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?

 

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!)

confetti

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!

 

 

 

Mittens in the Mitten

It’s certainly becoming mitten weather in the Mitten State, what better time to do a mitten storytime?

We got a good dusting of snow recently and I wanted to incorporate that into a storytime theme,  but it’s still mid November so I didn’t want to do anything too wintery and that’s when I decided upon mittens! They’re worn in cold weather and are great for making snowballs! 😉

The books I read were:

One Mitten by Kristine O’Connell George

The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone

 

Ok, I didn’t actually read the last book because for both of my sessions this week, we had a super small turnout of around 10-15 as opposed to our typical 40-50  and the groups were quite subdued. I had to really work to get them to interact at times. It always nice when they all sit quietly while we read, but it rough when you’re trying to do rhymes and fingerplays and you’ve got a tiny group of sleepy eyed kids just staring back. hah. This weather sure has calmed them down.

I did one rhyme (I only did it with one group because the other group was so tough to get to interact) and one flannel board. With the flannel board I actually got a pretty good response and ended up milking it as long as I could by asking them lots of questions about the pieces and really having them think about lots of the details. I found a rhyme online about ten mittens and I used some mini clothespins that we had in the craft room and some yarn and printed out / laminated some mitten clipart and made myself a little mini clothesline for my mittens!

 

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Ten warm mittens

Ten warm mittens, hanging on the line,
One blows away and then there are nine
Nine warm mittens, one without a mate,
A squirrel carries one away and that leaves eight.
Eight warm mittens, just eight not eleven,
One gets buried in the snow and that leaves seven.
Seven warm mittens, which one do you pick?
I’ll pick the red one and that leaves six.
Six warm mittens, put one on to try.
Then you take it from the line and that leaves five.
Five warm mittens, we had ten before!
A fluffy bunny needs one and that leaves four!  
Four warm mittens, two for you and two for me,
I lost one on the ski slope and that leaves three.
Three warm mittens, looking very new,
One falls into the mud and that leaves two.
Two warm mittens, drying in the sun,
A bird comes down and snatches it and that leaves one.
One warm mitten, what good is one?
A little mouse can have a bed, and that leaves none!

 

Originally when I put the mittens on the board, they were in random order, all mixed up, then we did the rhyme and I took them down, one by one. Then, I put one of each pair up with an empty clothespin between them and I asked the kids to help me match my mittens. I had them help by calling out the number of the matching mitten to the one I held up. For example, I held up a blue mitten and the matching mitten was the 3rd mitten on the board so my mitten matched mitten #3. it was kinda tricky, but they caught on pretty fast and it’s excellent practice for counting, matching, and comparing! Yay! Secret math! I made sure to have some mittens that were similar but not the same so that we could discuss. “The blue mitten with zig zag stripes does NOT match the red mitten with zig zag stripes, but what is similar about them? The red mitten with zig zag stripes does NOT match the plain red mitten, but what is similar about them?” Activities like that are always good for building their language skills. THEN, we went a whole step further (which was probably a bit beyond their skill level still, but not too far) since we had the mittens matched up, we counted by TWOS! They’re a smart bunch.

 

The other rhyme I had prepared but only used for one session was a basic fingerplay. I actually had trouble remembering BOTH my rhymes this week, maybe my brain is slowing with the cold weather, but even with a few round of practice, I had to read my sheet much more than normal. boo.

Mitten Finger play
by Lucia Kemp Henry

Here is a mitten, (hold up one hand)
A snug, fuzzy one- (rub palms together)
With a place for my fingers (wiggle 4 fingers)
And a place for my thumb (wiggle thumb)
Here are two mittens, (hold up two hands)
A colorful sight. (hands back and forth)
One for the left hand (hold up left hand)
One for the right. (hold up right hand)
Here are OUR mittens, (hold up two hands)
As soft as can be (stroke the back of one hand)
A warm pair for you (point to the neighbor)
And a warm pair for me (point to yourself)

 

For our craft, I did a very simple design a mitten craft. I printed mitten outlines on colored cardstock and gave them crayons and foam stickers and let them go to town. Again, very open ended craft that gives them the freedom to do whatever they want but is also very simple and easy to prepare for staff, always good.

I enjoyed this theme and wish the crowds were a bit bigger because I always like to feel like I got my money’s worth out of a theme. 😛

 

Soon I’ll be posting about an underwater storytime we did with a craft that I loved but worried would be too much for the kids. Stay tuned!

