C is for Colleen and that’s good enough for me.

Ok, I lied, C is for Cookie is how Cookie Monster sings it, but I always liked changing it to my name because I thought it was pretty cool.

funny-gif-Cookie-Monster-surprised

 

I was on vacation for last weeks Thursday session and this week’s Monday session so there was some mixin’ up going on. Right before I left we were approached by some people involved in a “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” production who wanted to come in and do a storytime but I wasn’t sure which session they’d attend so it was a little up in the air theme wise this week. They ended up coming and doing the Monday session so their theme was cookies that evening where my co-worker then did rhymes and songs about cookies before they made a paper plate mouse craft to go with “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”. When I came in on Thursday I didn’t have a set plan for theme but then I heard that we had been generously given 4 tickets to the production to give away so I figured I should do something at least mildly cookie related. I ended up going with a theme of The Letter “C”.

I read the books:

The Police Cloud” by Christoph Niemann 

Cat Tale” by Michael Hall

and, of course, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff

The Letter C puzzle flannel which I shamelessly stole from Storytime Katie is what I used to kick off our storytime. I told the kids that I forgot what my theme was for storytime and though I brought a puzzle to remind me, the pieces were all jumbled and I’d need their help to figure it out. Each piece had something that began with the letter C on it which I held up and had them tell me what it was. My puzzle contained

cookies
caterpillar
cat
cow
cupcake
crayons
candy cane

 

c puzzle

I put them up on the board somewhat in the shape of the letter, but not too close so it wouldn’t give it away and then I had them help me move them to their proper places. I was silly about it by putting them in the wrong spots and upside down and it all got some good laughs. I was actually quite surprised at just how well they did. I had a huge group, over 70, so I obviously couldn’t have them come up and help physically so I was worried that it wouldn’t go well with them just vocally helping me but it did! I wish I could have made the puzzle a bit bigger so it’d be easier to see, but unfortunately our printer won’t print on very large paper.  :/

As soon as the puzzle was together they IMMEDIATELY got what I was going for and we figured out what our storytime was about, yay!

I then told them with my hands that we’d be reading a

BOOK

about The Letter “C”

The first book was we did was The Police Cloud. It was a cute book and turned out to be a great book for me to ask the kids questions after and sometimes during and the kids even asked me a few without having me solicit them to! One girl asked how the cloud put the fire out, so we went back and looked at that page and talked about the picture and came up with a few possible scenarios as to how it may have happened. It was a simple story but turned out to be quite engaging.

Between my first and second book I did down around the corner at the bakery shop which I also did during my Money Smart Storytime but it’s fun and the kids like it so why not put it to good use.

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

 

After our first rhyme, I read our next book, in fact, kids started calling out “Read another book!” after we finished our rhyme. haha. Though I do plan an outline for each storytime so I’m not fumbling around deciding if I should read a book or do a flannel in the middle of the storytime, I do often try to include the kids in the decision making as much as I can so if I know that I can easily switch a book for a flannel or if I have 2 books that would each work equally as well order wise I’ll often ask which they prefer. This time I didn’t even have to. Up next was Cat Tale and let me tell you, I fell in love with that book. it’s such a fun and silly read! The illustrations are big and bold and the words and the way it was written just crack me up. I was a tad bit worried that I’d have trouble reading it as it can get quite twisty at times, but no problem at all! I do think that it’s one of those books that you really have to get into if you want it to come across well, if you just sit there and read the words on the page, it loses the silliness.

I also used the Cat Tale book to ask lots of memory and observational questions, mostly about color since there were so many big blocks of it. “Can you tell me something that you saw that was blue?”  I obviously had certain things in my head that I figured they’d say, but they always surprised me by remembering random or little things that were whatever color. Kids are impressive!

After that it was on to our next active rhyme. I told them that one of my favorite fruits were cherries and then we talked about what color sherries were. I asked them if they’d ever seen purple cherries, or green cherries, or blue cherries which they all giggled no to but then I tried to trick them and asked if they’d ever seen yellow cherries, most of them giggled again and said no, but one kid yelled “YES! I HAVE!” haha. Then I said we were going to pretend to pick some cherries by doing a rhyme; Four Red Cherries. I found it here and changed it a bit and added a couple verses to make it a bit longer for the older kids. The kids helped me out by performing the actions as we said them and counting on their fingers. When we finished one kid asked what we should do with all the cherries and one kid suggested we throw them in the trash but then another shouted “I’ll eat them!” 😛

Four Red Cherries

Four red cherries on the tree,
Two for you and two for me.
So WIGGLE that tree and watch them fall.
One, two, three, four -that is all.

Four red cherries on the tree,
Two for you and two for me.
So CLAP at that tree and watch them fall.
One, two, three, four -that is all.

Four red cherries on the tree,
Two for you and two for me.
So BLOW on that tree and watch them fall.
One, two, three, four -that is all.

OH! I JUST NOW remembered that I had intended to do the other cookie rhyme I really like but totally forgot. bummer. Oh well, here it is in case anybody wants to use it.

Five Big Cookies

Five big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up five fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies now sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3-4 (Count fingers)
Four big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up four fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3 (Count fingers)
Three, big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up three fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2 (Count fingers)
Two, big cookies sitting in the bowl (hold up two fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3 (Count fingers)
One big cookie sitting in the bowl. (hold up one fingers)
It fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? (Hold up one fingers)
No big cookies sitting in the bowl
They all fell out and started to roll (roll hands)
They bounced off the table and they hit my toes (clap once, and touch toes )
So don’t put those cookies back in the bowl (shake finger no) 

Original credit for this goes here, but I changed it up a bit for me.

Now, I quite like the “if you give a…” books so I had fun reading that one, but they aren’t really new and exciting books, but that’s ok!  While I do try to incorporate new and different books into my storytimes, it’s good to bring out an old favorite every once in a while. After we finished reading, I announced that we’d be giving out the tickets and then we headed back to the craft room for our craft. I had intended to do paper plate cookies with chocolate chips, but I couldn’t find the left over chocolate chips so I had to improvise and use sequins instead. It turned out just as fun though. I provided a paper plate, crayons, glue and sequins and let the kids each “bake” their own cookie.

I felt really good about this session even though it was rather last minute. hah. Sometimes you just have those sessions that even though it feels super planned and great, it doesn’t go well, and sometimes you really luck out and go in pretty blind and flustered and things just go fabulously. 🙂

We’re now on a storytime break as we gear up for summer reading. I’ve got lots of fun stuff planned though so stay tuned! 😀

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?

 

Star Wars Reads Day 2014

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

tumblr_mfl2tzQRK61r7fg2wo1_250

 

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

 

star-wars-opening-o

 

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

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

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

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

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

http://tinyurl.com/SWRDlibrary1

http://tinyurl.com/SWRDlibrary2

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

DSC_0095

is this not adorable!?!

 

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

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

Lightsaber Hilt from Disney
Discount Poster Board

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

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

buy all the shiny crafts!

buy all the shiny crafts!

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Aurebesh-GMSR

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

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

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

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

DIY Lightsabers are excellent for protecting against cupcake thieves.

DIY Lightsabers are excellent for protecting against cupcake thieves.

 

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!)

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!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

😉

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!