Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby/Toddler Lap Time, 10/28

Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big (twice)

Rhyme: One Little Ghost

Song: Brown Squirrel 

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Book: Trick or Treat? by Melanie Walsh (2009)
I sensed that this book wouldn't be a good read-aloud, and I should have trusted my gut. Too many small flaps to open while also holding the book. I got basically no reaction at all. Also, the book felt disjointed and had no real sense of continuity.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: Head and Shoulders 

Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins
I (temporarily) lost a pumpkin before story time, so we had one imagined pumpkin, and four tangible ones. Ugh. The magic of this song has finally started to wear off, too, so it's probably going to be retired for  the season after today.

Song: One Little Monster

My sense of timing is all confused, so I had to add some songs to the end of what I had planned. Though I don't think anyone else realized it, I felt very awkward and rushed today.

Book: Halloween Faces by Nancy Davis (2010)
I thought this would be a decent read-aloud, but I was wrong again! I really think I need to stop trying to read more than one book to this group, and focus more on flannel boards and rhymes.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus (Raffi version)

Song: ABCD Medley

Song: Chickadee

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Halloween Family Story Time and Craft, 10/27

This is the only story time I have ever done where I didn't even bring the CD player into the room. And there is a very strong part of me that, after the success of today's session, wants never to bring the CD player in there again. There is just something about that connection you can make with kids with just your own voice. I think adults also have a harder time being rude (sometimes) when someone sits in front of the room and sings without accompaniment. This story time was fantastic - one of the best I've ever done, I think - and I'm really hoping to do more like it this Winter.

Part I: Halloween Story Time

Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

Song: If You're a Monster and You Know It

Book:  One Witch by Laura Leuck (2005)
The preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders in my group started saying "ewww" at the end of every page of this book, which was really funny, and kept the interest of some of the smaller kids who might not have been following the story.

Rhyme: One Little Ghost

Book: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd (1986)
I know I could have used props or a flannel board or something to make this book more interesting, but I do a lot of that already, so I just read it straight. Some of the older kids caught onto the refrain and said  the sound of each article of clothing along with me. 

Song: Horns and Fangs, Knees and Claws

Song: Flap, Flap, Flap Little Bats

Book: Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy Shaw (1997)
You know, Sheep in a Jeep is a great book, but some of its sequels really tie up my tongue with their alliteration and rhyme.  I don't think most of  the kids had a good sense of the plot of this story, and I really didn't either.

Song: One Little Monster

Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins

Poem:  I wrote a Halloween poem to accompany our craft for today!  Click here for the pdf. And here's what it looks like:

It needs a title, but here's how it goes:

Flap, flap, flap
go the wings of the bat.

"Meow, meow, meow,"
says the little black cat.

The little white ghost says,
"Boo! Boo! Boo!" 

And the jack-o-lantern says,
"Happy Halloween to you!" 

Part II: Popsicle Stick Puppet Craft
After I read the poem and showed my example craft, each child received a sheet with four Halloween creatures on it, as well as a copy of my poem.

The craft page looks like this. (Download it here.)

 (I only used the one on the left, but another option would have been to print both sides and have them glue the puppets together around the stick to make them two-sided. But I was trying to simplify and save paper!)

I actually had the kids line up and I handed each of them their sheets personally. I did that for three main reasons:
  1. To bring order to the chaotic sprint from the story time room to the craft table.
  2. To ensure that every child who attended the story time would definitely get a craft sheet. (Our story room is carpeted and has no real breathing room for crafting, so I do the crafts out in the open space of the library, which means I have to allow walk-ins to do them, too. That is usually fine, and great for our stats, but as an upcoming Gettin Crafty post will show, there are days where greed gets the best of some people. Better to be safe than sorry.)
  3. To help me count how many kids attended the program. (I had 40 craft sheets, and had 15 left when I was done, so that meant 25 kids were there. Then I just had to count up the babies not doing the craft and voila! Instant stats.) 
I arranged for someone else to put the craft supplies onto the craft table for me, so when the kids emerged from the story time room, they found crayons, popsicle sticks, glue sticks, and scissors waiting for them.

Here are the instructions for the craft:
  1. Color Halloween creatures.
  2. Cut out creatures (possibly with the help of an adult.)
  3. Glue a popsicle stick to the back of each colored creature.
  4. Use puppets to perform the poem.
I was pretty proud of my little poem to begin with, since it came to me so quickly, but on top of that, I happened to overhear two little friends - a boy and a girl around age 5 - making plans to perform the poem together for their families. I can think of no higher praise.

