Friday, June 21, 2013

Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Drop-In Story Time, 6/21/13

Dig Into Reading (Gardening): Drop-In Story Time, 6/21/13

We had a bit of a difficult morning, because two nannies in a row complained to me on their way into story time that the other adults are too noisy so they can't hear me when I'm reading. So I did try to crack down a bit more on the chattiness during the first book, only to find one of those self-same nannies talking to her neighbor not five minutes later. Honestly, I think I do a good job of keeping the chaos to a minimum in a room of 100 toddlers, and it annoys me when someone acts like I'm not trying. But aside from the somewhat contentious start, this story time was perfectly fine, and the kids seemed to have a lot of fun.

Book: This is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer and Donald Crews
This book is always a crapshoot. Today was one of its better days, even though I did have to stop twice to ask the adults to stop talking.

Flannel Board Song: My May Garden
I put the sun, rain, and seed up on the flannel board and also showed the kids some motions to do for the sun shining, the rain dripping, and the seed growing. They did so well, we did it twice.

Book: Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
I have always liked this book, and the kids seemed mostly into it. I might even think about using it again in this afternoon's toddler session instead of What Does Bunny See?

Song: So Many Plants (based on Stars Shining Bright)
So many plants growing in the ground!
Tell me what color plant I found.

I neglected to come up with a suitable verse to sing after the color had been identified, so we sang: 

Red plant grow! Red plant grow! 
Red plant grow in the deep, deep ground.

That's pretty awful. I will come up with something else before I use this again. The kids did like identifying the different colors, though, and the only tricky ones for them were orange and yellow.

Book: Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
This book is another one that can sometimes flop, but not today! I saw a couple of moms who even seemed to be enjoying it.

Song: Sunny Day
Part of me just wanted to keep doing this song over and over, because it has such a calming effect on the whole room - adults and kids. But we just did it three times.

Magic Envelope: Bird
Today, we had a bird come out of  the magic envelope. We put in feathers, wings, a nest, a beak, and a "tweet tweet!" sound. The kids couldn't quite name the objects  this time, but I don't think that's a problem, as it gave them some exposure to some new vocabulary. The nannies also actually helped me name the objects the kids didn't know, which made it feel more like a group effort.

Song: Way Up in the Sky
I feel like the "big reveal" in the magic envelope has been pretty anti-climactic, and that there hasn't been a real sense of what we're doing with the final product once it comes out of the envelope. This time, the item that came out of the envelope - the bird - was actually a flannel board piece, so I was able to put it on the board and we sang this bird-related song. After  the song, we put the bird away and sang goodbye to the envelope. It wasn't perfect, but it's getting closer to working the way I want it to.

Songs with Ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song: Hands Up High 

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Song: The More We Read Together 
I have to start out this song higher because I'm hitting the low notes at a point lower than my singing range, and I don't think everyone can hear me.  They also don't listen when I talk, so half  the room thought we were singing The More We Get Together.

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, 6/20/13

 Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 6/20/13


I found a website with some free printable rebus stories. Knowing how my age group has been skewing younger and younger since the weather has turned nice, I didn't think the kids would be able to handle following along on paper and reading the rebus together that way, so I adapted one called I Like Summer for the iPad using clipart. The age group was a bit strange, in that one child could read and the rest could not, so the reader kind of stole the spotlight away from the other kids, but it still worked well having the rebus images come up on the screen one at a time and asking the kids to call them out.

Making a List 
We made a list of words that begin with S. I had to give clues to prompt the kids, and again, only the girl who could read gave me any answers. (It turned out that some of  the others got the schedule mixed up and thought this was our preschool story time, which made a lot of sense.)

Bag of Verbs
I have been using the verbs we act out as a chance to have various impromptu discussions. This time, we talked about animals that jump. The quietest little boy in the group who says nothing most weeks came up with kangaroo, and I nearly exploded with joy, I was so thrilled! This is my favorite part of the story time because it introduces kids who don't read to the way new words look and sound, and the readers can usually

We read Lionel in Summer by Stephen Krensky. It's a pretty tame set of stories about how one boy spends his summer, but the kids seemed to enjoy it despite the lack of serious action. They didn't have much to say about it, which is always disappointing, but I think if I start pulling together some discussion questions for when I do have some older kids, that will be a helpful way to start conversations about the books in the future.

Drawing Activity
I adapted this idea from Pinterest into a simple coloring sheet. I asked the kids to write or draw what they wanted to do this summer. Most of them didn't understand that idea and just colored.

Flannel Friday: Pete the Clown and His Five Bright Balloons

Since I read The Grumpalump to a Pre-K class in November, I have been hooked on the idea of a balloon theme at story time. There aren't really enough balloon-related books and songs out there for me to devote an entire week just to balloons, but I did manage to get a few of them into my "Up, Up, and Away!" week back in March. One such activity was this flannel board I wrote for preschool story time based on the Pete the Cat books.

Pete the Clown and his Five Bright Balloons

Pete the Clown bought five bright balloons at the carnival.
He was so excited about them, he sang a song as he walked along.
“I’ve got five balloo-oons! I’ve got five balloo-oons!”

(The tune for Pete's song is what you would sing if you were part of a conga line. Or if you were Homer Simpson trying to tell his daughter that you don't win friends with salad. Thanks to my husband for the link. Preschoolers get really into it if you also dance in your seat a little bit while you sing it. They will even dance along with you!)

But then... POP!
One balloon broke and started to drop.
Now how many balloons did Pete have?

(Depending on the age of the kids, they might just yell out "Four!", or they might want to count. My group was mostly kindergarteners and they were quick with their subtraction skills!) 

Did Pete cry? No, never.
He knows balloons don’t last forever.

Pete was still so happy to have four balloons, that he kept walking along and singing his song. 

“I’ve got four balloo-oons! I’ve got four balloo-oons!”

(Repeat the same sequence of events until Pete is out of balloons, then add the following ending.)

Pete was out of balloons! What could he do? 

Well, he stopped where he was, turned around, and went back to the carnival, where he got five more balloons. 

As he walked along, he sang his song: 
“I’ve got five balloo-oons! I’ve got five balloo-oons!”

This was a huge hit with my fours and fives at story time, whether they were familiar with Pete the Cat or not. How have you adapted Pete the Cat for your story times?

This week's Flannel Friday host is Jane at Piper Loves the Library. For more about Flannel Friday, check out the official site.

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