Money smarts

This week was Money Smart Week and we held special Money Smart themed storytimes for our Preschool crowd. We were generously provided with many many copies of The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money to give out to attendees. We also had some pretty great MoonJar Money boxes to give out or do during craft time. I did still provide my own craft though which was a super cute papercraft piggy bank. (I’ll be honest, I found it online and edited it to fit my needs. p.s. the page isn’t in English.)

piggy bank 1

 

As for the craft, though it was super adorable and I had lots of comments on how cute and fun it was, I also noticed that many of the ESL families had trouble understanding the concept of it. I remember doing similar projects to this growing up, even things like paper dolls, so I never even considered that this might be a strange craft to people who haven’t grown up in america. Anybody else have similar experiences with a craft or activity that you assumed was relatively common knowledge only to find out that familiarity with it might be entirely dependent upon your country or even state of origin!?

Anyhow, we read 3 books and did some rhymes.

The first book I read was Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells. I made this an interactive book by also creating flannel pieces to go with the story. I made money that matched the money in the story to help them visualize as we went along. If I read this book again in the future, I might add other flannel pieces like a music box or the bluebird earrings. I think it’s a cute book and enjoyed reading it.

bunny money

 

After our first book with did a flannel rhyme.

Down around the corner at the Bakery Shop

Down around the corner at the Bakery Shop
(tap hands on knees in rhythm or move arms down and over with “down around the corner”)

Were 5 little cookies with sprinkles on top
(hold up 5 fingers then “sprinkle fingers”)

Along came someone with a nickel to pay
(hold up nickel flannel piece and replace cookie on board with nickel)

They bought a little cookie and ate it right away
(pretend to eat cookie)

CONTINUE WITH 4, 3, 2, AND 1

Down around the corner at the Bakery Shop
(tap hands on knees in rhythm or move arms down and over with “down around the corner”)

Were no little cookies with sprinkles on top
(hold arms up and shake head no)

Along came someone with a nickel to pay
But they had to come back another day

 

I had fun with this flannel and the kids interacted by telling me which cookie they wanted to buy next which gives them an opportunity to practice colors, shapes, or using other descriptive words. I also had fun making the flannel, who doesn’t like sparkly cookies?!

om nom glitter cookies

om nom glitter cookies

As you can see, my cookies were all round and featured different color and shaped frosting and glitter “sprinkles” but I would like to make  a few more cookies in different shapes, and maybe even doughnuts as those would also fit well with the rhyme.

 

Our second book was Caterina and the Lemonade Stand by Erin Eitter Kono. I thought this book was quite unique in terms of illustrations. it was very collage-y and kinda busy, but also had very pretty and soft illustrations. the story is a cute story about a little bird who wants to buy a scooter but needs to raise money so she does so by creating a very unique lemonade stand.

Our final book was You can’t buy a dinosaur with a dime by Harriet Ziefert. I quite liked the rhythm of this story, but it did have some somewhat strange bits thrown in about the money spent and such that didn’t fit the rhythm and felt cumbersome when reading out loud though I could see it working quite well for a one on one read. We talked about how many dinosaurs he had, what kind, what colors, what they’d buy with their money, good stuff.

 

Overall, I liked this theme, but if I do it again next year, there are a few things I’d tweak a bit.

Have any of you ever done a Money Smart or other money themed Storytime? Did you have anything that stood out as a huge win or huge fail?

 

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busy as a bee

Oof! I’ve been falling behind!

I promise I’m working on it though, look!

see! there are my "drafts"

see! there are my “drafts”

I have at least 4 blogs to write and that’s not counting the Money Smart storytime blog I’m already working on in addition to a recap of MLA Spring Institute and hopefully also one for the Special Needs Roundtable I’ll be attending this week.

 

phew

 

 

Here’s to hoping I get them all done quickly!

hippity hoppity

Easter’s on its way

Sorta.

Once again, a loose take on a holiday theme. This time, Bunnies for Easter. This is my second year doing a bunny/Easter theme and this year, much like last, I kept it pretty bunny-centric without mentioning Easter much. I was hoping to do “Boy and his Bunny” again but couldn’t get my hands on it so I picked some new ones.

The first book I read was Muncha, Muncha, Muncha by Candace Fleming. ah, yes, I love these books. I considered doing “Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, hide but decided against it as it was more wintery themed so I’ll save it for another time. both of those books are great reads and excellent for reading out loud. The kids had fun trying to figure out how the bunnies would get around each obstacle.

