Thursday, November 3, 2011

Irish Preschool Story Time, 11/3

This program is the one I mentioned in my Flannel Friday post last week. Unfortunately, because I have a bad cold, and missed two days of work earlier this week, the order of events for this story time was planned in a rush. I also barely have a voice, so singing and reading proved difficult, and I wound up cutting myself short and substituting a craft for the latter part of the story time instead. I could tell most of my audience was disappointed in the quality of the program, but I explained my situation and asked them to be understanding. I can only hope they won't hold it against me in the future.

Here is the original plan, with notes on where I made alterations.

Part I: Story Time

Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

Song: The Colors on the Irish Flag
We sang the refrain, then I put various items on the flannel board under their correct color. The audience was intended to include ages 2 to 5, but included mainly babies and toddlers, so there was a lot of adult participation, but I still think it worked well. I'd use this concept again, but maybe with one of my larger groups where there is more willingness to participate.

Book: S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (2007)
I couldn't find a single preschool-friendly Irish picture book. This wasn't one, either, but it was the best I could do. I only read the rhyming sections. In retrospect, I probably could have read just the letter and what it stood for.

Song: If You're Lucky and You Know It
Just like If You're Happy and You Know It, but with a luck of the Irish spin.

Rhyme: This Little Leprechaun
This take-off on This Little Piggie was well-received. I'll save it for St. Patrick's Day.

Rhyme: Little Leprechaun
I skipped this one because I felt that any up and down movement would make me cough.

Flannel Board Story: Leprechaun Treasure
This was supposed to be a telling of the flannel board story available here.I skipped it, mainly because I didn't get a chance to practice and didn't feel confident enough to do it.

Song: I'm a Little Leprechaun
I only found this one yesterday, and I've already forgotten where it came from. But it was a success. 

Song: Flap, Flap, Flap
Here's what I was supposed to sing, to the tune of Ten Little Indians:
Flap, flap, flap little fairies
Flap, flap, flap little fairies
Flap, flap, flap little fairies
Flap your tiny wings.

Here's what came out, in a chant style:
Flap, flap, flap your wings
Flap, flap, flap your wings
Flap, flap, flap your wings
Tiny little fairy.

We also clapped hands, stomped feet, and nodded our heads. The kids seemed to like it, but I was so mad at myself for forgetting the tune. Still, I want to return to fairies in the Spring, so I will probably use one or both of these again.

Rhyme: Two Sparkly Fairies
This is just like Two Little Blackbirds, but with fairies instead. I skipped it because I worried it was lame.

Flannel Board Song: Five Little Fairies
The library doesn't have this CD, so I am not supposed to use it in story time. Therefore, I sang it myself. The group seemed to like it, but I had the sense they were wondering where I was going with all of this. 

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This
I got a lot of strange looks when I said we were finished and would do a craft, but that's life. I'm sick, and I couldn't continue any further. I feel really bad, because this was in the works for a long time, and it's part of a larger, overarching, city-wide program, but I'll just have to hang onto the materials and plan on using them for St. Patrick's Day, when hopefully I won't be sick.

Part II: Shamrock Craft
I printed out these two simple shamrock crafts from DLTK:
My audience was mostly too young for cutting and pasting, but I had to give them something to do when I was finished after 20 minutes.

One last quick note about my preschool story times. I can't plan them as quickly as my baby and toddler ones. The preschool audience is not as interested in repetition, and they want longer, more complicated stories. They also want to learn. I failed at teaching anything about Irish culture today, mostly because I was sick and had to rush to prepare for this, but also because I'm trying to mass produce story times that need more time and attention. This Winter, I'm planning to move from a preschool story time to a preschool/school-age after school program instead, and I'm hoping that I'll get better at actually putting together a strong, comprehensible program. I'd hate to lose the audience because I'm not bringing my A game.

Now it's time to cover the desk!

Gettin' Crafty Post #5: Beaded Bracelets

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

Today's post is about a really simple craft recommended for ages three and up.

I. Supplies

Plastic Pony Bead Bracelets (from Oriental Trading)

Best Value Bead Bucket (from Discount School Supply)

Paper Bowls

II. Prep
I inherited the bucket of beads listed above from the previous children's librarian at my branch. I learned too late that the beads are a true assortment, with only about half of them actually being big enough for  the bracelets. So the morning before I put this craft out, I needed to sort out the beads that could be used and put them in bowls. This wasn't too bad, except that smaller beads from the bucket got stuck inside the larger ones, and I spent about half the time I was sorting pushing them out using the end of one of the bracelets. 

I definitely recommend buying just pony beads if you want to do this craft.

III. Instructions
I put a sign on the table inviting kids to make their own bracelets. I also included a disclaimer for adults, encouraging them not to allow babies and toddlers to participate. It seemed to work well enough - the little kids who did get their hands on beads were quickly redirected by their grownups. 

The kids who were the right age slid  their beads onto their bracelets into whichever patterns they liked, and then put their bracelets on. I was a little bit concerned that the kids would have a hard time fastening the clasps on the bracelets, but I had no complaints. The only issue we ran into was that we ran out of bracelets. But I have a policy that the craft continues while supplies last, so most latecomers know by now that when things run out, we don't have more. 

With the right beads, this is the easiest school-age craft on Earth, and I have another package of bracelets I plan to use very soon.

Next time: Paper Pizzas.

7 Kids' Books About Music

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Practicing the Piano: But She Does Love Being in RecitalsMoxy Maxwell Does Not Love Practicing Piano But She Does Love Being in Recitals by Peggy Gifford
Known procrastinator Moxy wants all of the glory associated with performing without doing any of the work.
A Crooked Kind of PerfectA Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Zoe loves playing piano, but when her father brings home an organ for her to play instead, she has to readjust her expectations.
The Philharmonic Gets DressedThe Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin
Members of the Philharmonic get dressed and prepare for their performance.
Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but what about Dolores?) (Horace and Morris and Dolores, #2)Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (But What about Dolores? by James Howe
Horace and Morris can carry a tune, but they don't know how to tell Dolores she is tone deaf.
The Secret Life of Ms. FinklemanThe Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman by Ben H. Winters
Rumors about the music teacher's secret life as a rock star lead to an unexpected school performance.
Days Like ThisDays Like This by J. Torres
An all-girl singing group overcomes obstacles in the early 1960's.
Nick and Norah's Infinite PlaylistNick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Nick and Norah meet at a band concert, go on a five-minute date, and spend all night wandering New York City and sharing their life stories.
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