Flannel Friday: Irish Story Time

This week's Flannel Friday has an Irish theme. I know it's not St. Patrick's Day for a good long while yet, but my library system is participating in a festival about the countries in the European Union, and my branch is doing a preschool story time focused on Ireland. The story time is happening next week, so I'm putting the finishing touches on my repertoire today. Because I expect the average age of my audience to be around two years old, I'm using a lot more flannel boards than usual because the books we have on Ireland are much better suited to older children.

Here's some of what I have planned:

The Colors on the Irish Flag
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)

Orange, white, and green
Orange, white, and green
The colors on the Irish flag
Are orange white and green.

My idea for this song comes from Melissa at Mel's Desk, who suggested a red, white, and blue flannel activity for the Fourth of July earlier this year. I have a set of clip art photos and drawings of objects that match each of the three colors on the Irish flag. Depending on the age of the kids who actually show up, I will either have them put up the objects, or I will just ask the group to tell me what color each one is, and put them up myself. As each object is place on the board, we'll sing a verse like this:

The tennis ball is green
The tennis ball is green
The colors on the Irish flag 
Are orange, white, and green. 

Five Little Fairies
(Lyrics transcribed from Track 46 on Demon Music Group's
100 Songs for Children: Sing-Along Favourites)

Five little fairies
Sitting on the floor
One ran away,
And then there were four. 

Four little fairies 
Sitting in a tree 
One flew away,
And then there were three.

Three little fairies 
how do you do?
One went "Pop!" 
And then there were two.

Two little fairies
Lying in the sun
One fell asleep, 
And then there was one. 

One little fairy
All alone
Say goodbye,
It's time to go home. 

I created my fairies using this coloring sheet. I colored them in using Microsoft Paint, then printed them out and covered them with Contact paper as usual. I will sing this song a cappella, because it saves the trouble of having to burn the recording to CD.

One Green Shamrock

One green shamrock
in the morning dew,
Another one sprouted,
and then there were two.

Two green shamrocks
growing beneath a tree, 
Another one sprouted,
and then there were three.

Three green shamrocks
by the cottage door
Another one sprouted,
and then there were four.

Four green shamrocks
near a beehive
Another one sprouted,
and then there were five.

Five little shamrocks
bright and emerald green
Think of all the luck
these shamrocks will bring.

I love finding rhymes that count up to five, instead of down to one. It's a simple thing, but it feels like it adds such variety and possibility to the "five little" formula.

My pdf files for all three of these flannel boards are below:
This week's Flannel Friday host is Tracy at 1234 More Story Times. She's asking us to provide our links either in comments to her post, or on Twitter (@tcy28). Also check out Flannel Friday's boards on Pinterest, and the list of previous Flannel Friday round-ups at So Tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Gettin' Crafty Halloween Post

    I'm taking a break from my regular Gettin' Crafty posts, which will continue next week with Beaded Bracelets, to share two Halloween activities I put out for my after school crowd this week, as we count down to Halloween.

    1. Create a Creature Mix-Up Game

    This simple cutting activity came from Disney's Family Fun website. I printed out a pile of copies of the activity sheet and provided pairs of scissors, so the kids could cut them apart and make their own monsters. This wasn't our most popular craft, since there wasn't any coloring or gluing involved, but there weren't any copies left at the end of the afternoon, so I can only guess that kids used them for something!

    The pdf for this activity is available here.

    2. Halloween Costumes Dress-Up 

    These paper dolls are from Activity Village. For these, I provided crayons, scissors, and glue stick, and left the kids to decide how they would dress their dolls. The clothing items have no tabs on them, which is why I provided the glue.I printed 40 copies, and only found one that wasn't cut apart at least partially, so it was  clearly popular. Unfortunately, I was in baby lap time during the height of  the after school rush and missed how the kids actually put their paper dolls together. Though we had kids as young as two trying to do this activity, the ideal age is preschool and up.

    The pdf for this activity is available here.

    I have two more Halloween story times and possible two or three more crafts, and then it's on to Thanksgiving!

