Fall two-fer

We’re back into storytime, full swing, and full into fall!

My first week back I did Apples as I thought it tied in nicely with the season and with back to school. This post will talk about the two following themes as I kind of tied them all together, or tried to.

First off was fall leaves. One of my coworkers and I had been chatting about our upcoming themes and realized we had both been planning on doing an apple and a fall leaf theme so one of us planned one, the other planned the other and we switched off and made adjustments as needed. She planned the Fall Leaves storytime / craft and I the Apples storytime / craft. I am not sure which books she read for each, but below are the books I read and activities I did for my fall storytime.

Our first book was “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” by Julia Rawlinson good gracious, this book is adorable! I was a TAD nervous that it would be too long or involved but as I was reading, I realized that was NOT the case, the kids quite liked it! I’ll admit, the sparkly ice tree reveal at the end (spoilers, sorry) didn’t get as big of a reaction as I’d hoped, but oh well!

After our first book we did our first rhyme, Way Up High in the Autumn Tree, which is a shamelessly converted version of Way Up High in the Apple Tree. hah I did this with 4 verses and picked 2 places for the leaf to land and then asked the kids for other suggestions, you can do this with as many verses and places to land as you can think of!

Way up high in the Autumn tree

Way up high in an Autumn tree   (Stretch arms and scarves in air)
Four fall leaves smiled at me (hold scarf in a smile)
I shook the tree as hard as I could   (Shake arms and scarves in air)
1 leaf came down   (flutter hands/scarves down)
And landed on my foot!   (tap foot)

Way up high in an Autumn tree   (Stretch arms and scarves in air)
Three fall leaves smiled at me (hold scarf in a smile)
I shook the tree as hard as I could   (Shake arms and scarves in air)
1 leaf came down   (flutter hands/scarves down)
And landed on my nose!   (tap nose)

After that, we moved on to our second book, “Penguin and Pumpkin”, by Salina Yoon. I quite liked this book, the illustrations are adorable, and the story is quite sweet. However, for some weird reason, I had a hard time reading it aloud in both of my sessions. I found myself getting tongue tied or losing my place a few times and I really don’t know why. Maybe it was just an off week. *shrug*

Our third book was “Fall Leaves, Fall” by Zoe Hall. I really love the illustration style of this book with the bright, bold colors.

One of the books I REALLY wanted to read with a corresponding flannel was “Fall is Not Easy” by Marty Kelley

I have seen SO MANY adorable examples of flannel versions of this and will hopefully, SOMEDAY get around to making my own.

Our craft for the fall leaf theme was a fall leaf wreath! Ok, I’ll admit, we ordered about 9406745 paper plates for a program that we’d done before and had 273562943 people attend but this year after making sure we wouldn’t run out of plates, we of course had a much, much smaller crowd…so ya, plates are getting used for many many storytimes. 😛

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We simply photocopied a handful of different leaf pictures onto fall leaf colored paper and cut them out. The kids used the leaves, glue, a paper plate sans middle, and string to create their wreaths. Hilariously, many of the kids then proceeded to string them on like a necklace and all I could think was that I had a room full of tiny little Autumn Flava Flavs.

do you like my wreath?!

 

Our sign language word we learned was “Leaf”

Leaf sign language

LEAF

 

PUMPKINS

 

The first pumpkin book we read for our Pumpkin storytime was “Mystery Vine” by Cathryn FalwellI had hoped that I’d be able to get through at least most, if not all of the book before one of the kids guessed it was a pumpkin, but we had one older sibling in for this session and they were a bit ahead of the rest of the gang so we didn’t last very long. 😛  Even with the early spoiler, we still enjoyed the book. It’s a cute story with racially ambiguous characters and it’s even a little educational! I’m all for diversity in books, especially since the majority of families that I have in my storytimes are not Caucasian Americans; you don’t want to present nothing but books with characters that the attendees / readers may not be able to relate to.

Between our first and second books we did our first active rhyme. I’ve seen this rhyme floating around and I like it but I wanted to incorporate some manipulatives or shakers or something so I incorporated scarves and made up some actions to go along.

