Friday, May 10, 2013

Concepts: Numbers Drop-In Story Time, 5/10/13

 Concepts: Numbers Drop-In Story Time, 5/10/13

Book: Daisy 123 by Peter Catalanotto
I wanted this to work. I asked  everyone to make a dog sound with me after every page. Only two or three adults actually did it, and therefore none of the kids did. I seemed to be the only one in the room who liked the book at all. 

Song: Numbers Are Our Friends 
I have to start using this song more regularly. All the nannies have forgotten it! Still, it's catchy and the second time through was much more lively than the first.

Book: Four Fur Feet by Margaret Wise Brown
I thought this rhythmic, repetitive book would be a hit. It was a flop. I'm not sure why. Maybe just this group's particular mood today. 

Song: Four Red Cherries
I don't particularly like this song, but everyone else enjoys it, so I use it every now and then. Today it seemed like a perfect opportunity to talk about the number four. 

Book: Five Green and Speckled Frogs by Priscilla Burris
We sang this book, and it was the only one that kept the adults and the kids interested. Everyone wanted to borrow it after story time, but someone grabbed it right after the goodbye song, so anyone else had to place a hold! 

Song: Monkeys on the Bed 
This brought down the house. It's nice to have something so consistent in my repertoire.

Letter of the Day: W
  • Rhyme: Wiggle Fingers
  • Flannel Board Song: Wash the Cars
    I wrote the words to this simple song which can be used as a flannel board and a movement song. The kids seemed to have mixed feelings about it, but if they'd been a tiny bit older, they would have loved it. The three year olds in the room were into it, for sure.
  • Song: Wheels on the Bus
Songs with ukulele: ABC / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song: Hands up High 

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

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, 5/9/13

 Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 5/9/13

This story time attracted two beginning readers, a toddler, a nanny and a mom. The boy beginning reader is almost five and attends school. The girl beginning reader has just turned four, and has never been to school.

Name That Bug 
I put some photos of different interesting insects in a Google Drive presentation, then showed it to the kids on the iPad. Unlike some of the other "Name That" activities we have done, this one wasn't that great for encouraging discussion, especially because there were only two kids in attendance and both were very shy. I don't think I would use this particular set of images again, unless the kids were 6 or 7 and had some real-life experiences with bugs to apply to them.

We read Hey, Little Ant, which is a book I have always liked and never realized my library owned until this week. It was a bit much, philosophically, for the two four year olds who attended this story  time, but they still seemed to enjoy it. Their favorite part was when the ant takes on the large size of the kid. One of the kids, a boy who comes regularly to this  story time, informed me that the ten commandments would keep him from  squishing the ant. That was cute.

Making a List 
We tried to make a list of what we'd bring on a picnic, but only the boy participated. The girl was really too busy to be ready for this kind of story time, and she didn't really participate. 

Bag of Verbs
For this week's bug theme, I rewrote  the verbs on the back of some foam bugs. This activity has never not gone well, but the boy was shy because none of his usual buddies were at story time, and the girl's little sister was in her lap, making it difficult to participate.  So we only did about six movements, and most of  them only I actually did.

I shared a poem from the April 2013 issue of Ladybug magazine called "Family of Ladybugs", which is by Connie Bowsman. Since neither child could read, I had them repeat each line after me, and that worked very well. I'd do that again, even with my regular group of kids.

Drawing Activity
This week, I used an activity created by Little Miss Kindergarten, which is available from Teachers Pay Teachers. It is an empty bug jar. I asked the kids to draw some bugs and then count them. The little girl had to leave before her picture was finished, but the boy drew a beautiful firefly and I helped him label it with his name, the number 1, and the word firefly.

Flannel Friday: Here's My Toolbox

Last week, all of my story times were about construction. I knew this would be a useful theme for me this summer, and I wanted to do a test-run of some of the material to see how it would go over. This toolbox was not in my initial plans, but when inspiration struck on Thursday, I went with it and wound up with one of  the best story time props I have ever used!

