey coma has worn off and the Black Friday craze has begun!  However, Black Friday can be about more than searching out the perfect deal or the best present – it can be an opportunity to teach the entire family about wise holiday spending.

The holidays are a great time to talk to kids about money and gift giving – they have an emotional interest! By involving them from a young age in the holiday planning and budgeting, they will have a great foundation for doing their own holiday spending when the time comes.

To help you get started, T. Rowe Price has developed tips for families to share about smart spending for Black Friday, and in turn, smart spending for the whole holiday season.

  • Make your list, but assign each person a dollar value instead of an item.  That way you won't feel compelled to purchase a specific item on your list if it turns out to be more expensive than expected. Chances are that by remaining open-minded, you can find a great gift for someone without exceeding your dollar limit.

  • Don't feel like the amount you spend is a direct reflection of how much you care about your loved one. They will never know exactly what you spent on them, and there is no need to feel self-conscious about it.

  • Explain to your kids where the money being spent for gifts is coming from. Talk to them about how you work the expense of the holidays into your annual spending – a separate savings account to help you save throughout the year, etc.

  • Look into layaway or other programs that allow you to make interest free payments for a big-ticket item. Doing a little research before you begin shopping will help point you to stores that offer interest free layaway and have the products you’re looking for.

  • Get creative! Suggest doing a family “Secret Santa” in order to avoid buying numerous gifts. By assigning each child just one sibling or cousin to buy for, as well as a dollar amount they cannot exceed, it becomes easier for everyone in the family to get involved in the holidays.  Or, suggest the family pitches in for an event or item instead of purchasing gifts, to emphasize the importance of family time.  For example, offer to pay for a plane ticket for a loved one to visit, or a Wii console for the family game night.

After the Black Friday buzz has worn off, you can continue money conversations with your kids well into the holiday season. To help make this easier, T. Rowe Price has created the Family Financial Hub where parents can find tools and resources, including a free activity book with puzzles, games, and activities to teach financial lessons in a fun way.  Kids can also go directly to The Great Piggy Bank Adventure®, an online board game developed in collaboration with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online.

This Black Friday, talk with your kids about making lists, pitching in, and all of the other tactics you follow when buying holiday gifts. By using T. Rowe Price’s tips, you can be better positioned to make it through the 2012 holiday season without going into the red, and while providing your children with valuable money lessons that will last all year long.

T. Rowe Price and Disney Enterprises, Inc., are not affiliated companies.

Stuart Ritter, CFP®, is a T. Rowe Price financial planner and expert in family financial education. He is a father of three young kids.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holiday Shopping in a Teacher Supply Store

While my family is gearing up for Thanksgiving and a quiet weekend at home together, many are gearing up for a busy weekend of post Thanksgiving shopping.  We have a few favorite shops for finding toys that teach, craft supplies, and the newest learning games.  Hint. Sometimes teacher supply stores are one of the best resources for filling stockings, finding great toys for the little ones on your  gift giving list, picking a useful gift for a teacher, or stocking up for birthday parties. Your children More than just bulletin board decorations, curriculum kits, and name tags, teacher supply stores are full of great toys, puppets, books, games, and puzzles.

I have already done a bit of my Christmas shopping at MPM School Supplies.  One of our younger sons is really into Schleich animals. We found a few of the creatures he didn't already have in this online teacher store.  They are a different brand, but similar in quality and appearance. These are tucked away to be added to his stocking.

My oldest son is a huge LEGO fan. He has mastered many kits, so for Christmas he thinks he is up for the challenge of NanoBlocks. We are looking forward to wrapping up the Space Shuttle set for him.

MPM School Supplies has competitive prices, a large selection, speedy shipping within the US, and a great selection of clearance products for you to check out!  The regular priced items are organized by department.  Many of you will appreciate their fun selection of Dramatic Play and Active Play products.  I also found myself dreaming up activities while searching the Manipulatives.  I am also tempted to go back through the store and pick out some Art & Craft Supplies to stuff my daughter's stocking with.

