Friday, May 27, 2011

Class Visit: Fifth Grade, 5/27

For the past couple of months, the 5th grade from the Catholic school next door to my library has been visiting every Friday for book talks, and to check out books. I normally don't mention them on this blog, since I typically don't read to them, but today, since it was their final visit of the school year, and we were discussing the summer theme, I actually read them a story.

I agonized over my choice, since I'm used to reading really short picture books to babies and toddlers. Finally, though, inspiration struck, and I chose a folk tale.

Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave retold by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by K.Y. Craft, is a tale from Russia about a beautiful young girl with a Cinderella-like life - ugly stepsisters, cruel stepmother, lots of chores. She's got something Cinderella never had, though - a tiny doll made by her mother, who is fully alive, and filled with positive, encouraging words. When she is sent by her stepmother to retrieve a light from the human-eating forest-dwelling witch Baba Yaga, it is her mother's love, channeled through the doll, that keeps her alive and brings her to an unexpectedly joyful life.

I figured anything creepy was perfect for fifth grade, and I was so right. Some of the kids had heard of Baba Yaga and already knew she was scary, and the illustrations in this book really showed off her terrifying features quite well. The kids kept getting out of their seats to spot the bones and skulls that make up Baba Yaga's house, and we all agreed that little doll would be an excellent helper around the house.
This class has been a real joy to work with, and the teacher is already planning ways for me to work with her class next year as well. I can't wait!

Baby Lap Time, 5/27

The one nice thing about our temporary story time location (the adult meeting room on the second floor) is that it has a lot of room for crawling. It was like a baby social today! Little ones crawled, danced, made friends and giggled their way through my 20-minute lap time.

Here is what we did:

Opening Song: Clap Along With Me

Book: A Good Day by Kevin Henkes (2007)
I read this book once before, at Baby/Toddler story time, and it was a huge hit, so I thought I'd try it again for babies. I'm not really used to the room we've been using this week, so my reading was slowed down a bit by my efforts to make sure all the little eyes in the room got to see the pictures, but the kids really enjoyed it. One baby in the front row, especially, thought it was quite funny, and laughed through the entire thing.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It (a cappella sing-along because Miss Katie forgot her CD!)

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it, 
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

(We continued with beep your nose, tap your knees, and shout hooray. I would stomp with toddlers, but we didn't have a lot of walkers today, so we skipped it.)

Rhyme: Open, Shut Them

Book: Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margo Apple
This is such a clever book. I've known about it for a long time, but I don't think I'd ever actually read it - and the ending made me laugh out loud. Few authors can make rhyming text using the same sound over and over so creative, let alone funny. My audience was not as into it, mainly because our crawlers were all sprawled in the middle of the room by this point, checking each other out. But that was part of the fun, and I'm sure they still heard me, even if they were absorbed in other things.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Bumpin' Up and Down in my Little Red Wagon
Apologies to Raffi, but I'm kind of proud of my version of this. 

Song: Did You Ever See? (to the tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie / The More We Get Together)
I wasn't going to do this one again this week, and then I remembered how much they loved the puppets, and decided to do it again. That was a smart decision - this was a huge hit, and I have wonderful ladybug, bumblebee, and butterfly puppets that babies just love to look at.

Book: My First Nursery Rhymes illustrated by Bruce Whatley (1999)

I have been experimenting with different ways to incorporate nursery rhymes into this story time, and it's just not working. The ones that have hand motions work really well, but the flannel board was too awkward, and this book was too... boring, I guess? The adults were lost in their own conversations, and I ended up skipping the middle 50% of the book.

Song: ABCD Medley by The Laurie Berkner Band (from Whaddaya Think of That?)
This is a nice collection of songs - the ABC's, then Twinkle Twinkle,  then Row your Boat, and  then Frere Jacques. It's the perfect mid-story time break, and a great opportunity for dancing, as one big sister did, or crawling around the room and making new friends.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: This Old Man
There are pretty nice arrangements of favorite songs on this 3-disc collection, but it is published by a Christian organization, so you have  to be a little bit careful and really listen to the end of the every song before using it at story time. This Old Man doesn't have any religious verses, but many of the other non-religious songs add in verses about God. Which is great for Sunday School/CCD teachers, but can be touchy for the public library! Also, this song moves too quickly for me to do the hand motions. (But the hand motions, which I got from here, are perfect.)

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

At the end, one mom stopped me and said that she and her son really like my energy! I am not known, outside of story time, as being all that exciting, but apparently, my onstage persona is appealing. Now if only I could get better at bantering with my audience... I mostly don't say anything, or even know what to say, and sometimes that is awkward.

Flannel Friday: Seven Continents on our Globe

This week's Flannel Friday is a work in progress. I'm slowly pulling together the songs and rhymes I will incorporate into my summer story times, and as much as possible, I'm trying to adhere to the One World, Many Stories theme.

This song, "Seven Continents on our Globe" was inspired by a similar song I saw on It's sung to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," but my lyrics are as follows:

We've got seven continents on our globe.
We've got seven continents on our globe.
We've got seven continents on our globe,
Seven continents on our globe.

[North America] is a continent on our globe
[North America] is a continent on our globe
[North America] is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe. 

Repeat 6 more times - or just stick with one continent, if you're organizing a story time around that part of the world.

I haven't printed them up yet, but the clip art I plan to use when this is finally done is from, Here are the links:

North America
South America

There is also a map though I'm not sure I am going to use it. We'll see. I'll be doing this mainly for kids under 5, so I don't want to overwhelm them!

Don't forget to check out everyone else's Flannel Friday - our host this week is Reading Chick!
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