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!

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Summertime and the living’s easy

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Last week was a very summery storytime! After doing a 4th of July storytime, I thought I’d celebrate some other summery things. I read 3 books this week and did two active rhymes as well as a flannel board and craft, we were busy busy!

The books we read were

Summery Saturday Morning by Margaret Mahy

Happy Dog Sizzles by Lisa Gruff

It’s Summer! by Linda Glaser
I really liked the rhythm of Summery Saturday Morning but wished the book was a bit bigger or the images were brighter or more eye catching, it felt like a better book to read to a small group or just one on one, not sure why. The story is cute though and it moves quickly so it keeps interest pretty well and because each page repeats the line “On a summery saturday morning.” I did noticed some kids mouthing out the line as we got to it which is great!
I LOVED Happy Dog Sizzles! It was a really cute and fun read about a dog and a cat that are super hot and trying to cool down but in the process see a contest for the best walla-pa-do; I wanted to act parts out and wished that I had more time to think up a craft because I would have tried to have them make their own”Walla-pa-doos” It’s a fun guessing book and the illustrations are super bright and colorful and very unique, I really dug it.
We also did a flannel board version of the board book “Mouse’s First Summer” by Lauren ThompsonThis was fun because it’s very self explanatory in that the whole story is basically Mouse and Minka running into summery things and wondering what they are so I basically had the flannel pieces in order and just kinda fed off the kids and ad-libbed.

The whole thing went along the lines of “Mouse looked to her right and spied something new! it was (insert description of item here). “What’s that?!” said Minka!” and then the kids would either shout out their guesses or I’d try to help them before I’d put the item on the flannel board. I also used it as a memory game, as I often do with my flannel boards, and asked them questions like “What did Mouse and Minka see that way juicy and sweet?” and then I’ll give them more clues if they get stuck, it’s nice and interactive.
The two active rhymes we did were:

I’m a Little Sunflower

Tune:  I’m a Little Teapot
I’m a little sunflower look and see (stand up straight and tall)
Here is my stem and here are my leaves. (put arms to side then raise out like leaves)
When the sun comes up, I turn my head. (raise arms above head in arch and look up)
When the sun goes down I go to bed. (swing arms down then pretend to sleep)

And then I took “Two Little Black Bears” and made it into “Two Little Sunshines”

Two little sunshines

Two Little sunshines
Two little sunshines shining on a hill
One named Jack and the other named Jill
Run away Jack, run away Jill
Come back Jack, come back Jill

Two little sunshines shining on the snow
One shines fast and the other shines slow
Run away fast, run away slow
Come back fast, come back slow

Two little sunshines feeling very proud
One shines quiet and the other shines loud
Run away quiet, run away loud
Come back quiet, come back loud

Two little sunshines bouncing with a ball
One bounced short and the other bounced tall
Bounce away short, bounce away tall
Come back short come back tall

For that rhyme I wore yellow ribbon danglers bracelets and had two little die cut paper sun “puppets” that I used to demonstrate. The kids LOVE that rhyme regardless of if it’s bears or suns or whatever, they just love the motions involved and often come up with their own great ones. This time when I asked if the had any other things for the sunshines to do, one suggested “TICKLE!” so I made a verse

Two little sunshines tickling the green grass
One tickles slow and the other tickles fast
Tickle away slow, tickle away fast
Come back slow, come back fast

I think the slow fast verses are their favorites. hah. This rhyme would be great for an “opposites” themed storytime and I’m sure I’ll use it for that eventually.

I then ended with our last book, It’s Summer! because it led right into my craft. The book is part of a 4 book series about seasons and this one talks about different things one sees in the summer. I love the illustrations as they are full of dimension and it is also a book where the main character happens to be ethnically diverse. The book mentions sunflowers a couple of times and has an excellent image at the end of great big sunflowers.
The craft that we did was paper plate sunflowers. I had paper plates with the center cut out, then squares of brown paper, and strips of yellow and gold paper that I put out with brown crayons and glue. The premise was to color some seeds on the brown square then glue it the the inside of the plate, then glue the strips of yellow/gold paper around so that when you flipped it over, you had a great big sunflower! I also put out some flower stickers for them to use because who doesn’t love stickers?  I actually really loved this project because it was full of big bold shapes and colors which prompts great talks and give them a chance to use a variety of the fine and gross motor skills; then, in the end, they come out with a HUGE sunflower that was super simple to make!