MPMSchool Supplies is offering the readers of ABC & 123 an opportunity to shop their store at 10% off throughout the holiday season.  Use this link to receive 10% off your first 10 orders.  Happy Shopping!

Disclosure: gifted me with a $25 certificate to purchase the items of my choice in exchange for posting about their online store here.  The opinions are my own.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Feature Yourself Friday: Meet Steph

Hello I'm Steph from I like to make things. Lots of them. I make things for me, for my home, for my baby and for my lovely hubby. Most of the time I make play things and I firmly believe you can encourage gentle, constant learning throughout childhood: in-fact with a little extra thought you can sprinkle on a little extra learning to your child's everyday play.

Those of you who have already come across my blog will know that I certainly don't think this means in-your-face-sit-at-a-table-and-learn-by-repeating, until all the joy has been stripped out of an activity! It just means making learning opportunities constantly available in the toys and activities I make for my daughter - aka 'lovely girl'. You can see what I mean if you take a look at my rainbow pom-poms which are a great aid to have conversations about colors while we're dancing around like idiots, log fractions (as featured right here! ) so that we can all get familiar with the language of maths without it being a big deal  - even back in the day when lovely girl started asking about foods it only took a moment to pop up a poster of her meals and common foods which we point at every now and then!

 So as her imagination has blossomed recently, leading to all sorts of imaginative play, I began to think.  Then made a magical forest play mat for her: always with one eye on that extra learning I can sprinkle in. This time it's all about Seasons.
Forest play mat complete with animals 
Forest play mat complete with animals

 Imaginative play is already working that lovely little brain of hers and by adding cute little seasonal areas around the mat we get to discuss what the animals would be doing in each area, Mr Squirrel would be collecting and hiding acorns in the autumn ready to get him through winter; here hedgehogs would be hibernating, Owls would be fluffing up and hunting at night. What flowers would be growing or dying away, what the trees would look like, what we would be doing: Easter egg hunts or decorating Christmas trees.

Seasons aspect of playmat 
The seasons of the forest playmatAnimals from the forest playmat 
Animals from the forest playmat

 Critically for me these things don't have to cost the earth. In-fact free, up-cycled or foraged materials are often the best. The mat, for example, is made by needle felting: which is cheap and really simple to pick up.  All the material for this one came from a leftovers bag (£9) (which is still over 80% full  having made all sorts of things) and the needles cost me (£3). I just worked onto a chopped up old wool coat I had in my remnants box, but you could always nip to a charity shop/thrift store and pick up something wool or fleece to use for next to nothing!
  Things MakieDo has made 
Examples of recent MakieDo projects - from left to right: lavender tummy dolly, felt house with opening roof and door, felt booties and solar system mobile

 I hope you find five to check out my blog , facebook, pinterest or twitter if you're ever in need of inspiration or ideas!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bilingual wednesdays- Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is around the corner and I made these vocabulary flash cards to review some important words in our curriculum.
Flashcards 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 / Dinner
  • Calabaza /Pumpkin
  • Peregrinos / Pilgrims
  • Aborígenes / Natives
  • Maíz / Corn
  • Cornucopia /Cornucopia 
  • Tarta / Pie

Grab your copy from my blog

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Show and Tell #112

The lesson shared by waddlee-ah-chaa would be fantastic for helping students experience a measurement concept that is somewhat difficult to comprehend. 

I am looking forward to trying this sticks and stars science experiment, from A Moment in Our World, with my own children.

My Joy-Filled Life did an exciting lesson about the parts of the brain and nerves.  The clever hats sure make those kids look brainy ;)!

  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.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ordering Holiday Cards for Your Family or Classroom

'Tis the season for designing holiday cards, placing your order, and getting the addresses on the envelopes.  With a little planning ahead regarding  Christmas cards (or New Years greetings) tossing them in the mailbox will be a delightful task on your December list.  Last week on my family blog (a little bit of everything family, crafty, and organization) I shared a mini series on tips for getting the most out of your holiday card budget. While I am not going to repeat them here, you are welcome to look back at them for reference. Here today I offer my fifth tip.

