Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fizz, Boom, Read! Preschool Story Time Starter: Weather

This is my fourth story time starter inspired by the Fizz, Boom, Read! summer reading theme. Today's post is all about weather. (Previous posts focused on the five senses, temperature, and living vs. non-living things.)

Miss Katie's Recommended Books

  • What Will the Weather Be? by Lynda DeWitt
    This is probably not a book to read in its entirety, but sharing parts of it will help introduce the topic and share some interesting science vocabulary.
  • The Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Connor
    This is really more of a fanciful story than a true scientific exploration of weather, but kids love the idea of parallel snowstorms happening outside the house and inside a snow globe as well.
  • Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
    This book opens up a nice opportunity to talk about why we need rain, and what happens when there isn't enough. It's also fun to make the story interactive by asking the kids to repeat the refrain along with you. It's also a good one for retelling if you have some flannel board pieces on hand to assist. 

Other Possible Books

Songs & Rhymes

    • Song: Boots by the Laurie Berkner Band
      This is one of the few songs for which I would suggest using the recording. It's a bit tricky to sing it yourself and dance around. The only exception would be if you can play it on guitar or ukulele.
    • Song: I Can Sing a Rainbow
      This can be a fun sing-along. Make it interactive by passing out colored flags for the kids to wave as they sing it. I like to play this on the ukulele.
    • Song: I Like to See the Raindrops Fall
      This song to the tune of Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush uses simple actions to recreate a storm. Kids of all ages love to sing this one!
    • Rhyme: Snowman, Snowman (based on Book Bear, Book Bear)
      Pretend to be snowmen with this simple action rhyme that is also good for quieting wild groups between books.
    • Rhyme: The Wind is Full of Tricks Today
      I have never used this rhyme myself, but the librarian from King County who performs it on their Wiki makes me want to try it! (The link above is to her video.)

    Games & Activities

    • Flannel Board Sorting Game: What do we wear in this weather?
      Sort articles of clothing according to the weather in which they would be appropriate to wear. Kizclub has clipart sets for clothing and weather that make useful templates. Instead of a flannel board, you could also sort the items onto a long clothesline with sections for sunny days, rainy days, snowy days, etc.
    • Game: Drip, Drip, Drop
      Play this fun game based on Duck, Duck, Goose, which comes from Mailbox magazine.

    Visit these Sites for More Ideas

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

    Flannel Friday Round-Up, March 21, 2014

    Welcome to your Flannel Friday Round-Up for March 21, 2014. We have a little bit of everything this week, including several posts inspired by previous Flannel Fridays!


    Two people posted about superheroes this week. Lisa at Thrive After Three has made flannel board pieces to accompany Ralph Cosentino's Batman picture books. She has Wayne Manor and the Batmobile, as well as The Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, and Two-Face.   Kathy from Bird's Books shares a set of superhero finger puppets which includes Batman and four others. (I don't know about you, but I'm saving both of these posts to my Pinterest board for summer reading 2015!)

    Dr. Seuss

    There are also two Dr. Seuss-themed posts. Brenda from Story Tree adapted "Way Up High in the Apple Tree" to "Way Up High in the Green Egg Tree." Her eggs have smiley faces on one side and green yolks on the other - adorable! Meg from Miss Meg's Story Time is also celebrating Dr. Seuss with a fish-themed flannel board rhyme to accompany One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. 

    Little Mouse (and Little Frog!)

    The ever-popular "Little Mouse Little Mouse" rhyme makes two appearances in this week's round-up. Amy from The Show Me Librarian shares her pieces for the original Little Mouse game, while Kelly, a first-time Flannel Friday participant, combines the little mouse concept with a frog theme in her post at Ms. Kelly at the Library.

    Inspired by Flannel Friday

    A few of this week's contributors were inspired by previous Flannel Friday posts.  At Storytime Extras, Jennifer shares her interpretation of Jenna's Enormous Turnip flannel board, but she uses an enormous carrot instead. Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime was inspired by Lisa's post to make a set of baby faces so that she could share "Poor Little Baby" at her recent emotions-themed story time. I'm thrilled that Bridget from What is Bridget Reading? was inspired by me this week! Her post is about "Doggy Doggy Where's Your Bone?," which I used as part of my Dig into Reading programming last summer.