 

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The youth department was so cheery with all the sunflowers floating around after storytime. 🙂

Next week I’ll continue my summery theme because there are just so many fun things to use and then after that is my second StoryTech! I STILL haven’t written about the first one so I think I’ll just hold off and combine the two.

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Happy birthday, USA!

 

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America just celebrated it’s birthday! It’s 238 years old!

As far as nations go, we’re still a wee thing, but to kids, that’s like, FOREVER! I was a bit hesitant to do a fourth of July theme for storytime because we have such a diverse group of patrons that come to storytime and I was worried that they wouldn’t be as interested but then after looking through lists of good fourth of July books and seeing lots of them that weren’t just “hooray for USA”  I stopped and thought, uhm, hello, you have a diverse group of patrons, what a great time to use some really diverse books and take advantage of that unique situation!

Unfortunately I was only able to get my hands on one about a young Chinese girl and her family living in america and how they celebrate, it’s called “Apple Pie, 4th of July” by Janet S Wong. While the book doesn’t delve too deep into cultural differences, it does touch on it; I loved the line where the girl complains that nobody wants Chinese food on 4th of July and her father says “Fireworks are Chinese.” as he hands her a pan of sweet and sour pork. I thought it was a cute story and I really liked the illustration style.

We also read “Fourth of July Mice” by Bethany Roberts, “Hats off for the Fourth of July” by Harriet Ziefert and “Red, White,and  BOOM!” by Lee Wardlaw. All of those titles have pretty good rhythm to them though there were some bits where the rhythm changes and it tripped me up a little while reading out loud, but it just keeps me on my toes.
Fourth of July Mice is full of good noise words and lots of repetition and super cute mice while Red White and Boom has great rhymes and I felt allowed for me to ask lots of types of questions; anything from “What are they eating at their picnic?” to at the very end when I asked them to put their memory to the test and try to remember all the places we visited on our busy fourth of July (beach, park, and parade) . Our version of Hats off for the Fourth of July is a “big book” version so it was fun to see lots of big images and it also has a lot of great guessing prompts; “What do you think comes next?” “Have you seen horses in a parade?”

 

We  also did a quick and dirty flannel activity where I threw together a super basic felt birthday cake and 10 birthday candles and we talked about the US having a birthday and then did the birthday flannel board. The rhyme I used was “Ten little candles” and I found it hereI did modify it a tiny bit because I didn’t like one of the words so I changed it to “blow blow blow”. I told the kids that we were going to not just practice our counting, but we were going to count…ready? BACKWARDS! and THEN I made it super crazy because we weren’t just going to count backwards, we were going to count backwards by TWOS. let me tell you, it’s harder than you think! Luckily, I’ve got a smart bunch of kids and we had no trouble. 😉

Here’s my version of the rhyme:

Ten Little Candles

10 little candles on a chocolate cake
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 8

8 little candles on candlesticks
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 6

6 birthday candles and not one more
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 4

4 birthday candles red, white and blue
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 2

2 little candles standing one by one
BLOW BLOW BLOW! Now there are none

Here is my SUPER basic birthday cake and candles. I will probably go back and add more details later.

Here is my SUPER basic birthday cake and candles. I will probably go back and add more details later.

This was lots of fun because it was an active rhyme, a flannel, and excellent counting practice; even the kids that aren’t super fond of counting had fun!

For getting our sillies out and moving around, I planned to make fireworks inside! I grabbed our scarves, and we have some neat ribbon bracelets as well so I had everybody pick a scarf or a bracelet and we threw them in the air like fireworks. We practiced using our right hands and our left hands, we made fast fireworks and slow fireworks and also just did some silly stuff, it was lots of fun!

Unfortunately I was quite stumped when it came to a craft because we have been running low-ish on craft supplies and I haven’t gotten around to placing a big restock order and I’ve been trying to kind of use up some random supplies we have laying around so for this week we made “parade wavers”  hah.