 

Sunny Day

Now that we are done with our Summer Library Program, and on a storytime break, I have time to catch up on some back posts!

Some of you may know because you live in the area, and other may have heard on the news about the freak flash flooding we had recently in the Detroit area, well as much as I enjoy a good rainstorm, it’s never fun when it gets out of hand so on the other end of the spectrum, I thought I should post about a storytime I did recently about the sun and clouds. I had done a space/moon/rocket ship themed StoryTech recently and decided to continue with a similar theme that also went with the season as well. I kinda love themes and tying them all together. I know I’ve mentioned it before; I also know that probably nobody in the storytime audience notices but I amuse myself with it and that’s all that really matters, right?  right.   😉

Anywho, since we did some fun night time sky stuff books last time, this time it was daytime sky stuff books.

The books I read were:

The Sun is my Favorite Star by Frank Asch

Little Cloud by Eric Carle

Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky
(there are many versions of this book as it is an old folktale, I used the version by Elphinstone Dayrell and Blair Lent)

 

I had a great response to this storytime theme! Lots of people asked for the books (on Thursday I can just give them out, but Monday can sometimes be hard because if I only have one copy of a title, I can’t give it away since I need it for my Thursday session as well.)

I was quite excited with the variety of books I was able to find and use for this storytime because it isn’t often that I find a fairytale/folktale or non-fiction title that will work well for storytime, but this week I was able to find one of each and they went over swimmingly. 🙂

Little cloud is aways fun to read because even though it is a pretty basic book, you can read it many different ways. With my preschool group being a bit older, I chose to read it as a very interactive guessing game. I would read the text and then take a peek to myself on the next page at what the cloud had turned into and then give them clues or hints or whatever, they would guess, sometimes I would just take a peek and laugh or gasp, the kids really enjoyed that book.

 

Aside from the stories, we also did this action rhyme a few times:

 

 

Big Round Sun

The big round sun in the springtime sky
(form large circle with arms)

Waved at a cloud that was passing by.  
(wave)

The little cloud laughed as it scattered rain,
(flutter fingers downward)

Then out came the big round sun again.
(form large circle with arms)

 

I also asked the kids if they were a c loud, what they would turn into and then let them demonstrate if they could, tons of fun and giggles! 😀

 

We did a very easy craft after which consisted of grabbing big blue sheets of construction paper, white crayons, yellow die-cut sun shapes, and cotton balls. I had the kids draw some cloud shapes then fill them in.

One of the kids even gave their sky two suns  😉

 

I really enjoyed this theme and had a TON of books I could have used so I’m sure I’ll do it again to try 0out some other titles!

CHOO CHOOOOOO!!!

Well hello! You’ll have to forgive me as I went on vacation and didn’t que up my posts properly. so here ya go!

 


 

 

chugga chugga chugga chugga

This week, we did TRAINS!

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I was pretty excited to do this theme because it lends itself to so many different and fun activities so it allows for a lot of creativity. Weirdly enough though, I wasn’t able to come up with a very good craft for this theme. Of course I thought of all sorts of neat ideas AFTER, but none of them came to me in time. Oh well.

I picked out 4 books but I was almost positive that I wouldn’t read one of them as it was quite long, but I grabbed it anyway just in case.

The books I read were:

Dinosaur Train by John Steven Gurney
Steam Train Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
A Train Goes Clickety-Clack by Jonathan London

I also did a few different train active rhymes and a flannel board. I had picked up a book about trains that I liked but something about it didn’t jive well with me so I turned it into a flannel board/active rhyme. The books wasThe Train Ride by June Crebbin  I took the text from the book and altered it very slightly to turn it into a rhyme that flowed a bit more since I didn’t have to turn pages and allowed kids to still see the things described by putting them up on the flannel but also allowed them to move a bit since I had then tap their knees or swish their hands to make a train noise.  What’s really weird is that I can’t for the life of me remember how I stumbled across this particular book or where because when I went to look it up after storytime, it didn’t exist. I couldn’t find it in the OPAC and according to Polaris, our copies were removed from the collection years ago. WHAT?!  Ghost Book!

