Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #50

Peppe the Lamplighter. by Elisa Bartone, illustrated by Ted Lewin. Published 1993. Caldecott Honor 1994.

Peppe the Lamplighter is an interesting glimpse into Italian-American culture and history. I loved the names of each of the kids in Peppe’s family. The use of light in the illustrations is really beautiful, especially on the page where Peppe’s sister Assunta lights the lamp. I also love the way Peppe lights each lamp in the name of someone he loves. I enjoyed the parallels between his lamp-lighting and the way people will light candles for others in church.

When I Was Young in the Mountains. by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Diane Goode. Published 1982. Caldecott Honor 1983.

The simple text of this book gives a nice glimpse into the author’s childhood, highlighting the many ways her life might be different from the lives of contemporary kids. I love the way the illustrator’s earth tones color scheme evokes the mountains themselves, and I thought the kids’ faces were especially endearing. I recognized Diane Goode’s name from a much more recent book - Cinderella Smith by Stephanie Barden. I feek silly for not realizing sooner than she was a Caldecott Honor illustrator!

Ox-Cart Man. by Donald Hall. illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Published 1979. Caldecott Medal 1980.

The text of this book is pretty bland and straightforward, but the illustrations are interesting in their resemblance of early nineteenth century folk art. This book makes a nice introduction to the time period for very young kids, or for an early elementary school unit on New England history. I like the way everything comes full circle in the end, getting ready for the whole cycle of the year to start again. It would make a nice companion for Apples to Oregon, which shows another slice of American history, and since the author is a poet, it might also work well for poetry units and poetry month activities.

Grandfather’s Journey. by Allen Say. Published 1993. Caldecott Medal 1994. 

The paintings in this book are well-done, but I think their subdued colors cause the book to be overlooked by kids just browsing the picture books at my library. Adults are the most likely patrons to pick it up, usually to share in a classroom. The text is comprised mostly of simple declarative sentences that tell the facts of Grandfather’s life. Personally, I find them kind of boring, and can’t imagine reading them aloud to a child and truly engaging that child. The story might work in a specific academic situation, serving as an entry point for discussing cultural identity, but on its own, I’m not sure it’s very kid-friendly.

See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toddler Lap Time, 10/25/12 & 10/26/12

This story time had a day and night theme, and this time, I even announced the theme to the group!

Song: Way Up in the Sky

Song with Puppets: When Cows Get Up in the Morning
I have never used this song at story time before, though I have always known it. It worked really well with this group.

Book: Hello, Day by Anita Lobel

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Mr. Sun
Book: What the Sun Sees by Nancy Tafuri

Moon Moon Moon (Thursday session); Mrs. Moon, based on Mr. Sun (Friday session)

Book: What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri

Moon Moon Moon (Friday session)

Five in the Bed

Book: A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na

Song with Puppets:

ABCs (Thursday session)

Twinkle Twinkle

Sing a Happy Song

Songs with Shakers:

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Drop-In Story Time, 10/23/12

Book: Let’s Go For a Drive by Mo Willems
This book is long for toddlers, but it has a lot of call and response stuff, and the characters are well known, so I gave it a shot. It was a smart move. Everybody loved it! 

Song with ukulele: Let’s Take a Ride in an Automobile (from Sesame Street)

Book: Sputter Sputter Sput by Babs Bell, illustrated Bob Staake
I wondered how this book would go over, and I think it was kind of a flop. The text is just a bit too stilted to make sense. The illustrations are perfect, though.

Book: The Wheels on the Bus by Annie Kubler
You can never go wrong singing The Wheels on the Bus, with or without a book.

Letter of the Day: Letter J

Songs with Ukulele: ABCs/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/Baa Baa Black Sheep

Flannel Board Rhyme: Signs of Fall
I wrote this rhyme last year and never used it, so I tried it out. It was good, but there were people sitting behind me, who insist on leaning against a wall, so it was hard to keep the rhythm of the rhyme and make sure everyone could see the flannel pieces at the same time.  