    If you're looking for stories to tell on the flannel board, there are a few of those this week as well.   At Felt Board Ideas, Christine has created a flannel set for Are You My Mother? for use in a Mother's Day, Spring, or All About Me theme.  At Library Village, Sue has a trio of pigs and a non-scary wolf for telling the classic tale of The Three Little Pigs. I love the way her pigs peek out the windows of their little houses! At Magic Librarian, Dana shares a story by Ron Maris called Better Move on Frog, which was included in her Animal Houses story time this past week. In a post about S.T.EM. stories at Read Rhyme & Sing, Shawn shares a flannel board adaptation of Mouse Count and a few other science and math activities.


    Do you perform story times in the evening? You will love Naptime Chickens, for which Anna at Future Librarian Superhero has made a set of adorable puppets. I especially love her suggestions for lullabies to cluck to the little chicks as they fall asleep. My post here at Story Time Secrets is also perfect for bedtime. It's an expansion on Rock-a-bye Baby which sings baby animals to sleep on the treetop.


    Rounding out the round-up today are posts that don't fit into any other category. Linda from Notes from the Story Room shares a wonderful original cut-and-tell story called "Who is Watching?" and Becky of A Librarian Less Ordinary has an entire story time devoted to peas complete with a pea pod made out of felt and green puff balls.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing your great ideas! For more information about Flannel Friday, please visit the official website. You can also connect with Flannel Friday on Pinterest and Facebook. Next week's host is Brooke at Reading with Red. Have a great weekend!

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    Flannel Friday: Rockabye, Baby (Animals)


    I spend a lot of time singing to Little Miss Muffet, who is now (unbelievably!) almost 4 months old. Typically, I will start out with a traditional song, but often by the fourth or fifth time through, I start changing the words. One night, while singing her to sleep, I heard myself come out with, "Rock-a-bye, monkey in the treetop." That was pretty cute, I thought, so I plugged in a few other two-syllable animals. By the time the baby was asleep, I had been inspired to create a new flannel board.

    For the sake of this post, I chose animals for whom I could find easily recognizable silhouettes, and  whose names would fit the rhythm of the song. I would still like to find a cleaner silhouette of a cradle, but the blue one pictured will do for now.

    Rock-a-bye, kitten...

    Rock-a-bye, piglet...

    Rock-a-bye, puppy...

    Rock-a-bye, rabbit...

    This adaptation of the familiar lullaby would make a nice ending to an evening pajama story time, or  to any story time about animals. 

    I am your host for Flannel Friday this week! Leave your links in the comments on the placeholder post and check back for the round-up on Saturday morning.

    For more about Flannel Friday, check out the official website, Facebook page, and Pinterest account.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    Fizz, Boom, Read! Preschool Story Time Starter: Living or Non-living?

    Today, I'm continuing my series of preschool story time starters inspired by the Fizz, Boom, Read! summer reading theme. (If you missed it, I began two weeks ago with the five senses, and last week I posted about temperature.) Today's theme is "Living or Non-Living?". Though some of the resources below specifically address the differences between things that are and are not alive, this theme can also be expanded to include topics like growing, planting, gardening, animals, and trees.

     Miss Katie's Recommended Books

    • What’s Alive? by Kathleen Zoehfeld, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
      Introduce the theme of story time with this beginning science book. Either read the entire book straight through, or pick and choose segments that you think will be easiest for your audience to understand.
    • Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea, illustrated by Tom Slaughter
      This lift-the-flap book is a great guessing game that reinforces the concept of being alive with a series of questions about whether objects can or cannot grow. Kids as old as six and seven get really into this, but even the little ones will enjoy trying to figure out whether cars grow to become trucks or shirts grow to become sweaters.
    • Are You Living? by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
      This is a singable non-fiction picture book by an excellent CYBILS award winning children's poet, all about the differences between living and non-living things. Sidebars provide additional information that can be shared as appropriate.