    Tween Scary Story Circle, 10/26

    I planned this program back in August, and really had no idea what to expect, or whether there would even be any kind of interest in it. The plan was for kids to show up with their own scary stories in mind, and we would eat candy and go around the circle and share our stories. What happened wasn't exactly like that, but I'm still putting it in the success column because A. people actually showed up to an evening children's program for the first time ever and B. the kids who came (and their parents) seemed to have a wonderful time.

    It didn't occur to me until just before the program that people wouldn't show up with their own scary stories. I had sort of counted on that to be the main meat of the program, and thought I could kick it off with just one or two quick stories. But I realized just before starting time that these people had come expecting me to read them scary stories, and that I had to deliver. So... I started with a story about poltergeists from one of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories books. Then one of the moms recited a poem she had written, which was really good, and then I read Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, because I remembered how much my fifth grade group had liked it last year. At that point, three of the five kids in attendance told stories of their own, which was exactly the intention of the program. I then finished it out with one more quick spooky tale from another Alvin Schwartz book.

    I also provided a witch's cauldron full of candy, from which the kids each took a few pieces before they had to go home.

    I did wish that my stories were scarier. I could tell these were die-hard Halloween fans, who could stand a lot more spooky stuff than I could, and I think some of the kids were disappointed. But no one said as much, and everyone said a very sincere thank you when the hour was over. I kind of want to try this kind of  thing again, either with a different theme, or with greater preparation. I'd also do it after school next time, so there is more of a captive audience in the building, and a better chance for the kids to feed off each other's energy.

    All in all, though, I had a good time, and I definitely think it's a promising sign of more school-age programming to come!

    7 Picture Books About Halloween

    The Biggest Pumpkin EverThe Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
    Two mice unknowingly care for the same pumpkin in preparation for a contest.
    Cranberry HalloweenCranberry Halloween by Wende and Harry Devlin
    At Halloween, the residents of Cranberryport work together to restore a broken dock.
    Big PumpkinBig Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
    A witch wants pumpkin pie, but first she must get some help to pull her big pumpkin out of the ground!
    Oliver and Amanda's Halloween (Easy-to-Read, Dial)Oliver and Amanda's Halloween by Jean van Leeuwen
    Pig siblings Oliver and Amanda celebrate Halloween in another of their cozy easy readers.
    A Fairy-Tale Fall (Disney Princess)A Fairy-Tale Fall by Apple Jordan
    The Disney princesses and their friends celebrate Fall and Halloween in their own unique ways.
    Duck & Goose Find a PumpkinDuck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
    Duck and Goose want pumpkins, but they have trouble figuring out where to look.
    The Witch Who Lives Down the HallThe Witch Who Lives Down the Hall by Donna Guthrie
    A young boy is convinced his down-the-hall neighbor is a witch.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Baby Lap Time, 10/26 & 10/27

    This is the last week of Baby Lap Time for the Fall, and I'm actually kind of sad to see it go. I will be glad not to be doing quite so many programs in a week, but this program was something I devoted a lot of time and energy to, and it went by much more quickly than I expected. Here's what we did today (and  will do twice more tomorrow) for our last session:

    Opening Song: Clap Along With Me 

    Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big  

    Rhyme: Where Oh Where Are Baby's Fingers? 

    Song: Tony Chestnut

    Book: Hello, Toucan by DwellStudio (2011)
    A nice, new lift-the-flap book about the rainforest. Bold illustrations and simple text which greets each rainforest animal at the start of a new day.

    Song: Head and Shoulders

    Song: Bumpin' Up and Down in my Little Red Wagon

    Book: Dress Up Peekaboo! by Charlie Gardner, Dave King, and Rachael Parfitt (2007)
    I thought this would work well in the week leading up to Halloween. This is one of my favorite baby books.

    Shaker Egg Song: Shortnin' Bread

    Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins

    Song: Brown Squirrel 

    Song: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

    Song: Mr. Sun

    Song: ABCD Medley

    Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them (Goodbye Version)

    Check back tomorrow for my lap time wrap-up post!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Baby/Toddler Story Time, 10/25

    Story time attendance has been really strange these last few weeks. I had hardly anyone at 10:00 or 10:30, and then something like 50 kids at 11:00. This is today's repertoire:

    Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

    Book: Don't Climb Out of the Window Tonight by Richard McGilvray, illustrated by Alan Snow (1993)
    This book is silly enough to avoid truly scaring kids, but scary enough to read at Halloween. I think my favorite part is when it rains monsters.

