Friday, June 28, 2013

My Community: Toddler Lap Time, 6/28/13

 My Community: Toddler Lap Time, 6/28/13

Book: This is the Firefighter by Laura Godwin
At the start of story time, only one little girl was in the room, and she was not at all interested in this book. We read it quickly and moved onto the flannel board.

Flannel Board: Five Little Firefighters Putting out the Fire
I wrote this flannel board story, and I'll be sharing it on a future Flannel Friday. The little girl really liked it, and she kept taking the pieces on and off the board.

Book: Police Officers on Patrol by Kersten Hamilton
In the middle of this book, a second little girl joined us. Both girls were very busy, and neither paid very much attention to the story.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Book: Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman
Just before we started this book, a third toddler joined us - a boy this time. This is the only book they really listened to, and afterwards, they just went crazy.

Activities with Stars
  • Rhyme: Stars Up, Stars Down
  • Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Song: There’s a Star Upon My Head
Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Song: Hands Up High 

The last few activities were a blur of foam stars flying through the air and little feet stomping on the steps at the front of  the room. We gave up and just played for a few minutes.

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

My Community: Drop-In Story Time, 6/28/13

My Community: Drop-In Story Time, 6/28/13

Flannel Board Song: Who are the People in your Neighborhood?

Book: Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook
I think this book works whether kids can guess or not, and in a way, it seems to follow the same concept as the magic envelope - using clues to add up to a bigger picture. I like the way the illustrations tell a secondary story, where the mail carrier delivers an invitation to each community helper, and in the end, they have a party to celebrate the astronaut's launch into space.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus
When in doubt, sing The Wheels on the Bus and end with a verse that shushes grown-ups.

Book: Look What I See! Where Can I Be? In the Neighborhood by Dia L. Michels
I have always loved this book, and I think some of the kids enjoyed it, though the room was somewhat chaotic and it was hard to tell. 

Song: Bumpin’ Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon

Magic Envelope: Firetruck
I forgot to sing hello to the magic envelope, and I actually think that might have worked out for the better. I felt like  the adults paid better attention without the song, but that could have been for any number of reasons, I suppose. In any case, the kids seemed interested in what was happening, and they were pleased when the firetruck emerged. 

Song: Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck
I asked all the kids to help me drive the firetruck and they did a great job singing and moving along with me.

Songs with Ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Song: Hands Up High

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

My Community: Preschool Story Time, 6/27/13

My Community: Preschool Story Time, 6/27/13

This story time was unprecedented in the sense that there were three kids in the room and none of them spoke at all the entire time. I am just not used to that! And it wasn't just that they were quiet. They didn't answer direct questions, or even acknowledge that I was in the room. I really hope we can build up a larger audience for this  story time as the summer wears on, because doing this for a group of completely silent kids every week is going to be trying.


Book: Career Day by Anne Rockwell
I have no real commentary about this book, or anything else, because there were no reactions at all. I may as well have been practicing story time for a group of stuffed animals. It was almost creepy. 


Guessing Game: Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?
I created two-sided cards for this game using clipart and riddle clues from kizclub.com.

Book: Whose Shoes? by Stephen R. Swinburne
This would be great to read to a class. Too bad it doesn't fit the rainforest or camping theme or I'd take it with me to the daycare!



Book: Pig Pig Gets a Job by David McPhail 

Craft: Community Helpers Badges from Crayola

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers (Letter W): 6/26/13

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers (Letter W): 6/26/13

Attendees  
I had no idea how many kids to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised when I started with five and wound up with 12! One little boy was an exceptional handful, but even with his wild behavior and several distractions, this was one of  the best read-along story times I have ever done. I can only hope that this will continue through the summer! 
 
Name That Object
On the iPad, I showed the kids images of different words starting with W, all of which were labeled, and asked them to name them and talk about them a little bit. This is usually a pretty good ice breaker, and it worked even  better than usual at this story time. The "W" words we used were: wagon, wand, wolf, Washington monument, whale, wheel, washing machine, wheelbarrow, well, worm, and watermelon. At the end of the presentation, I showed them the four images we would mostly be dealing with - wolf, worm, watermelon, and wheels -  and I used these as the structure for  the activities that followed.

Read-Aloud
I read B.G. Hennessey's version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf which is relatively short, and also very funny. The kids really liked it, and I even got them to talk about the story a little bit, both as I was reading and afterward. 

Bag of Verbs
This was the most hectic round of "Bag of Verbs" we have ever played because a couple of the boys decided to just run around instead of following the bag's directions. In the end, I picked a few words out a time and we did the motions really quickly, before finally just sitting down and asking the kids to do the same. 

Read-Along 
I found a poem called I Brought a Worm and told it to the kids as a rebus with puppets. This way, no one could read ahead of the group, and everyone could call out the words at the same time. I'd like to use this approach again a few times, perhaps not always with images, but sometimes with simpler words they might be able to recognize as well. This was the point in story time when the behavior was the worst, but some of the kids who were not misbehaving seemed to really enjoy it.