After our book we did our first action rhyme. Bunnies lend themselves very well to movement activities so we moved around a lot as opposed to doing flannel activities. I’ve seen about 32786545 versions of the following rhyme with different animals and creatures doing different actions and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them.

Bunny, Bunny

Bunny, bunny, hop real low
Bunny, bunny, say hello
Bunny, bunny, hop up high
Bunny, bunny, touch the sky
Bunny, bunny, wiggle your nose
Bunny, bunny, stomp your toes
Bunny, bunny, hop around
Bunny, bunny, please sit down

My second book was  The Little Rabbit who liked to say Moo by Jonathan Allen. This book read very interactively as all the kids wanted to make the animal noises which was great. I always love being able to give them free reign to make a bunch of noise. I like the illustrations in this book, and the concept behind it, but I will admit that I get a tad bit bored reading it. It feels quite repetitive to me, and maybe the kids don’t mind or enjoy it, but I do worry that they’ll also find it boring when each page is “What noise do you make?”

wait…. who am I kidding, what kid doesn’t want to scream “quack quack quack!!” at the top of their lungs in a library. 😛

On to our next active rhyme. The original for this can be found here and I tweaked the version below just a tad.

 

Little Bunny’s Ears

Little bunny’s ears are flop flop floppy,
(Place hands by ears and flop)

Little bunny’s feet are hop hop hoppy.
(hop)

His fur is soft,
(stroke arm)

And nose is fluffy,
(touch nose)

His tail is short and powder-puffy! (wiggle hands behind back)

We did this rhyme a few times in a row. I usually try to go through it once quite slowly to introduce them to the rhymes and the actions and then we’ll do it again and then almost always they ask to do it faster, then faster, then super-uper-duper fast which usually ends with me trying to do it as fast as humanly possible and then just flailing my arms and making funny noises because that’s always good for a laugh.

Our final book was Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail which I LOVED. the illustrations were adorable, the story had some cute jokes (even if the kids didn’t quite get it), and honestly, it sent a really awesome message of “be yourself” without being too cheesy. If nothing else I think the kids enjoyed it because how silly is it to see a pig dressed as a bunny? (hint, it’s puh-retty silly).

In my first session on Monday I think I actually also read “Hey Rabbit” but I can’t clearly remember since I’m writing this up so far after. Either way, it’s on my outline notes so maybe I was just thinking about it? oh well. bunny
Our craft this year was a bunny ear headband craft. SUPER simple and yet SUPER adorable! I LOVED seeing all the little bunnies hopping around the storytime room and kid’s area after. Parents were snapping pictures left and right, just too fun. I *did* have some pictures of my set up but my phone was stolen and I sadly lost all my stuff. 😦  Here’s an excellent example I just pulled from online. Other versions I’ve seen have had fancy paper used for the accent color on the ears, that would be lots of fun too and you could do all sorts of neat things like polka dots or stripes, but I just used our plentiful stash of construction paper in white and brown with pink for inside the ears. They were equally as cute. 😉

 

Hoppy Easter!

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Star Wars Reads Day 2014

You guys! I never posted about Star Wars Reads Day 2014!!
How did this happen?

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I feel like I’m losing nerd cred…ok, on with it.

 

star-wars-opening-o

 

We had done May the 4th Be With You day but now it was time for Star Wars Reads Day

This day was full of Star Wars crafts, games, and lots of books. We made masks, had puzzles, screened the Star Wars the Clone Wars animated movie, and completed our Jedi training by building our very own lightsabers before posing for our glamour shots in the photobooth.

I actually “did” the program at TWO libraries because I’m magic and can be in two places at once (kidding, probably).

I planned, ordered and printed materials, booked, and coordinated both but was only at one library for the day while relying on amazing co-workers and volunteers to run the event at the other library. Star Wars Reads Day 2014 marks my 3rd year doing SWRD program and my 3rd year starting the program at a new library. I’ve started the program at 3 different libraries, one each year…to keep that trend going, it means I’ll have to find a new library to begin working at and start it there this year! (won’t happen, hah)

The day was full of awesome crafting, games, reading, and Star Wars. Here are pictures from the photobooths at each location!

http://tinyurl.com/SWRDlibrary1

http://tinyurl.com/SWRDlibrary2

Here’s me with one of my favorite costumed characters I saw all day!

