ABC and 123: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: Groundhog's Day

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I traded days my post was supposed to come out, so I could write this one. This is a super fun science experiment for Groundhog's Day, and the great part about it is it's very simple.

First a few book recommendations:


Gregory's Shadow- Gregory's best friend is his shadow, and he loves to go everywhere with it, but one day he gets separated from it. He finds his shadow again just in time for Groundhog's Day, but realizes not everyone wants him to see his shadow then.



Extension activity: make silhouette pictures with flashlights or an overhead projector.




It's Groundhog Day!- Godfrey Groundhog at a fall picnic says he won't see his shadow this Groundhog's Day, and his friends are very happy. But, a local ski lodge owner isn't happy, and he decides to do something about this. Godfrey must find a way to escape before Groundhog's Day.



Extension activities: Draw how you would escape.




Gretchen Groundhog, It's Your Day!- Gretchen has to follow the family tradition of stepping out to see her shadow on Groundhog's Day, but she's very shy. She gets letters and emails from all over encouraging her to go out. Then she finds a box of notes from all of her family and many of them were afraid too. She decides she will be brave too.


Extension activity: write a letter to Gretchen.


Now that you've seen a few books you could use (by the way, the last one is my favorite); here's the experiment.

Supplies: a stretch of sidewalk or pavement you can draw on, a timer or clock, your student


1. Set up a control line at the start of this experiment. For us, I drew a box for each child to stand in each time we came out.

2. Then I drew a line where each child's shadow stopped and had them predict what would happen to their shadows the next time we came out. It was very mixed on their guesses. If you look at the picture you can see Princess and Superman both thought their shadows would shrink and Batman thought it would grow.

3. We came out again an hour later, measured their shadows again. And of course they had grown.



4. Ideally repeat this all day long every hour. You should see your shadow lengthen and shorten and change where it is. On the day of our experiment halfway through the sun was blocked by clouds, and it started raining at 1:30. Effectively ending that experiment.

I look forward to trying it again this year, and we'll read the books mentioned up above and probably do at least one of the extension activities I mentioned with those books.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Spotlight: Meet Shannon

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Today's post comes with an apology for Shannon! She was ready with her post in plenty of time for her feature, however we had difficulty on our end with her pictures. Unfortunately, we didn't get it resolved in time for her Feature Me Friday. Instead we are giving her a special spot today!

I'm a stay at home mom to 2 wonderful girls ages 10 and 4. I was a preschool lead teacher for almost 11 years working with all ages and types of preschool settings. I love books and feel that books should be the main role in children's education. My blog Welcome To Our Wonderland is all about children's books (picture book to tween books) and how to extend books into a whole learning experience. So grab a cup of tea and Welcome To Our Wonderland!

My blogs primary focus is Books, Nature and Art the 3 loves of my girls and me. I love to take a book and extend into a whole learning adventure. Most of our books come from the library and as we are reading the ideas start swirling around in my head. So story time crafts are big in our house and we like mixing them up with alphabet crafts. My youngest can't get enough of alphabet crafts she loves seeing what new ideas we can do with letters. It is great and has helped her as she has a big love of words, spelling and reading.

Books: One of our story time crafts that is still hanging up in the playroom is our Tulip Footprints we did after reading the Rainbow Fairies book: The Tulip Fairy.

tulip fairy and footprints

We also try to do a book, a craft and a movie when we find a great movie we love. We have done Where the Wild Things Are, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Next up is Ramona and Beezus we love that movie so much!!!




A book, A craft, A movie

Art: We love art and have art supplies available in just about any room in the house. I like the concept of Open Art for 99%of their art. Art is such a great way for children to explore their surroundings, environment and use their senses with art they are free to make what ever they want and it also great for developing those fine motor skills and muscles. I rotate our art supplies weekly in the main art area so each week is a little different plus it give my girls a chance to explore a art medium that I might not have had out for a while.