Here is the front view of the toolbox.

And here is the back.

To make my set of tools, I first had to track down useful clipart images. This was not easy, and there was no one set that included the tools I wanted that was also not too sloppily drawn, or too small. In the end, I hunted down coloring pages and clipart images for each tool until I was satisfied with what I found.  I don't have the right to share all of the images themselves, but links for the images at the sites on which they are hosted are listed below:
 I gathered all the images into a document in Publisher (I could also have used Word, I just prefer Publisher) and printed them out in black and white. I often color images in Microsoft Paint before printing them, but the color ink in our copy machine has been very streaky and I haven't been satisfied with how it has looked for flannel board pieces. So I did these the old-fashioned way - with Crayola crayons.

When they were all colored, I covered them with Contact paper and attached Velcro to the back, assuming that though they would be lying in a box most of the time, I might someday want to attach them to the flannel board. At this point I thought that the little boxes hiding in my craft closet were actual flat boxes with lids. I didn't necessarily think they would be the ideal shape for a toolbox, but I had less than 24 hours until preschool story time by then, and I figured any box would be better than none.

What I learned, though, upon examining the boxes in my closet, is that they weren't boxes at all, but they were Colorations Sturdy Cardstock Caddies. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized this was a happy accident. The caddies have compartments, just like real toolboxes, and it would be easy to hang the tools inside them with Velcro if I attached Velcro to the box. So I attached one piece of Velcro for each of the larger tools, and then six pieces in one compartment for the nails and screws.

But how to present the tools to my audience? I was still considering putting the pieces on the flannel board, but decided it would be more fun to have the entire toolbox be self-contained. So I attached Velcro to the front of  the box, to which I fastened the "Miss Katie's Toolbox" sign. Then, I removed that sign and practiced putting up and removing the various tools from the same Velcro. I had to add a few more pieces to accomodate discrepancies in the size of the pieces, but otherwise, from there, I was ready to go!

I think the ideal way to use this toolbox is as a means of generating discussion. The only reason I didn't use it that way is because my preschoolers are notoriously quiet and do not answer my questions. I also thought it would be handy to have a song in case I wanted to take this to my rec. center class visit or use it in one my huge story times where having a discussion is virtually impossible.

In any case, the song I wrote goes to the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine, and the lyrics are listed with the appropriate pictures below. (I did not make up a verse about nails or screws. I just used them as visuals to help introduce the hammer and screwdriver.) The kids were also invited to make a motion acting out what each tool does - which most of them did enthusiastically. (Credit for the movements made by the tools goes to Sarah from Read it Again!)

Here’s my toolbox, here’s my toolbox
This is where I keep my tools
Here’s my toolbox, trusty toolbox
Take a look at all my tools.

Here’s my hammer, here’s my hammer
See the hammer pound and pound
Here’s my hammer, trusty hammer
Watch me as I pound and pound.

Here’s my screwdriver, here’s my screwdriver
See the screwdriver twist and twist
Here’s my screwdriver, trusty screwdriver
Watch me as I twist and twist

Here’s my pliers, here’s my pliers
See the pliers pinch and pinch
Here’s my pliers, trusty pliers
Watch me as I pinch and pinch

Here’s my wrench, here’s my wrench
See the wrench turn and turn
Here’s my wrench, trusty wrench
Watch me as I turn and turn.
Here’s a saw, here’s a saw
See the saw go see-saw
Here’s my saw, trusty saw
Watch me as I go see-saw.

I am hoping to do more boxes like this in the future - hopefully using the exact same Velcro-covered box with different labels and items inside. I especially want to do a set of gardening tools to use this summer, with my beginning readers as well as my preschoolers. I think it would also be fun to do a first aid kit or doctor bag, a set of supplies used by a hairdresser, or items needed to care for a pet.

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by Amanda at Trails and Tales. Visit the official Flannel Friday website to learn more about this fun weekly round-up of story time props!
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