Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby/Toddler Lap Time, 1/13/12

This was originally my story time, and it was nice to be back!

Opening song: Hello, how are you?

Book: Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming (1998)
I didn't make it to page three before I had to shush everyone. I made them all shush with me, too. Twice. I had a headache this morning (still do, since yesterday), and I was having none of this chatty nonsense!

Rhyme: Wiggle Fingers
Someone gave me a huge pile of Highlights High Five magazines, and each issue has an action rhyme in it! I ripped them all out and saved them so now I have some variety when I need it.

Song: Ten Little Icicles 

Song with Stick Puppet: Penguin, Penguin 
I didn't sing this song as written in the sheet music, but instead sang the tune of Brown (or Gray) Squirrel

Song with Stick Puppets: Dancing Snowflakes 

Song: I'm a Little Teapot 
Again, the iPod had a mind of its own, and this time, it cut off the first verse, so the song was shortened. Oy.

Song: Shake My Sillies Out 
Everybody loves this song. Thankfully, the iPod didn't ruin it for us.

Song: There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' In My Heart
We made it mostly unscathed through this song as well. It's a huge parent (and grandparent!) pleaser.

Book: Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett (2010)
The iPod drama almost made me forget this book! But we read it. It wasn't much of a hit, even though Emily Gravett is usually such a good choice. Maybe I needed to explain what a chameleon is.  

Flannel Board Song: One Red Mitten
This song will appear in a future Flannel Friday, so I'll save my comments for then!

Song: ABCD Medley

Song: Chickadee 
The iPod tried to ruin this song, and I actually said, out loud, "Oh no, not during Chickadee, you don't." And we started over.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This
This is definitely my loudest and most involved story time group, in terms of singing and participating. I was glad to see them, and will be just as happy to see them again next time!

Preschool Story Time, 1/13/12

I haven't been working on Fridays, and this normally isn't my story time anyway, but I had the chance to do it today, and for the most part, really enjoyed it! This was a group of about 20 children, ranging in age from just under two to around three and a half.

Opening song: Hello, how are you?

Book: King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (2011)
I've been itching to read this book to a group, and was glad for the opportunity today. I heard some complaints that the illustrations were too derivative of Sendak in some parts, but I still enjoyed it. Anything that blurs make-believe with reality makes me happy. 

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big
Back in December, at a staff development presentation I did, someone suggested making the hand motions in this rhyme more complicated by having folks make their hands bigger, smaller, shorter, taller, etc. in increments, instead of all at once. We tried that today, and it seemed to go over pretty well. 

Rhyme: Fingers
I really was at a loss for another rhyme I felt like doing, so I ended up repeating one from Tuesday. It's easy enough for everyone to try, but I think preschoolers do it best because they have the best motor control in their fingers!

Book: The Queen's Feet by Sarah Ellis, illustrated by Dusan Petricic (2006)
I so didn't plan it this way, but this book turned out to be the perfect bridge between a book about a "king" and a book about shoes. I love it when things come together so well! This story was a little more involved than I think the group was ready for, but they still seemed to mostly pay attention.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot 
My arch-nemesis, aka our new iPod, stopped dead in the middle of this song, so we just kept on without it. Unfortunately, this iPod situation is really messing with my story time momentum, and I felt somewhat awkward from this song on.

Song: Turn Around 
When you're feeling down on a story time, bring in some Hap Palmer. He cheers me right up. I wish I'd thought to do Sammy, that's an even better one for preschoolers.

Song: Hands Are For Clapping
The iPod inexplicably stopped this song on our first try, then skipped half the first verse during the second. I think it has to do with whether the iPod is paused or not when it's plugged into the dock. I'll have to investigate further.

Book: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean (2010)
I am so late in becoming a fan of Pete the Cat. I think the books are often checked out, so I never see them, and it's only because of blogs that I really understood what I was missing. Since I didn't have the tune in mind for the sung parts, I downloaded the recording and played that, but if I repeat this book, say, next week, during my Pre-K class visit, I'll do the singing myself. The recording just doesn't leave enough time for the kids to guess colors or anything like that. But what a great book. Even the message is great!

Book: White is for Blueberry by George Shannon (2005)
This was one book too many. I could have stuck with three and ended with The Wheels on the Bus or something instead. But it's hard to gauge thirty minutes when I'm so used to doing twenty. Also, someone had put their jacket in front of the clock, so I had to use the iPod as my timekeeper, which caused a super-awkward ending as I struggled to find the time and see if it was close enough to 10:30 to be done. (It was.)

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Flannel Friday Valentine's Day Extravaganza: Five Little Kisses

I really thought I wasn't going to come up with anything in time for today's Flannel Friday Mushy Gushy Valentine's Day Extravaganza. But at the eleventh hour, inspiration struck, and I came up with a cute flannel rhyme about kisses!

For this one, I'll use one of my family sets. (It would probably work best with the ones that are just faces, rather than the ones with full bodies, since the kisses will have to be big enough to be seen from the back of  the room.) Each time I "kiss" someone, I'll add them to the flannel board and place the pair of lips beside them.

