ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Classroom Party: Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer BINGO {Free Printable}

If you are still in search of an activity for your classroom's holiday party this Reindeer BINGO might be just the activity for you.  As linked below there are 4 different game boards shuffled and ready to print.  Remember to print one extra to cut apart so you can draw from a hat to call out boxes.  If you need more than 4 different game boards print a blank grid and a character sheet for each of your students.  Have them cut on the lines then arrange and glue the graphics into the grid however they choose. For a little extra fun students could try to put the pictures in order as they appear in the familiar Christmas song, Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer!

FREE printable downloads:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: Helping Kids with Tragedy

I had a whole post planned in my head that I was going to write, and then events happened that changed it.  I don't want to draw further attention to the perpetrator, so this won't be specifically about Sandy Hook.  Besides tragedy happens in all guises.  There were tragedies in Hurricane Sandy, and there are smaller personal tragedies every day.  If you want a response to this tragedy in particular, read some of the links from yesterday's post.

I have dealt with this as a teacher with 9-11 and the next year when a shuttle crashed as it returned home.  I have dealt with this as a parent talking when their uncle died and then a year later when their grandpa died.  Both require patience and thinking before you speak.

Dealing with tragedy on a big scale, 

that doesn't affect you personally

1.  Correct errors they've picked up.  Kids will talk about it between themselves.  You can't hush it up and hide it because they will overhear things.  When the space shuttle Columbia crashed, the next day I had students come in claiming they picked up pieces of the space ship from their backyard.  A few even said there were aliens involved.  Correct misconceptions without being judgmental.
2.  Don't endlessly keep the news on when the kids are present.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but another one of the teachers in my school kept the news on to get more information about 9-11.  The principal had to make an announcement for TVs to be turned off.
3.  Allow them to talk.  Kids need ways to process.  Last fall (2011) there were fires near our home.  The kids and I listened to short news updates to know where the fires were.  We talked a lot about what we would do if the fires came to our house.  What the firefighters did to put out the fires.
4. Let them draw it out or act it out.  If their actions become violent, obviously that needs redirecting, but kids need to be able to get their emotions out.  Do not condemn them over their emotions.
5.  Read books to help them think through it.  Some good books are "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" (I only recommend this for uppper elementary or if you preview it), it's a book of poetry written by children in concentration camps.  They are going through horrid things, but the directors there let the kids write and draw. Another good one for hope in hard situations is "Fly Away Home," by Eve Bunting.  A father and his son are homeless and living in the airport.  It helps the kids see there is hope in hard situations, because the boy in the book has hope.

Dealing with tragedy on a personal level

1.  Most of what I said above applies again, but even more so.  Your kids will need to talk about this, and draw about it, and write about it.  Let them do it, even if it hurts you and makes you want to cry.  After their uncle died my boys spent 6 months drawing gravestones on everything.  They didn't go to the funeral, but they drew gravestones and ghosts on everything.  They suddenly had "ghost friends."
2.  To follow that, let them see you cry.  They need to understand you are hurting too.  It's okay.  Children are resilient, and they will get better if you give them the chance.
3. Keep a normal routine as much as possible.  Children thrive on routine, and it helps them to have a routine and to know what to expect.
4.  If it's a death in the family, think long and hard about taking the kids to the funeral.  For our family and our situation, it would not have been good for our kids to go to the funeral, for the both funerals the kids were too young.  They stayed with loving friends and did not go, but some kids it may help them to process their grief.
5.  Remember to talk about the event later on, it helps them remember and process things that happened long ago.  It also will help you.  Things hidden fester in you, and make it harder to recover.

Finally, here are several picture books about death I'm going to separate them out into ones about death of a pet and death of a person.  This is a list I collected back when I was teaching, and I have used some of these books in classrooms and some with my own kids.

Books about the death of a family member or someone you know


Books about the death of a pet or an animal

Finally I want to add one last book, Tear Soup, this is the one I read over and over when my Dad died during my first year of teaching.  I have given this book to several people to help them deal with their grief.  It's a great book in that it can help both grown ups and adults.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Along with the rest of our country my heart is breaking; as parents and teachers the tragedy in Connecticut affects us on so many different levels.  Since Friday I've been scraping together my thoughts in response to a situation that will never make sense. My words are not eloquent enough to share, but I have been pouring over the words of others to find peace and encouragement moving forward.  As we like to do here on ABC & 123: A Learning Cooperative, I have compiled links here to a few posts that may speak to you as well.
"Thank God for all the writers of the world who put pen to paper and create life rafts for the rest of us." Vigil by Glennon 
Explaining the News to Our Kids by Common Sense Media
A Christmas Prayer by Max Lucado
Sigh No More by Chris
Rage Against the Minivan has also put together a list of the posts that SHE found helpful.
On a personal note, I would like to once again thank every one of you who spends your days in a classroom teaching, loving, caring for, and protecting all children as if they are your very own!  Know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers as you headed back to your classrooms this Monday morning with a new heaviness and sense of responsibility. In the coming days we will likely continue to post our typical content on this site, but please understand that does not mean that we have moved on or forgotten.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reindeer Tic Tac Toe: FREE Printables

