Welcome, welcome, everyone!

I figured I’d start off my new blog with an inaugural post about my inaugural Storytime. 

This week Was my first week taking over Storytime at my library. I was SO nervous. I practiced and practiced, spent hours hunting down active rhymes and fingerplays, rewriting and Frankensteining them together until I was finally happy and confortable with what I had.

For my welcome song, I decided to use “Welcome Welcome”; my version is a combination of a few different versions I found around the web, as well as a few lines I changed, moved around, or added.  I really liked the concept of it, but many of the versions I found just didn’t flow well with me, so here is what I ended up with:

Welcome, welcome, everyone
Now you’re here lets have some fun.

Hands go up and hands go down,
I can spin around and round.

I can bend and touch my toes.
I can crinkle up my nose

I can jump upon two shoes.
I can listen, so can you.

I can sit; I’ll show you how.
Storytime is starting now.

The kids seemed to really enjoy the motions and activity involved in this rhyme and were eager to sit right down and listen. We actually did the rhyme twice because it was new for them and I wanted to repeat it to help them remember, but it’s also a good way to get them to get rid of some of their wiggly energy before having them sit quietly (relatively) for the next 20 or so minutes.  I don’t plan to do the rhyme more than once every week, but it is short enough that we can do it a couple times if we have newcomers that aren’t familiar with it, or just lots of pent up energy that we need to get out.

After our opener, I discussed the theme:


We talked about our favorite colors and places where we find lots of colors.
I asked: “Can you name something that has lots and lots of colors?”
Answers were excitedly shouted out and included things like: rainbows, markers, crayons, their clothes, and so on; all excellent answers!

I utilized some of the library’s supplies and brought out the ribbon bracelets. They WERE stashed under my chair for an activity I had planned for later, but one of the kids noticed the right away and asked what they were for. I decided to pass them out early since they were quiet and would probably give them something “constructive” to fiddle with if bored. This proved to be an excellent idea, but I would certainly suggest not handing noisemakers out at the very start, but that’s just common sense, right?  😉 Luckily, we seem to have been graced with a very patient and sharing group of children and passing things out, as well as cleaning them back up is quite a painless process as they cooperate very willingly. Once everybody had chosen their ribbons, we found our seats and began. 

The first book I chose was “Mouse Paint” by Ellen Stoll Walsh. This book has been a longtime favorite of mine since I was a child and it’s both easy to read / remember / ad-lib as well as engaging for the kids. It has lots of opportunities for the reader to involve the children in the story by asking them what colors they see, or what colors they think will be created by mixing, as well as helping them to develop memory skills by asking things like “what colors are left” or “do you remember what colors they mixed first?”  I debated between using the Flannel board and the Big Book, in the end I went with the Big Book since it’s a little easier to deal with than keeping all the felt in order as well as remembering the story and I figured I’d take all the help I could for my first run. I also think the kids enjoy seeing such a large book since it’s rather unique and striking.  

After Mouse Paint we did our first “Active Rhyme”. These rhymes are great for boosting memory skills, teaching what rhymes are, general language skills, fine or basic motor skills, as well as, once again, getting out some energy. We stood up and I had them do what I like to call the “chicken pose” I instruct them to put their hands on their hips with their elbows way out so they kid of look like wings, I then usually say something along the lines of “Now wiggle your elbows around like wings, if you bump into your neighbor, you can scooch to the side. This usually gets a giggle or two out of the kids since we all look kinda silly scooching around with our wiggly elbows and arms. After everybody has some room, we begin our rhymes. Here are the rhymes I chose:

If your clothes have any red
Put your finger on your head

If your clothes have any blue
Bend down and touch your shoe

If your clothes have any green
Wave your hands so you are seen

If your clothes have any yellow
Smile like a happy fellow

If your clothes have any brown
Turn that smile into a frown

If your clothes have any black
Hide your hands behind your back

If your clothes have any white
Stomp your feet with all your might!

Again, we are helping develop and reinforce basic motor skills, learning to recognize colors, practicing rhymes, and getting out energy! While reciting these rhymes, I like to pause a bit when saying the second line because many kids will actually be able to guess the action based on words that rhyme with the color you say. Again, I asked the kids how they liked the rhyme and if they wanted to do it again or move on to the next story; this time, the general consensus was STORY! 🙂

My second story was originally going to be “Monsters Love Colors” by Mike Austin which is very similar to Mouse Paint, but quite a bit more energetic, however, I couldn’t get my hands on a copy so I went with my backup book; “The Teeny Tiny Mouse: A Book about Colors” by Laura Leuck. This book engages the kids by asking them to find items in the book that are certain colors. It also makes it easy to ad-lib and go with the flow of the kids rather than the book. For example, I had a group that were very awake and energetic which meant excited answers so I ended up not really reading the second page in the 2 page spread sequences and just let them name things. The pages go like so:

“‘Can you name some brown things in our teeny tiny house?’ Said the teeny tiny mom of the teeny tiny mouse”

The second page lists off items of that color in a rhyming, rhythmic verse but the kids seemed more interested in pointing things out on their own so I stopped trying to read over them and just went with it.

I did have to stop a handful of times to remind some kids to back up or sit down so others could see because this book does seem to encourage kids to want to get right up in it and point to things, but I’d rather have to remind them because they are having too much fun than the other way around.

After that story I could tell we were getting fidgety again and it was time to move around before ending Storytime.  The final activity was my attempt at bringing in some of the Common Core Standards, specifically ELA-Literacy  concepts; including the Anchor Standards for Speaking and ListeningI asked the kids if they’d like to make a rainbow. This is where I had originally planned to use the colored ribbon bracelets, but since we already passed them out, I just reminded everybody to get them ready and explained what we were going to do.

I told them we were going to sing the rainbow song:

My intention was that when they heard the color of their ribbon, they would come stand in front of me so that we would end up in a single file line in the order of the colors in the song. Once in order, we could wave our ribbons and make a rainbow. Unfortunately, my group was either a little too rowdy or the concept was a bit too advanced for them so we ended up in a mishmash group in the middle of the room, waving our ribbons, singing the song. which is TOTALLY fine by me since they seemed to quite enjoy it regardless. 🙂

After that, it was time to end Storytime. I asked them to return their ribbons, which they did fabulously, and then taught them my Goodbye Rhyme. The Goodbye Rhyme is almost the same as the Welcome Rhyme, with just a couple changes.

Goodbye, Goodbye, everyone

I’m glad you came, it sure was fun.

Hands go up and hands go down,
I can spin around and round.

I can bend and touch my toes.
I can crinkle up my nose

I can jump upon two shoes.
I can clap and so can you.

I can wave; I’ll show you how.
Storytime is done for now.

After the closing rhyme, I thanked everybody for coming and offered printouts of all the rhymes and the opener and closer so that they could take it home and practice if they wanted. I also offered them to the children during Storytime and said that they could use them to follow along and practice reading. This also opens up the opportunity to ask them if they recognize and words or letters on the page. This also helps introduce them to another Common Core Standard: Reading and provides reinforcement of the concepts introduced to them during Storytime as well as providing a fun activity for parents and children to participate in together at home.  Another added benefit is that as they practice and become more comfortable with the rhymes and actions, they will develop self confidence when they come back to Storytime and are able to remember the words and actions they practiced.

In conclusion, yes, I had to stop the story and “reprimand” children for their behavior, BUT, no blood, no tears, and no angry parents! In fact, I even had a couple parents come and thank me and commend me for my patience with the rowdy group we had today; all in all SUCCESS!

Now, on to planning next week’s Storytime. I’ll give you a clue…