Literacy Game
I created a matching game shaped like a watermelon. The watermelon slice had white "seeds" on it, each printed with an easy-to-sound-out word, and then I had black "seeds" printed with the first letters of each of the words. I called out random words and asked kids to help me find them,  then gave a child the letter to place over the word. When it came time to clean up, I asked one child at a time to find me one letter and bring it to me. I also asked some bigger kids to help their younger siblings participate. This was probably my favorite part of the story time, and I hope to be able to create some more games like this to use with other letters.

Write and Draw Activity The Wheels on the ________Go 'Round and 'Round
I kept the write and draw activity simple because I didn't know how many kids to expect. This ended up being perfect for the broad age range, and I was pleased with the results. I probably could have made it a bit trickier, but I liked that it was so open-ended and let the kids be as creative as they wanted. I also introduced this last activity by reminding them of our list of four images from the beginning of the session and seeing if they could remember which one we hadn't used yet. (And they could!)

I'll be off next Wednesday, but I am already excited for my next read-along story time on July 10th!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Daycare Outreach Round-up, June 19 & 26

Though I don't have as much outreach going on in the summer as I did before school let out, I do still have two partnerships that will continue even though school is not in session. One is with the psychiatric institute, which I will visit in a couple of weeks, and one is with the daycare center at a local church. I have partnered with the church in the past to provide story time for two of their classes in the library. This summer, they invited me to visit their sites twice a month to have story time with all of their students from ages 2 to 5. I have gone twice so far, and seen four groups of kids each time. The center's theme for the month of June was the ocean, and they asked me to incorporate the theme into my story times. That was pretty easy to do - I'm a bit more worried about the July rainforest theme!

Week 1 (Wednesday, June 19)

Group 1 @ 10:00 a.m. (Ages 2-3)
Songs: The Waves in the Sea, So Many Fish in the Deep Blue Sea (based on Stars Shining Bright), The More We Read Together
Books: Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef, Swimmy, At the Beach
Notes: This group was very enthusiastic and pretty advanced for their age. They knew all their colors, and by the second verse of any given song they had all the motions down. They had also read Swimmy before and were excited to hear it again. They also had a lot of fun with Over in the Ocean, pointing at the animals and even naming some of them without help! 

Group 2 @ 10:30 a.m. (Ages 4-5)
Songs: If You'd Like to Read a Book, Visor, Tee-shirt, Shorts and Shoes, These Are My Glasses
Books:  If You Want to See a Whale, Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef, This is the Ocean
Notes: This is a huge group of pre-K and kindergarten-aged kids, and they were a really chatty and excitable bunch. I thought their behavior was perfectly fine and definitely age-appropriate but a teacher stopped me in the middle of the story time to shout at the kids for being rude. He  even told them I shouldn't be coming to their school, and that they should be going to the library! That was a bit alarming, but the session was otherwise great.

Group 3, @ 11:00 a.m. (Ages 2-3)
Songs: The Waves in the Sea, So Many Fish in the Deep Blue Sea (based on Stars Shining Bright)
Books: Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef, Swimmy, At the Beach
Notes: This is the smallest group of the four, and the least verbal. I haven't expressly been told their ages, but they seem like they are mostly two years old, and only just. They are very busy and easily distracted, so Swimmy was  a bit much for them. I was also running behind schedule so this group got a slightly shortened session, which worked out fine for their attention spans.

Group 4 @ 11:30 a.m. (Ages 2-3)
Songs: The Waves in the Sea, So Many Fish in the Deep Blue Sea (based on Stars Shining Bright)
Books: Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef, Fish Eyes, At the Beach
Notes: Group 4 is smaller than Group 1, but every bit as curious and excited to participate. They knew their colors, which was great, and wanted to know which fish was the mommy on every page of Over in the Ocean. They are also a group where kids claim they can't see the book, even when I'm showing it to them at that moment.

Week 2 (Wednesday, June 26)

Group 1 @ 10:00 a.m. (Ages 2-3)
Songs: What Can We See at the Beach? Sailing Out to Sea in my Number One Sailboat, The Waves in the Sea
Rhyme: Five Little Mermaids  Books: Senses at the Seashore, Little Tug, When Mermaids Sleep 
Notes: Since this group seemed so on the ball during the first week, I didn't hesitate to include a more poetic book, or a couple of activities involving counting. They did very well. They surprised me by singing along to every verse of What Can We See at the Beach? and their favorite book was Little Tug.

Group 2 @ 10:30 a.m. (Ages 4-5)
Songs: If You'd Like to Read a Book, Visor, Tee-shirt, Shorts and Shoes
Rhyme: Beach Bats
Books:  Bats at the Beach, All You Need for a Beach, Monster Beach
Notes: This group was a bit smaller this week than last, but still probably more than 30 kids. Different teachers came in with them, though, and I could  tell they were less  stressed out and more willing to participate with the calmer teachers. We did two movement activities, both of which got a lot of laughs out of the kids, and the only book I might not recommend using again is Monster Beach. It scared the kids, and only two or three of them seemed to get the ending.  The rhyming text is also really choppy and difficult to read aloud.