Song: Brown Squirrel
Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It

Song: Chickadee

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Outreach Round-Up, 10/17/12 - 10/26/12

Rec. Center Cooperative Play Program: Wednesday, 10/17

Public School Pre-K: Wednesday, 10/17

Catholic School Pre-K: Thursday, 10/18

Catholic School 5th Grade: Thursday, 10/18
  • Reader's Theater: The Hidden One
  • Notes: The kids loved this, though it was a bit below their reading levels. They all wanted to look at The Rough-face Girl afterward, since it's a picture book of the same folk tale.
Catholic School Kindergarten: Friday, 10/19

Catholic School 1st Grade: Friday, 10/19

Public School Pre-K/KAfter Care: Tuesday, 10/23

Catholic School 5th Grade: Thursday, 10/25
  • Short Story: “Will” by Adam Rex (from Guys Read: Funny Business)
  • Notes: This is the second time I've read this story to this grade level. This time, after I closed the book, one of the boys shouted, "That was awesome!" 

Public School Pre-K: Friday, 10/26

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Preschool Story Time, 10/19/12

I am really anxious to improve upon my preschool story times to really make them more supportive of early literacy in a pro-active way. That's why, for this week, I tried some new things. I'm pleased to report that they all went very well!

Flannel Board: HAT
I asked the kids to help me identify each letter, then I modeled sounding it out. Since most of the kids are a little young yet to be sounding words out on their own, I didn't linger over the reading too much, I just sounded it out twice, then said, "The word is hat! And you helped me figure it out!"

Book: Do You Have a Hat? by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Geraldo Valerio
Before we started reading, I asked the kids if they have any hats at home. Most did, and they were happy to share about their baseball caps, winter hats, and cowboy hats. Then we read about the different hats worn by people in the book - all of whom are famous historical figures and talked about whether we did or did not have hats like theirs at home. (We decided that Francisco de Goya's candle hat was not safe.)

Rhyme: Hats on Everyone

Activity: Whose Hat is That?
This started out as a flannel board, but when the color copy machine broke down, I had to change tactics. I wound up hunting down black and white clip art  images of various types of hats (firefighter, astronaut, baseball, cowboy, etc.) and printing them to our staff printer. Then I printed two versions - one labeled, and one unlabeled, and stapled each version of each hat on either side of a black piece of construction paper. I held up the unlabeled side to initiate conversation, asking the kids to tell me who might wear each hat. Then when we had figured it out, I turned it around to show the words for each hat-wearer. My very last image was of  the hat belonging to Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat, which led us right into our next book.

Book:  The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Boy, is this book long. The intended age group loved it, but the toddler siblings and random walk-ins who kept coming in and out of the room really made it hard for them to listen. I had to stop several times to ask adults to gather their little ones, and  even then, it was difficult. The kids liked the book, though, and most of them agreed they would not tell their mothers about the cat's mischief.

Song: Hat, Coat, Pants, and Shoes
There is a definite difference between ages 3 1/2 to 4 and ages 5 to 6. Kids under five love this song; kids older than that still do it, but they don't giggle nearly as much. (It was a hit with these preschoolers.)

Book: Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
The kids loved this one, especially the few who had read it before and knew when to shake their fists and say "Tsz, tsz, tsz!"

This was the best preschool story time I have done this Fall. I think the others were fine, and just as fun for the kids, but this one was more intentionally educational and intentionally supportive of print awareness, letter recognition, and print motivation. I have just learned that I will be assuming full responsibility for all programming from birth to 5th grade starting in mid-November, so my hope is to develop a routine for preschool story time especially, where the sessions will look similar and focus on more of these early literacy skills.

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baby Lap Time, 10/18/12

Rhyme: Cheek Chin

Rhyme: This is Big Big Big
Book: Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker (1999)

Song: Where is Big Toe? 
I almost always sing this song at the end of story time, and it made me smile when one of the nannies, who is especially on the ball, said, "Already?" when I announced the next song. I love it when they pay attention - and that'll teach me to deviate from routine!

Song: All the Little Babies

Flannel Board Song: Mary Had a Little Lamb
Mary had several little lambs. Their fleece was white as snow, red as a rose, blue as the sky, and green as grass.

Song: Tony Chestnut

Book: The Wee Little Woman by Byron Barton

Song with Puppets: Do You Know the Little...?  
I changed "mission bay" - the name of the library whose website I got the song from to the name of my neighborhood, which the parents all loved.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Song: ABCs

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It 

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Pajama Story Time, 10/17/12

Book: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
This is my new favorite preschool read-aloud. I love this book, and so does everyone else I've shared it with. 