    Rhyme: One Little Ghost
    I have a school group that attends the 11:00 story time sometimes, and they absolutely love this rhyme. 

    Song: Itsy-Bitsy Spider

    Book: The I'm Not Scared Book by Todd Parr (2011)
    I feel somewhat awkward reading books with touchy-feely messages like this one, but I know a lot of other children's librarians who love Todd Parr, so occasionally, I read one of his books. I think the best part of this book for today's audience was the bright colored illustrations.

    Song: I'm a Little Teapot

    Song: Head and Shoulders 

    Song: Hands Are For Clapping 

    Book: Pumpkin Heads by Wendell Minor
    I love Wendell Minor's illustrations, and this book has just the right number of words for toddlers. 

    Song: One Little Monster

    Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins

    Song: Tommy Thumb (sessions 2 and 3 only)

    Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Preschool Story Time (Bats Theme), 10/24

    What a disaster. This story time worked really well for a few weeks, so I thought the issue was resolved, but today was terrible! I don't even know what to attribute it to, except that the intended audience was preschoolers, and the audience that actually participated was mostly babies and toddlers. This meant that at the last minute, I had to alter my entire repertoire to suit the age group, and it looked like a mess. I also didn't have an extra book on hand to fit the theme (which is why I always insist that I don't do themes), so I ended up reading at least one book that was in no way appropriate for the age group. In any case, in the interest of someone maybe finding it useful, here is my bat story time. I'll include what I intended to do, and then some notes on what I actually did.

    Opening Song: Hello, how are you?

    Song: If You'd Like to Read a Book

    Book: Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (2008)
    I don't know how anyone could have no reaction to this book, but that's what I got. Blank faces.

    Rhyme: One Little Ghost

    Book: Hello, Bumblebee Bat! by Darrin Lunde, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne (2007)
    I would definitely use this book again. It got the most attention of any of the three I read today.

    Song: Flap, Flap, Flap Little Bats
    (I looked at the group and realized most of them couldn't even stand up yet. So I reverted to a toddler story time favorite and did Shake My Sillies Out instead. No one - neither child, nor adult - did the motions with me.)

    Song: Horns and Fangs, Knees and Claws
    (There was no way babies were doing this one, either, so we did Hands Are For Clapping.)

    Book: Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (1993)
    It was really masochistic for me to read this, knowing what the outcome would be. Most people in the room didn't even notice that I was reading, and I had to compete with conversations, crying babies, and at least one mom who was reading a different book to her child. But I kept reading, with as much enthusiasm as I could muster for the one little boy in the front row who seemed engrossed, and to prove the point that the age limits exist for a reason. By the end, most of the nannies with babies seemed to get the idea, but it was a total waste of a story time session, and I never want to have another one like it ever again.

    Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

    With the correct age group, I have no doubt this would have been a great story time. In fact, I'm now considering revamping my story time schedule to eliminate this session altogether and instead shift to a preschool/school-age story time on Thursdays, similar to the Halloween one I did last week.

    Find more bat story times on these other sites:

    A full description of this, and all my weekly story time programs can be found here.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    (Somewhat) Flannel Friday: Popsicle Stick Puppets

    One of the things I like to include in my story times for babies and toddlers is simple singing with puppets. But there are only so many puppets a library can have, and I'm pretty picky about the songs I choose. So, how do I vary my repertoire? I make my own simple stick puppets.

    Pictured here are two puppets I have use regularly at story times this Fall, and one I have yet to use. Each one consists of a popsicle stick with a little patch or two of Velcro stuck onto it. Then I can fasten pretty much any flannel board item I've made to the front of the stick for an instant puppet!

    Here is a quick description of how I use each of the puppets pictured, as well as the words to their corresponding songs:

    Brown Squirrel
    When we sing Brown Squirrel, I hold up the squirrel puppet and when it comes to "swoosh your bushy tail," I move him back and forth like he's actually swishing his tail. I also point to the acorn when we sing "hold a nut between your toes."

    Brown squirrel, brown squirrel
    Swoosh your bushy tail
    Brown squirrel, brown squirrel
    Swoosh your bushy tail
    Wrinkle up your funny nose
    Hold a nut between your toes
    Brown squirrel, brown squirrel
    Swoosh your bushy tail!

    I'm a Little Apple
    I haven't done this song in a story time yet, but it's a great example of a song I would never sing at story time unless I had a prop. It's impossible to act out, and there are no real motions to it, but add a puppet and suddenly I feel free to sing these kinds of songs, without feeling like I'm performing on stage. The puppet makes the song less about me, and more about the interactive experience.