Group 3, @ 11:00 a.m. (Ages 2-3)
Songs: What Can We See at the Beach? Sailing Out to Sea in my Number One Sailboat, The Waves in the Sea
Rhyme: Five Little Mermaids
Books: Senses at the Seashore, Little Tug, The Old Ball and the Sea
Notes: This group was all over the place this time around! They like to sing, for sure, but having them listen to three books was not easy. I opted to read The Old Ball and the Sea instead of Where Mermaids Sleep because I knew they'd never make it through the more poetic story, and that turned out to be a wise decision. I also did If You're Happy and You Know It with this group because I was actually running right on schedule and I thought they would like to sing something familiar. It worked!

Group 4 @ 11:30 a.m. (Ages 2-3)
Songs: What Can We See at the Beach? Sailing Out to Sea in my Number One Sailboat, The Waves in the Sea 
Books: Senses at the Seashore, Little Tug, The Old Ball and the Sea
Notes:  This group was especially chatty. They started out wanting to tell me all about the shoes they were wearing, and they had tons of questions about everything that was happening in the books. There was again lots of complaining about not being able to see, and I kept having to turn back pages so kids could  tell me about something they had noticed. They kept asking if we could read more, but then their lunches came, and it was time to wrap things up. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Preschool Story Time, 6/21/13

 Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Preschool Story Time, 6/21/13

Yesterday was the last day of school and the last time that preschool story time will be held on a Friday this summer. Because of that, I expected a very small group, and I was right.  We ended up with just one child and her mom. That was just fine with them, but it was a bit of a bummer for me, as I was really excited about sharing  this theme with a larger group. I might hang onto it and try to repeat it again later in the summer.

Book: And The Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson
This book would have worked with the usual Pre-K-ers who attend this story time, but it wasn't as appealing to a three year old.

Song: One Seed
I happened to know that the little girl loved to sing, so we sang this song a few times. It was the only time until we got around to coloring that she wasn't lying on the floor ignoring me.

Book: In the Garden: Who’s Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George
This book had too much text for my one-girl audience, so I cut out most of the dialogue and just talked about what each animal had done before revealing it. That worked better. 

Flannel Board: A Garden Game 
I didn't use the words to the rhyme I linked here, but I would have if this had been a group and not just one child. What we did, though, was match the flowers to their markers, and say the names of the flowers aloud. (The little girl's first language is Spanish, and her mom took the opportunity to encourage her to try some English pronunciation.)

Coloring Page: Flowers in the Garden

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Toddler Lap Time, 6/21/13

Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Toddler Lap Time, 6/21/13

Book: Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
This book was much better-suited to this small group than the larger morning group. I think it also helped that it was first, as it was the most complex of the three books we read.

Flannel Board Song: My May Garden
The kids loved this, and I think we might keep using it in future weeks as an alternative to some of our other action songs that are starting to get a bit stale. 

Flannel Board Rhyme: My Garden
Toddlers love a good counting flannel board! I had a couple of helpers who assisted me in "picking" the flowers. 

Book: Up Down and Around by Katherine Ayres
As I mentioned after Thursday's story time, I did ask the kids to make motions for up, down, and around as we read this book, and that made it a lot more fun.

Rhyme: Corn Grows Tall
Another fabulous rhyme that the kids just loved!

Book: Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown
Once again, this book is where it all began to unravel. I quickly finished it because it was so short,  and moved onto a more interactive activity that all the kids could participate in.

Activities with foam flowers:

Songs with Puppet:
Song: Hands Up High

Song: ABCs

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It 

Song: The More We Read Together

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Drop-In Story Time, 6/21/13

 
Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Drop-In Story Time, 6/21/13

We had a bit of a difficult morning, because two nannies in a row complained to me on their way into story time that the other adults are too noisy so they can't hear me when I'm reading. So I did try to crack down a bit more on the chattiness during the first book, only to find one of those self-same nannies talking to her neighbor not five minutes later. Honestly, I think I do a good job of keeping the chaos to a minimum in a room of 100 toddlers, and it annoys me when someone acts like I'm not trying. But aside from the somewhat contentious start, this story time was perfectly fine, and the kids seemed to have a lot of fun.

Book: This is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer and Donald Crews
This book is always a crapshoot. Today was one of its better days, even though I did have to stop twice to ask the adults to stop talking.

Flannel Board Song: My May Garden
I put the sun, rain, and seed up on the flannel board and also showed the kids some motions to do for the sun shining, the rain dripping, and the seed growing. They did so well, we did it twice.

Book: Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
I have always liked this book, and the kids seemed mostly into it. I might even think about using it again in this afternoon's toddler session instead of What Does Bunny See?

Song: So Many Plants (based on Stars Shining Bright)
So many plants growing in the ground!
Tell me what color plant I found.

I neglected to come up with a suitable verse to sing after the color had been identified, so we sang: 

Red plant grow! Red plant grow! 
Red plant grow in the deep, deep ground.

That's pretty awful. I will come up with something else before I use this again. The kids did like identifying the different colors, though, and the only tricky ones for them were orange and yellow.

Book: Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
This book is another one that can sometimes flop, but not today! I saw a couple of moms who even seemed to be enjoying it.

Song: Sunny Day
Part of me just wanted to keep doing this song over and over, because it has such a calming effect on the whole room - adults and kids. But we just did it three times.