Holiday Card Tip #5: Premium quality, a simple to navigate design process, great customer service, and speedy shipping are worth the extra cost.

This Christmas the majority of greeting cards our family will send have come from Paper Culture.  I have always appreciated clean lines, creative fonts, and vibrant colors.  While scrolling through the many holiday card options it was obvious that clean, creative, and colorful are important to the Paper Culture artists as well!

Paper Culture offered me the opportunity to order cards for the purpose of sharing about their company here on ABC & 123.  I was on the search for a design heavy on the greens, blues, and browns because of the outfits we wore in our pictures.  They may not seems like the traditional Christmas colors to some, but don't worry there are plenty of holly red, evergreen, and snow white choices too.  The most difficult part of the entire customization process for me was choosing one design.  So, I ended up ordering two (smiles!).

Part of the design process I especially appreciated were the many options for editing photos.  Similar to Instagram options, once a SOOC (straight out of the camera) photo is uploaded the color can be manipulated to give the photo a special style of its' own.  In one of my designs I used the Singe effect.  In the other design I tried San Carmen.  I also love soft focus for the dreamy Christmas Eve type effect.

Here are a few fun facts for you:

Paper Culture is eco-friendly - all cards and envelopes are made of 100% post consumer recycled paper.

Paper Culture cards are printed on 130lb. weigh stock paper with signature rounded corners.

Paper Culture cards are shipped in a signature logo box perfect for safe storage until they are ready to be addressed and mailed.

My husband works as a landscaper and spends a lot of time caring for trees.  His boss is also quite a tree enthusiast.  His email tag line is,"Trees - they are doing God's work.  Are you?"  We thought it was appropriate to dedicate a tree on his behalf as part of our holiday giving.  Simple enough.  Paper Culture plants a tree with every order.  They provide a place to choose a custom graphic and write a dedication message with the completion of your order.  An eco-friendly bonus!

Here are the lovely cards I am looking forward to mailing in December.  (Although, I will have to have one more secret style on my desk for those of you who read here and get mail from us at the holidays!)  I have smudged out some of the custom text for internet safety reasons, but trust me there are many options for mixing and matching customized text and great fonts!

I encourage you to get your elves to work on putting together a special design for your holiday season  and save yourself the stress after Thanksgiving!

Disclosure: Thank you to Paper Culture, and Resourcefully Mommy Media, for the opportunity to participate in this marketing campaign.  They provided me with a promotional code to order 20 cards of my choice.  The fun facts above are paraphrased from the Paper Culture website and the opinions are my own.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Inspire Imagination & Character with a Classy Collection of Dolls (Holiday Gift Guide Tip #1)

What wishes and dreams do we hold dear for our young girls as they grow up?  How are we speaking life and love into them.  What kind of story are we hoping they write for themselves, for others, and for the future? 

As mothers and teachers of young ladies we feel a tremendous burden to guide the next generation to seek love & mercy, to recognize inner beauty, to find joy, to develop their passions, to recognize their potential, to stand for what they believe, to inspire others and so much more!

One simple way  to inspire our little ladies to dream big is by helping them to develop their imagination. There are role play activities, art projects, and creative play centers we can set up in our homes and classrooms to encourage imagination.  Pretend play with dolls is one timeless activity to encourage exploration, friendship, kindness, communication, and imagination.  

Our girls have so much to offer their generation.

Confident. Stylish. Smart. Responsible.

Creative. Capable. Friendly. Talented.

Compassionate. Service Minded. Adventurous. Strong.

 Athletic.  Conscientious. Determined.