Book: The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston and Tomie dePaola
This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I used to read it to myself over and over again in the mornings before anyone else in the house was awake. I still love that page where  the mice move into the blanket and chew up the shooting star. The kids seemed to like it, too, though I made sure to explain that the quilt belonged to two different girls, something that was not always clear to me.

Song: Sing a Happy Song

Rhyme: Two Little Teddy Bears

Book: Flora's Blanket by Debi Gliori
Every family can relate the bedtime hunt for a favorite toy or blankie, even though the kids in this group claimed it has never happened to them. 

Song: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star 

Song: Moon Moon Moon
Book: A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Stoeke
I have never read Minerva Louise books in story time because I always think the humor is too subtle. This one is one of the more straight-forward ones, and it did get some good laughs.

Song with Puppets: Goodnight by the Laurie Berkner Band

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Drop-In Story Time, 10/19/12

Book: This is Not a Pumpkin by Bob Staake
This is a crowd-pleaser. Even the adults thought the ending was fun.

Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins Round
This was a huge, huge hit. They loved it last year, and they're still enjoying it this year!

Book: Corn Aplenty by Dana Meachen Rau, illustrated by Melissa Iwai
I have to stop reading paperbacks at story time. I can't hold them up!

Rhyme: Corn Grows Tall

Book: Apples, Apples by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, illustrated by Christopher Santoro

Rhyme: Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Letter of the Day: Letter I
Songs with Ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song: Sing a Happy Song

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

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Chickadee
I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flannel Friday: Three Ice Cream Cones

I had no real plans for a Flannel Friday post this week until I realized the letter of the day for my next drop-in story time was "I", and I didn't have much material. I started searching Google for songs and rhymes to go along with popular "I" concepts, and before long, I discovered a suggestion at Preschool Express called "Flannelboard Sundaes." For some reason, I decided I preferred cones to sundaes, so I immediately started looking for clip art to make my ice cream cones. I didn't print it out right away, however, so when the color copier in the library went down, I was out of luck. I'm always intimidated by cutting things out of felt, but I really want to share this letter I song, so I decided to bring home a black and white template (printed on the still-functional black and white printer) and a few pieces of felt and try my hand at creating the pieces myself.

I still wish I could get the hang of cutting around curves on paper, let alone felt, so these don't look quite as ice cream-like as the template I used, but I'm definitely happy enough with them to use them at story time. I don't have a flannel board at home, so the background for these pictures is the carpet on the stairs at my house.

 One, two, three little scoops
Four, five, six little scoops
Seven, eight, nine little scoops
 On three ice cream cones!

Mollie is hosting Flannel Friday at What Happens in Storytime this week! For all things Flannel Friday, don't forget to visit the official website.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Action Song: Hat, Coat, Pants & Shoes

I have been looking for new action songs and rhymes to use as stretchers between stories on some of my Pre-K class visits, since I've been doing so many of those. I got some great suggestions from the folks on the Flannel Friday Facebook page, and Lisa's suggestion to revisit "Good old Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" actually inspired an idea of my own as well. 

I often use the version of Head and Shoulders from the Wee Sing baby CD. The tune is London Bridge, which everyone usually knows, and I enjoy singing that tune more than the original tune for the song. This week, I'm doing two different story times about things we wear - one for a Pre-K class (which happened this morning) and one at my branch's own preschool story time. When Lisa suggested singing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes - and better yet, singing it backwards -  I had a sudden burst of inspiration. Why not sing about articles of clothing, instead of body parts? 

So I sat down and came up with this:

t [hands on head] 
coat [hands on shoulders] 
pants [hands on knees] 
and shoes [hands on feet]  
Pants and shoes 
Pants and shoes. 
Hat, coat, pants and shoes 
Glasses [hands make rings around eyes] 
Earmuffs [hands over ears]!

Then I started thinking about how unexpected it would be to sing about earmuffs, and how much the kids might giggle at that surprise. I wondered, were there other silly things I could put at the end of the song? 

