Friday, January 27, 2012

Australia Day After School Program, 1/26/12

Afternoon story times keep me on my toes. It doesn't seem to matter if it's Monday or Thursday -  if it's in the afternoon, it's going to be unpredictable. To my huge surprise, today's group was ideal. I think I had about 10 kids total, some of whom were babies and toddlers outside of the intended age group, but most of whom were ages 4 to 6. Many of these kids had been in the library for over an hour by the time story time started, and they were running around and bouncing off the walls. So I knew right away that I was going to keep things as active as possible. Here's how I accomplished that, and also managed to leave out the song that inspired the story time in the first place.

Opening Song: Shake My Sillies Out
I think this actually works quite well for an opening song for this age group. The kids love it, and  the ones who are anxious to move around get all that wiggling done right up front. It's also one I don't get sick of, even though I've sung it at practically every Tuesday morning story time for the past 6 months!

Book: Can You Cuddle Like a Koala? by Jim Butler (2003)
This is one of my favorite story time books, and one of  the things I've learned from sharing it so many times is that my hands have to be free to make motions along with the kids. So I used my music stand to hold  the book and modeled cuddling, swinging, leaping, etc. for the group. They got really into it, and I think they loved acting the book out so much that they were sold on anything else I had to offer. Also, four of  the kids could actually wink like the owl, and it was the most adorable thing ever.

Song: Cuddly Koalas
This adorable song is perfect for this book! I love making the possum eyes and watching the kids try to figure out how to do it themselves.

Book: Hunwick's Egg by Mem Fox, illustrated by Pamela Lofts (2005)
This is another favorite that I read a lot over the summer for the One World, Many Stories theme. I always ask the kids to guess what kind of animal Hunwick is before we start, and this time around the most popular response was "bunny," followed closely by "mouse." They laughed like I was the silliest person alive when I told them it was in fact a bandicoot. Also, the mystery of that egg and what might be in it fascinated them, but they didn't seem at all disappointed to find out the egg never hatches. Mem Fox is such a skilled author. Everything she writes is so great, and so story time friendly!

Song: A Kangaroo, A Kangaroo
This song was a Google discovery this morning when I realized, in a panic, I had not yet planned this story time. It's to the tune of Rum Sum Sum, which we sing a lot anyway, and includes the frill-necked lizard, which I thought was neat.

Book: Wombat Walkabout by Carole Diggory Shields, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2009)
This starts out as a countdown from six wombats on down, but then derails into something else, which I like better. The kids found out what a dingo was, and also got to hear great Australian phrases like "billabong" and "swag bag." The book gave definitions for those things, but the kids generally didn't ask what things meant. They did, however, think I was ridiculous when I called that bird a kookaburra! The look on their faces clearly said, "You're a kookaburra, Miss Katie." Which is why we clearly had to do a kookaburra dance next!

Song: Kookaburra
Another Google find from this morning was the little dance we did to this. I thought maybe it would be too basic, but it was just right for this energetic bunch who were so eager to dance around and try something new.

Book: Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef by Mary Anne Berkes, illustrated by Jeanette Canyon (2004)
God bless Finding Nemo for teaching these kids about clown fish and other undersea creatures. I was amazed that a three-year-old knew both "seahorse" and "dolphin" and I think they enjoyed having the book sung to them. There are some ideas for hand motions to accompany each verse, but it was easier by this point to just read it straight without anything extra, so that's what we did.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This
I meant to end with Taba Naba by The Wiggles, and would have loved to, but I could tell the story time was done, so I didn't push it. And I'm glad I didn't. It was a really great session, and I can only hope for the same next week, when the theme is Groundhog Day!

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