ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: March 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Inspiration for Educators: Just Call It Good Teaching

What do you think?  What quotes really stood out to you or challenged you?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tools for Building Vocabulary

Are you looking for simple, fun ways to build your students' vocabulary? 
We have collected a few suggestions to help you out!

As a classroom teacher, one of my favorite vocabulary building tools was the Vocabulary Anchor.  We used a large laminated poster of a sail boat and anchor, set up as the illustration below, without the words on it.  Each day the class would work together to fill in the chart using the new word of the day.  As a quick way to review, during short transition times, I would call out past vocabulary words and they would respond with the anchor words.
With young students it is fun to build basic vocabulary with a game we called "Name It."  On small slips of paper create Name It cards with simple prompts such as: an article of clothing, a body part, a state, a fruit, etc.  With the children in a line or a row have the first child pick a card.  The teacher says, "A fruit, name it!"  The first 3-5 children each think of one word that fits the category.  Each word must be different from the person before them.  After 3-5 students, have someone pick a new category and continue listing new words.
What's My Word, from Classroom Game Nook, is an interactive way for students to really get to know a new vocabulary word while recording their new learning.

On our Pinterest board, titled Vocabulary Building, we have collected links to several other favorite Vocabulary Building Games you may be interested in trying with your students.

Multimedia Vocabulary Tools
To encourage interaction with technology while studying vocabulary, the following sites are fantastic.

EGlossary provides interactive definitions that are read aloud to students and provide animated graphics.

VocabAhead offers an email subscription for a Word a Day as well as a great vocabulary guessing app that is available online.


Science Glossary, Geography Glossary, and Math Glossary offer online alternatives to practicing content vocabulary.

Listing synonyms and antonyms for a new vocabulary term becomes a creative outlet if you use Tagul or Tagxedo.

What are your tips and tricks for making vocabulary instruction entertaining and effective?

Disclosure: None of the links above are sponsored.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Throwing a #Frozen Olaf Party

Disney has once again become the inspiration for our family's winter birthday girl.  The huge success of Frozen, as well as our ridiculously frozen winter here in Michigan, made an Olaf party on obvious choice this year. Not sure if I was thinking clearly when I agreed to letting my 8 year old invite her class to a pool party at our local aquatic center, but it made for the perfect setting for her friends to do "what frozen things do in summer!"


 frozen ice cap jello

 Olaf donut faces, Rice Krispie treat ice chunks, and snowman string cheese

Snowman accessories: buttons, noses, and arms
The kids used these to turn their donuts into snowmen

 thank you notes


We created this game board as a variation on one of our silly family favorites, Don't Eat Pete. Put one marshmallow on each square of the game board.  One child is sent from the room while the other children choose which Olaf must not be eaten.  The first child returns and beings eating the marshmallows one at a time.  If/When the child tries to eat the piece on the chosen Olaf, the rest of the kids yell, "Don't Eat Olaf!"  The kids count how many they were able to eat before they tried to eat the Olaf, then refill the board for the next player.

                                 a game board and pieces for each child to take home

snowman stacks

Set the timer for 1 minute.  Everyone works by themselves to build as many snowman stacks on their mat before the timer rings.  Each stack must have at least 3 marshmallow.


 snow dough packaged with button beads, clay noses, and twigs

fleece scarves rolled and wrapped with a note

My daughter spent many hours of a snow day happily cutting and knotting these for her guests.  The scarves were a perfect way to cozy up after chillin' in the pool, changing out of suits, and heading home.