My list, as of now, is as follows: 
  • Bow tie [pretend to tie a tie]
  • Scarf [similar to bow tie, pretend to tie it around neck]
  • Visor [shield eyes]
  • Bunny Ears [put two fingers on either side of top of head]
  • Fairy Wings [flap arms]
  • Mittens [wiggle fingers]
  • Umbrella [pretend to hold an umbrella]
  • Wristwatch [tap wrist]
When I shared this song with the Pre-K group this morning, they looked at me a little uncertainly after I sang about the earmuffs, but I told them to watch out, because I was very silly and I might say something different next time. They giggled at wristwatch, laughed harder at bow tie, and then lost it when I put my fingers over my head and said, "Bunny ears!" The key, I think, is to really linger on the second syllable of glasses to build up the anticipation. That way, they all get their hands in glasses position and they are all paying attention by the time I say whatever silly surprise word I have in mind. I think it's also possible to vary the song based on the seasons, holidays or just different types of attire.

For example:

  • Summer: Visor, tanktop, shorts, flip-flops... sunglasses...
  • Winter/Snow: Hat, coat, snowpants, boots... ski goggles...
  • Rain/Spring: Rainhat, raincoat, pants and boots...
  • Dressing Up (Girls): Headband, jacket, dress, and tights... 
  • Easter: Bonnet, dress, tights, and shoes... 
  • Baseball Season: Cap, jersey, pants, and cleats... 
  • Football Season: Helmet, jersey, pants and cleats...

Not all of these would be appropriate for a public library story time, necessarily, but the nice thing about songs like this is they can be adapted for use by parents at home, too!  I think I might make variations of this song a regular part of my preschool and pre-K story times - at least until I or the kids get sick of them!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Drop-In Story Time, 10/16/12

Book: Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett
This was a little bit long for my babies and toddlers, but the majority of kids were with me at the end because when I asked what the caterpillar turned into, everyone called out butterfly right away. 

Song: One, Two, Three Caterpillars
This is a song I wrote based on Ten Little Indians, where you count fingers, then put them together to make a butterfly. Simple, and good for adults to do with babies on their laps.

Book: Princess Baby by Karen Katz
When I read this to myself, I thought nothing of it, but when I read it aloud, I realized it's kind of a how-to for being spoiled. The kids seemed mesmerized by  the bright colors, though, and the page where the baby is shown dressed as a buttercup and her other pet names was my favorite.

Song: There is Clapping in the Castle 
I like this song a lot, and normally I don't change the words at all when I share it, even when I don't use the recording. Today, though, I decided "mirth and merriment abound" was a bit much for the toddler crowd, and I changed the end of the first verse to, "Can you hear that clapping sound?" Then we stomped and snapped for the other two verses. 

Book: Golden Bear by Ruth Young, illustrated by Rachel Isadora
I realized when I started to read that I had no idea if  the child is a boy or a girl. I have since decided it's a boy. 

Rhyme: Two Little Teddy Bears
I love to write new rhymes based on Two Little Blackbirds. This is a recent one:

Two little teddy bears
sitting on my bed.
One named Lucy, 
One named Fred.
A big hug for Lucy.
A big hug for Fred.
Goodnight, little teddy bears,
lay down your sleepy heads!  

Letter of the Day: Letter H
Songs (with ukulele): ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep 

Song: Sing a Happy Song 

Song: Brown Squirrel / Gray Squirrel 

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

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Preschool Story Time (Digging Theme), 10/12/12

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here

Book: The Diggers by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Daniel Kirk
This was a crapshoot, but I'm glad I took the chance. The kids loved this one.

Song: One Seed by the Laurie Berkner Band
This group typically does not like to sing, but they seemed to like learning the motions to this one.

Book: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Some toddlers wandered in during this story, and they lost interest really quickly, but the big kids were completely engrossed. 

Song: Shake My Sillies Out

Book: Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
This was the biggest hit of the session. They didn't get all the jokes, but they loved talking about the illustrations.

Song: These Are My Glasses

Toddler Lap Time, 10/12/12

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here

This session was extremely chaotic. One of the moms helped her son get into my shaker egg bag, and all the kids ended up grabbing them. She also moved my books and my set list, which threw off the momentum of the whole thing. I'll have to make a lot of changes for my remaining two Toddler sessions this Fall.