    Other Possible Books

    Songs & Rhymes

      • Song: Everything Grows by Raffi
        This song would be fun to sing with musical accompaniment (guitar, ukulele, piano, etc.) and/or with the kids holding up pictures to represent each growing thing represented in the lyrics. This would also be a good one to play as background music while the kids color or work on a craft. 
      • Rhyme: Five Eggs and Five Eggs
        This fingerplay is also fun to do with puppets if you have an egg and a hen.
      • Song: Mr. Sun
        After discussing how the sun helps living things grow, sing this song with a puppet, or holding up your arms in a sunshine shape.
      • Song: One Seed by the Laurie Berkner Band
        Watch this video for the hand motions for Laurie Berkner's song about the importance of planting trees and passing down responsibility for our Earth to future generations.


        • Flannel Board Sorting Game: Is this alive or not alive?
          Provide children with a series of objects and ask them to decide whether they are alive or not. Hopefully, if you have a lot of flannel board pieces already made, you'll be able to choose from what you have without having to make anything new. Otherwise, kizclub.com has a lot of great clipart of all different objects that can be printed out, laminated, and used as is, and or used as templates for actual flannel pieces. There is also a set of Living and Nonliving Picture Cards available here. Librarians who are looking to introduce more technology at story time might also try sharing this game from Thinkcans.net. 
        • Act out the Animals
          Provide puppets, flannel board pieces, or just simple pieces of paper printed with the names/images of animals and have the kids act them out. You could also ask them to act out other living things, such as flowers or plants, though they might have a limited range of movements. A good book to inspire animal movements is Pretend You're a Cat by Jean Marzollo.

        Visit These Sites for More Ideas

        Monday, March 17, 2014

        LibraryAdventure.com: Quick and Easy Displays for Your Library's Children's Room

        Today, I'm sharing my favorite ideas for quick and easy library displays that can be pulled together in 30 minutes or less. See them all at The Library Adventure.

        Friday, March 14, 2014

        10 Flannel Friday Favorites

        This week, Flannel Friday celebrates its three-year anniversary! Accordingly, I would like to share my ten Flannel Friday favorites.

        These first six items on my list are flannel boards and props I learned about from Flannel Friday and actually used in story times - in some cases, nearly every week.

        These last four links are Flannel Friday contributions I have always admired and someday hope to use.

        • Are You a Horse? from Thrive After Three
          I love so many of Lisa's videos, but this is one I return to again and again. I love her casual way of incorporating the puppets, and her storytelling style. If I had the budget, I'd buy a set of animal puppets just so I could tell this particular story.
        • The Ants Go Marching from In the Children's Room
          Lucy's approach to singing this song with the flannel board is so perfect. Instead of lining up ten individual ants on the board, she created pieces with multiple ants on them. I am more of a clip art kind of gal, but if I were to make something out of felt, this would be at the top of my list.
        • Roll a Storytime! from So Tomorrow
          Anne's idea for using giant dice to roll a song or movement activity is something I always meant to try before leaving the library to have my daughter and I never did. I'm seriously considering making a pair of these for home when my daughter is a little older! 
        • Fall is Not Easy from Storytiming
          This is one flannel board I wish I had the artistic ability to make. There have been many Flannel Friday adaptations, but Cate's was the first, and she was the one who introduced me to the book, and to its highly flannelizable qualities. Again, if I were to start making pieces from felt, this is one of the felt sets I'd want to make.

        For more on how I feel about Flannel Friday, check out last year's birthday post, What Flannel Friday Means to Me. Also don't miss the round-up for this week, hosted by Anne at So Tomorrow. For more on Flannel Friday, check out the official websiteFacebook page, and Pinterest account

        Thursday, March 13, 2014

        5 Reasons Why I Love Mrs. Wishy-Washy (Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway 2014)

        One of my most vivid memories from kindergarten is reading Mrs. Wishy-Washy aloud in a chorus with my teacher and classmates. I delighted in calling out, "Along came Mrs. Wishy-Washy," and to this day there is just something thoroughly satisfying about the phrase, "Oh, lovely mud!" Today, I am promoting Hameray Publishing's Wishy-Washy 2014 Contest, and I want to share the reasons I loved Mrs. Wishy-Washy at age five, and still love her to this day. 
        1. Mrs. Wishy-Washy has the perfect name. It's doubly alliterative, fun to say, and it tells the reader exactly what the character is interested in and concerned about.