Magic Envelope: Bird
Today, we had a bird come out of  the magic envelope. We put in feathers, wings, a nest, a beak, and a "tweet tweet!" sound. The kids couldn't quite name the objects  this time, but I don't think that's a problem, as it gave them some exposure to some new vocabulary. The nannies also actually helped me name the objects the kids didn't know, which made it feel more like a group effort.

Song: Way Up in the Sky
I feel like the "big reveal" in the magic envelope has been pretty anti-climactic, and that there hasn't been a real sense of what we're doing with the final product once it comes out of the envelope. This time, the item that came out of the envelope - the bird - was actually a flannel board piece, so I was able to put it on the board and we sang this bird-related song. After  the song, we put the bird away and sang goodbye to the envelope. It wasn't perfect, but it's getting closer to working the way I want it to.

Songs with Ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song: Hands Up High 

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Song: The More We Read Together 
I have to start out this song higher because I'm hitting the low notes at a point lower than my singing range, and I don't think everyone can hear me.  They also don't listen when I talk, so half  the room thought we were singing The More We Get Together.


I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 6/20/13

 Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 6/20/13


Read-Along

I found a website with some free printable rebus stories. Knowing how my age group has been skewing younger and younger since the weather has turned nice, I didn't think the kids would be able to handle following along on paper and reading the rebus together that way, so I adapted one called I Like Summer for the iPad using clipart. The age group was a bit strange, in that one child could read and the rest could not, so the reader kind of stole the spotlight away from the other kids, but it still worked well having the rebus images come up on the screen one at a time and asking the kids to call them out.

Making a List 
We made a list of words that begin with S. I had to give clues to prompt the kids, and again, only the girl who could read gave me any answers. (It turned out that some of  the others got the schedule mixed up and thought this was our preschool story time, which made a lot of sense.)

Bag of Verbs
I have been using the verbs we act out as a chance to have various impromptu discussions. This time, we talked about animals that jump. The quietest little boy in the group who says nothing most weeks came up with kangaroo, and I nearly exploded with joy, I was so thrilled! This is my favorite part of the story time because it introduces kids who don't read to the way new words look and sound, and the readers can usually

Read-Aloud 
We read Lionel in Summer by Stephen Krensky. It's a pretty tame set of stories about how one boy spends his summer, but the kids seemed to enjoy it despite the lack of serious action. They didn't have much to say about it, which is always disappointing, but I think if I start pulling together some discussion questions for when I do have some older kids, that will be a helpful way to start conversations about the books in the future.

Drawing Activity
I adapted this idea from Pinterest into a simple coloring sheet. I asked the kids to write or draw what they wanted to do this summer. Most of them didn't understand that idea and just colored.

Flannel Friday: Pete the Clown and His Five Bright Balloons

Since I read The Grumpalump to a Pre-K class in November, I have been hooked on the idea of a balloon theme at story time. There aren't really enough balloon-related books and songs out there for me to devote an entire week just to balloons, but I did manage to get a few of them into my "Up, Up, and Away!" week back in March. One such activity was this flannel board I wrote for preschool story time based on the Pete the Cat books.



Pete the Clown and his Five Bright Balloons

Pete the Clown bought five bright balloons at the carnival.
He was so excited about them, he sang a song as he walked along.
“I’ve got five balloo-oons! I’ve got five balloo-oons!”
 

(The tune for Pete's song is what you would sing if you were part of a conga line. Or if you were Homer Simpson trying to tell his daughter that you don't win friends with salad. Thanks to my husband for the link. Preschoolers get really into it if you also dance in your seat a little bit while you sing it. They will even dance along with you!)
 

But then... POP!
One balloon broke and started to drop.
Now how many balloons did Pete have?
 


(Depending on the age of the kids, they might just yell out "Four!", or they might want to count. My group was mostly kindergarteners and they were quick with their subtraction skills!) 

Did Pete cry? No, never.
He knows balloons don’t last forever.

Pete was still so happy to have four balloons, that he kept walking along and singing his song. 

“I’ve got four balloo-oons! I’ve got four balloo-oons!”

(Repeat the same sequence of events until Pete is out of balloons, then add the following ending.)
 

Pete was out of balloons! What could he do? 

Well, he stopped where he was, turned around, and went back to the carnival, where he got five more balloons. 

As he walked along, he sang his song: 
“I’ve got five balloo-oons! I’ve got five balloo-oons!”

This was a huge hit with my fours and fives at story time, whether they were familiar with Pete the Cat or not. How have you adapted Pete the Cat for your story times?

This week's Flannel Friday host is Jane at Piper Loves the Library. For more about Flannel Friday, check out the official site.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Toddler Lap Time, 6/20/13

 Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Toddler Lap Time, 6/20/13

Book: What Does Bunny See? by Linda Sue Park
I liked this for toddlers, but it would have been better with a group of threes who might have been able to guess at the colors. Still, the kids liked this, and several of them kept pointing and saying "Bunny!"

Flannel Board Rhyme: My Garden
This went over really well, and the kids were excited to help me name the colors and help me count to five. We did this rhyme twice.

Book: Up Down and Around by Katherine Ayres
This is a great book for learning simple directions. It has just the right amount of text for toddlers, and though I didn't have the kids do hand motions, it would have been lots of fun to have them put their arms up and down and turn their hands. Maybe I'll try that  tomorrow.

