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)
...show your claws
...clap your paws
...show 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.

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