Pumpkin Pumpkin

Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (bend down touch ground)
How’d you get so big and round?
(pop up spin scarf in circle)
Once you were a seed so small
(ball up scarf)
Now you are a great big ball!
(stretch scarf and arms out into circle)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground
(bend down touch ground)
How’d you get so big and round?
(pop up spin scarf in circle)

As always, including actions that go along with the words will help retain information and build stronger connections. It also ups the fun factor, so why not, right?!

Our second pumpkin book was “It’s Pumpkin Time” by Zoe Hall Once again, the illustration is that kind of torn paper collage style and I just really enjoy it. I am apparently a fan of the Zoe Hall + Shari Halpern dream team I guess. hah

After book 2 comes rhyme 2. This is probably the 34328th time I’ve done this and the 32142nd version of the Jack and Jill rhyme, but I feel like this never gets old!

Two Little Pumpkins

Two little pumpkins sitting on a hill
One named Jack, the other named Jill
Roll away Jack, roll away Jill
Come back, Jack, come back Jill

Two little pumpkins balanced on my toe!
One rolls fast, the other rolls slow
Roll away fast, roll away slow
Come back, fast, come back slow

Two little pumpkins wearing silly hats
One was round, the other was flat
Roll away round, roll away flat
Come back, round, come back flat

 

Our third and final book was “It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse!” by Laura NumeroffI had a blast with this book! It features Mouse from “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” as he decorates pumpkins in different ways. He makes different faces like angry, or sad, or silly and it works super well for having the kids play along and make their own faces. The book was actually a board book which would normally be a bit young for my crowd of preschoolers, but this one encourages a lot of discussion and worked really well for being interactive.

 

So…. because I can’t math, I counted the weeks wrong and scheduled my fall / halloween themes a week earlier than I meant to. Oops.

 

So looks like I have a renegade week and it’s gonna be SPAACCCEEEE.

Grab your spacesuits!

Picking back up…

We had a rather long break from storytime, and I’ve had an even longer break from blogging. But now we’re both back!
I’m currently in the midst of week two back on the storytime train and it’s been crazy! My first week back we had almost 50 for my Monday night session and around 70 for my Thursday morning session…week two has so far only increased with around 60 for my Monday night and around 60 again for Thursday morning! I wish I had a more accurate count, but our clicker broke a while back and we’ve yet to get a replacement and there’s no way I can count, greet, ring the storytime bell, and hold the door all at once so I’ll have to just keep guestimating. hah

My first week back I did apples!

Gif-Apple

FOREVER APPLE

I’ll be honest….the books I read weren’t my absolute favorite, but even though I started planning these way in advance, I just couldn’t get my hands on too many apple books! They weren’t bad, just maybe not something I’d pick again.

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I read The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall which I quite like. I think the illustrations are cute and the book talks about the changing of the seasons in relation to an apple tree so it’s a perfect story for transitioning to Autumn. this was my favorite of the three and the kids seemed to enjoy it as well.

After our first book I passed out the egg shakers and did our first active rhyme: Five Red Apples which you’ll find all over in storytime-internet-land. I’ve modified it to fit my usage more comfortably (as per usual. hah)

Five Red Apples

Five red apples growing on a tree (place apples on flannel board)
Some for you and some for me. (point out then point to self)
Let’s shake and wiggle the tree just so (Shake shakers/scarves/wiggle body around)
And 1 red apple will fall below (Remove 1 apple from board. Hands fall or have the kids fall down)

Four red apples growing on a tree (place apples on flannel board)
Some for you and some for me. (point out then point to self)
Let’s shake and wiggle the tree just so (Shake shakers/scarves/wiggle body around)
And 1 red apple will fall below (Remove 1 apple from board. Hands fall or have the kids fall down)

I continue each verse counting down to none and usually end with something like

No red apples hanging on the tree
None for you and none for me
What should we do with a tree so bare? 
Let’s pick more apples from over there! 

or

No red apples hanging on the tree
our basket’s full for you and me
What should we do with apples piled high 
Let’s go inside and bake a pie!

This worked great with my first session but then we encountered and issue with my second session in that I ran out of shakers and had to resort to bean bags for the extra empty hands. Unfortunately we had a lot of too little littles in preschool storytime for this session who had a difficult time with understanding the concept of one per person or egg or beanbag, not both. This is not surprising, but it did derail us for a hot minute there. Oh well! After we finally had ourselves sorted, the rhyme went great and we then moved on to our second book. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins… which I continually slip up and call “Ten RAD Apples” haha

Speaking of Rad Apples...