Rhyme: Corn Grows Tall 
This was probably the best I've ever seen this rhyme go over. I think it helps that we do a lot of songs with pointing up and down because almost all the  regulars were able to do that easily.

Book: Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown
Things kind of unraveled a little bit at this point. There was one girl who I believe was about a year too old for this story time, and she just ran amok from this point on, and her mother seemed powerless to redirect her. I tried, but ultimately decided my priority was to keep the other 15 kids' attention instead of catering to one bored wanderer.

Song: Way Up in the Sky

Activities with foam flowers:
Song with Puppet: Flutter Flutter Butterfly

Song: Hands Up High

Song: ABCs

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Outreach Round-Up, 5/22/13 - 6/13/13

As school ends this week, my outreach duties will diminish considerably, so the round-ups will be quite small. Here, though, are my final school-year visits.

Wednesday, 5/22/13: Public School Pre-K (Two Separate Classes)
Books: Giant Dance Party, Lawn to Lawn, Prudence Wants a Pet
Songs: Visor, Tee-shirt, Shorts and Shoes, These Are My Glasses 
Notes: There was no real hit of either session. The kids seemed to enjoy all three books, but none of them left them begging for more. It's also a lot harder than I thought it would be to explain why some people put gnomes and flamingos on their front lawns.

Monday, 6/3/13: Psychiatric Institute  
Books: The Mysterious Tadpole, The Little House, Here Comes the Garbage Barge
Notes: This was smallest group ever at the psychiatric institute - just two kids! Both were very quiet, but attentive, and they applauded at the end.

Wednesday, 6/12/13: Public School Pre-K (One Class) 
Notes: All three books were successes, though the Elephant & Piggie book was the biggest hit of all. The class also really related to the conflict between Rosie and Violet in the Rosie Sprout book - and they had also planted their own seeds earlier in the year, so they knew all about what plants need.


Thursday, 6/13/13: Catholic School Pre-K
Books: Whose Garden Is It?, Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine, Phoebe and Digger
Rhyme: African Planting Chant 
Song: These Are My Glasses 
Notes: They loved the planting chant, but it is quite a workout!  Whose Garden Is It? went over their heads, but they liked Phoebe and Digger. I will miss their monthly visits this summer!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Reading): Family Story Time, 6/15/13

Dig Into Reading (Reading): Family Story Time, 6/15/13

*No photo this time - it's too hard to predict what I'll read when all ages are invited! Credit for the image above goes to mycutegraphics.com.
 
Today was the first session of my library's new Saturday afternoon story time. We are offering this every week until school starts, because so many families have asked us to do Saturday programming. Only two kids joined me today, but I asked them to bring their friends in the future, and one dad promised to let his son's playgroup friends know about it. I think attendance will grow as summer gets in full swing.

Because there were only two kids and neither seemed to love singing, we just sang the hello song, goodbye song, and one other song, and read four books, then colored for a few minutes.

Book: Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
The kids were so quiet, it was hard to tell whether they enjoyed this book or not, but they seemed interested. 

Book: We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems
This was definitely the book they loved most. Neither of the two boys who came to story time had ever seen it before, so it was great to see  them laugh at the jokes for the first time.

Book: Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson
This book didn't get much of a reaction during the reading itself, but the kids clapped when it was over.

At this point, I asked if we should read one more. The younger of the two boys - who was three - told me he wanted three more! (One was enough, as I knew it would be.)

Book: Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library by Don Freeman
The younger boy liked this book a lot. The older one seemed to be kind of over me at this point, and I definitely felt the "you're a lame librarian" vibe coming from him when I then said we would sing before we left. 


Song: These Are My Glasses

Coloring Page: I re-used my bookshelf coloring activity from my book-themed Read-Along story time back in April.  Both boys liked it and spent a good amount of time coloring. The younger boy also took a break to show me his "out of control superhero moves" and his dinosaur stomping.


I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Digging Dogs): Preschool Story Time, 6/14/13

Dig Into Reading (Digging Dogs): Preschool Story Time, 6/14/13

Book: The Digging-est Dog by Al Perkins
Two kids came to story time - a girl who is almost four, and a boy who I think is three. The little boy's eyes welled up with tears on the first page of this book, where the dog is lonely and sitting beside the "for sale" sign, and it was all I could to keep reading to get him to the happy parts ASAP.

Flannel Board: Doggy, Doggy, Where’s Your Bone?
Credit for this idea goes to two sources: DLTK's Crafts for Kids, which provided the rhyme, and Tracey at 1234 More Storytimes who gave me the idea to have different animals hide the bone.  I had an elephant, hippo, lion, walrus, and snake, and hid the bone behind the walrus. He was the last one guessed, so we had a great time pulling every animal off the board and being surprised each time it wasn't there. I used a slightly altered version of the rhyme linked above:


Doggy, doggy, where's your bone?
Someone took it from your home.
It wasn't me.
It wasn't you. 
Was it the _______ at the zoo?

The kids had a ball with this flannel board. I want to do some more like it this summer! 

Song: Head and Shoulders
Song: Shake My Sillies Out 

We had been sitting for so long, we did not one, but two action songs!