    I'm a little apple, short and round,
    I make a munchy, crunchy sound,
    If you bite into me you will see -
    I'm delicious as can be!

    Mr. Pumpkin
    I really want to rewrite the lyrics to this song, but this works for now. For this one, I just hold up the puppet and sway it back and forth. At baby lap time, I make sure to move it slowly around the circle so everyone gets a chance to see it.

    Mr. Pumpkin, Mr. Pumpkin
    Round and fat, round and fat
    I’m gonna eat you! I’m gonna eat you!
    Just like that. Just like that.

    I've put Velcro on five popsicle sticks, so I always have a few on hand to mix and match. They're great for when I need just one more quick song and don't have time to pull together anything elaborate, and they'll work for any flannel set I have on hand, as long as the pieces have Velcro on them. I plan on making a penguin, a snowman, and a Santa Claus in the near future to use during the holidays and the Winter months.

    This week's Flannel Friday host is Mollie.  See previous round-ups here at So Tomorrow, and check out the Flannel Friday Pinterest boards here.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Halloween Story & Craft, 10/20

    Today was the first time I have ever done a school-age story time at this branch, and the first time I tried one on a Thursday afternoon. I was so blown away by how well it went! Here's the format I used for the story time, followed by the craft.

    Part I: Story Time

    Opening Song: Hello, how are you?
    The advertised age range for this program was Kindergarten through 3rd Grade, but some kids were as young as 2, and many of my regular preschoolers were in attendance, so I did the hello song as a means of getting the ball rolling. Most of the older kids - who were mainly kindergarteners and first graders - seemed to actually enjoy it.

    Book 1: Haunted House, Haunted Mouse by Judy Cox, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler (2011)
    This is one of those books for kids who want to be scared, but also want to know everything is okay in the end. My favorite scene is the one where Mouse is inside the candy bag and nibbles a hole, through which we can see the street and the trick-or-treaters. 

    Book 2: Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann (2011)
    I initially thought of this book as creepy, but my audience thought it was sweet, and they loved the skeletons.

    Rhyme: One Little Ghost

    Song: Horns and Fangs, Knees and Claws
    There were a few five year olds who really loved this and had the biggest grins on their faces.

    Book 3: The House That Drac Built by Judy Sierra (1998)
    There are some pretty gruesome pictures in this one, and I felt a little bit guilty because some of the kids were so young, but I also think sometimes people need to learn the hard way that the age limits on these programs exist for a reason. I had no complaints, but I was pretty aware of how scary the zombie illustration was, and it did worry me slightly.

    Part II: Paper Bag Haunted House Craft

    I first saw this craft idea during the summer between my junior and senior years in college when I worked at Mohonk Mountain House. We used the paper bags to make any old buildings back then, but I thought it was a perfect idea for a haunted house. So that's what we made today. 


    Paper lunch bags  
    There were 60 in a package, and I bought them from the dollar store.
    It doesn't get much better than that.

    Halloween foam stickers
    I bought a bunch of cute spider, ghost, and other spooky creature stickers at a craft store. They filled an entire basket, and only about 25 kids participated in the craft, so there should have been enough, but some parents got a bit greedy, and I had to go around begging for extras for a little girl who didn't get any. Next time, if there is anything extra like that, I'll let the kids start their project first and then see to the even distribution of the special stickers myself.

    Markers & Crayons
    I always include both now, ever since a little boy started crying one day and announced, "Mommy said no markers!"

    The instructions are simple. Color the bag, then open it up, stand it on whichever end you like, and add some stickers. Easy peasy. (I prefer to stand the bag up with the bottom of the bag at the top, so it's like a roof.)

    Two more Halloween story times to come next week - stay tuned!

    Gettin' Crafty Post #4: Stickers

    For an introduction to this new series of Gettin' Crafty posts, visit Post #1.

    This post is about several different crafts I have done this Fall involving stickers. 

    1. Sticker Collages

    This craft was born out of a rainy day and  the need for a simple last-minute craft.

    Black construction paper

    I used leftover summer reading stickers from Catch the Reading Bug and Make a Splash, because I wanted to get rid of them.

    Self-stick foam shapes
     These were also leftovers, from my pencil toppers craft.