Shades of Blue Rotating Art

Nature: Nature is wonderful, free and so inspiring. One of our favorite things we did with sticks we collected in our yard was make a game of pick up sticks, remember that game I loved it when I was their age!



pick up sticks

So grab some books, art supplies and go outside and explore your yard and world with your kids that is what my blog Welcome To Our Wonderland is all about!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Feature Yourself Friday: Meet Anne

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Hi. My name is Anne and my Blog is called TeachingTwo. I am a wife, teacher, and the mother of 3 little girls. I was an elementary school teacher until the day I had my first daughter. I worked that day. My husband took the day off, because he was stressed.

Since then I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and for the past 2 years a part time preschool teacher. I enjoy finding ways to teach my class and the 3 most precious students I’ve ever had, my daughters.

I began blogging a few years ago when a few friends of mine kept asking me to write down the activities I was doing with my daughter. It has become a place to journal, keep track of resources I’ve found, and communicate with friends & other moms.

Here are a few of my most read & commented on posts.

1. Teaching my kids is something I try to do everyday even if they aren't aware they are learning. I like to make math something they learn to use in everyday situations. Here is a calendar of ideas I did with my kids each day during the month of June 2010. Look forward to more calendars like this one in 2011.


june.jpg

2. I love Dot Art. There are so many things you can do with them. Below is just one example. Check out many more in this post.

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3. My 4-year old had a blast making these paper dolls.

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4. One of my most popular posts has been one I did on Dr. Seuss Day activities.

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5. Finally, I survived camping day with the girls but I didn't get much done around the house while they were playing. Check out this post for some more pictures and activities.

june-2009-038a.jpg

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Animals in the Snow

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The Adventures of Bear did a fatty experiment to understand how it is that polar bears can survive in such extreme cold.

Preschool, What Fun We Have has another variation on the experiment shown above. How do animals stay warm in the winter?

Whimsical Ways created a sorting and graphing activity using animal that like and dislike the snow.

Playing by the Book has a textured winter animal picture craft to go along with the book Polly and the North Star.


2 Teaching Mommies put together an activity sheet for making obsevations about snow.

Fun4Kids has an amazing post all about Animals in the Winter. There is a list of great books included, as well as rhymes and finger plays. You will also find a collage activity demonstrating animals in the winter and a super cute cardboard box bear cave. The textured polar bear craft is so fun too!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Graphing Fun with Food

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Hello all! I'm Rachelle and I am from the blog, What the Teacher Wants! You can find tips for teachers, parents, and anyone in between! I'm a 1st grade teacher from Utah. I am obsessed with Sharpie pens, blogging, cute clipart/fonts, teaching, reality T.V., and organizing closets {does that make me weird?}.

I am so excited to be guest blogging here on ABC and 123. I will have a series here dedicated to giving you ideas about how to learn with food. All of these ideas can be adapted to any level!



Fruit loop bar graph-

  • Supplies: Fruit Loops and Printable
  • Objective: Sort, Graph, and Analyze data
  • Procedure:
1. After scooping about 1/2 cup of Fruit Loops onto the table, the child will sort the cereal by color.
2. Graph the results on the bar graph using crayons to color in each square on the graph.
3. Answer the questions about your data that you collected
4. Eat the Fruit Loops!
{Click the picture below for the printable}

M&M Picture Graph-

  • Supplies: M&M's, Printables {2}, pencil, and crayons
  • Objective: Sort, Graph, and Analyze data
  • Procedure:
1. After putting about 1/4 cup of M&M's into a Ziplock, the child will sort the candy by color.
2. Graph the results on the picture graph using crayons to color in each picture on the graph.
3. Answer the questions about your data that you collected.{Click here for that printable}
4. Eat the M&M's!

{Click the picture below for the picture graph printable}

What foods do you like to graph with?