Book: Dig! by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
This book is a lot like Zimmerman's Trashy Town. It follows a backhoe operator through one day on the job. The kids were very quiet, but I think they liked the story.


At this point, the little boy had to leave, and  the little girl seemed tired and restless, so I asked her mom if she would want another story, or if she would prefer to move on to coloring. Coloring won, so we skipped Harry the Dirty Dog and finished the session with a coloring page.

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Dig Into Reading (Digging): Toddler Lap Time, 6/14/13

Dig Into Reading (Digging): Toddler Lap Time, 6/14/13

Book: Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo
The text in this one is pretty long for a board book, but the kids were really interested in looking at the different vehicles. We had one little girl join us who has just graduated from baby story time, and even she was with me the whole  time, smiling at me curiously as I read.

Flannel Board: Goodnight Builders
I am kind of in awe that I wrote this rhyme, because it gets better each time we do it. The kids were glued to the flannel board and when we got finished, one little boy said, "All gone!"

Book: Dig In by April Jones Prince
This book is cute because the little workers get together to build a pizza. The book has moveable parts, but the ones in my copy don't move easily, so I didn't bother with them.

Flannel Board: Worm Friends
Everybody wanted to hold a worm! This rhyme is just right for toddlers, and they had a ball counting the worms and saying goodbye to each one by color.

Book: One Mole Digging a Hole by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt
I have been hoarding this book for months because I was worried it would be lost or stolen before I could use it at story time. It was worth the wait. The illustrations are bright, bold, and funny, and I got a kick out of seeing the different animals working in the garden.

Rhyme: Summer Dance
I was looking for a brand-new action rhyme and this one was a definite hit. I really recommend grabbing rhymes from Highlights High Five magazine. I've used a lot of things from there and most of them are really wonderful. This will become a weekly addition to this story time for this summer!

Activities with Foam Flowers:

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun
It was a good thing Mr. Sun was on hand because our little toddler newbie cried a bit when she gave me her flower back and the puppet was a good distraction!

Song: ABCs

Rhyme: Dance Your Fingers

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Dig Into Reading (Mud): Drop-In Story Time, 6/14/13

 Dig Into Reading (Mud): Drop-In Story Time, 6/14/13

What an amazing story time! It was a huuuge group, but a lot of nannies I haven't seen all year are back for the summer, as well as a lot of preschoolers who are in that in-between stage after school lets out and before summer camp begins. I can't remember the last time an audience sat quietly for books and actually seemed to enjoy them, and this was, by far, the best reception I have had for the magic envelope. I hope this is a sign of pleasant Friday mornings all summer long! 

Book: Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car by John Burningham
Since the group was so interested in this book and the adults were so well-behaved, I was able to really get into reading it with a lot of expression and  a lot of dramatic pauses. I can always tell when I'm performing a book well, and this was probably one of my top ten read-alouds ever.

Song: I Like to See the Raindrops Fall
I added a verse to this song to make it more suitable for the mud theme.


I like to feel the squishy mud, 
the squishy mud, the squishy mud. 
I like to feel the squishy mud 
on a stormy day.

Book: One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root
I wish I had remembered to ask everyone to quack at the end of each page. That's a tip I picked up from Saroj Ghoting and have used in the past, but I was so shocked by how well things were going, I basically just forgot. 

Song: Pigs in the Mud
This is not my favorite song, but it has simple motions that I find most of the kids pick up pretty quickly. They really got into it, and the adults actually seemed to think the song was cute.

Magic Envelope: Dog
I think it was hugely helpful that all the kids know what a dog is. Sometimes I think they might not know what to expect from the magic envelope even when I tell them what is supposed to come out, but this time, there was excitement all around. We put a collar, a dish, a leash, a doghouse, a bone, and "woof woof!" inside the envelope and pulled out... Bingo the dog!

Flannel Board Song: BINGO
I used yellow letters to spell BINGO then changed them to purple one by one. We clapped the purple letters and sang the yellow ones. It was definitely the best performance of BINGO we have ever had.

Ukulele Medley: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Song: The Wheels on the Bus


Song: If You're Happy and You Know It


Song: The More We Read Together
I have decided to definitely keep using this at the end of the story time, but possibly not in place of If You're Happy. I know it might not make a difference, but ending on a reading-related note makes me feel like I'm doing more of my part to remind the adults that story time is as much about reading as it is about singing, etc.


I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 6/13/13

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 6/13/13

Attendees
Only two kids - twins - showed up, and they are known to be slightly too young for this story time, and very very quiet. I knew right away that most of what I planned was beyond their developmental level, so I cut some of the activities and just went with a very basic story time. 

Read-Along
There wasn't much reading along because of how young the kids are - and the fact that English may not be their first language - but I shared a flannelized version of Whose Garden Is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman. I read most of the story aloud, but asked the kids to help me name each animal, and once we had named them, I put their names on the flannel board with their accompanying images. With kids who could read, I would have had them actually sound out the names of the different animals.

Bag of Verbs
These kids ordinarily don't do anything during this part of  the story time, but this time, they actually stood up and did some of the movements. Progress!

