Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby/Toddler Lap Time, 4/27/12 (Arbor Day)

I am writing this post days after the fact, so this is probably not the exact story time I presented on Friday. But it's still pretty close. The theme was trees, because it was Arbor Day.

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Fall is Not Easy by Marty Kelley (1998)
I read this in the Fall and got no real response to it. This time, the kids liked looking at the various patterns for the leaves and the adults got the punchline much more quickly than in October. 

 Song: One Seed by the Laurie Berkner Band

Song: Head and Shoulders

Book: We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow, illustrated by Bob Staake (2010)
This book is kind of sappy, but the illustrations are big and bold. Most of the kids seemed interested.

Rhyme: Chickadee Tree 
This was a new rhyme. The ending got no response, which I sort of expected. I might leave the ending off next time, and just do the three motions for the first three birds.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot 
Book: Hello, Goodbye by David Lloyd, illustrated by Louise Voce (1998)
Flannel Board Song: Here Stands a Robin
I did this with three birds rather than five - and got a much better response.

Song: Chickadee

Song: Mr. Sun

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Book Spine Poetry: Poem #3

On this last day of National Poetry Month, I present my third and final book spine poem. I think it's the strangest of the three, but oddly enough it's my favorite. Click here for Poem #1 and here for Poem #2.

(Titles are transcribed below.)

On My Honor
Tadpole's Promise
Nothing But the Truth
When You Reach Me 
Tadpole Rex
You Will Be My Friend!

Books Used in this Poem
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus
You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pre-K Class Visit, 4/27/12

I went to visit yet another Pre-K classroom yesterday morning. This time, I thought they were studying farm animals, so I prepared a farm-themed story time. Then I checked my email and learned they were working with zoo animals instead! So I quickly changed my theme. I was beyond disappointed that May I Bring a Friend? seems to be suddenly missing from my library's shelves, and even more disappointed that Bruno Munari's Zoo was checked out, but I went with my second choices, which I'll list below.

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?
This group was a bit more serious and shy than the others I've visited this month - even by the end of the hello song, they were still a bit standoffish and uncertain of me.

Song: If You'd Like to Read a Book
This song broke the ice. They all recognized the tune, and one little boy joyfully said, "Hey, those are rhyming words in that song!"

Book: I Took My Frog to the Library by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Blanche Sims (1990)
I decided not to skip the page about the card catalog this time. It didn't faze the kids in the least. Their only comment? "This book is way too short." The story also sparked an unexpected conversation about deer. 

Song: I'm Going Down to the Library
This group had the best recall of the story of any class I've read it with, so singing this song was fun. 

Book: A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead (2010)
The kids had read this one, and all of them called out the ending well before it happened. Again, they complained that it was short. I'm not crazy about this book, and I don't think I'll bring it to any other classes.

Song: Rum Sum Sum
I was going to do a version of Book Bear, Book Bear, but I quickly realized there was no room for them to stand up and move around in their small carpeted area. So I switched to this song. A few of these very sophisticated four-year-olds said, "Oh, I did this at camp when I was little." My guess is that this was last year, but you know, three is little when you're almost five.

Book: Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett (1970)
This book was on display right beyond  the chair I sat in for my visit, and some of the kids had read it, but their teacher said not everyone had, and that they were eager to look at it. So... read it we did. And the kids laughed themselves silly, but were also gravely concerned about the state of the dress worn by the porcupine. (Oh, and at least one of them said, "All these books are short!" Note to self - this group likes long stories.)

Song: These Are My Glasses by the Laurie Berkner Band
They liked this song, and one little boy said, "Hey, my grandma knows this song!"

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

I really didn't think this was my strongest story time, but the classroom teacher said I did a great job and that I should consider teaching! So that made me feel good. Next time, I will choose longer books and confirm the requested theme further in advance!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Spine Poetry: Poem #2

Today, I am sharing my second 100 Scope Notes inspired book spine poem. (If you missed it, click here to read my first attempt.)

(The titles are transcribed below.)

I, Lorelei
The Dancing Pancake
Dancing Feet! 
Dancing in Cadillac Light
Dancing the Ring Shout
Dancing Home

I, Lorelei by Yeardley Smith
The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli
Dancing Feet! by Lindsey Craig, illustrated by Marc Brown
Dancing in Cadillac Light by Kimberly Willis Holt
Dancing the Ring Shout by Kim L. Siegelson
Dancing Home
by Alma Flor Ada

Thursday, April 26, 2012

After School Read-Aloud and Craft (Bugs Theme), 4/26/12

There has been no attendance at all at this program the past few weeks, probably because of Spring Break. Most of the regulars were back today, so I had about 9 kids. This time, I read the books first, then invited the kids to do the craft and talked with them while they worked. I have to work on how best to set up the room to facilitate that kind of interaction more often.