Our Generation is an exceptional avenue for introducing girls to the world of dolls. More than just lovely 18 inch dolls, Our Generation is committed to creating a community of girls growing up together to form an extraordinary, empowered force for good.  I especially love this {paraphrased}quote, from the OG dolls, found on their website,
"We're helping our families learn to recycle, supporting charities, raising money to build homes for Haitian orphans, helping our sisters learn to read, and making sure the new students at school does not feel left out.  All that are we find time to play hopscotch and hockey, catch frogs and climb be kids. Grabbing hold of the joy that is today!"
How can a toy company accomplish all these goals?  
including stories that encourage conversations and give dimension to each unique character
with a website encouraging girls to follow their heart
My 6 year old daughter has Jenny (the Sweet Shoppe Mystery gal).   She is a beautiful, affordable doll who easily passes for a more expensive, unnamed brand of dolls my daughter's friends bring over when they come to play.  Jenny, and the rest of the OG dolls, come with appropriate accessories and outfits that are easy for little hands to change.  The product line includes fun add-ons for adventures, travel, pursuing hobbies, and changing clothes.  We have found our doll to be sturdy and easy to clean.  All of the dolls feature rooted hair that makes it possible to brush and change styles. 
If you are considering a doll for Christmas for a girl in your life I would recommend checking out Our Generation.  I noticed today several of the dolls are at clearance prices on Target(dot)com. I have also heard a tip that there will be significant savings on Our Generation dolls and accessories on Black Friday. Hopefully you will be able to get your shopping done early and under budget.  Leaving you with extra time to  explore, pretend, instruct, and dream with your daughters, and extra money to share with those in need! ;)
Disclosure: Battat toys sent Jenny and the Sweet Shoppe to our family to introduce us to the brand in hopes that I would share my experience with you here on ABC & 123.  All opinions are my own and I was not paid to promote specific text links.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: Arkansas and Michigan


Arkansas was a state that our library didn't have much on so in our personal studies we weren't able to do as much, but I have some fun ideas to tell you about afterwards.

Rosie's Fiddle- the state instrument of Arkansas is the fiddle, and I found this wonderful book about a fiddle.  Rosie challenges a visitor to a fiddling contest only to discover it's the Devil.  After reading the story we wrote down how we would win in a challenge against the Devil.

Arkansas Flag- Most state flags have specific reasons behind their creation, but I'm not always able to find the reason behind them.  In the case of Arkansas I was able to find some great resources on their state flag, and so we learned all about it and then made a flag to represent ourselves.

Diamond production- Arkansas is the only state in the contiguous United States that has a diamond mine, it's actually one of the big tourist draws for that state.  So we did a lot of talking about what you can make with diamonds, and then made our own "jewelry."

Other ideas
Hot Springs- there are natural hot springs that are a big draw.
Bill Clinton- honestly I didn't have a good book about him at our library, which was rather shocking to me


Clever Beatrice- a set of tall tales from Michigan, if your library has a copy I highly recommend getting these tall tales.  They're clever, well written, and highly entertaining.  After reading them we worked on puzzles and brain games.

Log Cabin Quilt- We don't tend to think of Michigan as a frontier state, but once upon a time it was, and this book is set during that time.  Most of the plot of this book revolves around chinking a cabin, filling in the empty space between logs.  For our activity we drew what our cabin would look like if properly chinked.

And that was the TWO books I could find, as I said my library had practically nothing for these two states, so we had 2 activities for each of them.  So, here's my other suggestions:

Make a car, Detroit is the car capital of the world
Kellogg's is based there.  You could poll your students for favorite cereals.  My kids don't like cereals which is why I didn't do this activity.
Ginger Ale was invented there.  You could make a homemade soda using water, dry ice and lots of flavoring of your choice, then compare it to the traditional sodas you buy.