Speaking of Rad Apples…

I’m actually not really a fan of this book; the illustration style, uh, weirds me out. Sorry! 😦
However, I thought the concept looked fun to read with the kids and the interactive bit about guessing which animal comes next and having them make the noise is always good. I’ll admit, about 1/2 way through I was wishing I’d picked a different book; I apparently have a “Yippee, fiddle-dee-fee!” limit, and it’s not 10. oops.

After book 2 we went on to our next rhyme, another five little rhyme that is all over the place, in many incarnations and that I’ve used for apples, cookies, uh, maybe even donuts, basically anything round!

Five little apples sitting in a bowl (hold arms in bowl shape)
One fell out and started to roll (roll fists)
It bumped the table and hit my feet (pat legs then touch feet)
How many apples left to eat? 

Each time I do a round we try to go faster and faster until we all basically erupt into giggles. I didn’t actually get to do this rhyme with my Thursday session as they were quite rowdy already and there were 582604756 of them so we hurried through to craft time.

Our third and final book was the classic Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell. I wish this book were physically larger because it’s so cute but quite small. It’s a quick read and at the end I love to chat about the different costumes with the kids.

For our craft, we made apple pies! I used our die cut to cut out different shades of green and red apples and then had a volunteer cut a million strips of brown paper. We then glued the apples and strips (crust) onto paper plates. had I thought ahead, I would have brought in spice shakers to sprinkle cinnamon on so they’d smell like apple pie. Next time!

As usual, I brought back our Sign Language word and today it was, you guessed it, Apple

Apple

Apple

Love is in the air

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Love is in the air!

For Valentine’s Day, and many other holiday themes, I like to keep things pretty generic as far as the book that I read go. I usually will engage the kids by asking if anybody celebrated any holidays recently and then chat about their answers before starting the books, but I don’t really, or try not to, read too many holiday specific titles. For Valentine’s Day I chose 3 books about love.

My first book was “Henry in Love” by Peter McCarty I LOVE the illustrations in this! they were simple and the colors are rather muted, but they stand out well on the page and are simply adorable. The text is a bit long so I don’t know that it would work with younger kids, but having it as the first book worked well for my preschoolers. I will admit that I did find a few of the transitions (or lack there of) a bit abrupt or awkward, but that may have just been me.

After our first book, I went right into our second title, “How do I Love You” by Leslie Kimmelman unfortunately our copy is a bit…well loved, but the illustrations are bold and fun and the text has great flow and rhymes. This book is actually in our concept collection as it teaches basic counting skills, but it worked very well for storytime.

After we made it through 2 books, we did our first active rhyme. Actually, I guess I’d call this more of an interactive flannel board. This is yet ANOTHER version of what I like to call a hide-away flannel. I’ve seen a few of these floating around the storytime blogosphere and my preschoolers love it. I’ve done a hat themed one, a lovebug themed one, a school themed one, and I think maybe even one more that has slipped my mind currently. Either way, it’s a great way to refocus any extra enthusiastic kiddos, or kill some extra time if your books go faster than planned or whatever. I also just love how much fun we all have.

For this theme we did “Lovebug” which I originally found on Deb’s Design blog

Lovebug, lovebug, oh so smart
Are you under the ______ heart?

Each time you say the rhyme, the kids get to yell out the color you’ve picked. I find it’s easiest if I explain the game then ask them which color we should pick first, then, we do the rhyme and that way they all know what color to call out in the rhyme. After we finish the rhyme, we remove that color item and see if the object is hidden under and we guessed correctly or if we have to pick a new color. We usually play 2 or 3 rounds of this depending on how quickly they find the item. I always try to trick them a little bit by pretending there’s no hidden item or picking the wrong colors or something. They always find it silly and love to correct me. 😛

After a few rousing rounds of that, we read our final book, “A Kiss like this” by Mary Murphy which is super cute. We read this as an interactive book where I asked them how they thought each animal would kiss. For giraffe I got lots of tall kisses and for the mice I saw lots of teeny tiny kisses, and for fish, fishy faced kisses! 😀

Aside from the 3 books and the hide-away flannel, I also did my valentine card rhyme on the flannel board. I think I’ll need to make new cards next year because I made them from paper last year and they were a bit rough looking after being stored for a year. hah

I originally found the rhyme on Storytime Katie’s blog and made the cards myself.