The Read-Alouds: Bug Books

Book 1: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)

Book 2: Ride, Fly Guy, Ride! by Tedd Arnold (2012)

Book 3: Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk (2007)

The Craft: Band-aid Butterflies 
(This idea was inspired by Storytime Katie's Sick & Get Well Soon story time.)

I. Supplies 

  • Colorful Band-aids
  • Tissues
  • Blue construction paper 
  • Markers 
II. Prep
There was no real preparation for me to do, other than creating an example and providing the materials.

III. Process 
I didn't realize until I started writing this post that I actually did this craft backwards from the way I've seen it on Katie's blog and on Pinterest. I used tissue for the butterfly's body and a band-aid for the wings. The kids really enjoyed it. One boy who was around 4 or 5 told me he made a butterfly family "and a brother and a sister!" Another little girl, who usually needs a lot of help, did this one almost entirely on her own, and announced halfway through, "This butterfly is the baby." All of  them used slightly different approaches to the antenna and some even colored on the tissues to give the bodies some color. It was a great success, and I will definitely file it away to try again.

The Display: More Buggy Books

Baby Lap Time, 4/26/12

I will be doing outreach during the Friday Lap Time session, so someone else is covering it for me. Therefore, I am just posting about today's, which was one of the best ones we've had.

Opening Song: Say Hello

Rhyme: Cheek Chin

Fingerplay: Two Little Bunnies (based on Two Little Blackbirds)

Song: All the Little Babies
Some of the babies right around 12 months old giggle hysterically during this song.

Book: Leap Back Home To Me by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Matthew Cordell (2011)
I like to read these sweet parent/child bonding stories to the baby groups because the parents always say "awww" and the kids are young enough that almost everything is interesting to them. Older kids are easily bored by this book, but the babies were into it. 

Song: Tony Chestnut

Song: Eyes Nose Cheeky Cheeky Chin

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Book: Hoot, Howl, Hiss by Michelle Koch (1991)
I love all the opportunities for making sounds in this book - today's parents and caregivers did an exceptional job, especially when it came to sounding like monkeys!
Rhyme with Puppets: I'm a Little Bumblebee
I ask the parents to lift the babies up when we say "fly away." It's awesome to look around the room and see all these laughing little ones being lifted into the air.  

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

Flannel Board: Five Little Birdies (based on Five Little Fairies)

Songs with Shaker Eggs: 

Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them (Goodbye Version)

6 Kids' Books About Brothers

Nerd CampNerd Camp
by Elissa Brent Weissman
Gabe tries to hide the fact that he is attending a gifted enrichment camp in order to convince his new stepbrother Zack that he is cool.

Fudge-a-Mania (Fudge, #3)

by Judy Blume
Fudge's antics drive his older brother, Peter, even crazier than usual at the family's summer house.
Troublemaker Troublemaker 
by Andrew Clements
Clay gets in trouble just to impress his brother Mitch, but when Mitch mends his ways, Clay must learn how to leave his troublemaker past behind.

Odd Girl In

Odd Girl In 
by Jo Whittemore
Alex Evins and her prankster twin brothers are forced to attend character-building classes after their father learns of a botched prank involving fire.
Elisa in the Middle Elisa in the Middle 
by Johanna Hurwitz
Elisa Michaels gets used to being the middle child between big brother Russell and new baby brother Marshall.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #2) Rodrick Rules
by Jeff Kinney
"Wimpy kid" Greg Heffley finds ways to cope with the cruelty of his older brother Rodrick.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 4/24/12

After the success of Friday's themed story time, I tried one more this morning just to kind of build my confidence back up and get a sense of the new structure I'm trying. This time, the theme was bears. It was originally going to be size, but there were so many better bear books, it just seemed like the logical choice. From the opening song through the last book was exactly 20 minutes, and the additional songs brought it to roughly 25 minutes.

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Book: The Three Bears by Byron Barton (1991)
This week I chose longer books than normal, and was completely blown away by how attentive everyone was. I think the adults were quieter because the story had a plot to follow, and the kids always love Byron Barton's illustrations. I think some of the oldest kids in the room - threes and fours - probably also knew the story and enjoyed hearing it again.

