Friday, February 8, 2013

1 2 3 Count with Me! Preschool Story Time, 2/8/13

 1 2 3 Count with Me! Preschool Story Time, 2/8/13

This story time looks so promising on paper, but the kids did not enjoy it. Most of them seemed bored, and the ones who weren't bored were out of their seats and in my lap (and too young for this story time.) I think part of it was the books - they were disappointed that I had Chicka Chicka 1-2-3 but not the original, and they didn't even like this Pete the Cat! Eggs 1 2 3 was too hard for them and they couldn't cooperate well enough to sing Over in the Meadow with me. I also read way too many books.  Next week, I have to rethink the structure of this story time, especially if there are going to continue to be so many toddlers.

Book: Chicka Chicka 1-2-3 by Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson, and Lois Ehlert
This book is nowhere near as great as the original, but apparently Monday is the 100th day of school so the kids got excited about that.

Book: Ten Things I Love About You by Daniel Kirk
I thought this book would work because of its similarities to the Elephant and Piggie books, but I was wrong. Half the kids got up and and walked out of the room! I think part of that is just lack of discipline - the adults tell them they're free to come and go - but they also just didn't connect with the book. I was disappointed.

Song: Shake My Sillies Out

Book: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean and Eric Litwin
I don't understand a group of kids that doesn't enjoy Pete. Only a couple would chant with me, and the rest seemed bored bored bored.

Book: Eggs 1 2 3: Who Will the Babies Be? by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Betsy Thompson
This was probably the book that went over the best, but they got bored halfway through, possibly because one of the little boys who I think is too young to be there kept getting up to say, "Mommy Daddy and my mommy and daddy mommy mommy daddy." And his nanny refused to do anything about it.

Song with ukulele: Over in the Meadow
I played this for kindergarten and first grade today, and I used the poster shown in the photo to help them keep up with me. They loved it more than I expected, but this group sat like stones and said nothing. One mom awkwardly tried to clap along, but even she was looking at me like I don't know what I'm doing. Trust me, ma'am, this stuff works at other times! 

Book: Birdsongs by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
This one I'm taking on class visits, I think, because it's great, and it suffered in this story time by being last. I hadn't really planned to read it, but I thought it might redeem the session somehow. I was wrong.

It's hard to keep kids' attention after school on Friday, but it's still better to have kids who are restless than to not have any preschoolers coming to story time. Friday is the only day these kids are not in other activities, so it's what we've got to work with. Next week, I'll look for more interactive things and maybe only read three books.

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.

Flannel Friday: Musical Instruments

Since late August, I have been sharing a letter of the day with each of my drop-in story time groups. As of Tuesday, I have made it all the way through the alphabet, and today I started over again. Over the weeks, I learned that some letters are trickier than others, and that sometimes you have to be a little bit inventive to have enough quality material to share. Today, I want to share one of the strategies I used in order to fill in some of the gaps.

When the letter V came up, I instantly thought of the word violin, but I couldn't find very many violin songs or rhymes that would work for story time. Therefore, I wrote my own, inspired in part by Lloyd Moss's Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin. I printed out five copies of a photo of a violin to use on the flannel board, and wrote the following accompanying text.

One violin plays a solo. Zin! 
Two violins play a duet. Zin! Zin! 
Three violins play a trio. Zin! Zin! Zin! 
Four violins play in a quartet. Zin! Zin! Zin! Zin! 
Five violins play in a quintet. Zin! Zin! Zin! Zin! Zin! 

As I placed the violins on the flannel board, I asked everyone to play a pretend violin and make the Zin! sounds with me.

I didn't really think about using this flannel board again until I did either a music theme or the letter V came up again, but then I found myself stumped again for letter X. Pirate Rex's Xs was one good idea, but I needed at least one more. So I thought about words that begin with X, and of course, one of them is xylophone. By changing two words in the text I wrote about the violin, I now had an instant xylophone flannel board.

One xylophone plays a solo. Plink!
Two xylophones play a duet. Plink! Plink!
Three xylophones play a trio. Plink! Plink! Plink!
Four xylophones play in a quartet. Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink!
Five xylophones play in a quintet. Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink! 
Basically any musical instrument will work with this same pattern, as long as you can come up with a reasonable sound for the instrument to make. Piano, keyboard, triangle, saxophone, and clarinet are just a few of the instruments that come to mind. I also  think it would be fun - especially with preschoolers or early elementary kids - to combine different instruments to make the duos, trios, quartets and quintets. Here's a possible example:

One violin plays a solo. Zin!
One violin and one drum play a duet. Zin! Blam!
One violin, one drum and one saxophone play a trio. Zin! Blam! Doodily doo! 
One violin, one drum, one saxophone and one triangle play a quartet. Zin! Blam! Doodily-doo! Ding! 
One violin, one drum, one saxophone, one triangle, and one trombone play a quintet. Zin! Blam! Doodily-doo! Ding! Baroom!

