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!

10923779_844124817144_3830984111888428664_n

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!

 

 

 

CHOO CHOOOOOO!!!

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

 


 

 

chugga chugga chugga chugga

This week, we did TRAINS!

Z010533

 

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

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

The books I read were:

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

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

Anyhow, here’s the text I used:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I also did “The wheels on the train”

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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