Friday, August 9, 2013

Four Seasons Drop-In Story Time, 8/9/13

Four Seasons Drop-In Story Time, 8/9/13

I thought last week's successful drop-in story time may have been a fluke, but I decided to assume it wasn't and went ahead and planned another in a similar format. This  time, I focused on the four seasons. Instead of trying to make everyone look at our one tiny flannel board, I used the entire whiteboard to introduce the theme. I put up clipart images representing each of the four seasons (which I found free on this website) then wrote the verses to a seasons song by Meish Goldish (which I found here) so the adults, at least, could read them. 

Song with ukulele: Seasons of the Year
To kick things off, we sang the song that was written on the board. Most of the adults at least tried to sing along, though I think may have played just a bit too fast. In any case, the song got everyone's attention and introduced the overall story time plan.

Book: Summer is Summer by Phillis and David Gershator, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
The text of this book is more like a poem than a story, but they did pretty well sticking with it. I wished that the adults would have picked up on the refrain and repeated it with me, but it was enough for me that they didn't carry on their own conversations while I was reading.

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun 

Book: Kitten's Autumn by Eugenie Fernandes
This is the book they paid the least attention to, possibly because of the smaller illustrations.

Song: Brown Squirrel

Book: Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara
I have used this book with better results in the past, but some of the kids were really glued to it and it got a lot of applause at the end. 

Song: Five Little Snowmen Riding on the Sled 
I had something else planned, but remembered this song at the last minute and used it instead. 

Book: My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
They seemed to like this book, though the kids were getting restless by this point. I was glad to follow the story with an old favorite song. 

Song: Chickadee

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

I truly think these past two drop-in story times have gone so well because I have put my foot down about the purpose of story time. It's about books. I have taken away a lot of the puppets and flannel boards and focused more on books, and I think that has minimized everyone's distractions - both kids' and adults'.  I am also more engaged with the material now that I have tried a new structure. I think I was tired of repeating the same old things, and maybe me weariness was rubbing off on the nannies. I'll be off next Friday, but I'm looking forward to trying another new idea in a couple of weeks!

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.

Houses Preschool Story Time, 8/8/13

I think a lot of our story time families are away this month, so this story time was on the small and quiet side again this week. There were 7 kids in all, 5 of whom were over the age of four. Aside from the hello song, we didn't do any singing, but that was fine because they were not at all an active or distracted group.

Book: A House is a House For Me by Mary Ann Hoberman
I read this book to three-year-olds at the rec. center once, with surprisingly great results. I tried to recreate that at this story time, but it didn't have quite  the same effect. One boy loved it, but the other kids seemed indifferent.

Book: This is Our House by Hyewon Yum
This is a new book, and I really like it. It's a simple and gentle story about two generations growing up in the same house. It wouldn't work for a huge group, but for this small, intimate setting it was perfect.

Flannel Board Story: The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood
I used this clipart from as my flannel board pieces, and told the story mostly from memory, with just a few quick hints on the backs of the pieces and on a little piece of paper. The kids were into it, and one kid found the whole story just hilarious. I wanted them to join in with me on some of the repeated bits, but they seemed too shy to be comfortable, so I didn't push it.

Book: Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson
This is another quiet book, but I was correct in thinking it would resonate with this age group. One boy even made a connection to Not a Box, which we read at this story time a few weeks ago.

Book: Moving House by Mark Siegel
This last book ended story time on a silly and surreal level. The oldest boy in the room was especially pleased that he figured out the joke - that "moving house" means moving, and that it refers to an actual "moving house." I would use this again in a rec. center or Pre-K setting.

Coloring Activity: Inside and Outside of a House
I used the outline of a house as my template, then drew lines through the center to separate the outline into the different rooms of a house. I flipped the template around and removed the lines on the  reverse side of the page, then cut the entire house out so the kids could design an interior and exterior. Many of them just did their own thing, which is fine with me, but I'm thinking of re-using this activity with my more advanced beginning readers group at the end of the month.

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 (Letter L), 8/7/13

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers (Letter L), 8/7/13

This story time was not attended by most of the regulars, but it was still a good-sized group. Three of the kids were definite beginning readers; the others were mostly preschoolers of varying ages. They were a much quieter group than usual, and there were about 7 kids in all.  

iPad Presentation
I didn't write out sentences for my letter L images this week, and that worked out fine, since most of the kids were pretty young. They seemed to enjoy calling out the names of the different objects, and it broke the ice well enough to make them comfortable participating in the rest of the session. The images included: lamb, lion, licorice, library (which was a photo of our library), light bulb, ladybug, lettuce, Abraham Lincoln, lobster, leaves, and little old lady. 

I have been wanting to use Maurice Sendak's Pierre for a long time, and when I decided on L as my letter, I thought the lion in the story would tie in nicely. To make the reading of this story interactive, I created a speech bubble which said, "I don't care!" and I help it up for  the kids to read each time Pierre said he didn't care. The kids were not as into this as I thought they would be, but I think that had more to do with their being new to the story time than anything else. 

We acted out The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. Since this was a quieter group than I'm used to, it was not the boisterous activity I was expecting, but they still seemed to enjoy it. I did catch a mom rolling her eyes toward the end when we were repeating the same set of actions for the tenth time, but her son didn't seem to share her annoyance. 

Literacy Game 
We played a matching game where the kids had to tell me whether words did or did not start with the same sound. If the beginning sounds were  the same, we put down a lit-up light bulb.  If they were not the same, we put down a dim lightbulb. We repeated  the game with two variations. The second time we looked for matching ending sounds, and the third time, we listened for rhyming words. This was such a favorite, I wished I'd planned a few more rounds.

Write and Draw Activity
I re-used the bookshelf activity from my Read-Along Story Time on April 11. I changed the original handout title from, "______'s Bookshelf" to "_________'s Library and invited the kids to draw the covers or write the names of the kinds of books they liked reading.  The three oldest kids got into it; the others just colored.

Flannel Friday: A Perfect Nose for Ralph by Jane Breskin Zalben

Since I have started using more flannel boards with my preschoolers and fewer at the large drop-in story times, I've found myself more drawn to adapting picture books and longer stories that the older (and smaller) audiences can appreciate. Last week, we talked about noses at preschool story time, and I wanted to share a book called A Perfect Nose for Ralph by Jane Breskin Zalben. The only copy in my entire library system is a tiny little book, so I was glad to be able to share it on the flannel board to make it more accessible.

The story is pretty simple, so it lends itself well to easy flannel board transitions. Ralph the panda is a beloved stuffed animal who loses his nose in an encounter with the family cat.
Reggie, the little boy who owns Ralph, decides to try and find a suitable replacement nose.

He tries a button...

a wooden peg....

a cherry...

two snaps...

a ball of yarn... 

and a cotton ball.

Finally, he decides to make his own nose for Ralph, which looks almost exactly like the one he lost - the perfect nose for Ralph.

Though I only made pieces that matched Ralph's noses in the book, this concept could be easily adapted for lots of other noses. For a food theme, Ralph could have noses all made out of food. For a colors theme, there could be different colored noses. It might even be fun to use a different animal, or even a person, instead of the panda, depending on your theme, interests, and availability of clipart. This is probably the easiest flannel to make - and one of the most versatile!

This week's Flannel Friday host is Brooke from Reading with Red. For more about Flannel Friday, visit the official site.
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