Anyhow, here’s the text I used:

 

We’re riding on a train out of town
What shall I see, what shall I see?
Sheep running off and cows laying down
That’s what I see, that’s what I see

Over the meadow up on the hill
What shall I see, what shall I see?
A mare and her foal standing perfectly still
That’s what I see, that’s what I see

There’s farm in the distance down the road
What shall I see, what shall I see?
A shiny red tractor pulling it’s load
That’s what I see, that’s what I see

Here in my seat, my lunch on me knee
What shall I see, what shall I see?
A ticket collector smiling at me
That’s what I see, that’s what I see

Through the window I’m looking out
What shall I see, what shall I see?
A gaggle of geese, strutting about
That’s what I see, that’s what I see

Over the treetops, high in the sky
What shall I see, what shall I see?
A hot air balloon, sailing by!
That’s what I see, that’s what I see

Listen! The engine is slowing down
What shall I see, what shall I see?
The market square in the seaside town
That’s what I see, that’s what I see

Now in the station, who shall I see?
Who shall I see? who shall I see?
There is my grandma! Welcoming me!

I made up some simple images for the flannel board using clipart and simply placed them up as I recited the rhyme/story. It goes quite quickly so you could easily add more lines or stanzas to it if you’d like. I often like to let the kids suggest things and incorporate it to the rhyme…even though it usually doesn’t rhyme because I’m just not that quick on my feet like some librarians. (would storytime librarians make good rap battlers? That should be a thing. )  The kids seemed to get a kick out of this activity and the parents liked the ending a lot. 🙂

I also did “The wheels on the train”

 

 

“The Wheels on the Train”
(to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”)

1. The Wheels on the train go clickety-clack all down the track
2. The Whistle on the train goes toot, toot, toot all down the track
3. The Conductor on the train says “all aboard” all down the track
4. The Crossing Gates go clang, clang, clang all down the track
5. The People on the train go bumpety-bump all down the track

And stole this little activity from TheBettyJulie on youtube. As she states, it’s not just a fun and cute rhyme, but it’s a great way to develop brain connections and fine tune some motor skills. In fact, I found out that I certainly could work on some of mine as I was far less coordinated on one side than I was on the other!

 

Again, I let the kids make some suggestions for where we go on the train because it’s fun and it’s good practice for me to improvise.

 

I enjoyed this storytime theme a lot but wish I could have come up with a fun craft to incorporate. oh well.

Funny Bunny Storytime

Little Peter Cottontail, Hopping down the cotton trail, Hippety hoppity Easter’s on it’s way!

Easter is right around the corner so it’s a great time to do an “Easter” themed storytime. As I’ve said before, I try to steer clear of getting too immersed in most holidays because of religious or cultural reasons, but that being said, I do think it’s good to acknowledge the holiday and maybe expose people to it who may have not heard of said holiday before. Yay learning!

With Easter, I’ve decided to focus on, what else, BUNNIES! I love bunnies and have had them as pets for many many years; you can see a picture of me and my current bunny, Ginger, on my About Me page. 🙂

 

I changed the format up a bit for this storytime, I have had crafts that I’ve done that I thought would have been cute for them to have during storytime, but it’s been too difficult for me to figure out how to make that work, but today while I was setting up, a co-worker said something to me about doing the craft first and I thought “you know, that might actually work for this particular craft!” So, I tried it! I had them come in as usual and we all sat down and chatted for a bit but then I told them that we were going to go make something that we could use during storytime, they seemed pretty thrilled about that. We made Bunny Noses!

 

bunny nose

 

I had them make their noses and then I passed out our egg shakers; I talked about Easter eggs and how the Easter bunny hides eggs, and then we practiced hopping around the room with our eggs in one hand and noses in the other using this rhyme:

 

Hip hip hippety hop Hippety hippety hop
We’ll hop and hop around the room
Until it’s time to STOP!

Hip hip hippety hop Hippety hippety hop
hippetyhippetyhippetyhippety
Hippety hippety hop
We’ll hop and hop around the room
Until it’s time to STOP!

It’s a pretty fun rhyme because you can improvise however you want; it can be as long or as short as you want and all you have to do is ad a few hippity hops here and there or change up the order before you shout STOP! It reminds me of a combination of Simon says and red light green light. You basically say random versions of hop or hippity hop and the kids jump around like goofballs and then freeze when you say stop. Not only is it a fun way to transition from one activity to the next, but it helps get out some pent up energy,and also helps kids to learn. I also thought that this would be a fun little game to play either at the end or if the kids seemed a bit wiggly during the stories but luckily, we didn’t need to use it. There are lots of books and website that talk about the concept of play to learn, one site I enjoy is Help My Kid LearnI stumbled across it while looking for reading related activities that are both fun and educational and have found a wealth of information there. “One of the ways children learn is through play. A child who is playing is refining learning skills that continue to develop during childhood and beyond.