        2. Mrs. Wishy-Washy is a lovable grump. Though she is strict with the animals and often stands disapprovingly with her hands on her hips, there is also a hint of affection in her tone of voice and her demeanor. Kids can relate to both her desire to keep the animals clean and to their need to defy her in order to play in the mud. I also think her pink slippers go a long way toward softening her supposedly stern persona.

        3. The Mrs. Wishy-Washy books build upon familiar concepts in a fun way. Kids feel comfortable in Mrs. Wishy-Washy's world because they have already learned about farm animals as toddlers. They don't feel like babies, however, because these stories use those animals in a more sophisticated way that suits the five-year-old sense of humor. The moment at the end of the original Mrs. Wishy-Washy where the animals all jump back into the mud the exact kind of thing that gives kindergartners the giggles because they don't see it coming.

        4. Mrs. Wishy-Washy and its many sequels provide many possibilities for classroom and library use. Mrs. Wishy-Washy can easily support common classroom and story time themes such as bathing, farm animals, mud, and the letter W. This is especially wonderful because kids who have grown attached to the character can stick with her even as they continue to learn new things.

        5. Lastly, I like the original Mrs. Wishy-Washy because it is endlessly adaptable. In story time, I can just read the story straight through, or I can tell it from memory using puppets or flannel board pieces. Kids can also easily tell and retell the story themselves, which helps build their narrative skills. There are also tons of crafts, writing activities, displays, bulletin boards and other creative ideas all over the internet that extend the reading experience beyond the story.

        In celebration of Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Hameray Publishing Group is giving away lots of books and a set of finger puppets. Information about the contest can be found by clicking here, or by reading and clicking on the image below. 

        To learn more, you can visit Hameray Publishing and Mrs. Wishy-Washy on these social media sites: 

        Tuesday, March 11, 2014

        Fizz, Boom, Read! Preschool Story Time Starter: Temperature

        Last week, I kicked off a series of blog posts in which I'll be sharing story time starters for preschoolers inspired by the Fizz, Boom, READ! summer reading theme. Last week's post began with the basics - the five senses. This week, I'm moving on to the concept of temperature, with a specific focus on the differences between hot and cold.

        Miss Katie's Recommended Books

        • Temperature by Kay Manolis
          This basic non-fiction title explains the concepts of hot and cold using photos and basic child-directed text. Depending on the age of the preschoolers, it might be necessary to pick and choose sections of the book to read. (An alternative to this book for libraries with older/deeper collections might be Temperature and You by Betsy and Giulio Maestro, but this title is out of print and not even listed on Goodreads!)
        • Hot Air (The Mostly True Story of the First Hot Air Balloon Ride) by Marjorie Priceman
          Join the animals who were lucky enough to take the first-ever hot air balloon ride in 1783. Parts of the story have been fictionalized, but it's an excellent read-aloud, and  the illustrations invite all kinds of commentary and discussion from the kids. Depending on the age of the kids, you might even get into a discussion about the inner workings of hot air balloons.
        • Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
          In the heat of the summer, this chilly tale will be most welcome at story time! Kids will enjoy seeing the various ways the townspeople in the story keep warm, and they will get the giggles as the icicle on the nose of the statue in the heart of town gets longer and longer as the cold snap wears on. 

        Other Possible Books

        Rhymes and Songs

          • Rhyme: Frozen is the Lake
            I wrote this simple fingerplay based on Blue is the Lake. If you repost it, please provide credit and a link to this blog. 
          • Song: Hat, Coat, Pants, and Shoes
            This song is all about what keeps us warm in Winter. You can also change the words to Visor, Tee Shirt, Shorts, and Shoes for a warm-weather -focused verse. I wrote this one as well, so please credit me if you repost or print. 
          • Song: Pigs in the Mud
            This song is about pigs keeping themselves cool by rolling in the mud.


            • Hot or Cold? Sorting Game
              Have the kids help sort objects into hot and cold categories. Kim at Destination Storytime has a great post about this type of activity, complete with a photo of the flannel board pieces she created. For those who prefer clipart, there is a great set of cards of hot and cold objects available here.
            • Hot Potato
              Quickly pass around a ball, bean bag, or other object while music plays in the background. ("Hot Potato" by the Wiggles would be a fun choice.) Stop the music periodically - the child holding the "potato" when the music stops is out. This is a good game to play at the end of the story time, so that kids who are "out" can either head to their parents or transition to any coloring activity or craft you might have planned.
            • Getting Warmer
              Hide an object in the story room. Ask the children to begin searching for it. Let them know when they are "colder" or "warmer" as they get closer to or further from the hiding place. (This would work best with a group of ten kids or less who are not new to story time and whose names you know.)