Read-Aloud
I read A Hole is to Dig, which they didn't seem to like - or understand - at all.  They would really do so much better at the preschool story time, but the mom doesn't seem clear on the difference, and I haven't had much luck trying to explain it.

Write and Draw Activity
I handed out copies of the worksheet below, asking them to draw what they might find in a hole. At first, they just colored all over the papers, but when I asked them to think about what might be inside the holes they dug, the boy said "a diamond" and the girl said, "a heart shape." I wrote their responses on the lines so they could show their mom.

I am really hoping for a resurgence in attendance for this story time this summer. I'm only doing four story times a week this summer, and three of them, including this one, are likely not to attract participants. I'll keep promoting them and hope for the best!  

Flannel Friday: Sarah's Silly Socks

This week, I'm sharing the simplest flannel board story I have ever written. I wrote it for an S-themed preschool story time, and purposely made it very simple because I have a few kids who like to sit with the flannel board and retell the story after story time, and I knew this would be something they could easily memorize.  I'm disappointed that I didn't have the chance to make a full body for Sarah, the little girl in the story, but if I was going to use this for a clothing story time, I'd probably make sure she had feet to put the socks on.

In any case, here is Sarah's Silly Socks.

This is Sarah. She is looking for her silly socks.


Are these Sarah's silly socks?
No. Those are just plain red socks.


Are these Sarah's silly socks?
No. Those are just plain blue socks.


Are these Sarah's silly socks?
No. Those are just plain yellow socks.


Are these Sarah's silly socks?
No. Those are just plain green socks.


Are these Sarah's silly socks?
No. Those are just plain brown socks.

Are these Sarah's silly socks?
Yes! Those socks are silly!


I liked having the plain colored socks because the kids could easily identify the colors and share in telling the story with me. I would like to add some more socks to Sarah's collection, and maybe have her look for something different. For example, we could have all socks with different patterns and try to find the ones with stars, or polka dots, or whatever. Another variation might be to have Sarah look for other silly things that start with S - her silly spoon, her silly shelf, her silly snack, her silly shorts, etc.

This week's Flannel Friday host is Kathryn, who blogs at Fun with Friends at Storytime.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Construction): Pajama Story Time, 6/12/13

Dig Into Reading (Construction): Pajama Story Time, 6/12/13

Book: Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherry Rinker
This is a long book, and some of the smaller kids were a bit restless listening to it, but most of the kids were around three and they loved it!

Rhyme: Building a Skyscraper
This was a brand-new rhyme, so we went over the motions ahead of  time, then did it twice together. The kids really seemed to like it, and all the grown-ups eagerly joined in, too!

Book: Hush Little Digger by Ellen Olsen-Brown
This is an adorable take-off on Hush Little Baby, and it was the favorite book of the session. A little boy who loves trucks was the lucky one who got to take it home with him!

Flannel Board Rhyme: Goodnight, Builders
Five little builders working at a site
The moon comes up as the day turns to night
One little worker lets out a big yawn.
And he/she goes home to sleep until dawn. 


I wrote this rhyme in the ten minutes before story time and made up the actions on the spot. The kids LOVED it and were quick to learn all the words. I'm going to use this again several times in the near future!

Book: Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Sayres
The kids were the most talkative during this book, pointing out lots of great details in the illustrations. I have a hard time reading aloud when a book is written entirely in questions, but I think I did okay without allowing my voice to inch progressively higher on each page.

Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Song: Goodnight
In keeping with our theme, we sang to a hammer, a saw, and a truck.


I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Dig Into Reading (Beach): Drop-In Story Time, 6/11/13

Dig Into Reading (Beach): Drop-In Story Time, 6/11/13 


Book: To the Beach by Thomas Docherty
I kicked off the summer with this book two years ago, and it was a huge hit. It's a real eye-opener to  realize how much my crowds have changed in that time, because these people were totally non-responsive. I actually had to silence them before the story even started, as the fact that I was about to read a book provided no indication for them that it wasn't time to chat with their neighbors. (I think the kids liked the book, but the adults made it hard for them to hear me.)

Flannel Board Song: What Can We See (At the Beach)?
I was going to use "We're Going to the Beach" which is sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell, but I changed my mind at the last second and came up with a song to the tune of  Are You Sleeping?

What can we see? What can we see?
At the beach?  At the beach?
We might see a seashell. We might see a seashell.
At the beach. At the beach.

Short, sweet, simple, and successful. 

Book: All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle
I really thought I could include one longer book, but no one was listening. I thought about cutting it short, but I knew it wouldn't make a difference what I did. These adults don't think reading books aloud is worth listening to. Period. Some of the kids were into it, at least. And they did clap for the final page where it is revealed that "you" are all that is needed for a beach.

Flannel Board Rhyme: Five Pretty Sandcastles
This went over better today than the last time I used it. The kids right up front, who were mostly three, were the most interested, but everyone looked like they were watching the board the whole time, even though the ending of the rhyme didn't seem to make sense to them.  (Again, two years ago, this exact same flannel board got cheers from the nannies. Go figure.)

Book: Senses at the Seashore by Shelley Rotner
I didn't necessarily intend to use this book, but I had it and another choice on hand, and went with this one because I thought the pictures were more engaging. 