 I have five kisses that I want to give away. 
Who should I kiss this Valentine's Day? 
I'll kiss Mommy!

I have four kisses that I want to give away.
Who should I kiss this Valentine's Day? 
I'll kiss Daddy!

I have three kisses that I want to give away.
Who should I kiss this Valentine's Day?
I'll kiss Grandma!

I have two kisses that I want to give away.
Who should I kiss this Valentine's Day? 
I'll kiss Grandpa!

I have one kiss that I want to give away.
Who should I kiss this Valentine's Day? 
I'll kiss you!

(After this last one, blow a kiss to the audience.)

I think this rhyme is versatile enough that you could kiss five of anything. Farm animals. Zoo animals. Other family members I haven't mentioned. Snowmen. Penguins. Babies. It might be fun to do one "serious" run-through with the family characters, and then another with a random collection of things to ramp up the silliness. I also plan to pair this flannel board with Nancy Tafuri's brand-new picture book, All Kinds of Kisses.

Another song I thought of using with the family set is this one from, to the tune of Love Somebody, Yes I Do!

Love my mommy, 
Yes I do.
Love my mommy, 
Yes I do. 
Love my mommy, 
Yes I do. 
I love my mommy 
and she loves me too.

I think my groups might be a little tired of all my family songs and rhymes lately, though, so I might just stick to the kissing one and save this second song for a rainy day. ;-)

Today, Anna is hosting. Also check out the list of past and future #flannelfriday hosts at Anne's blog, and visit us on Pinterest and Facebook. A very happy Friday to all!

I Have A Dream After School Program, 1/12/12

Today I surprised myself by having a really successful story time inspired by the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The intended age group was preschool to grade three, and the actual audience consisted of a toddler, five preschoolers, and two kindergarten or first-graders.

Opening Song: Shake My Sillies Out
Opening with this song was a spur-of-the-moment decision based on the fact that three of the kids were running like wild animals around the story time room. The kids instantly stopped acting crazy and actually did the movements of the song, in unison, with no hesitation, which amazed me. And it got enough of  their wiggles out that we actually made it through five books!

Book: Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Brian Collier (2001)
I really wondered how well this book would resonate with younger kids, but a four-year-old excitedly pointed at the cover and said, "That's Martin Luther!" which I thought was pretty good, even if she missed the rest of his name. The kids were silent and open-mouthed through the entire thing and impressed me by really seeming to understand the importance of MLK's message. I did mention before reading that his birthday is coming up, and that he taught us about showing love, kindness, and friendship to others. I made sure not to dwell too long on his death, since that concept seemed a little upsetting to them, and instead used a song to segue into the rest of my books.

Song: May There Always Be Friendship
I had such trouble finding songs and rhymes that would suit this theme, so I wound up writing one of my own. It's based on May There Always Be Sunshine, a song which has been recorded by Raffi and Jim Gill and I'm sure many other children's musicians. I used the same tune, but changed the words, and added in some sign language.

I was feeling creative, so I decided to make a video of myself performing the song. I'm also including the words with links to the ASL signs. (Pardon the video quality; I just used the webcam built into my laptop!)

May there always be friendship.
May there always be peace.
May there always be love.
This is my dream.

We are all different,
But we're also the same.
Let's be kind to each other.
This is my dream.

I had no idea how this would go over, but it turned out that every child in the room could do the signs, and eagerly copied my every motion. I went over all of  them ahead of time, except for dream, which I forgot, but we picked that one up when we got to it, and they all got it right away.

Book: Yoko by Rosemary Wells (1998)
I wanted to include a book that talked about diversity but also had a decent plot, and this was a great choice. I think Rosemary Wells can be hit or miss, but I've never had anything but a positive response to this book.

Book: Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka (1999)
I had never read this book aloud to a group before, and I was worried that they might not understand who was speaking each word without any tags for the dialogue. I was wrong, though. They loved this book, and the ending got this great excited laugh out of  the whole group. It also gave me the opportunity to sing a favorite song from my Girl Scout days.

Song: Make New Friends
I found a version of this song on Google that had some hand motions, and then sort of combined it with my own memories of how the song goes. I could tell we had a couple of Brownies in the audience because they knew all the words!

Book: All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka (1994)
There was something very calm and quiet about this story time that made this book just fit perfectly. This was our fourth book, and it seemed like we'd been at it forever, but the kids were so attentive. I think maybe it was the colors in the illustrations that drew them in.

Song:  Love Grows
This song is pretty similar to Make New Friends, but no one seemed to mind. They all did a wonderful job with the motions.

Book: We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene, illustrated by Paul Meisel (2001)
Our copy of this book used to have a CD with it, but it has apparently been stolen, so I used Lisa Monet's version of the song instead. I sang along with the chorus, but otherwise let the music and illustrations speak for themselves. 

Song: Monkeys on the Bed
One little girl requested this and I just couldn't say no! It actually made the perfect final song.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This
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