Six little Valentines were sent to my house,
The first one said, “I love you, From Mouse.”
Five little Valentines in my mailbox,
The second one said, “Be mine, Love Fox.”
Four little Valentines full of love,
The third one said, “You are sweet, From Dove.”
Three little Valentines just for me,
The fourth one said, “Be my honey, Love Bee.”
Two little Valentine’s mailed with care,
The fifth one said, “Here’s a hug, From Bear.”
The last little Valentine, from my friend Jay,
This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

I held each card up as we counted and then open them when we got to the second line and had them call out the animal they saw. (I’ll try to get pictures and upload them later)

For our craft, we made silly love bug headbands. I cut long strips of construction paper and then cut out a bunch of construction paper hearts and put those out with some googly eyes and glue sticks and let them go to town.
It’s always fun to watch them make something they can wear after storytime. hah

So next week I’ll finally get to that Dino storytime that has gotten bumped back a few times. RAWR!

 

 

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Lemons are not red….

THEY’RE YELLOW! duh.

It’s not easy to fool my storytimers, they are bunches of smart.

This week’s storytime was all about colors! I’ve done a color storytime before, in fact, it was my very first storytime theme!
I did change this one up a bit, but it also shared some of the same things.

I opened our storytime with the usual welcome rhyme and then we chatted a bit about colors. The kids were oddly fascinated with the sweater I was wearing today (it’s totally a grandpa sweater and I love it) and I happened to be wearing some brightly colored pants as well so we talked about all the colors I was wearing and then I had them guess what our theme might be. They caught on quick and guessed colors! 😀 It was an excellent though unplanned segue into storytime. 🙂

The first book I read was called and to name but just a few: red yellow green blue by Laurie Rosenwald. It’s a pretty interesting and fun read, a bit different than typical picture books in that it doesn’t have a consistent flow to the rhythm of the words and doesn’t always rhyme, but sometimes it does! It’s also laid out in more of a collage than a picture with words, it’s full of fun textures and a mixture of photos and drawings. I liked it.

We did have a wiggly bunch for both of my sessions. wiggly in different ways though. On Monday the kids were all about music and when we were gonna listen to it, it seems that there was a boombox left out after a previous storytime and they saw it which got them pretty amped up and it was sometimes difficult to rope their attention back in to the books and rhymes. On Thursday though, we had a big group and they were just full of energy and super proud of their color recognition skills. Both groups happily shouted out the colors on the pages as I was reading so this book required some stops and pauses before we could get through it. hah

After that book, we did our first active rhyme.

If You are wearing

If you are wearing  green, jump like you’re on a trampoline
If you are wearing  blue, put your hands on your shoes
If you are wearing  red, put your hands up on your head
If you are wearing  pink, let’s see you try to wink
If you are wearing  black, stand up and quack quack quack
If you are wearing  yellow, wiggle like a bowl of jell-o

In my Monday session we only had 5 kids so it was kinda hard to do this rhyme since a lot of the colors weren’t represented so we did it twice, the first time we followed the directions, the second time we all did everything, even if we weren’t wearing the color mentioned. We’re little rebels. On Thursday though, we had a good size crowd so it was easy to do this rhyme and the kids were all super excited when they realized they were wearing the color called. After getting some wiggles out, we moved on to our next book; Lemons are not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. I saw this book listed in a lot of different color themed storytime blogs so I figured I’d give it a go. the kids liked it and, as always, they enjoy being interactive and helping to read the book with me. It was a bit hard to stay on track with actually reading the book word for word, page by page though since they were all excitedly shouting out their guesses as soon as they thought of it so I pretty much just ad libbed. After that book, we did a flannel board, yay! I didn’t make this flannel board because we already had some pretty awesome HUGE felt crayons in almost every color imaginable so I just used those. Here’s the rhyme:

I Have a Crayon

I have a crayon, I’ll give it to you.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of blue.

I have a crayon, a lovely little fellow.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of yellow.

I have a crayon, it’s here on my head.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of red.

I have a crayon, we can draw a circle.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of purple.

I have a crayon, what do I see?
Here is my crayon, an orange one for me.