Visit my blog What the Teacher Wants
for tons more free printables and great learning ideas!
Clipart/Font provided by Dj Inkers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Show and Tell #42

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Show and Tell faithfuls, we apologize for the late posting today. It was a total oversight. I got caught up shopping for modern rugs for our living room. Well...we aren't really in the market for one, but when the address popped up in my email it did distract me from working on this post;) Anyway, we hope you will still link up all of your fun learning even if we are a few hours behind!

Meet the Dubiens made beautiful winter shaped sillhouette trees.

Spell Outload had a creative suggestion for making manipulative magnets out of thematic erasers.

Structured Play explains a lesson they put together to teach shapes.

Now, it's your turn!
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Please remember these rules:

~Post an "Ah Ha Moment," favorite lesson, experiment, learning game, field trip, whatever you're currently working on, or your child's fridge worthy artwork, handmade gifts or anything holiday related.

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

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

~If you come back and your link is missing, double check to make sure you've followed the directions!

~Lastly, please try to visit and comment on, at least three links. Spread the comment love and make someone's day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories

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I think it's the wanna be occupational therapist in me that was immediately drawn to The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories, a new release from Jennifer Hallissy. I've always been interested in developing fine motor skills, especially since teaching my students how to write was one of the hardest things to do. The old school teaching method is to throw worksheet after worsheet at the kids. Anyone who's ever dealt with a child who's is already frustrated and reluctant to try knows how that doesn't work! Not only are they not interested in doing their best job, they rush through it or throw a tantrum.

From the Publisher:

Jennifer Hallissy is a mom and occupational therapist who simply wanted to raise her children to love to write. In The Write Start, she shares the secrets for supporting young writers and inspiring creativity with fun activities. By giving kids a solid foundation of writing at a young age, Hallissy believes that they will develop a love for words and language that will last a lifetime.

The Write Start contains fifty-two playful activities that are presented in ways to invite your child to write, and includes reading exercises, games and crafts. Hallissy recognizes four major categories of young writers; the first, Spellers and Storytellers, encompass pre-writers and emerging writers. At these levels, children are just discovering their own coordination and understanding of letter, word and sentence structure. As children move up the ladder they are considered Storytellers and Scholars, who are more concerned with captivating an audience than mastering the alphabet.

On a larger scale, The Write Start is not only helping parents raise confident creative writers. Hallissy makes the connection between a child’s early writing skills and effective communication, as well as the connection between literacy and academic success. “Strong writing skills are vital to business and professional success, as is clear and purposeful thinking,” she writes. Giving kids a solid writing foundation at a young age not only helps them develop efficient communication skills—it may even help them succeed as an adult, and The Write Start helps parents kick-start this lifelong process.

Our Thoughts:

I was glad to see the book includes a section on theory, outlining the path to writing readiness. This includes defining the stages of writing, a concept that I've found through being a classroom teacher, many parents are unware of. From the descriptions, parents will be able to pin point where their child is. Mine is in the spellers stage. This is followed by ways to support your child at each stage.

The next few chapters of the book are devoted to basic tips that are always worth seeing in text and good to have to refer back to, such as the correct pencil grip and reinforcing that developmentally appropriate tasks like cutting, playing with dough, using tongs, etc. are work and not just "playing" for our youngest writers.

This first portion of The Write Start is all good reference material but the real meat of the book is in the 52 activities divided into Learn, Make, Do, Play, and Connect. I was impressed by the variety of ideas, several were new to me. Many including ways to expose children to other concepts like 'What's in the Bag?" which supports a hands-on multi sensory approach to learn about the shape and feel of each letter. This prepares them to write letters as well as identifying them.

Each activity is presented in a clear and organized manner, starting with a brief description that provides the why behind the activity. The materials and a numbered How-To make each one easy to glance at quickly and find an appropriate one. The best part is that each one provides variations for each level of writer, making this a valuable resource that can be used again and again as your child progressed through the different developmental stages.

The Write Start is a valuable resource and reference for any parent, with easy to implement activities that will encourage interaction between parent and child and a fun learning experience. I highly recommend it to teacher and parents alike. If I was still in the classroom, I would definitely add it to my parent reference sheet.