For some reason (probably masks?) we have a bunch of paper plates with the middles cut out so I grabbed those and some red white and blue crayons and markers and put those out with some red and blue foam stickers and yarn pieces and had them get creative and then glued them to big popsicle sticks.  It wasn’t my most inspired craft, but it was last minute and easy and I really like giving the kids the chance to just kinda go crazy. There was very little structure to this craft which allowed them to go as big or as basic as they wanted. 🙂

 

Next week is another regular storytime and I REALLY want to do a hat storytime, but there’s a flannel board I want to do with it and I don’t have the supplies to make it yet so I keep having to put it off so I think I might have to do something beachy or summery this week and then the week after is another StoryTech which I’m excited for.

 

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A Berry, Beary storytime

Bears are known berry fans. Some, like this fine bear below, like to sample. 520833238_5c977b90b1_m   Some are more aficionados as you can see demonstrated by this lovely bear… bear-berry1   And some would go to just about any length to get their cute little paws on some berries like this risk taker below. Careful Mr. Bear! Don’t fall! poster,375x360,ffffff

 

Since we ended our Spring storytime session with a bear theme, I thought it might be fun to sort of carry that over into the start of summer with another related theme, berries! I’ll be honest, I don’t expect anybody to have really remembered the theme from almost 3 weeks ago, let alone get the connection to this week, I just like to amuse myself with abstract continuity.  😀

It also gives me the chance to test the waters with bringing in a puppet / stuffed mascot. I wanted to use a stuffed bear in one of my flannel boards for some added fun.

oooh, maybe I could try to work bears into every storytime…. nah, that might be silly.

Anyhow, I actually have TWO whole flannel boards that I made for this theme, one of them is a play off the book Jamberry by Bruce Degen I got the idea from Jbrary when I was searching for ways to do Jamberry as a flannel since we (GASP) don’t own a copy here! Jbrary also makes an excellent point in that the book doesn’t have much of an actual story line so it ends up being great as a flannel activity.

You can see their video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFns_G4PrP0

I modified it slightly in that my berries will be going into a basket since I don’t think the boat makes much sense if you haven’t or aren’t reading the book and I changed the wording a tiny bit too.

As I spoke the lines I (and the kids) acted out the motions like they do in the Jbrary video which I thought was fun and makes it a bit of an active rhyme as well as a flannel board all while helping to develop gross motor skills and vocabulary with the motion and word associations. Yay, learning!

 

Jamberry

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 1 berry, 2 berries, pick me some blueberries

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 3 berries, 4 berries, pick me a strawberry

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 5 berries, 6 berries, pick me some red cherries

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 7 berries, 8 berries, pick me a blackberry

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 9, berries, 10 berries, pick me a raspberry.

Under the bridge and over the dam, baskets of berries, berries for jam.

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In addition to Jamberry the flannel, I’ll be doing  Five Ripe Strawberries and this is where Mr. Bear comes in handy. As I’m doing the counting and taking the berries off the board, I give them to Mr. Bear to eat. I make silly eating noises and the kids giggle, what’s not to like?

Five Ripe Strawberries

Five red strawberries, sweet to the core.
Bear came and ate one (om nom nom nom) and then there were four.

Four red strawberries, growing near a tree.
Bear ate another one (om nom nom nom) and then there were three.

Three red strawberries, for you and you and you.
Bear came and ate another (om nom nom nom) and then there were two.

Two red strawberries, sitting in the sun.
Bear ate the biggest one (om nom nom nom) and then there was one.

One red strawberry, where five had been before.
Bear ate the last of them (om nom nom nom) and then there were no more.

No more strawberries, whatever will bear do?
He’ll have to go berry picking with all of you!

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I’ve found this or very similar rhymes on various sites though I changed the last line for my use. Aside from the two flannel activities, I also picked 3 books about berries. 2 of them are about blueberries; Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey and Blueberry Mouse by Alice Low, and then this mouthful of a title, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood.

Blueberries for Sal is a classic that I remember reading when I was young which I was a tiny bit worried wouldn’t make for a great storytime read due to the small size, monochrome and detailed illustrations, and somewhat wordy text, but I figured if I read it first it might be ok. Both groups did very well with it. It doesn’t hurt to involve the kids every couple pages by asking them questions like “do you think Sal found her mother?” “How many blueberries are in her pail?” things like that.

