Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Preschool Story Time (Thanksgiving Theme), 11/16/12

This is the cozy little corner of my story time room that I set up for Preschool Story Time on Friday. (I staged this photo after the fact, but minus the turkey feathers, it looked exactly like this when the kids came in.)

Introduction: We started story time with the hello song, and then I asked the kids to help me figure out the word of the day (on the green poster board in my not-so-great handwriting.) Clearly, our local schools are doing their job, because as soon as I pointed to the word, one little four-year-old called out, "Thanks!" Normally, the preschoolers I see are not yet reading, so this was a surprise. But we still went through and named the letters and it worked out fine. 

Book: Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes, illustrated by Doris Barrette
We started with this short rhyming book because I thought it would spark a great discussion about what we're thankful for. Unfortunately, only two kids really wanted to say anything. One little girl said "kitties" several times, and another little guy (the "Thanks" reader) said he was thankful for his house. The rest were too little or too shy.

Book: Too Many Turkeys by Linda White, illustrated by Megan Lloyd
This book really resonated with some kids and was too long for others. We had some toddlers and twos kind of wander in, and they got restless during this book. It was nice, though, to read a story about turkeys that isn't expressly about Thanksgiving.

Song: Turkey Pokey
This is the Hokey Pokey, but with wings, drumsticks, and tail feathers. It was cute. 

Song: Sing a Happy Song

Activity: Turkey Match

The idea for this has been brewing in my mind for a long time, and I decided this would be a good opportunity to test it out. I found a turkey image on Clker.com, then copied it 6 times in word and altered it so that each turkey had one of the letters in turkey on its chest. I used a template for a tie from Google Images to create the feathers, which I recolored in MS Paint. I added the letters to the feathers in Word as well. When it was time to play the game, I quickly counted up the number of kids in the room and divided up the feathers evenly. Then we sang the following verse, to the tune of You Are My Sunshine: 

Let’s help this turkey
This little turkey
whose feathers all have gone astray.
He needs some friends to help him find them
In time for Thanksgiving Day.

 The kids brought their feathers up when their letter was called. Even the littlest kids did it with the help of their parents. It was great! The game went on a little long, so in the future I might pick a shorter word, but otherwise, it's a really fun game, and not too hard to put together.

Book: The Day Ray Got Away by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Luke LaMarca
I took a different route with this year's Thanksgiving theme and read this quirky little book about parade balloons. There was one little boy who absolutely loved the book. The entire time, he was front and center, pointing and grunting. (He was a bit young to be talking.) The older kids had mixed reactions, but overall, it was a good choice.

Guessing Game: Name the Balloon Shape
I'm working on coming up with new ideas for preschool story time activities, and this was an experiment that went very well. I found some pictures of balloons on Google, then pixellated them using FotoFlexer. I mounted the pixellated version on one side of a piece of construction paper, then the real versions, with labels, on the reverse.  The turkey balloon pictured above was the most difficult one to guess. All the others were way too easy. Still, it was fun, and the kids laughed through the whole thing.

Song: If You're Thankful and You Know It

I looked forward to this story time for weeks, and I was thrilled with how it turned out. I am really looking forward to stepping up my preschool story time game even more in January!

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.
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