Disclosure: This book was provided to us by Shambhala Publications, Inc. for review purposes. The opinions expressed are personal and unbiased.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Share the Warmth

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Let's warm things up today with...

...a story about a mitten
Arts and Crofts put together a retelling activity using Jan Brett's The Mitten. Retelling demonstrates reader comprehension which is a necessary piece in becoming a successful reader.
ObSEUSSed put together a matching game using children's mittens to accompany the same story.

Little Wonders' Days put together kittens and mittens to act out the nursery rhyme.


...a cup of homemade cocoa
Here’s a favorite, easy & inexpensive, recipe for hot chocolate from The Frugal Homeschooling Mom.

Ten Kids and a Dog also shared a recipe for "the creamiest" hot chocolate.

Welcome to Our Wonderland also has a special homemade hot cocoa recipe to share.

...a scarf

Make and Takes shares a tutorial for making a fancy fringed fleece scarf.

A List Maker's Life explains a simple version of fleece scarf making that was do-able for her 4 and 6 year olds.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snowflake Rhymes, Science, & Geometry

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Snowflake Rhymes from The Adventures of Bear
suggested age: toddler/early elementary


Snowflake Sculptures from A List Maker's Life
suggested age: elementary+

Snowflake Mosaics from Thomas Elementary Art
suggested age: upper elementary

Snowflake Symmetry from Love2Learn2Day
suggested age: elementary

The Shapes and Classes of Snowflakes defined from Somethin Ordinary: Nature's Spectacular Geometry
suggested age: middle school+

3D Paper Snowflakes from Mathematics World
suggested age: elementary+

Make a Flake - Interactive Online Snowflake Cutting Game
suggested age: any

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Show and Tell #41

Welcome! New to ABC and 123? Please check out our FAQ in the sidebar.

Brain in Trainin linked up with a tutorial for making a set of sensory alphabet cards. Sensory activities are thought to increase learning while involving students tactilely.


{appropriate for preschool through about 2nd grade, for those who still need practice with letter formation}

Structured Play sewed a set of shape matching cards for her toddler. Teaching shapes is very appropriate for preparing your child for preschool.
{appropriate for pre-school aged children}
Red Ted explains how to make ice ornaments, similar to the Ice Lockets shared by Roots of Simplicity. Both activities are appropriate for appreciating nature and introducing children to the properties of water.


{appropriate for all ages}
Now, it's your turn!
abc button
Please remember these rules:

~Post an "Ah Ha Moment," favorite lesson, experiment, learning game, field trip, whatever you're currently working on, or your child's fridge worthy artwork, handmade gifts or anything holiday related.

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

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

~If you come back and your link is missing, double check to make sure you've followed the directions!

~Lastly, please try to visit and comment on, at least three links. Spread the comment love and make someone's day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: coloring books

Welcome! New to ABC and 123? Please check out our FAQ in the sidebar.

This may seem kind of like a weird topic, but there's some great learning coloring books out there.  In particular any that are paired with a book.

I was lucky enough to find at Barnes and Noble a few years ago a copy of "Santa Mouse," and the coloring book that used the same illustrations.  I went through and copied most of the pictures from it that helped tell the story, colored, and laminated them.

This year we read the book, and then afterwards I pulled out my pictures and we used them as a story-stretcher.


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First we reviewed the story looking at the book and making sure we understood the order of the events.

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Then we took the pictures and put them in order of the events of the story.  This was also a great way to reinforce left to right, as we put the pictures down just as we would if we were reading.


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Then they took turns putting the pictures in different orders and making up their own stories.

As an alternative if you can't find a coloring book for the pictures you can also scan the actual pictures from the book in.  Back when I was teaching I scanned in pictures from most of the books I used regularly and then printed them on cardstock.  I then also wrote a sentence to go with the picture and we used it as an activity for learning "Beginning, Middle, and End."