Blueberry Mouse was a new one for me but I thought it was all around pretty cute; great rhyming and rhythm, cute illustrations and a fun guessing game at the end. “What kind of house do you think Blueberry Mouse will live in next?!”

After those two I ended with The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. I think this is such a fun and cute book. I love the relaxed tone and had comments from kids and parents alike about liking the book. There are actually very few words, maybe 5 or so a page in general but it’s a big book with bright and detailed illustrations.

I had a lot of fun with the two flannels and all three of the stories. Having more than one flannel gave me lots of room for improv. During one storytime, counting was a big thing so we counted the berries we picked for jam, then we counted how many of each color, then I brought out the strawberries from the other flannel and we counted ALL the berries, then the types and so on. You could also easily use them to play memory games by adding and taking away different ones and asking the kids to remember.

I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous going back into storytime after such a long break, I was worried I’d fallen out of sync with it but all was well.

Now, next storytime to conquer will be a StoryTech storytime! I’ll be busting out the apps and videos on our iPad and using them along with regular books to enhance our storytime in a new and hopefully exciting way!

I’m not dead….yet!

It’s true, I’m alive! We’ve been on a break from storytime here at my library but we’ve still been busy what with getting ready for the Summer Library Program, yay!

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bring on the registrants, we are caffeinated and mobile!

 

In fact, today is the official start and we are off and running! We’ve registered 86 kids in the first 3 hours, yowza!

This will actually be my first year doing the summer program at this particular library but I am MORE than familiar with the various aspects of summer reading / programs when it comes to libraries having worked at my fair share and used many growing up. I love that they all put their own little spin on things. Here we are doing something call “Top Ten” which is a list of activities or features of the library that are either well used or we wanted to highlight such as “Read a Book” or “attend a library program” or”use the tech farm”. Kids pick an activity from the list, complete it, then log it to claim this week’s prize. I love that it gives kids the option to make their summer program work best for them; maybe they aren’t big readers yet, or maybe they aren’t one for “computing” as one young gentleman informed me today.

“Hello!” said the youth department head, “Have you heard about our summer library program? Can we sign you up?”

“well, to be honest, I’m not really one for computing.”

 To which she informed him that if he changed his mind to let us know and with that he tipped his cap and said “Cheerio”  and was off on his merry way. No joke. This actually happened today and it made my morning. Loved that kid.

Anyhow, as I was saying, not everything appeals to every person and this gives people the chance to explore in their own way and make the library their own experience. Speaking of tech and computing, I will have my very first Storytime Plus (I still wanna call it StoryTech, but it’s already on the calendar as “storytime plus”. curse my slow creativity) in a week! Ahh, nerves! I have lots of ideas and am hoping they go over well but I’m also dreading the wrench(s) in the wheels that are bound to happen.

What do I do when the sound doesn’t work or the picture goes out or some kid comes and smacks at the very tempting smartboard causing the app to go haywire?!

*deep breath* I improvise and move on. At least I now have a hefty bit more storytime experience under my belt than when I first started here.  I know that if nothing else, I’ll have back up books and other fun stuff to make up for any technological failures.

Speaking of storytime, We’re back on track with our summer session starting Monday; I hope that the return is berry, berry fun.  😉

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Neither sleet, nor rain, not ice, nor snow

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

– Anonymous                                                       

                                            

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When I woke up Monday morning, I was SURE I heard rain. I was so excited! I love rainy weather and I was especially excited because it’s getting to be the time of year when rain means SPRING! and boy oh boy am I ready for winter to be over!

