Thursday, July 12, 2012

Moon-Themed "On the Road" Story Time #1, 7/12/12

This summer, as part of our summer reading program, children's librarians in my system are traveling to each other's branches to perform story times. My theme is the moon, and today was my first of the four visits I have scheduled. I went to the library where Lucy from In the Children's Room works, and had a wonderful time with her story time crowd!

Here is what I shared with the kids:

Opening Song (with ukulele): Hello, how are you?
I played the hello song in C instead of A! This might not sound like an accomplishment, but for me it was.

Book: The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Tracey Pearson Campbell (2006)
What a delightful surprise it was to see everyone enjoy this book so much. On pages where I thought the poetry was confusing, I used the illustrations to keep the kids interested, pointing out the shape of the moon and the clock face, for example, and showing them the raccoons stealing veggies on the garden wall. I will definitely be using this book again at my own story times, and when I go "on the road" again later in the month.

Song: Moon Moon Moon 

Song (with flannel board and ukulele): Aikendrum
I redid my Aikendrum flannel board for two reasons: the pieces were too small, and none of the kids or nannies could identify spaghetti or meatballs when I held them up individually. For this set, I didn't bother making a ladel, but I made broccoli for the hair, two cookies for the eyes, a cheese nose and a banana mouth. They were all instantly recognizable foods, and the kids knew them all. I also managed to play the entire song without the chords in front of me, and I only made one mistake.  (I played this one in A - which is why the hello song was in C.)

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up

Book: Higher, Higher by Leslie Patricelli (2009)
I used to fear this book's small number of words. Now I embrace the lovely refrain and have so much fun building up the "high five" at the book's climax.

Song: Five Little Martians 

Remember One Little Finger? Remember One Little Monster? Well, Five Little Martians is yet another piggyback song on the same tune.

Five little martians
Five little martians
Five little martians
Beep! Beep! Beep!

One little martian
went home to bed
Now that martian's
fast asleep!

Book: Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith (2012)
This book is beautiful and poetic and flopped terribly at my own story time. This group seemed to enjoy it, however, especially because it had a bunny.

Song (with pop stick puppets): Stars Shining Bright
I love this song, and the kids loved it too. It was great to have some preschoolers who could name their colors without adult help. 

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby 
I added in an additional verse this time - do the twist. I wasn't crazy about it, but it was nice to have some variety. 

Book: I Want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton (1988)
This is another one that flopped with my group but was successful today. I think it worked well in this case because it had the context of the specific moon-centric theme. I also think it helps when the group is smaller and the kids can really see the pictures.

Song (with flannel board): Five Astronauts Went Up in Space 

Song (with ukulele): Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

We did a craft at the end of story time - rocket launchers, inspired by this post on Pinterest. I'll make a separate post about the craft itself, once I've been to all four libraries.

Circle Time, 7/10/12

Circle Time is a new program my branch library is offering this summer in an effort to attract more preschoolers. We have a preschool story time, but it is often overrun by babies, so the preschoolers either don't come, or get lost in the sea of infants. I decided the best way to guarantee us an audience of the right age was to ask folks to sign up ahead of time. So far, it looks like that was a good idea. 28 kids registered, and 16 showed up for the first session, which took place Tuesday afternoon. I took forever deciding what to actually do with this group, and as it turned out, what I thought I was planning to do was not what I wound up doing.  My original thought was to do themed story times each week, but when I started struggling to put together a books theme, I abandoned it all together and instead pulled together the most fun and interesting repertoire I could imagine. The result is below: 

Hello Song #1: Hello, [Name]
To the tune of Goodnight Ladies, I sang hello to each child by name, finishing each verse with "We're glad you're here today." All the kids were wearing name tags, so the hello song was super-quick, and they seemed to really like hearing their own names sung out loud in front of  everyone.

Hello Song #2: Hello, how are you?
Once we said hello to everyone individually, we then sang the usual story time hello song, mostly to give me a chance to ease into things. It also got the kids participating, rather than just listening to me sing.

Book: Shout! Shout it Out! by Denise Fleming
I haven't had great luck with this book in the past, but I wanted something interactive that would help us break the ice. It worked exactly as I hoped it would. Some kids were right with me from the start, but all of them were with me by the end! 

Book: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd (1986)
I loved the way this book went over at the story time I did for the camp last week, so I decided to try it again. I was happy to see the kids and their parents all joining me for the various motions, and I was even more thrilled by the laughter I heard when the pumpkin head went "Boo boo!" 

Books: Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee (2011)

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Song: The Banana Dance (by Dr. Jean)
This song is the greatest thing ever! I learned it on Monday night in preparation for Tuesday and haven't stopped singing it since. The video below includes all the verses; we only did the ones for banana, corn, mango, and avocado this time.

Book: Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? (2011) by Susan Shea, illustrated by Tom Slaughter
This is another great book for promoting interaction.  The kids got a kick out of laughing and saying "Noooo!" at every silly suggestion. Some of them even remembered to say yes to the last one, about whether babies could grow up to be big kids like them.

Song: Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands
I did just the first verse on my own then asked the kids for other movements we could try. I got everything from jump and dance to "car" (we pretended to turning a steering wheel), "sing" (we did the ASL sign for singing, which I knew, thankfully, from Sesame Street), and "bus" (we turned our hands like we do for The Wheels on the Bus.) I was impressed by their creativity and my ability  to think on my feet. 

Book: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (2010) by Eric Litwin and James Dean
Pete the Cat worked his magic for our final book - he's the best!

At the end of the actual story time part of the session, we put on the bubble machine and played some Laurie Berkner, while I set out the craft, which was paper wristbands based on the ones I posted about back in February.

All around, this was a hugely successful program that made me feel like a rock star. My only question now is how I will find more books and activities for next time that will keep the excitement and fun at this same level.

6 Kids' Novels About Artists

The Plain JanesThe Plain Janes
by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
A secret gang of teen artists stages "art attacks" to add excitement to their boring lives as high school students in this graphic novel.
by Karla Oceanak
In his notebook, Aldo Zelnick collects interesting vocabulary words and draws his own cartoons. (Dumbstruck, which I have reviewed, is part of this same series.)
Saffy's Angel (Casson Family, #1)Saffy's Angel
by Hilary McKay
Saffy, the daughter of two wacky artists, uncovers a plethora of family secrets, including the fact that she is adopted.
by Andrew Clements
Clay, a talented artist, has to learn to stay out of trouble after the older brother he admires returns from jail with a changed outlook.
Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will TravelEllie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel
by Ruth McNally Barshaw
Ellie records the unhappy, but humorous memories of her summer camping trip with her annoying cousins.
Twice Told: Original Stories Inspired by Original ArtworkTwice Told: Original Stories Inspired by Original Artwork
The stories in this collection are based on photographs. Pairs of authors were assigned the same photo to see how their stories would be similar or different. Includes stories by beloved YA authors Sarah Dessen and John Green.
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