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is this not adorable!?!

 

As for the activities, aside from the photobooth, One year I had a really awesome Trivia session (if you ask really nicely, I might even share the powerpoint I made)

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I’ve also stuck with the classic DIY lightsabers craft which you can find a variety of different ways of doing. I personally found that some basic posterboard and craft tubes work best. Here are the links to the printable hilts and a link to the posterboard I used which is inexpensive and worked perfectly!

Lightsaber Hilt from Disney
Discount Poster Board

I’ve also had a Star Wars Character Mask station each year with very basic printouts out cardstock which only require that the kids cut them out, punch the holes and tie them on. Easy peasy and super popular.
Excellent Printable Star Wars Masks from GeekMom Mashup
(love her site!)

I’ve also found the “Droid Creation Station” to be a big hit. Basically, I gathered various cardboard supplies (think trash lab programs) and supplemented them with a plethora of shiny, sparkly, do-dads and let kids go wild in our craft room and build their own droid, just like Anakin!

buy all the shiny crafts!

buy all the shiny crafts!

I’ve also had games that range from very basic lo-tech like the “force relay race” game that we did using our red and green (perfect colors for jedi and sith!) wooden rhythm sticks to keep our storytime scarves afloat as they walk up and down a line as fast as possible or our Deathstar beanbag toss game to a much more hi-tech game using Speros (spheroes?) to play our “Drive a Droid” station where kids or staff create an obstacle course that they then have to navigate a droid (sphero) through.

I made two versions of the Deathstar Beanbag toss game. The first one was very last minute and kinda crummy, the second one (next year) was way better since I planned ahead.

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here’s the first one I made that was only cardboard so the force was not very strong with this one. The paint came out pretty great though so I may try to mount it to some wood for strength.

The second version I made out of wood with the help of my boss who did all the woodworking for me. (yay, boss!)

 

Random Star Wars crafty things. This page has a great collection of crafts, games, and printables. Many of the crafts are things I’ve considered for events but couldn’t manage for our large crowds of 200-300, maybe I’ll use them for a smaller event, or they would work great for smaller libraries.

For most of the crafts / activities I’ve done, I’ve tried to make them relatively simple so that people can drop in and work at their own pace and not have to worry about what time they get there or how busy it is. For example, one of the stations I put together was a writing station. this isn’t just any writing station though, it’s writing in Aurebesh which is “a writing system commonly used to represent the Basic language” Kids could write their name, a secret note, a whole story if they wanted! This might seem silly or just fun, but it also encourages literacy and creative writing skills.

Aurebesh-GMSR

I’ve always gotten excellent feedback about these programs. I love not only seeing the kids dress up and geek out, but their parents and even older kids do as well which I think makes it even cooler for the little kids to be able to see that. The event itself is awesome in so many ways but I just love that they have such a recognizable and well loved franchise that pairs up SO well with reading! there are Star Wars books GALORE! And have you seen Wookieepedia?!  And these are not just books, these are graphic novels, Omnibus collections, phonics learning tools, chapter books for kids, early literacy readers, and even picture books. There is literally a Star Wars book out there for any kind of reader. Or if you’re an super-nerd, like me, sometimes you get so into a book or character that you then have to go read up on their entire history and other character relations and back stories on their wiki page which can take HOURS. ok, this analogy might be a bit…brash, but talk about a gateway drug, these books have the ability to not only get kids hooked, but they are so many formats and option our there that before they know it, kids (or reluctant adult readers) will soon find themselves perusing other sci-fi books or mysteries, or even, (GASP) non-fiction! Science of Star Wars anybody?

Check out my May the Fourth post to read more about our Star Wars programs and to see some pictures.

I’m REALLY hoping that we secure a visit from the 501st for this Star Wars Reads Day at one or both of my libraries because it makes it just that much more amazing.

This coming year I plan to keep the old standbys of DIY lightsaber, and the print out masks, but I’d like to change the event up a bit as well, maybe instead of a photobooth we make a mural wall for photo ops? Maybe make your own Star Wars graphic novel with pre-drawn scenes that just need words in the word bubbles? Who knows!? I’ve got a bunch of ideas a brewin’ and I can’t wait!

DIY Lightsabers are excellent for protecting against cupcake thieves.

DIY Lightsabers are excellent for protecting against cupcake thieves.