Song: When Goldilocks Went to the House of the Bears
I originally learned this song when I worked in a nursery school during college. I have since also seen it in Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes: And Other Action Rhymes by Zita Newcome. I think there are multiple ways to sing it, but this is my version:

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears,
What did her blue eyes see?
A [bowl] that was big, a [bowl] that was medium, a [bowl] that was tiny, you see. 
She counted them - one, two, three! 

In subsequent verses, change bowl to chair, bed, and then bear. When you count the bears, growl after each one - a big growl for the biggest bear, a normal conversational growl for the medium one, and tiny squeak of a growl for the baby. The rest of the time, show the different sizes with your hands. (This is why we started with This is Big, Big, Big.) There is a tune for this song available in this video which is similar to but not exactly the same as the tune I use. I think it also works if you just chant it.

Action Rhyme: Little Bear, Little Bear (based on Book Bear, Book Bear)
I noticed this morning that my Tuesday groups are getting smaller and older. Kids who a year ago were still just babies are now walking and talking, and babies who used to sit and stare at me now participate in everything, and imitate every motion I introduce. So I tried this action rhyme, and found that twos and threes like it just as much as the preschool and kindergarten students. It's also a nice way to quiet down for the next book. 

Book: You and Me, Little Bear by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Barbara Firth (1996)
I had never read any of Martin Waddell's books in story time except for Owl Babies, but I wanted to try this one because it has a plot, but isn't too terribly wordy. I had some trouble keeping everyone's attention all at once for the duration of the entire story, but there were moments, especially near the beginning and the end, where the room was virtually silent, and the kids were just glued to the book.

Song: If You're A Bear and You Know It (based on If You're Happy and You Know It) your claws
...clap your paws your teeth
...roar out loud (this probably should have been growl, not roar, but I only realized that after singing it three times)

Song: I'm a Little Teapot 

Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle (1967)
This book can sometimes be tough to read to a group because they all try to read it with me, and it results in just a cacophony of loud voices. I combated this problem by really emphasizing the rhythm, and nodding my head along to encourage the adults to say it with me at the same pace. It worked like a charm, especially in the last session when I'd finally mastered the technique. 

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: You Are My Sunshine

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

I enjoyed this story time, and felt very relaxed through all three sessions. I didn't have that usual feeling of stage fright, and I never had to raise my voice except to get the group's attention to start the third session. I think I'm going to try doing a few more sessions like this, where the books take center stage, rather than the singing or props. This might mean no Flannel Friday for a while, but I'm not going to have time to make flannel boards anyway, so it seems like the logical time to take a break and try going back to the most basic basics.

Baby Lap Time, 4/19/12 and 4/20/12

I wasn't crazy about my first book in the Thursday session, so I chose a different one on a similar concept for Friday. I've also decided to stop awkwardly interrupting the flow of the story time to collect shaker eggs by moving the shaking portion to the end. It seemed to work pretty well, and I've had some nice compliments about this program from some of the parents. I'm going to skip the commentary because I'm behind and have another story time left to post, but here are the two sessions, for the sake of comparison.

Thursday Session 

Opening Song: Say Hello

Rhyme: Cheek Chin

Fingerplay: Two Little Bunnies (based on Two Little Blackbirds)

Song: All the Little Babies

Book: Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle (2007)

Song: Tony Chestnut

Song: Eyes Nose Cheeky Cheeky Chin

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Book: If You're Happy and You Know It by Annie Kubler (2001)

Songs with Shaker Eggs: 
Rhyme with Puppets: I'm a Little Bumblebee

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

Flannel Board: Five Little Birdies (based on Five Little Fairies)

Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them (Goodbye Version)

Friday Session

Opening Song: Say Hello

Rhyme: Cheek Chin

Fingerplay: Two Little Bunnies (based on Two Little Blackbirds)

Song: All the Little Babies

Book: My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall (2009)

Song: Tony Chestnut

Song: Eyes Nose Cheeky Cheeky Chin

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Book: If You're Happy and You Know It by Annie Kubler (2001)

Rhyme with Puppets: I'm a Little Bumblebee

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

Flannel Board: Five Little Birdies (based on Five Little Fairies)

Songs with Shaker Eggs: 
Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them (Goodbye Version)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby/Toddler Lap Time, 4/20/12

On Friday morning, for the first time in weeks, I left story time with a genuine smile on my face. I always smile, whether I'm truly happy or not, because that's how I interact with small kids, but the adult chatter and general rudeness was really starting to weigh on me. So on Thursday night, I sat down, reevaluated the usual format I use for story time and made some changes. Then Friday morning, I printed out a brief handout with some quick story time guidelines - the first of which asked adults not to talk -  and when I went into story time, I made the following announcement:

"Wow! Huge group today! I just have to ask all of our grown-ups not to talk during story time. I can only talk so loud, and if we get a lot of voices going, I just disappear!"