Action Rhyme: Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Song: Way Up in the Sky

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

Action Rhyme: Here We Go Up, Up, Up

Book: The Bridge is Up by Babs Bell 

Song: Ring Around the Rosie
For this one, we just turned our hands instead of going around in a circle. Then we all fell down!
Book: The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri

Song: Brown Squirrel

Book: A Good Day by Kevin Henkes

Song: Sunny Day

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider
Song: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle / Baa Baa Black Sheep 
Songs with Shaker Eggs:

Toddler Lap Time, 10/11/12

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here

This week was my first week ever doing Toddler Lap Time. Most of the families were folks I knew from when their kids were in baby lap time, so there wasn't the usual stage fright, but there were definitely some bumps in the road. This post is about the Thursday morning session. Since the Friday afternoon session was pretty different, I'll post that one separately.

Action Rhyme: Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Song: Way Up in the Sky

Book: The Bridge is Up by Babs Bell 

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

Action Rhyme: Up and Down
Book: Sky Above, Earth Below by Joanna Cotler
Rhyme with Puppets: I'm a Little Bumblebee

Song: Ring Around the Rosie
For this one, we just turned our hands instead of going around in a circle. Then we all fell down!
Book: Subway Ride by Heather Lynn Miller
Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider
Song: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle
Song: Sing a Happy Song
Songs with Shaker Eggs:

Outreach Round-Up, 10/4/12 - 10/12/12

Holy outreach, Batman! It's been a busy couple of weeks, and there's more to come. Here's what I shared during my recent class visits:

Catholic School 5th Grade: Thursday, October 4
*The teacher requested a biography. 
Book: Bill the Boy Wonder
Notes: This was a huge hit. The girls, especially, were fired up about the injustices in Bill's career. 

Catholic School Kindergarten: Friday, October 5
Book: George and Martha
Notes: The best part of this visit was when the kids were standing in line at checkout and one of the boys was fooling around. I said, "Be careful," and he said, "Yeah, or I could fall and break my tooth and get a gold one like George." I love it when they make connections, even if they are misbehaving.

Catholic School 5th Grade: Thursday, October 11
Book: The Dunderheads
This didn't get the laughs I expected, but about half the class was still really into it, and one of the girls wanted to see the book again when I finished  reading. I think if these had been fourth graders, it would have been perfect.

Nursery School Class: Friday, October 12
Books: Applesauce Season, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar
Rhyme: Way Up High in the Apple TreeFlannel Board: Mr. Scarecrow's Jack O' Lantern
Songs: One, Two, Three Caterpillars, These Are My Glasses, Shake My Sillies Out 
Notes: As she left, the teacher told me this was the perfect story time. I didn't feel that way, but it made me happy that she enjoyed it that much. The kids loved Arabella Miller and The Little Old Lady, but not so much Applesauce Season. The flannel board was iffy - they were just a bit too old for it. 

Nursery School Class II: Friday, October 12
*The teacher requested a community theme.
Books: Say Hello, The Little Bit Scary People, Policeman Lou and Policewoman Sue, Trashy Town
Rhyme: Elevator (alternate version) 
Songs: Who are the People in Your Neighborhood?, Shake My Sillies Out, Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Firetruck
Notes: I was not confident about this story time, and it didn't go that well. The kids were engaged, and they especially liked the two community helpers books, but their teacher texted through the whole thing and it annoyed me. I'll have a better idea of what to do with them next time, though. The Little Bit Scary People was a flop, which makes me sad, because I love Emily Jenkins and it's my favorite of her picture books.

Catholic School Kindergarten: Friday, October 12 
Book: The Tub People, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
Notes: My sister adored this book when she was little, and I was right when I guessed that kindergartners would like it. I hadn't planned to read a second book, but the teacher saw Mike Mulligan in my stack for a later story time and made a special request, so I went ahead and read that, too. 

Catholic School First Grade: Friday, October 12
Book: Owl at Home
Notes: This was great! I think I probably read this years ago, but I didn't remember it. I was looking for another read-aloud that would be as fun as George and Martha or Ling and Ting and knew instantly that this would be it. The kids got really into it, and they especially loved talking about the moon following owl home. 
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