“Pretend play” is important for developing your child’s language skills. Children make up their own games, but playing games with others helps their concentration and social skills. Play can also help to show what children know and understand.”

So hopping around like bunnies isn’t just fun, it’s helping them develop their listening skills, balance and motor skills, as well as social skills, but it also super fun, I mean, do we really need an excuses to make noise and look even more adorable? NOPE.  🙂

After we got our hops out, I had them hop the eggs back to the bucket and we sat down for our first story. I started both sessions off with “Looking for Easter” by Dori Chaconas. I loved this book because not only does it have super adorable illustrations, but it’s an excellent non-religious Easter story that still has a great message and ending.

Speaking of great messages and endings, one of the other books I read was a great take on the classic story “Little Bunny Foo Foo: Told and Sung by the Good Fairy” by Paul Brett Johnson. I wasn’t actually too thrilled about the illustration style, personally, but it’s a great book; very colorful and eye catching and I like the way it was written.  The kids really liked seeing the trouble that Little Bunny Foo Foo kept getting into and laughed surprisingly hard at the end….even though I’m pretty sure they’re too young to catch the pun. 😉

We also practiced our counting with “10 Easter Egg Hunters: a Holiday Counting Book” by Janet Schulman which was fun but kind of difficult to read because it’s small and hard to see for a large group and it’s also super tempting for the kids to run up and point out where the eggs are on each page. I did have trouble with that in both of my sessions, but all in all, worth it since the kids really liked it.

And last, but not least, we read“A Boy and his Bunny” by Sean BryanSUCH a cute book. The only thing I don’t like about it is the pacing. The story wants to be read quickly, but then you don’t have a chance to show the kids the pictures for very long but if you take the time to do so, you kind of lose the rhythm of the story. It has a companion book as well that I was almost tempted to read with it, but alligators don’t have much to do with Easter, so I passed. 😛

Aside from the 4 books we read, we put out bunny noses to good use with a couple other rhymes. I saw a super cute rhyme online that I thought would be fun for the kids to act out, but it was only one stanza:

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Flicked his floppy little ears
And then he gave a jump!

So I took that and ran with it and made up a few more actions that bunnies do and then also used it as a way to let the kids suggest different activities with some fill in the blank verses.

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Twitched his little nose
And then he gave a jump!

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Wiggled his fluffy tail And then he gave a jump!

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Stomped his great big feet And then he gave a jump!

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
(encourage kids to shout out jump)
And then he gave a jump!

 I think that my groups really like being able to make up parts to the rhymes and activities more than just listening to them and doing the actions as they hear them. Half the time it ends up being a yelling mess of suggested actions, but that’s ok, it’s still fun. I also like to make up super random or weird actions because the kids think it’s hilarious. For example, in this rhyme we hopped, and twitched, and wiggled as bunnies are wont to do, but then I also had them swim and skip and do other things that bunnies totally don’t do, or that kids don’t think bunnies do (I’ve seen some bunnies do some pretty silly things) and those always get some good giggles in response.

Not only did I change things up a bit with the craft, but I also catered my welcome and closing rhymes to the theme. I like to do that sometimes just to mix things up, though I do also like having a constant in my storytimes so I don’t change it with every theme.

For this week I modified some rhymes I saw online to fit what I needed. My welcome rhyme was:

Bunny Bunny

Bunny Bunny, hop real low
Bunny Bunny, say hello
Bunny Bunny, hope 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.

And for my goodbye rhyme I used:

I saw a Little Rabbit

I saw a little rabbit go hop hop hop
I saw his great big ears go flop flop flop
I saw his little nose go twitch twitch twitch
I saw his furry paw for itch itch itch
I wished the little rabbit would sit and stay
but that little rabbit had to hop away.

I ended up giving out all 4 of my books this week so I think that’s a good sign that they liked them and I saw lots of hopping with whiskers and cute little noses after as well so I’m counting this one as a success.

 

Now, next week. I’m thinking I still want to stick with spring-ish themes for a while because mother nature still seems to be confused as to what season it is, but after doing bunnies/easter, rain/weather, and flowers, I have some ideas brewing, but I’m not entirely sure where else to take it.
Guess it will be another surprise!

 

hoppy_easter_grande

Seeing Shadows at Storytime!

With Groundhog day behind us, and 6 more weeks of winter ahead of us (sorry, spoilers) I present to you a 3 Story Act (or is it 3 act story?) By a co-worker of mine, Bethany, who was kind enough to guest blog about a recent program she hosted at the library.