    My example was an abstract design using mostly foam shapes, with a few stickers added on to show the kids their options. Most of the kids got the idea, and were really creative with their own designs.

    2. Apple Make-A-Face Sticker Scene

    I purchased this craft from Oriental Trading to use in September, which is when I focused on apples in story time.

    Each package includes 12 kits, which consist of the following:
    • 2 sheets of stickers with noses, eyes, mouths, and leaves
    • 1 activity booklet, consisting of six apples all linked together like paper dolls

    What I imagined the kids doing was keeping the booklets intact and making their own string of apples. What happened was that the parents ripped all the apples apart and insisted that each child only make one. There were some left intact after the first time we did this craft, so I put them out again on a different day, and  the same thing happened. The up side was that many more kids could participate, but it was a shame, too, because they were so much cuter in a little string of apples!

    3. Design Your Own! Firefighter Sticker Scenes 
    This one came from Oriental Trading as well, and it was really popular among the preschool crowd. The set of 12 includes the paper backgrounds and the stickers, but there are way more stickers than can comfortably fit in one scene, so if you have some extra paper hanging around, kids can still participate even after the sheets are gone. 

    The only problem I ran into was that some of the stickers ripped really easily when I peeled them from the paper, and I am still (two weeks later) finding little arms, legs, and firehats hanging around in various corners of the children's room. 

    I purchased a second similar set, the Sweet “Bake Shop” Make-A-Sticker Scenes which I plan to use around the holidays.

    Next time: Beaded Bracelets.

    7 Kids' Books About Siblings

    Big Sister, Little SisterBig Sister Little Sister by LeUyen Pham
    The narrator's big sister gets to do everything first, but she will never get to be the little sister!
    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Fudge, #1)Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
    Peter Hatcher must deal with the hi-jinks of his wild little brother, Fudge.
    The Day I Had to Play With My Sister (My First I Can Read)The Day I Had to Play With My Sister by Crosby Bonsall
    A brother and sister disagree about the rules of hide and seek.
    The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks, #1)The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
    Four sisters vacation in the Berkshires and make friends with an interesting boy, despite his mother's objections.
    Brand New School, Brave New Ruby (Ruby And The Booker Boys)Ruby and the Booker Boys Series by Derrick Barnes
    Ruby tries to make a name for herself, separate from the boisterous personalities of her older brothers.
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #2)Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney
    Greg Heffley tries to survive under the rule of his bully older brother.
    Big Red LollipopBig Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
    Pakistani-American siblings Rubina and Sana struggle with their mother's misunderstanding of American birthday parties.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Baby Lap Time, 10/19 & 10/20

    Opening Song: Clap Along With Me 

    Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big  

    Rhyme: Where Oh Where Are Baby's Fingers? 

    Flannel Board Rhyme: I Went to Visit the Farm One Day 

    Book: Sleepy, Oh So Sleepy by Denise Fleming (2010)

    Song: Head and Shoulders

    Song: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

    Song: You Are My Sunshine

    Shaker Egg Song: Shortnin' Bread

    Book: The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz  (2011)

    Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins

    Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them (Goodbye Version)

    Baby/Toddler Story Time, 10/18

    Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

    Book: Ghost Gets Dressed by Janee Trasler (2007)
    The punchline of this book - that the monster wears all of the ghost's clothing, and eventually the ghost as well - went over like a lead balloon. But this book is still so cute, and had just the right amount of words for this age group.

    Rhyme: One Little Ghost
    This is a great Halloween rhyme, which I discovered just this week. I plan to use it at all my Halloween-themed story times.

    Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

    Book: Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Van Rynbach (1995)
    This is one of many interpretations of this well-known pumpkin rhyme. It's not particularly remarkable, but it's a nice big book for a big audience! 

    Song: Shake My Sillies Out

    Song: I'm a Little Teapot

    Song: Hands Are For Clapping 

    Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins
    Again, I started singing and there was immediate silence. This song is magic. 

    Song: One Little Monster

    Song: Tommy Thumb
    This was the first week that this song felt like a forced march. It might be time to trade it in for something new.

    Song: The Wheels on the Bus
    I retired this song months ago and thought I'd try doing it again today. Too soon. I still hate it!

    Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Preschool Story Time (Monster Theme), 10/17

    Today's theme was MONSTERS.