            Visit These Blogs for More Ideas

            Tuesday, March 4, 2014

            Fizz, Boom, Read! Preschool Story Time Starter: Five Senses

            Though I'm not working in a library this summer, that hasn't stopped me from being inspired by the Fizz, Boom, READ! summer reading theme. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing a series of story time starters for preschoolers (roughly ages 3-5) on various science themes. Today's post is about the five senses, as this is the basis for all scientific exploration. I have included my preferred titles that I would use if I were to present this story time, as well as additional books related to the theme that can be substituted for any one of my recommendations. For each theme, I'll also be sharing any relevant extension activities, including rhymes, songs, and games.

            Miss Katie's Recommended Books

            • My Five Senses by Aliki
              This book's simple text will make a nice introduction to the concept of the five senses for kids who aren't yet familiar with them. Encourage the kids to point to their own eyes, nose, and mouth, as the child in the pictures shows how he uses each of his parts to take in information about his world. The chart at the front of the book would also be fun to use for a discussion, if you'd rather not read through the entire book, or if your group is slightly older.
            • Senses at the Seashore by Shelley Rotner
              This book demonstrates each sense using a setting that is familiar to a lot of kids in my area - the beach. The eye-catching photos and simple text will help keep the kids focused and hopefully, some of them will have personal connections to the experiences portrayed in the pictures. Depending on your community and what the kids are familiar with, you might want to switch this book out for one of Rotner's other titles: Senses on the Farm or Senses in the City.
            • Rain by Manya Stojic
              This third book is an actual story in which the five senses play an integral role. A series of animals living in the African savanna anticipate a rainstorm, and make guesses about its arrival based on what they can see, smell, taste, touch, and hear.

            Other Possible Books

            Songs & Rhymes

            • Song: My Eyes Are Made for Seeing
              This song, sung to the tune of The Bear Went Over the Mountain, reminds us of the purpose of our eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and hands. Have the kids make suitable motions for each verse to make it truly interactive.
            • Flannel Board Rhyme: The Parts of the Body
              To share this rhyme, you will need flannel board pieces representing a bird, shovel, airplane, flower, street, and eating/talking, as well as pieces for each of the body parts mentioned. (KizClub has a set of body parts that would work nicely.) Have the kids guess each body part before you put it up. It might also be fun to provide each child with a body part to be brought to the board at the correct time.

            Games & Activities

            • Poem: Ears Hear
              This poem is best shared with the higher end of the preschool age group. Ask the kids to make each sound you mention, and tell them not to be afraid to be loud. This poem works especially well with large or unusually rambunctious groups.
            • Guessing Game: What is that Smell?
              Prepare a few brown paper lunch bags, each containing an item with a distinct smell. Without allowing the kids to look in the bags, let them smell each one and guess what it is. Suggested smelly items include: chocolate, mint, lemon, garlic, cinnamon, etc. I would avoid truly gross smells - the idea is for the kids to enjoy the experience of new smells, and preschoolers are often not yet amused by truly disgusting humor.
            • Sorting Activity: Smooth or Rough? 
              Set out a tray of objects. Pass each one around and let the kids feel it. Have them tell you whether the object is smooth or rough. Suggested objects might be: sandpaper,  notebook paper, pine cone,  balloon, rocks, shells, etc. 
            • Game: I Spy
              Play a traditional game of I Spy. Have one child at a time describe something he or she can see in the room and have the other kids try to guess what it is. For the sake of time, this might work best in a smaller group - it also helps if your story room isn't too bland-looking, or there won't be much to choose from! (Make this game even more fun by creating cardboard magnifying glasses for the kids to use as they look for objects.)
            • Flannel Board Activity: 5 Senses from Miss Meg's Storytime
              This is a discussion-generating flannel board that encourages kids to think about how we interact with different objects using our senses. Meg provides a full set of instructions here.

            Visit These Blogs for More Ideas

            Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...