I have a crayon, the best ever seen.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of green

Credit: Anne’s Library Life

I TOTALLY biffed that flannel on my Monday session. My crayons were out of order (oops) and I recited the rhymes wrong and had to make them up halfway through when I realized I wasn’t reading the page properly. hah. oh well. it was still fun. On Thursday, though, I nailed it. The kids were WAY too good at guessing though and I didn’t always have time to get through the entire rhyme before they knew what color was next. haha

Then, During my Thursday session, I got out the color scarves and we passed them out and played with them. It wasn’t structured or anything, it was just a fun way to bring more color in to the storytime. In my first color storytime I passed out our ribbon bracelets and then after playing, I let the kids hang on to them until the end of storytime, I did the same this time with the scarves and both times it worked pretty well. I didn’t do the scarves on Monday though since we were already having a bit of a rough time getting through storytime and I decided to cut that part.

We finished our storytimes with our last two books; Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson. Bear Sees Colors was a new one for me, but I quite like it! good rhymes and flow and the illustrations are very cute and fun! Mouse Paint is of course an old favorite and staple. I used our big book copy both nights and because it’s not only a pretty basic story line but also because I think I’ve read it about 85743 times, I mostly just recite it and ad-lib my way through with lots of dancing and stomping and mixing along the way. It’s probably one of the very few stories I could do entirely from memory in classic storytelling manner. I don’t think I’ll ever NOT love doing that book.

We ended both sessions with our usual craft. This was another SUPER basic craft. I printed out rainbow coloring pages and then put out crayons and foam shape stickers and let them color and sticker their way into a rainbow.

I really wanna plan some more creative crafts that aren’t just printed paper whatevers, but I haven’t been coming up with good stuff that match my themes. I DO have a nifty Dinosaur theme in the works and I have (finally) started on my hat flannel board I’ve been wanting to make so those two themes will hopefully lend themselves to more exciting crafts. Then again, the kids always have fun and I often see the parents doing their own crafts too so I guess there aren’t any complaints.

Oh! speaking of feedback, I had done a couple ASL words with a few recent storytimes and during my Monday session this week I had one of the parents tell me how much they enjoyed that and hoped I’d continue. I do love the idea and often try to incorporate it when I can so hopefully I can find some good words for dinos or hats.  😉

Until next time!

 

 

                                                                              *chomp chomp chomp*

Animal House

This storytime was all about animals. I didn’t get too specific or differentiate between farm or wild or jungle or anything, just animals. I’ve done specific animal storytimes before like a dog storytime or cats, or night animals, and I’ve done an Animal StoryTech before but never just plain old normal animal storytime.

Now normally I try to pick books for my storytime that are new or different because I don’t want them to be bored with the selection since they’ve read that title 8527485 times at home and or in school, but this week I did pick a book that is quite well known. I actually came across a few books that I thought were quite interactive and because of that I thought that it’d be fun to have them help me read the more well known book.

The first book I read was called No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont. I quite liked this book and thought it was just the right amount of silliness, rhymes, noises, and repetition. I also liked the fact that you could kind of improvise. for example, as new animals join the sheep it has a line that says “soon the ____ and the sheep, they fell fast asleep” But instead of just reading the two animals, I repeated and had the kids help me list off all the animals to that point. it was a bit of a challenge, but loads of fun! This book might just be one of my new favorites; I could see it working well for a noise or sound themed storytime as well. Both my Monday night and Thursday morning groups giggled and enjoyed it. 🙂

After that book I had three animal themed active rhymes. On both Monday and Thursday, I let the kids help me pick which order I do them in. I listed off the three I brought and let them vote. Now, this can be a very dangerous road to go down if you have a more…enthusiastic crowd that day, but I braved it and it turned out ok.  Here are the three active rhymes I had in tow:


5 little Ducks

5 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 4 little ducks came wandering back.

4 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 3 little ducks came wandering back.

3 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 2 little ducks came wandering back.

2 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 1 little duck came wandering back.

1 little duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But no little ducks came wandering back.

No little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
And 5 little ducks came wandering back.


