Sunday, January 27, 2013

Here We Go! Toddler Lap Time, 1/25/13

 Here We Go! Toddler Lap Time, 1/25/13 
As with last week, the two Toddler Lap Time sessions were quite different. This week, there were two reasons. One was that almost everyone who registered for the Thursday session showed up, so it was a big group, while the Friday group had less than half the expected number. The other was that I let one of the moms from the Thursday session borrow one of the books I read (Truckery Rhymes) so I had to find a replacement. I also have a hard time doing the same story time twice, so I have a feeling they will never be exactly identical. Here is what I shared with Friday's group:

Book: Little Tug by Steven Savage

Song: Row Row Row Your Boat

Book: Flying by Donald Crews

Rhyme: I’m a Little Bumblebee

Book: The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz

Songs with Paper Plate Steering Wheels: 

Song: Shake My Sillies Out 

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big 

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.

Here We Go! Drop-In Story Time, 1/25/13

  Here We Go! Drop-In Story Time, 1/25/13 

Book: Train Man by Andrea Zimmerman, illustrated by David Clemesha
The adults got very excited about this book, and I could see them trying to help their kids see better and pointing out different things in the illustrations. It was a new one for me, and I thought it was just okay, but I wanted to try something other than Freight Train.

Song with ukulele: Little Red Caboose
This was a surprise hit. We sang it at normal speed, then very slowly, and very quickly. Thankfully, it only requires me to know two chords and I could switch back and forth quickly enough to make it fun. 

Book: Sail Away! by Donald Crews
I always have good luck with this one, except for the ending. In the past, I have tried changing the last word, "Moored!" to "Home!"  but this time I stayed true to the original text and followed it up with, "They made it home. And that is... the end." I still hate saying "the end" but sometimes it's the only thing that triggers an audience reaction.

Song: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Books: Cars! Cars! Cars! by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by David A. Carter
I had planned to read Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car, but this book was returned the night before story time, and I made a switch. This turned out to be a much better choice as a third book. There were a lot of babies, so the rhyming text was a plus, and the same kids who were excited about trains lost it over cars, too.

Rhyme: I'm a Windshield Wiper 

Flannel Board Rhyme: One Lonely Bus Driver
I used Auntie Madge and the bus from Seven Snazzy Aunties, and four of the kids from The Doorbell Rang to quickly put together this flannel board set. As usually happens with flannel boards, the kids were into it and the adults seemed confused. 

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

Song: Shake My Sillies Out  

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big 

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.

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 1/24/13

  Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 1/24/13

Welcome Message: 
This week's welcome message commented on our weather and the theme of our story time. 

Dear Friends, 

I am glad to see you on such a cold day. We will warm up with a story time about soup. 


Miss Katie 

The kids read right along with me, and the only words that stumped them were "friends" and "about." 

Activity: What's Cooking? 
Each child was handed a paper bowl containing an assortment of felt letters and a plastic spoon. The idea was for them to fish out a letter, then make the letter sound and name a food beginning with that sound. I expected to have about ten kids when I planned this activity, but with only four, it quickly got out of hand as they pulled out whatever letters they liked and essentially made up their own words, or refused to name any words at all. We did manage to make a list, but they were not into it, and I found myself questioning whether this is even an appropriate activity for story time - maybe it's more like something they'd do at school.

This story time has been running very long, which has annoyed the parents, so I stuck to just one story this week - the "Birthday Soup" story from Little Bear. The kids wouldn't open their books, then decided not to use them. I read the story, and asked them to look for clues in the illustrations that would tell them what each animal had brought for Little Bear's birthday. A couple of them did it, but again, it was too basic for them, and they were bored.

Activity: I Feel Silly So I Jump In My Soup
The final activity was based on the Laurie Berkner song, I Feel Crazy So I Jump In My Soup. I wrote each of the kids' names on a sentence strip, then let them tell me what they would do if they could jump in a big vat of soup. Their answers were very descriptive, and it occurs to me as I write this that they might have done better if they could have written them down themselves. They liked the silly premise, but what they really wanted to instead was write on the dry erase wall. And since I wasn't prepared for that, they sort of lost interest. I was going to read another story from Little Bear, but decided to just let them go color. I wasn't feeling great

This story time continues to puzzle and surprise me. This week's group was made up of two girls and two boys, all of whom already know how to read above grade level. They were clearly bored by the activities because they were too easy, and I didn't feel like I knew how to make them any more challenging or interesting. (I asked one of the girls as she was leaving what she might like to read in future story times, and she said Magic Tree House - I have no idea how to make that work.) In this story time, more than any other, I feel real pressure from the parents to teach their kids something. Though the parents didn't stay in the room, I still felt as though they were judging the story time, and then the kids started getting wild, I worried they would think I wasn't doing a good job. (I have already had one parent quiz me extensively on the purpose and content of this story time, and I keep waiting for that to happen again.) I think over the next few weeks I have to concentrate on a few things, namely:
  • coming up with ways to include kids who can read, even when the non-readers are present, and vice versa
  • making the story time less academic and more fun, while still focusing on learning and literacy 
  • figuring out how to keep the "read-along" component without boring the kids (the read-along part is the main draw for the parents, but so far, it doesn't really work for the kids, mostly because the stories we read are too long.)
It's a tall order, but I still think it will work once we figure out the bugs.

Here We Go! Baby Lap Time, 1/24/13

 Here We Go! Baby Lap Time, 1/24/13 
I'm still getting a handle on this story time. The regulars so far are very reserved moms who smile shyly from their seats but seem reluctant to participate. Many of them approach me individually and say they love the activities, so I know they're into it, but the vibe during the story time is so far one of awkwardness. This will probably change as their babies get a bit older (many are 2-3 months right now!) and they learn the songs I repeat each week. 

Rhyme: Cheek Chin

Book: Boats by Byron Barton

Song: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Song: Tony Chestnut

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby

Song: All the Little Babies

Red Truck, Yellow Bus by Scholastic Inc.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Rhyme: I’m a Little Bumblebee

Song: Where is Big Toe?

Rhyme: Mother and Father and Uncle John

Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Rhyme: Hey Diddle Diddle 

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It

Edited to add: We also read Truck Duck by Michael Rex, but I'm not sure where it fell in the line-up.

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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