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Magic Envelope: Ice Cream Sundae
We used photos of a dish, a scoop of ice cream, a container of hot fudge, a can of whipped cream, and a cherry to make an ice cream sundae. The kids were attentive, but not amazed when the sundae came out of the envelope. Still, there is something about this idea - talking directly to the kids, asking them questions, introducing new vocabulary - that really works. I initially worried that the "magic" would get old, or that the kids would figure it out and no longer be interested in seeing what comes out of the envelope. That has not been the case at all. The true "magic" of the envelope is how the kids tune into me talking to them and call out answers to questions where they would otherwise sit mutely and watch me. I'm liking what this is doing for my story time, even if the kids don't believe I have magic powers!

Ukulele Medley: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Song: Hands Up High

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Song: The More We Read Together 
I might decide to replace If You're Happy with this song for the summer. This was an experiment, and I'll try it once more on Friday before I decide.

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Dinosaurs): Pajama Story Time, 6/5/13

Dig Into Reading (Dinosaurs): Pajama Story Time, 6/5/13

Book: Dinosaur, Dinosaur by Kevin Lewis, illustrated by Daniel Kirk
This book has a reference to saying prayers near the very end of the story. I didn't realize it when I skimmed it before story time, and it wasn't a problem for anyone in my group, I don't think, but depending on your story time crowd, it might be a good idea to consider that page a bit before reading this book. Overall, this was a hit, though, and the only book to be checked out at the end of the session.

Flannel Board Rhyme: Five Enormous Dinosaurs
I made this flannel board probably two years ago, and I rarely use it, so it was nice to have a specific reason to bring it out again. The kids helped me out by stomping their feet as each dinosaur stomped away, and they were great about counting, too.

Book: Count-a-saurus by Nancy Blumenthal
We worked a few real dinosaur names into story time with this book. Some parts gave the grandma in the front row the giggles, which was cute, and the kids seemed into it.

Song: Stomp Like a Dinosaur (based on Fly Like a Butterfly)
This was the best part of the whole story time. The kids loved pretending to be dinosaurs!

Book: Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea
I find this book kind of difficult to read aloud, but I did the best job with it tonight that I have ever done. The kids seemed puzzled, but the same grandma who laughed during Count-a-saurus laughed even harder during this book.

Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Song: ABCs 

Book: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
I think a lot of the little ones knew this book already, but they seemed to enjoy hearing it again.

Song: Moon Moon Moon
 
I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dig Into Reading: Drop-In Story Time, 6/4/13

 Dig Into Reading: Drop-In Story Time, 6/4/13

Summer has begun! This was my first story time of the summer reading program, which means it was a bit on the crazy side. This group was not the largest we've had, but they were very, very noisy, and rude, through the entire story time. On the plus side, though, we were able to sign up about 50 of the kids for summer reading, with more to come on Friday.

Book: Underground by Denise Fleming
My groups typically like Denise Fleming, and one enthusiastic little girl in the front was eagerly repeating each word I read right after I said it. The rest of the room basically acted like I wasn't there, though, which was really annoying.

Flannel Board: Worm Friends (Credit for this adorable idea goes to K from Storytime ABCs. Thanks, K!)
One mom continually sits right up front with her little girl, who then has a need to touch everything. None of the other kids could see the flannel board worms because she kept taking them off. Somehow, though, we managed to make it  to the end of  the rhyme.

Book: Potato Joe by Keith Baker
This is one of my favorite books, which I have never been able to really sell at a story time. I crack up every time Watermelon Moe comes on the scene, but I am always laughing alone.

Song: Hands Up High 

Book: Dig Those Dinosaurs by Lori Haskins Houran
This book got the best response, but even through this one, two women in the front just talked and talked despite repeated pointed glances from me.  The kids got into the rhythm of the text and I heard some of them  trying to chant it with me.

Song with ukulele: Stomp Like a Dinosaur (based on Fly Like a Butterfly)

Magic Envelope: Build a Library
Learn about magic envelopes on Sharon's blog.

Song with Underground Animals: I’m Going Down to the Library
We sang about a worm, rabbit, groundhog, chipmunk, and ant going to the library.

Songs with ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Colors: Red Toddler Lap Time, 5/31/13

 Colors: Red Toddler Lap Time 5/31/13

Book: Little Mouse, Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood
This group was small, so they paid more attention to the book because they had more room to move in close to examine it. Still, though, they didn't seem to have any real connection with it. 

Rhyme: Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Book: Little Robin Redbreast illustrated by Shari Halpern
This book went over better than it did on Thursday - the kids seemed to like the cat.

Rhyme with Stick Puppets: Two Little Red Birds

Song: Bumpin’ Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon

Book: Yoo Hoo Ladybug by Mem Fox
This is a brand-new book, and I wouldn't use it with a big group, as the ladybug on each page is very tiny. A kid also got stepped on by a grown-up during this book and there were tears and we just never quite settled down to enjoy this last story. 

Rhyme: Ladybug, Ladybug

Activities with Foam Butterflies
  • Song: Fly Like a Butterfly
  • Rhyme: Butterflies Up, Butterflies Down
  • Song: There's a Butterfly on My Head
Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun 

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.
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