What would you do to study Arkansas or Michigan?  These studies need some serious boning up, but my resources weren't able to do it, at least not without breaking my budget.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Musical Monday: Using Handbells in the Classroom

As we have shared before there are many benefits of incorporating music and movement in quality instruction.  Music celebrates language and draws children into the natural rhythms found in language.  Have you considered using bells in your classroom.  They are a well suited choice for classroom musical instruction, appropriate for teaching even the youngest of students who can learn to read music using a color coded key.
Interested in reading more about the benefits of music in the classroom, one article I reviewed explained just how playing the handbells encourages reading.  
Consider setting up an extra curricular event, recess club, or after school program to teach bell playing to elementary students.  The participation will enhance their educational experience and develop their confidence in performance and team work.  There are many online sources for color coded handbell musical cards as well as curriculum appropriate for children who are not yet reading independently.
As part of your classroom management use bells to create transitional, and refocusing, signals using different tones to direct different responses.
While practicing rhyming words and word families choose different tones to tap along with the words.
Use bells to practice "count-bys."  Perhaps you will choose to use the C note for all the count by 2's playing the note for each number you recite, D for count by 3's, etc.
During center activities allow students to create tunes to accompany nursery rhymes, poems, and short stories they are able to read on their own.  
Include the bells in classroom readers' theatre productions to encourage participation from students who are strong in the musical/rhythmic intelligence. 
Use bells to create tunes for familiar nursery rhymes
How do you use music to enhance instruction? Do you have a set of bells in your classroom?
The  bells pictured here today are from B. Toys.  The Piccolo Carousel Bells are a particularly great option because they are made of real metal covered in attractive colors making their tone beautiful too.   Using the mallet students can produce accurate and clear notes.  The carousel spins in the table top base provided or can be taken out of the base for hand held play.  This bell set comes with 7 practice songs and an optional pdf link for more color coded music to try.   
The recommended age for the Piccolo Carousel Bells is 3 to 13, although I have found lesson plans and research for the value of using bells in instruction even with high school students. One lesson in particular, from Teacher Vision, uses hand bells to improve expression and accuracy in music education. 
Disclosure: I was given a sample of this B.Toys product for the purpose of personal reviews.  B. Toys are a favorite of our family and I appreciate the opportunity to be able to experiment with them with my own little ones before presenting them to you with suggestions for classroom and home school use.  All opinion are my own and I have not been paid to mention particular features or provide specific links.  I am looking forward to sharing a couple of other Battat toys with you in time for your holiday shopping!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Feature Yourself Friday: Meet Erin

Hi there future friends!  My name is Erin and I'm really excited for this chance to tell you a little about me and my blog, chicken babies.

I am a homeschooling mother of 4, and I have my degree in Elementary Music Education.  I love little children and some may accuse me of never having grown up.  I have a closet full of puppets, a library full of children's books, my favorite show is the Backyardigans, and I dream of going on tour with the Wiggles.  Seriously.  That would be so awesome.

My husband and I have 4 amazingly perfect, polite, intelligent, well-behaved children who would never throw shoes or lick the table.   We call them our chicken babies.  Why?  Well, that's a long story, but it has to do with my husband's thinking chickens are funny and the Cosby Show. You can read more details by clicking here, if you're interested.

On the blog I have a mix of posts.  Often I post about what we are doing currently in our homeschool.  To help the kids stay excited about learning, I try to think of fun activities we can do together that teach and engage, such as using bubble wrap to help make flashcards more fun.  I also come up with ways to motivate them to do good work, such as playing 9 innings of school.

I also like to post about our family traditions, like having sock wars or sending out unique christmas cards.

I post about some of our favorite books, and the activities we do with them. I love children's books!

I am not a great cook, but I'm pretty good at baking things that are not healthy for you and I love to share the recipes.

I also post about the funny things my kids do that make me laugh.  They might make you chuckle as well.

The posts which are most viewed on my site are from the birthday parties I have thrown.  I love planning fun games for my kids' parties!  I don't do a lot in the way of decorations, but we have a lot of fun when the party guests come to play!  This Super Spy Training Birthday Party is definitely the most viewed link on my blog.

My favorite part about blogging is hearing back from someone who has used an idea I have shared and has had fun with their family using it.  That makes me so happy.  So, if you stop by my blog and like something you see, please leave a comment and let me know!  It seriously makes my day.  Thanks for reading and hope to see you over at chicken babies!