This comment got a laugh from a few of the regulars, and some of the talkers actually nodded their agreement. And it worked! I had relative quiet from the adults, and as a result, I and the kids had a great story time.

And no, I didn't pick the quiet/loud theme entirely on purpose. I chose it mostly because the last time I did it, it was a huge success, and the books associated with it are ones I'm really comfortable with. So... here we go:

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?

Rhyme: Wiggle Fingers 

Book: Quiet Loud by Leslie Patricelli (2003)
This is the best toddler book I have found. Some of the kids even knew it by name!

Fingerplay: Two Little Blackbirds (Soft and Loud version)

Song: Head and Shoulders

Book: Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells (1973)
This was not a hit. And it's uncomfortable saying "Why are you so dumb?" to a group of babies, but I think only because no one reacted.

Noisy Nora, Noisy Nora
I found this rhyme via a Google search, which led me to this post from LM Net. Here are their original words:

Noisy Nora, Noisy Nora, 
Why so loud? Why so loud?
Some of us are thinking.
Some of us are reading.
Quiet down, quiet down.
I kept everything mostly the same, but repeated "some of us are reading" twice in the first verse, then changed it to thinking, and finally sleeping, making appropriate motions to suit the words. Everyone sang along, so I think they enjoyed it.

Flannel Board: Let's Make a Noise

Book: Shhhh by Kevin Henkes (1989)

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Chickadee

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Five Reasons I Became a Reader

I have been an avid reader for most of my life, so it always puzzles me when I hear people say they don’t read. What would I do if I didn’t read? I can’t even imagine it. But when I do stumble upon those people who don’t read for pleasure, it makes me reflect on why I turned out to be the kind of person who does. These are the reasons I’ve come up with:
  • My parents both read to me when I was little. From The Poky Little Puppy and Eloise to The Boxcar Children, and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", to Betsy-Tacy and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, my parents read to my sister and me right on up to our teens. Both my parents read with a lot of expression, and that really engaged me in every story we shared. I think it was also significant that we read together for the fun of it, even after my sister and I both knew how to read on our own. We watched a lot of TV in our family, and my father worked long hours that weren’t always conducive to being home at bedtime, but I was never told there wasn’t time to read, and I always looked forward to what would happen in the next chapter.
  • I’ve always been surrounded by books. In addition to reading to me, my parents also made sure I had my own collection of books. I can remember being only four years old and receiving the Weekly Reader books, and the Serendipity books in the mail. We always went to the library when I was small, and when I turned 10, it was the first place I was allowed to visit without my parents. We also made trips to bookstores - both the little Waldenbooks in the nearby shopping mall and the larger bookstores we passed on bigger shopping trips to larger cities. I can’t remember a time when I chose a book I was not allowed to have - I think our only limitation was on the number of books, or the maximum amount we could spend on a given day. I had my own bookshelf, which I remember organizing and reorganizing. I even tried getting my sister to play library with me, forcing her to check the books out and bring them back on time. I think it was especially important that I had my own books - they weren’t the family’s books, or even to be shared with my sister. She had her own, and I had my own, and sometimes we swapped, but we always knew whose was whose. I really felt a sense of pride about owning all those books, and I think I read more just because the books were there.
  • I aspire to write. I distinctly remember being six years old and telling my father, “Daddy, if you can read it, you can write it.” I assume I learned this nugget of wisdom from my first grade teacher (who was also my third grade teacher). She introduced me to Writer’s Workshop, this great program where kids write, revise, and then “publish” a final copy of their work. This is where I first learned how to properly punctuate dialogue, and where I truly began to understand how stories function. As I got older, my desire to write grew stronger, and I started keeping track of different quotations that meant something to me. In college, I took creative writing classes - and often my reading assignments for those classes were the only ones I managed to complete on time. Even now, when I read children’s books, there is a part of me that is always inspired to come up with my own stories. I don’t always do it, but even if I’m never anything more than “aspiring” I think the fact that I enjoy putting pen to paper and creating my own characters and plots keeps me interested in books.
  • Books provide escape. Middle school was a difficult time for me, but I was always able to find solace in a book. I can remember carrying Thames Doesn’t Rhyme with James and the first Baby-sitters Club Super Mystery around with me in my backpack during middle school, ready to pull them out at a moment’s notice. They were especially handy during less structured times like study hall and lunch, when bullies were out in full force and adults weren’t always on hand to discipline them. Somehow, putting a book in front of my face, even if I was reading the same passages over and over again, eased my anxieties and made middle school torment bearable. 
  • I became a librarian. This is a very chicken-or-the-egg type question - am I a librarian because I love books, or do I love books because I’m a librarian? Honestly, in my case, I think librarianship is what has given me the permission to read children’s books as an adult. I stopped reading for pleasure almost altogether once I went to college, and I think it was because I felt silly continuing to read kids’ books when my classmates were quoting philosophy texts. But once I made the decision to pursue librarianship, all bets were off. I fell in love with all the children’s books I had missed during my late teens and early twenties, and haven’t looked back since. 
What has shaped your reading life?  Why do you read? Comment below to share your experiences.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pre-K/K Class Visit, 4/19/12

Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

Book: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child (2000)
I still don't know what to make of this book. I've read it to four and five year olds a couple of times and each time I've been met with strange, mixed responses. These kids were completely silent through the entire thing, and they laughed not even once, despite the tongue-in-cheek tone of the entire thing. I was starting to think the humor was too subtle for them, but when we got to the end, suddenly there was an outcry for me read it again. I didn't have time, but it was clear they liked it. So... maybe their silence was just a sign of how engrossed they were?

Song: One Seed by the Laurie Berkner Band
I like this song, and I wish I had more opportunities to use it. I'll definitely try to remember to make it part of the story times I do for classes in May and June. 

Book: Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson (2011)
I was planning to take a break from this one, but my other groups this month loved it so much that I had to share it once more. As with every other group I've read it to, these kids also guessed that Otto would find his original book at the library. What is it about this storyline that leads every last child to predict the same thing?  What are we teaching them about stories that leads them to that conclusion? So interesting.

Action Rhyme: Book Bear, Book Bear
I love this rhyme, and so do the kids. I'm thinking of using it on a regular basis and just changing "book bear" to whatever character we're focusing on for that day.

Book: This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt, illustrated by R.G. Roth (2006)This book had the kids laughing all over themselves at the different sounds the musical instruments made. One child had heard of Bojangles, and they all got a kick out of Fats Waller. 

Song: These Are My Glasses by the Laurie Berkner Band
Interestingly, this group didn't love this one nearly as much as the other classes. Maybe it's a little too simple for kindergarteners. 

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

All New Top 100 Picture Book and Chapter Book Polls: My Top 10 Picture Books

Betsy Bird, the New York Public Library's Youth Materials Collections Specialist, and the writer of School Library Journal's Fuse #8 blog, is hosting The All New Top 100 Picture Book and Chapter Book Polls. Last week, I posted my Top Ten Chapter Books. Today, I am sharing my Top Ten Picture Books.

Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak
All the World
by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear
by Don and Audrey Wood
Noisy Nora
by Rosemary Wells
Bark, George
by Jules Feiffer
Miss Nelson is Missing
by Author
Mrs Wishy-Washy
by Joy Cowley
Ira Sleeps Over
by Bernard Waber
Imogene's Antlers
by David Small
Best Friends for Frances
by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban

Thursday, April 19, 2012

6 Kids' Books About Babysitters

Like Pickle Juice on a CookieLike Pickle Juice on a Cookie
by Julie Sternberg
Eleanor's August is worse than pickle juice on a cookie when she finds out her babysitter, Bibi, is moving away.
Mary PoppinsMary Poppins
by P.L. Travers
Mary Poppins brings magic, imagination and adventure when she is blown by the east wind to the Banks household. 
Ivy and Bean: Take Care of the Babysitter - Book 4Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter
by Annie Barrows
Ivy and Bean plot to prove that Bean's older sister is a terrible babysitter.
The Manny FilesThe Manny Files
by Christian Burch
Keats Dalinger idolizes the family's new male nanny -  or "manny" - but his sister Lulu keeps careful track of every mistake he makes, hoping to get him fired.
The Babysitting Wars (Candy Apple)The Babysitting Wars
by Mimi McCoy
Kaitlyn is the top babysitter in her town until a new girl comes along and threatens her success!
Mary Anne Saves the Day (The Baby-Sitters Club, #4)Mary Anne Saves the Day
by Ann M. Martin
Mary Anne struggles to keep the peace amongst her friends in The Baby-sitters Club, and also faces an emergency when a child falls ill during a sitting job
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