Her program did a wonderful job of integrating the Common Core Standards of Speaking and Listening comprehension and collaboration by giving them a chance to “evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.” as well as Common Core Standards of Speaking and Listening presentation of knowledge and ideas 

Here’s what she had to say.

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I adore making silhouettes. It is an art form that combines simplicity with sophistication, depending on the intricacy of the detail you choose to incorporate into the paper cutouts. There is something marvelously intriguing about the mystery of a shadow. Looking at something’s silhouette, you cannot quite tell who it is or make out all the details of that figure’s appearance, so you just look at the outline and fill in the gaps with your imagination.

I had to find a way to make silhouettes part of a craft and/or storytelling activity for children. So when the chance came for me to plan my first ever youth services program (WOOHOO!), I was thinking about doing some sort of program for a holiday, and BAM—I realized that Groundhog Day fell on a weekend (the library’s busiest time) this year, and would provide the perfect context for planning a program about SHADOWS.

I decided to present a “Shadow Puppet Theater” by telling children some stories about groundhogs, using a cast of black paper silhouette characters I made. I made my puppet theater itself out of a big cardboard box. Cut out the bottom and lay it on its side. Make the screen by covering the opening with a large piece of white paper. Leave two of the boxes flaps open on the side to create “curtains” for the stage. I covered the flaps with sparkly gold material, and draped a sheer red scarf over the “screen” for a stage curtain. I set a small battery operated lantern inside the theater behind the screen to provide the illumination for the props. I taped a line of black construction paper at the bottom of the white paper to hide my hands from view as I operated the characters. I also taped a few wintry trees to the white paper for a stock background for my stories, which all had a similar setting. You can only hold onto so many characters on sticks at once, so choose simple stories that do not require many actions or characters or scenery needing to be used at once. I memorized three stories to tell: Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby, Groundhog Stays Up Late by Margery Cuyler, and Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts. I also set up a bunch of groundhog storybooks for parents and kids to check out in case they wanted more. It is my personal philosophy to tie every library program I do back to reading and promoting the library collection.

The coolest thing about this program was that it gave kids the chance to both listen to stories and to create their own. We talked about what Groundhog Day was, and then they all sat in the dark and watched me perform the stories. I think the unusual mode of storytelling was what captured and held their attention! Even though I actually forgot to ever lift the sheer red curtain off the white screen, no one noticed. In the dark, the light still shone through the screen and enabled everyone to see the characters, and one parent even commented later that the curtain created a neat illusory effect in the theater. Note to self here: in future, if you mess up any part of a performance, don’t make a big deal out of it. Act natural and run with it, even if you have to go in a different direction than planned. Many times people only catch on to a mistake if you draw attention to it!

Kids love making shadow puppets with their hands, and that kind of storytelling provides a great way for them to practice fingerplay and other hand movement coordination. That could be another programming option I use in future. But this time, having kids make shadow puppet silhouettes out of black construction paper gave them a chance to get crafty. The supplies for this craft are simple, but the fine motor skills involved help them practice some detail-oriented skills like tracing and cutting out shapes. I provided a few cardstock animal/object templates (the dinosaur proved to be a kid favorite) for tracing, but also encouraged kids to draw their own silhouette characters. Once they cut out their silhouettes, all the kids had to do was tape them to a craft stick and head for the shadow puppet theater to test out their creations.

I think the kids had even more fun with the craft part of the program because it let them be in charge of performing. They loved taking turns using the puppet theater to show off their cutouts and many of them even started telling their own stories, either mumbling to themselves or talking to the onlookers. Some kids even collaborated with each other. It feels great to be able to say that my first program turned out to be a wonderful way to combine watching and listening, creating and participating, storytelling and crafting for children.

~Bethany Boutin Youth Services Library Intern

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I helped out with the program (sorta) so I was able to sneak in some pictures as she performed; It was really cool! The pictures don’t do it justice, and there was a good crowd in attendance, but not too big, which was good considering it wouldn’t have been easy for them all to see. From what I could gather, it went over fabulously and the kids really got into it both during, and after when they were able to go perform with their newly created silhouette characters!

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Time to make our own!

Time to make our own!

all you need are some good shapes...

all you need are some good shapes…

black paper, white crayons, scissors, and sticks to attach the cutouts to.

black paper, white crayons, scissors, and sticks to attach the cutouts to.