It would be neat to have a set of sounds and a set of instruments already established so the kids could put them in any order they wanted and change up the combination of sounds. I can also imagine the kids getting silly with different motions associated with each instrument. For little ones, I'd probably stop with a quintet, but there would also be no reason not to continue on with sextet, septet, octet, etc.

I plan to use this idea this April when I focus on a music theme during Jazz Appreciation Month. 

This week, Flannel Friday is hosted by Courtney at Miss Courtney Meets Bobo. For all things Flannel Friday, check out the official website.

1 2 3 Count with Me! Toddler Lap Time, 2/8/13

   1 2 3 Count with Me! Toddler Lap Time, 2/8/13

Book: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Rhyme: Dance Ten Fingers

Book: Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker

Song: One, Two, I Love You

Book: Counting in the Garden by Kim Parker

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up

Song: Shake My Sillies Out

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Songs with Foam Stars:

  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • One Little, Two Little, Three Little Stars
  • There’s a Star Upon My Head

The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Song: Chickadee
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.

1 2 3 Count with Me! Drop-In Story Time, 2/8/13

1 2 3 Count with Me! Drop-In Story Time, 2/8/13

Book: Build a Burrito by Denise Vega
I didn't feel confident enough to read the Spanish, so I just read the English words. The kids seemed to like it, though none of the adults were even pretending to listen.

Song: One Little, Two Little, Three Little Fingers 

Book: One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Jane Chapman
One little girl in the front said, "Miss Katie, Miss Katie, I HAVE this book!" She is the only one in the room who seemed to like it.

Song: Five Little Ducks
They got really into this song, much more so than any group in the past.

Book: Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
This book dragged a little bit, but I think it would be perfect in a smaller group of three-year-olds. I am going to hang onto it to bring to the rec. center in a couple of weeks.

Song: One, Two, I Love You

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up

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

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby

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, 2/7/13

 Read-Along Story Time, 2/7/13

Well, last week was great, and this week.... was chaos. One specific child, who is a known behavior problem, came to the story time today and through the course of the 20 minutes we were reading, he stomped on the wooden steps, ran laps, pushed the kid sitting next to him, cackled loudly for no reason, and smacked me on the rear end (several times.) I didn't feel right leaving a room full of kids in order to take him to his grown-up, who was sitting outside with his younger sibling, but I did tell her what happened when story time was over. She didn't do much, and the kid cried and said he didn't do anything, so I'm not sure what will happen next time. But I was hugely disappointed that the entire story time was basically ruined. We also had some moms with toddlers who insisted on coming into the story time even though it was boring for the kids. I can't really force them not to come in, but it was basically not successful for the target age group because of one child's behavior and  the restlessness of two fussy toddlers. 

Opening Rhyme
Last week, starting with an opening rhyme was great. This week, it didn't work. We did "My Hands Upon My Head I Place" - and some of the kids were with me, but I didn't have it memorized that well, and it didn't have the same flow as last week's rhyme.

Welcome Message 
Today, I wrote my message with chalk on black poster board to sort of model what our activity would be. It got cut off in the image above, so here is the text again:

Dear Friends, 

Welcome to story time! Today we will read a book together called I Can Write. Then I will read you a story. We will also learn the Banana Dance! 


Miss Katie 

We did another choral reading of a story I wrote. Between the boy who was fooling around - and by this point, encouraging others to do the same - and good readers who skipped ahead, this was pretty out of control, and I got these looks from the moms of the toddlers who seemed confused as to why we were all reading at once. But this is the point of the story time. I don't think it needs to be 100% perfect or in control, if the kids are having fun. We do plenty of other activities at this story time that if the read-along portion is a little bit wild and crazy sometimes, then so be it.

Since our theme was writing, this is the book I wrote for us to read. It can be downloaded here

Picture Book Read-Aloud 
I read Arthur Writes a Story by Marc Brown. The kids were not into it, and they did not want to discuss it afterward.

Banana Dance
This is a Dr. Jean song that I first learned this past summer. Some of the kids giggled a little bit, but they were not nearly as enthusiastic about this song as they are about Hat, Coat, Pants, and Shoes. Go figure.

Writing with Chalk 
I gave each child a piece of black posterboard and put out bowls of sidewalk chalk. They got really into drawing with the chalk- and I saw everything from a "cereal monster who is all wet" to Valentine hearts to stars with letters inside them. Everyone got to take their masterpiece home, and most of the kids were eager to tell me about their pictures. This was a great ending to an otherwise stressful program. 
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