    I am really proud of this particular story time. It is the first session ever in the entire history of me doing story time that I purposely did all of my own singing. The music selections for today included only one recorded song, which we used for shaking our shaker eggs. Otherwise, it was just me engaging with the kids. Some things needed tweaking, as I'll point out below, and a little girl did announce fifteen minutes in that she was ready for me to be done, but I still felt a strong sense of success when it was over, and got a group hug from the kids who sat in the front row.

    Here is my monster repertoire:

    Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

    Song: If You're a Monster and You Know It
    There are a billion versions of this out there, including the book by Rebecca and Ed Emberley, for which there is a recording. I sort of pulled my favorite motions from each version I found, and put my own together.

    Book: Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane, illustrated by Jane Manning (2011) 
    This book is based on Over in the Meadow, and counts various spooky creatures. The zombie page grossed me out, but overall, the book was gentle enough not to scare small kids.

    Rhyme: If I Were a Monster
    (Thanks to Mary for pointing me here for this rhyme.)

    My group was with me right up until the last line, then they looked at me like I was from space. I think the rhyme actually works well without that line, anyway, and would probably leave it out next time.

    Book: There Was an Old Monster by Rebecca, Adrian, and Ed Emberley (2009)
    This book is a new twist on the old song, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. I thought it was a lot of fun, and one or two kids seemed really engrossed, but I still had the sense that it wasn't as great a choice as I initially expected.

    Song: Horns and Fangs, Knees and Claws
    This is the song I performed in my interview for the job I have now, but today was my first time doing it with kids. (I wound up leaving my old job just before Halloween last year and didn't have the chance.) And I have to say - this was the hit of the session. The kids begged me to do it faster and faster, and I did my best.'

    Song: Les Zombies et les Loups-Garous
    This was a last-minute addition and a good idea in theory only. I loved the idea of including this song - the title of which is French for "the zombies and the werewolves" - but the kids hated the shaker eggs. I have  tried to use shaker eggs twice with this group now, and they're just not a very enthusiastic bunch. And I hate dancing and looking stupid anyway, so it's a win-win I think. Still, I was proud of myself for connecting this song to this theme. 
    Book:  Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)
    No monster story time could ever be complete without this book. I got a chill at the wonderful ending yet again when I was reviewing it this afternoon. The kids seemed bored, but I don't care. It's the best. 

    Song: One Little Monster
    I revamped my usual One Little Finger song to suit my monster theme, and this was another good one.

    Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

    Other books I considered reading for this story time include:

    Find more monster story times on these other blogs:

    A full description of this, and all my weekly story time programs can be found here.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Baby/Toddler Lap Time, 10/14

    Before story time even started, one of my books disappeared! I have to remember to stop leaving them on display, since this isn't the first time it's happened. It is the first time, though, that someone has actually taken the book and checked it out, which is what I think happened, since it basically vanished into thin air. That aside, though, this was a great session.

    Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

    Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big (twice)

    Rhyme: Dance Your Fingers (twice)

    Book: Apples & Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzie Rockwell (1988)

    Song: Mr. Pumpkin
    I just Googled this song this morning, and didn't really sing it out loud until I got in the story time room. I got an unexpected laugh at the third line, though, and wondered immediately if it was creepy! But it did the job, and I will probably do it again with the same group in two weeks.

    Song: Brown Squirrel 
    Babies love this song.

    Book: Pumpkin Fever by Charnan Simon, illustrated by Jan Bryant-Hunt (2006)
    This was my last-minute replacement for Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin, which is the book that mysteriously disappeared. It was not exactly what I wanted, but it worked in a pinch. And it's an excellent easy reader, by the way.

    Song: Bumpin' Up And Down in My Little Red Wagon

    Song: I'm a Little Teapot

    Song: Head and Shoulders 

    Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins
    This is my favorite flannel board of all time. I wish it was more versatile so I could use it all year round!

    Song: One Little Finger 

    Song: Tommy Thumb

    Song: Old MacDonald

    Song: Chickadee

    Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Gettin Crafty Post #3: Family Finger Puppets

    For an introduction to this new series of Gettin' Crafty posts, visit Post #1.

    Family Finger Puppets

    The template for this activity came from's coloring pages section. It looks like this:

    In addition to the coloring page, I also provided the following:

    Glue Sticks
    My manager has asked me to stop using white glue. 

     I made sure to put out extras of the colors that I thought kids would want as hair and skin colors.


