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.

41398-Emma-Stone-shrug-gif-cK4y

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

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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?

 

A Whole BOATLOAD of Tacos.

This week’s storytime theme:

food_glorious_food_by_cjmlgrto-d49b3q8

There are SO MANY awesome picture books about food that I had a terrible time narrowing it down. After stumbling across what are probably some of my new favorite books,  I knew that I couldn’t not do “Dragons Love Tacos” or “Secret Pizza Party” both by Adam Rubin. They are not only hilarious or wonderfully illustrated, but they’re written in a way that makes for a very natural flow when reading aloud. I wanted to do a flannel board for at least one of them, and I had hoped two, but I was obviously a bit too ambitious and ended up doing only a modified flannel board to go along with the reading of “Dragons Love Tacos”, but I liked it. (see below for photos)

The parents seemed to enjoy the books as well, which is always good; this author / illustrator duo write /draw  in a way that appeals not just to kids, but to anybody with even a mildly decent sense of humor.

Both of the stories have great narratives, but also encourage kids to use their memory and context clues to try to figure out what might happen next as well as give them a chance to talk about and share some of their favorite or least favorite foods which, as we’ve discussed before, builds confidence and camaraderie and as preschoolers, it’s the perfect age to do so.

After the first two books, we did an active rhyme that, I think, is a fun little twist on the typical “Five Little _____” rhymes. This rhyme has a lot of good actions that go along with it; counting, rolling their arms / hands, and at one point they even have to clap then point in one swift action. It’s great practice for coordination, and they were pros.


Five big cookies

Five big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up five fingers then make arms into a circle for the bowl)
One fell out and started to roll. (Fold up one finger, and roll hands)
It fell off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3-4 (Count fingers)
Four big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up four fingers)

Continue to count down until there are no cookies left.

I found the original version in various blogs and, once again, tweaked it a bit to my taste. The kids seemed to have a pretty good time rolling their arms and hands fast and slow and were were excellent clappers and pointers. A lot of times with these “5 Little” rhymes, I’ll do it once as “5 little” and then ask if they can do “10 little” or higher, but today I didn’t since we had some longer books and this rhyme was a bit more involved and longer than the usual ones, but they kept suggesting we do 10 or 50! I chuckled and said that there weren’t any more cookies in the bowl, but that I had stashed some in the cupboard for later. One kid then mumbled “That guy has got to keep better track of his cookies” which got a good laugh out of me.

After the rhyme, we did one last book. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi BarrettIt’s a bit of a longer book, and the illustrations, while detailed, are not very vibrant and somewhat hard to see for large groups so I wasn’t sure how well it would go over. I warned them before I started that it was kind of long but they all wanted to hear it so we went ahead. Lots of parts garner responses of “EW!” or “YUCK!” and some even get kids to speak up saying “I love ___” or “That sounds good!” which is always fun, but it made for an even LONGER read!

After we finished, I could tell we had run over our usual time and some of the kids had gotten a bit antsy and left but the group that stayed, which was most of them, were still quite interested in telling me all about their favorite foods or what they really hate to eat. Sadly, I had to cut them all a bit short since we were quite past our stop time so we said our goodbyes and they all filed out of the room.

I  really enjoyed this storytime and I’m excited to see what my Thursday session has in store for me!

UPDATE
———————————————————————————————————-

Whoo boy, Thursday’s session was a real busy one! There were around 40 people in attendance and they had SO much to share about food they loved! For some reason, this group seemed to want to be much more interactive wwith the stories and books and frequently shouted out things they noticed on the pages or came up to point out the weird pictures during “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”  I decided to switch the order up a bit and do that one first since it’s a bit longer and hoped that would make it easier to pay attention when it was at the beginning of storytime, but different days, different crowds. They still seemed to quite enjoy it, even if they were wriggly.  After that book, I jumped right into “5 Big Cookies” this group LOVED it. They giggled and laughed and rolled like mad!

After burning off some energy, I got back to the books. They were much quieter and more focused for the last two books which is nice because instead of having to make sure everybody can see and hear, it gives me a chance to interact more directly with them; ask the questions about what they see and hear or if they can use context clues in the story to guess what happens next. It’s great practice for them, and always fun to hear the responses.

The Taco Flannel went over quite well and when we were done reading the books and I started asking them about their favorite foods, one kid said “I like the taco board” and pointed to the flannel, so, I pulled it back out and we played a memory game!

I put the check mark and the “no” sign back up on the board and I asked them if they could name something RED that dragons like on their tacos, then something RED that dragons DO NOT like on their tacos and so on until we had put all the ingredients and salsa back up on the board.

I love being able to interact with the kids instead of just expecting them to sit down, be quiet, and listen. I think it makes storytime more fun, less stressful and more free-flowing, and it’s excellent for them.

Here are the things I made for the “Dragons Love Tacos” Flannel board. As I said earlier, I was overly ambitious with the idea and lacked both time and patience to pull it off and had to resort to making things on the computer with clipart and paint and printing them out, but I think it still worked quite well. The kids loved it. 

Great Big Tacos and tiny little baby tacos

Great Big Tacos
and tiny little baby tacos

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These are totally ok for dragons tacos

These are totally ok for dragons tacos

Dragons DO NOT like spicy salsa

Dragons DO NOT like spicy salsa

Buckets of tacos

Buckets of tacos

Pantloads of tacos

Pantloads of tacos

BOATLOADS of tacos

BOATLOADS of tacos

you need approximately this amount of tacos to host a proper Dragon Taco Party.

you need approximately this amount of tacos to host a proper Dragon Taco Party.

I’ll be honest, I have NO IDEA what I want to do for the next theme so it’ll be a surprise to us both when I post next week!

Any suggestions?!  😉