Unfortunately, I was not hearing rain; much to my dismay, it was only the sound of the melting snow dripping off the roof. But hey! snow doesn’t melt without sun, right?! I’ll take that over no melting snow, I suppose, and just keep being patient for rain. Driving in to work in such nice sunny and, kinda, warm weather made me decide to scrap my original idea for this week’s theme and do something about weather. I poked around all day (luckily my Monday session isn’t until 7pm) trying to decide what to do. I didn’t want to do spring because I had that planned for a couple weeks from now when it actually IS spring, nor did I want to do rain because it wasn’t really raining and there’s still about 358628946 feet of snow on the ground, so I decided to just do “weather” and try to keep it kind of generic. I picked three books, one covered lots of weather and seasons, the other two touched on a couple different things but mainly focused on snow and rain which I thought was appropriate. The books I picked were “If Frogs Made Weather” by Marion Dane Bauer, “Snow” by Manya Stojic, and “Rain” also by Manya Stojic

I loved the pictures in all three books; they were colorful, bold, and captivating and the stories all lend themselves quite well to being read out loud. The Rain book even covers the 5 senses so you can sneakily teach or reinforce those while reading and because it repeats itself a few times, the kids pick up on it and I ended up simply pointing to my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or wiggling my fingers to signal what sense and they all did a great job of shouting it out.

This week’s theme was a little less focused on teaching and a little more just on enjoying and acknowledging the things around us, though we may have learned a few things in the process 😉 . Monday’s group was a rather large group and we have lots of enthusiastic attendees in this group so noisy, rambunctious activities always go over well with them. We did a lot of noise making and moving around with both a SUPER basic flannel board, as well as an activity. Thursday morning’s group can often be just as rambunctious as Monday, but sometimes they’re much more subdued and I think it’s because it’s so close to nap / lunch / quiet time and their early morning energy is starting to fade, but that’s ok too.

For the flannel board, I printed out a handful of different weather-y clip art pictures and explained to the kids that I was going to put pictures of different kinds of weather up on the felt board and I wanted them to help me act them out. I had wind, sun, rain, and snow. This gave them a chance to get creative since I didn’t tell them HOW to be a snowflake or what noise rain makes, they got to decide on their own and it was really cool to watch and listen. for example, when I put the snow clip art up, one kid took his fingers and wiggled them while moving his arms down to signify falling snow, but another kid jumped up out of his seat and spread his arms and legs to make himself look like a snowflake. I LOVED it! I jumped up too and asked everybody if they would help me make a snowstorm so we all made ourselves look like snowflakes and drifted gently towards the ground until we all ended up giggling on the floor. For sun, some kids made their arms into a circle while others twinkled their fingers like rays. the last one I put up was rain, that one was a BIG hit. after we all got our rain noises out, I said “what if I told you that we could make it rain right in this room?” they all laughed or looked on confused or in disbelief. that’s when I told them that I was going to show them a trick and all they needed to do was be very quiet and use their eyes to watch me and their ears to listen. That’s when we did this…

The storm begins

1. Rub your hands together – wind rustling
2. Snap your fingers – raindrops
3. Hit your thighs with your hands – heavy rain
4. Stomp your feet while you’re hitting your thighs – heavy thunder and heavier rain.

Then the storm quiets
1. Just hit thighs
2. Just snap your fingers
3. Just rub your hands together.
4. Then all stop because the storm is over (and the rainbow appears!)

 

It was a HUGE hit and it worked so well! I was a little nervous that I might be trying this with an age group that was a bit to young, but they were excellent. It didn’t hurt, of course, that the parents joined in as well. It was pretty dynamic with the Monday session since we had a much larger group than on Thursday (thanks, crazy Michigan weather for making my theme relevant yet hindering my attendance) but it worked well even with a smaller group.

We had so much fun talking about rain and making noise that I thought “Oh! I know another way we can make a rainstorm” So I had them practice their counting and made them time me as I ran to the back and grabbed some of our shakers. I often talk myself out of using the egg shakers because I don’t want to get too redundant, but they’re always a big hit when they are brought out so I should really try to work them in a bit more. So we all grabbed our shakers and made different kids of rain noises. We sprinkled, we poured, and, of course, we STORMED. They LOVED having an excuse to bang on the plastic seats and stomp their feet to make thunder and, hey, why not?

After all was said and done, we cleaned up they rainstorm and I gave them a hint about next week’s theme by saying it would have to do with “Green”

I’m planning to do SOMETHING Irish themed but I’m still at a bit of a loss book-wise. I just can’t find many good picture books. I might just have to buy some for myself and bring them in for storytime. We shall see.

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