In addition to a few Reindeer Riddles, this thematic tic-tac-toe will provide a fun addition to your classroom holiday celebration. Instead of Xs and Os  play with bucks and does!

Downloads for the board and reindeer playing pieces are FREE!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reindeer Jokes: A FREE Printable

Here is an early Christmas gift to you -  some silly reindeer jokes to enjoy with your students!
Download Here: Page 1 & Page 2

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Show & Tell #114

Fantastic Fun and Learning linked up to our last party with some silly, fun Christmas carols.  Check out the lyrics to sing along to tunes that are likely already familiar to you.

Serving Pink Lemonade has a cozy idea for keeping little hands warm while they play outside this winter.
If your children have been inspired to write letters to the North Pole this December this post, from Keeping My Toddler Entertained, will help you know just where to send them based on where in the world you live.

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.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Learning About Saint Nicholas Day

Today is December 6th and celebrated by many around the world as St. Nicholas Day.  In our house the tradition is to leave out our wooden shoes in hopes that Sinterklaas (the Dutch interpretation of St. Nicholas) will fill them with delicious goodies and small toys.  

 As the story goes on the night of December 6 needy children would find baskets of food and clothing on their doorsteps from a secret gift-giver.  Children began to leave their shoes by the doorstep in hopes of finding coins hidden inside.
Simple Gifts are the Lesson of St. Nicholas Day - This post from Newtown Bee includes historical notes and interactive activities. 

There are many children's books available for teaching your students about Saint Nicholas.  Here are a few titles from to get you started!


 There was a very interesting {religious} broadcast from Focus on the Family explaining the true meaning behind Christmas and how Saint Nicholas fits in with the holiday. You can listen to the archived conversation at the link above.

St. Nicholas Center has a page dedicated especially to teachers who would like to incorporate a lesson about St. Nicholas in their classroom. There list includes many books for classroom use as well as discussion guides and coloring pages.
As a simple way of participating in the spirit of St. Nicholas Day, consider planning a secret act of kindness to surprise a friend or family member, or do something kind for someone in need.
Disclosure: Amazon links are not affiliate links.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: using classic texts

If you're familiar with the Charlotte Mason philosophy or Classical education you've heard of "living books," books that have stood the test of time and are still in print.  Books that have a wide ranging vocabulary.

I have to confess, I'm not always a fan of some of the examples they use as living books, but I do love good quality picture books.  I'm not a big fan of the Disney princess books or many other popular series for teaching from, though we do own quite a few books from that category.  I love books that have something outstanding in them.

Today my example of a living book is actually a reprint with new pictures.  It's also a Christmas book.  I bought this 10 years ago when I was teaching second grade.  Today I'm going to use this book with my kids (2nd grade and kinder) to demonstrate vocabulary and expressive language.  

When you're looking for good quality books, take the time to read it through.  Try reading the words out loud.  How does it sound?  Do the words just roll out of your mouth and make you smile to read them?  I love the Bear series from Karma Wilson.  I haven't read the books out loud to my kids for a while, but I can still quote parts of it.  

What's the vocabulary like?  Are all of the words one or two syllables?  Now there are exceptions, Cat in the Hat or Little Bear for example, but usually speaking if it's not a beginning reader and the vocabulary is that simple it's not going to stand the test of time.  When you're at the used book store do you pick up the copy of the TV show book you read as a kid to buy?  I don't, unless it's for nostalgia, or I've shown my kids that show.  Even then, my kids don't gravitate to that book over and over again.

What about the illustrations?  This is going to be a very subjective thing, but can you use the pictures for an art lesson?  "Tuesday" by David Weisner has almost no words, but it won a Caldecott.  The pictures told the story that well.  I've "read" it to my class or my kids and challenged them to create a similar style of book.  One that needs almost no words to tell a story.

Some ideas you can use from classic texts:

I'm a bit of a bibliophile, so I really enjoy older books.  They let me get a glimpse into a different age that you don't see now.