Five little kittens

Five little kittens standing in a row
(hold up 5 fingers)
They nod their heads up and down, like so
(bend fingers)
They run to the left, they run to the right
(run fingers to the left and then to the right)
They stand up and stretch in the bright sunlight
(stretch fingers out tall)
Along comes a dog looking for some fun
(hold up opposite hand like a puppet)
With a WOOF! and MEOW! See those little kittens run
(bark with dog hand, wiggle kitten hand, then wiggle hand behind back)


There was a little Turtle

There was a little turtle. (make fingers for small)
He lived in a box. (draw out box shape with fingers)
He swam in a puddle. (pretend to swim)
He climbed on the rocks. (pretend to climb)

He snapped at a mosquito. (use hand to pretend to snap like a turtle mouth)
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito. (grab air with hand)
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn’t catch me. (wave finger no)


With the Kitten rhyme, I actually did 10 little kittens and had them hold up both hands (personal preference) and with the Turtle rhyme, I had them name a random animal and I changed the line from “He snapped at/caught the minnow” to the animal they suggested. This made for great fun a squeals of laughter because we repeated this twice in a row and they picked cow and cat and each time I got to the part with those animals they laughed hysterically and shouted about how a turtle can’t catch a cow or a cat, they’re way too big and fast! (obviously)

The second book I read was Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene I quite liked this book as well! Much like the first book, it could easily be used in a noise or sound themed storytime as well as a storytime about being sick. The animals make all sorts of silly noises when they get sick but then everything rights itself again after the farmer makes them some good soup (vegetable, I’m sure). The kids in both sessions of course thought it hilarious to hear me “moo choo!” and “cough-a-doodle-doo” and all sorts of snorts and whistles. After this book we did a second active rhyme.

The third book we read was the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin. We didn’t just read the normal version though, we read the BIG BOOK version

brown bear

These things are seriously the size of a small child, they’re great! 😀 This is the book that we all read aloud together and they LOVED being able to do that! Again, after this book, we did our third and final active rhyme.

In my Monday session I then went right in to our fourth and last book but in my thursday session I ALMOST skipped it because they were quite rowdy and I wasn’t sure they could handle another, but then I remembered that it’s a SUPER interactive book. Well, I don’t know if it’s really supposed to be, but that’s how I read it. If I hadn’t read it the way I did, I think it would have been too awkward for a storytime book.

My fourth and final book was Wiggle Waggle by Johnathan London. I read this book less like the book itself and instead I read the first page as an introduction and then simply turned the pages and had the kids act it out. The book is all about how animals walk or move, and instead of just turning pages and reading “How does the kitten walk? Pish-Posh” (…uh, what?) I would turn the page and say “How does the _____ walk?!” and the kids would show me while I made up my own noises. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the sounds / descriptors used for the animal walks in this book were…awkward, so I used my own at times. I actually really liked that book because while it’s reading, and the kids are still seeing the words and letters and pictures, they’re also playing and acting and putting 2 and 2 or 3 and 3 together and that kind of multi-sense connection building really cements things and helps them retain much more information than me just saying “the cat walks like this”.

After we finished all our books and rhymes, I released the little animals into the craft room for our craft. On Monday I managed to get my segue out and teach them 3 words in ASL: Lion, Tiger, and Bear.

oh-my-takei

 

In my Thursday session, there was no chance and I simply had to un-cage them so they could run wild.

The reason for my ASL segue is that we were making Lion, Tiger (ok, a cat) or Bear masks!

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I couldn’t find a tiger, ok?

 

These were SUPER basic, just printed on regular paper and I put out scissors, crayons, hole punches and string. the kids went nuts!

 

I haven’t quite gotten next week’s theme nailed down (I keep not getting around to making the flannel I want to use) but either way, I’m SURE I’ll figure something fun out. 🙂

I’m back!

So we took quite a bit of a storytime break over the holiday season and then I managed to lose my voice a day before we started back up again and was out for an extra week! Boo! But it’s back now. ( well, mostly,I’m still working on hitting some of those high notes on my drives in to work.)

In other news, I’m excited to say that though I’ve been in library work for over 10 years, I’ve hit a new and exciting milestone; it’s officially been 1 whole year of storytimes for me! I was TERRIFIED to start doing storytimes, hello panic attacks, and even though I still get nervous before each one, they’ve become such a rewarding and exciting part of my job. (cheesy? oh well!)

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YAY!

This week’s storytime was all about things that go. Transportation, motors, bikes, cars, horses, you name it!