    I also made an example craft. I colored each of the people, cut out the puppets and glued the paper ring shut. The paper ring was way too long, so I trimmed it down until I felt the puppet would fit comfortably on my finger. Later, some of the preschool kids had trouble with that part, so I stepped in to show them how to trim it down, too.

    This is the perfect rainy day craft. It's something you can always have on hand in the event of a large unexpected after school crowd, and it uses basic materials that every library is likely to have on hand. Many kids who visited the library on that day got really excited about this craft and spent a long time completing it.

    Next time: Sticker Collages. 

    Baby Lap Time, 10/12 & 10/13

    I usually write this up immediately following the Wednesday session, but that didn't work out, so I'm posting it this morning before the Thursday sessions!

    Opening Song: Clap Along With Me 

    Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big  

    Rhyme: Where Oh Where Are Baby's Fingers? 

    Song: I'm a Little Teapot 

    Song with Shaker Eggs: Sodeo

    Song: Brown Squirrel  

    Book: Eat! by Roberta Grobel Intrater (2002)

    Song: Head and Shoulders

    Song: Tony Chestnut 
    Normally, we do this a cappella, but I found a nice gentle recording of it in our new music this week and gave it a shot. It was a nice change of pace.

    Flannel Board Rhyme: Five Little Leaves

    Song: ABCD Medley

    Song: Mr. Sun 

    Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them (Goodbye Version)

    I got my first compliment about the program this week, and some families expressed their interest in participating again in the winter. I really had no sense of how it was going, so it made me feel like I am actually on the right track after all! 

    7 Kids' Books About Moving

    Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules For Girls, #1)Moving Day by Meg Cabot
    This book introduces fourth-grader Allie Finkle as she moves to a strange house in a brand-new neighborhood.
    Moving Day (Katie Woo)Moving Day by Fran Manushkin
    Katie Woo worries that won't adjust to her bedroom in her new house.
    Ira Says GoodbyeIra Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber
    Ira must say goodbye to his best friend, Reggie.
    Nini Here and ThereNini Here and There by Anita Lobel
    Nini the cat worries that her people will leave her behind when they move.
    Who Will Be My Friends? (Easy I Can Read Series)Who Will Be My Friends? by Syd Hoff
    Freddy is new in town and is looking high and low for new friends.
    Starting with AliceStarting with Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    This prequel tells of Alice's move  to Takoma Park and her new friendship with Donald Sheavers.
    The Quilt Story (Paperstar)The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston
    A quilt helps two generations of girls feel comforted in a new home.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Baby/Toddler Lap Time, 10/7

    Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

    Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big (twice)

    Rhyme: Dance Your Fingers (twice)

    Book: This is NOT a Pumpkin by Bob Staake (2007)
    I really had no idea how this was going to go over, but it was a surprise hit. I think they liked the simplicity of the illustrations, and the punch line. My only criticism of the book itself is that it beats the punch line over the head, resulting in a somewhat anti-climactic ending. But it would make an awesome flannel board adaptation. I might make that happen, since all I'd need to do is make a jack-o-lantern and memorize the story. We'll see.

    Song: Brown Squirrel 
    This was great! Babies love to watch puppets move around, and my makeshift popsicle stick puppet works really well for this one. I am going to start doing more of those.

    Song: You Are My Sunshine (a cappella, sung twice)

    Song: I'm a Little Teapot

    Song: Head and Shoulders

    Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins
    I sometimes find silence unnerving during story time, but I realized about halfway through this song that they were silent because they were engaged and interested in the song. That is such a great feeling!

    Song: One Little Finger 

    Song: Tommy Thumb

    Book: Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin, Jr. (1989)
    I have apparently never done this book at story time in our new location, which means it's going on a year since the last time I did it! That is appalling. This is a great story time book, and it's going right back into my repertoire!  

    Book: Old MacDonald by Rosemary Wells (1998)
    I thought doing this with a book would be a neat change of pace, but it actually kind of bombed. I think the book was too small. And I also don't think my audiences actually like this song. Oops.

    Song: The Wheels on the Bus (Raffi)

    Song: Chickadee
    I keep saying I'm retiring this song, but there are two nannies who come on Fridays who love it, so I keep playing it when they're here. Also, I was running short today, and needed one more song to make it 20 minutes.

    Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This
    No more story time for me until Wednesday. That sounds relaxing, but I also know I will kind of miss it.  Still, it will be nice to have a two-day weekend instead of one day. Happy Friday!
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