The books I chose were:

Wake up engines by Denise Dowling Mortensen
Bunnies on the Go, Getting from Place to Place by Rick Walton
The Little School Bus by Margery Cuyler
Good Night Engine by Denise Dowling Mortensen

I read them in that order, the two middle ones were relatively interchangeable, though the school bus one was shorter and easier to skip if the kids were feeling extra antsy, and the two end cap books were perfect for introducing and then wrapping up our theme.

Wake up and Good Night Engines both read more like poems than a story but are fun and filled with excellent image evoking words and lots of onomatopoeia which is always fun for the kids and it gave me lots of chances to have them help me make noise.

I loved Bunnies on the Go because it was a guessing game! each page features a short stanza about the bunnies going somewhere in some mode of transportation and then gives you a hint to the next mode of transportation they use. The last word of each stanza is on the next page and shows a picture of it. I liked the flow, and the kids got to practice rhyming and sounding out words to guess. If you’re really good and look close enough, you’ll find that the answer is actually shown in each illustration. Some of the rhymes are pretty easy, but some are pretty tough! It’s super interactive and a great confidence boost when they make their guesses and also does a pretty good job of touching on common core standards in foundational reading skills. Also, bunnies. 🙂

I admit, I have mixed feelings about I’m a little school bus. The illustrations are super cute, and I like the kinda cheeky writing style (Bus driver Bob needs his coffee!) but I found myself getting kinda tongue tied with some of the rhymes and though the repetition of “I’m a little school bus…..” on each page is good, I felt it was a bit longer than it needed to be maybe? I’m not sure. The kids seemed to like it though so yay! Oh! and it KILLED my hands to hold it up and read it, the pages are more like a board book and the spine wasn’t cracked or anything so it was hard to hold open, so beware! haha.

Aside from the four books we read (and we did get through all 4 books in both sessions!) I did a few extension activities.

On Monday night we had a small crowd that seemed kinda sleepy so I tried really hard to get them to interact more by drawing out the activities a bit more. My Thursday morning crew was big, bright eyed, and bushy tailed though so they certainly didn’t need quite as much encouragement in the interaction department. hah.

I love the idea of teaching sign language words that relate to our theme to the attendees and I found this awesome rhyme activity on the Sunflower Storytime blog.

RHYME – Helicopter; Sign Language Rhyme
Sign “Helicopter” as you say this rhyme:  Right thumb in palm of Left hand. Left hand fingers spread and shake. 

Helicopter goes up
Helicopter goes down
Helicopter turns, turns all around

Helicopter goes left
Helicopter goes right
Helicopter goes up, up, and out of sight (hands behind back)

Watch a video clip of the sign here.

We had a blast flying out helicopters all over the place!

I also did a firetruck activity on Monday night, though we skipped it on Thursday because it is a kinda rowdy activity and we were already reaching maximum rowdiness. All we did was basically pretend we were driving a firetruck!

Oh no! somebody called for a firetruck! Hurry, start the engine! (VROOM VROOM) I then had them bounce up and down in their seats and pretend to steer as I narrated different actions.

We’re coming to an intersection, ring the bell and run the siren! (ding ding ding! weeeooo weeeooo!)
Turn the corner! (lean to the left)
Turn again (lean to the right)
We’re here! Climb the ladder!
Spray the hose!
Phew! fire’s out, good job!
Now back to the station. Everything in reverse!
Roll up the hose (roll our fist over one another)
Down the ladder.
In the truck.
Turn right (lean to the right)
Turn left (lean to the left)
We’re coming to an intersection, make sure to stop! (beep beep)
And back into the station.

you can obviously narrate this however works best for you. It’s a great storytelling tool though, you can have the kids help narrate by having them suggest different actions, or you can do the narrating and let them use their imaginations!

The other activity we did involved egg shakers, yay! I had them all grab a shaker and I pulled out 3 foam circles in red, green, and yellow. We talked about how lots of vehicles see those colors when they’re on the road and asked them if they knew what each one meant. Of COURSE they did because kids are smart and awesome. I then explained that they were gonna shake the shakers based on what color sign I held up. When it was green, we shook FAST. Yellow, shake sloooowwww, and red means FREEZE! lots of fun and giggles with this one, obviously. It was a very silly time and we all loved it. I then had them drive their shakers back home to the bin and we sat down for our last story before our craft. Luckily Goodnight Engines features trains pretty heavily which was a good segue into our craft; Name Trains!

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choo choo!

 

For this super easy craft I put out large pieces of construction paper in a few colors, paper with a train engine printed, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, and little squares of different colors construction paper. This craft, though basic, helps strengthen fine motor skills, spelling, and counting! It also helps meet some of the common core standards for language arts presentation of knowledge and ideas with early literacy. Kids got to color and then cut out their engines, then counted out the letters in their name for the train cars, then practiced spelling and writing by putting a letter on each car, and then create a scene for their train. Again, pretty simple sounding, but lots of little things for them to do and they churned out some pretty amazing trains! WAY better than my example. I also got some pretty good feedback from the parents about liking this craft which is always good. 🙂

 

It felt good to get back in the saddle and I’m ready for more!

 

 

 

Talkin’ Turkey

So Thanksgiving was last week and because we were closed one of the days I do my storytime, I decided to save the turkey stuff for this week.

I focused only on turkeys, not thanksgiving, because:
1. it’s often hard to get my hands on 3 or 4 good read-out-loud books themed for some of the more minor holidays and if I do, I feel bad about taking them out of circ during their prime time.
2. my crowd for my storytimes are often rather culturally diverse and not always celebrating traditional American holidays so I try to go pretty broad with the themes around then.

The books I read were all only about turkeys, not thanksgiving, and were good! I liked them all, some more than others.

10 Turkeys in the Road by Brenda Reeves Sturgis
I’m a Turkey by Jim Arnosky
Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell

I was a bit worried about 10 Turkeys in the Road with my preschool crowd because they sometimes get kinda bored with counting and the book is super repetitive, but they LOVED it! they counted down from 10 with me and shouted out the numbers after each page, it was awesomely interactive for both my Monday night and Thursday morning crews.

Things got a bit outta hand during my Monday session when reading Gobble Gobble though because at one point one of the older kids who was quite talkative noticed and shared with the group that there was a deer on every page and as soon as she did, the kids all shouted out that they found the deer each time I turned the page, haha, oops. I managed to turn it into a goofy bit at the end though when I asked them to find the last deer and then I kept pointing to other random things on the pages and they laughed and giggled “no, you’re silly” until I found the deer. heh. The book went much more smoothly at my Thursday session though.

I thought I’m a Turkey was a fun read, and the kids seemed to enjoy it during both sessions but didn’t have much of a reaction either way.

One thing that both groups LOVED was a shaker rhyme I made up. I like using the shakers, but often run out of ideas on how to use them because I feel like I, and probably the kids as well, get bored with the typical shaker songs so I try to get creative with how I use them. For this theme I wanted to use our egg shakers and somehow incorporate the turkey theme. I didn’t end up getting as elaborate as I’d have liked, but I did manage to wright up a pretty good activity.

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Fast like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Slow like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Up like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Down like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Around like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
On the ground like this! 

This is a great way to teach opposites and can very easily be modified and added to. I like to end all my shaker activities and as many fingerplays as I can with allowing the kids to make their own suggestions as to how we should shake, or gobble, or whatever. For this one we shook our turkey eggs on our heads, our knees, behind our backs, and more!

The other activity I did was a Turkey version of two little black birds. I made some simple felt turkey finger puppets and used them for the rhyme. I asked the kids to play along by bringing out their turkey hands. I had them hold their thumbs in front of their fingers as if counting to 4 and we talked about how the thumb looks like the neck/head of the turkey, and our four fingers looked like the big feathery tail. The rhyme went like so:

 

Two little turkeys sitting on a hill
One named Jack, the other named Jill.
Gobble away, Jack
Gobble away, Jill
Gobble back, Jack
Gobble back, Jill

Two little turkeys looking at the clouds
One gobbled quiet, the other gobbled LOUD.
Gobble away, quiet
Gobble away, LOUD
Gobble back, quiet
Gobble back, LOUD

Two little turkeys waiting for the snow
One gobbled fast, the other gobbled slow.
Gobble away, fast
Gobble away, slow
Gobble back, fast
Gobble back, slow

This is ALWAYS a crowd favorite. This time, most of the kids just wanted to gobble back and away faster and faster and faster which always ends up with them doing less of the gobbling and more giggling. 🙂

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We’re back on storytime break for now, but we’ve got a really fun program coming up in just over a week called Winter Wonderland and I hope to get some good pictures and updates to post about!

until next time!

 

 

😉