Play space: Feelings faces

I wanted to share one of the recent additions to my library’s play space. One of the permanent pieces in our children’s area is a child-size floor-length mirror that is meant to be used with dress-up clothes. However, when I started there were no dress-up clothes to be found (and honestly I have a bit of an ick-factor with offering dress-up clothes). The mirror  stood lonely and forgotten beside some manipulative play boards. So I decided to turn it into an early literacy activity!

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Behold, the Feelings Faces mirror

I’ve seen similar ideas for the front of circulation desks and thought it would be a great way to utilize the mirror. It encourages kids and grown-ups to talk about feelings, read the words associated with the faces, and have fun practicing the faces together. I plan to swap the images/emotions out every couple of months to keep it fresh.

Faces and images of real people are stimulating to little ones, even from infancy. Babies are hardwired to recognize faces, which helps them connect with their caregivers early on. Research shows that newborns will look at pictures of 3 dots longest if they are arranged as a face (2 dots for eyes and one dot for a mouth). How cool is that?

I put this up on Thursday and came back to work two days later to find the images all moved around and the frames nowhere to be found. At first I was bummed and annoyed–this is why we can’t have nice things!–and then I realized that this was evidence that it had been played with. That’s a good thing! I am always happy to see books removed from a display or gaps where things have been pulled off the shelf, so why not allow myself to feel the same way about the play area being in slight disarray? I decided to let the frames go, even though they’re so cute, because they took awhile to hand laminate and ain’t nobody got time for that. 🙂

Storytime – You Choose

For the last storytime of the 8-week session, we did something a little extra special. Full disclosure: I totally adapted this idea from something I saw on the Storytime Underground Facebook page (Have I mentioned how much I love librarians for being so willing to share their awesome ideas?)
If you’re feeling not-so-jazzed about doing yet another themed storytime, I highly
recommend trying out a You Choose storytime!

20160224_110114So here’s the basic idea: You have two baskets – one for books and one for songs/fingerplays. In the baskets are a variety of objects that represent different books, songs, and fingerplays. Then you let the kids take turns pulling items from the basket to determine what book, song, or fingerplay you will do next. Super easy and super fun!

20160223_104617We typically start our storytimes with a Letter of the Week, but this week I had a question mark on the board. Verrrrry mysterious…. The question mark added a certain amount of excitement to the storytime before it even started, and it was a great literacy experience too! As the kids and their grown-ups found their seats, I heard several of them talking about the question mark. “What’s that on the board? It’s not a letter today, is it? It’s a punctuation mark! Is it an exclamation mark? No…It’s a question mark!”

For this storytime, instead of having one Letter of the Week, we had lots of letters! In the spirit of “You Choose,” I brought my ABC Exercise cards that I usually bring to my outreach storytimes. You can print your own set of ABC Exercise cards for free on Homeschool Share. Each card has a different action associated with it: B is for Balance on one foot, etc. I let three kids pick letters for us to do the actions to before we started our storytime.

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Here is the list of objects and potential books/songs/fingerplays I had.

Books:

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. (mini teddy bear)
  • Get Out of My Bath! by Britta Teckentrup (rubber ducky)
  • First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (egg shaker)
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (tree from the train table)
  • I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry (fish toy)
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (plastic cookie)
  • Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (ball of yarn)
  • We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems (mini elephant stuffed animal)
  • Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox (sheep toy)

Songs/Fingerplays:

  • The Wheels on the Bus (LEGO wheel)
  • Shake Your Sillies Out by The Wiggles (rattle)
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (star plush toy)
  • Two Little Blackbirds (black Angry Bird toy)
  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum (pack of Bubble Tape)
  • The Goldfish Song by Laurie Berkner (Goldfish crackers)
  • The Butterfly Song by David Landau (crocheted butterfly)

songs

It was kind of funny how it worked out. Despite the fact that I did this with two different storytime groups on two different days, both sessions ended up being almost identical. We repeated the book Get Out of My Bath! for both sessions and the two songs we did were the same for both sessions–Shake Your Sillies Out and Icky Sticky Bubble Gum. I guess the kids were just drawn to the same objects (Bright pink pack of bubble gum? No surprise).

To end our storytime, we did a super easy and fun craft, torn paper collages. No muss, no fuss. Can you tell that Miss Katrina was ready for a storytime break? 😉 My favorite thing about the craft–besides the fact that it required little to no prep–was that it gave me a natural way to share an aside with the grown-ups: “Tearing paper is a great way for children to work on those fine motor skills that they need to someday write with a pencil!” Just make sure if you do this at home to make it clear what paper is okay to tear up (junk mail, old magazines, etc.) and what is not okay (library books, for one).

So how did it go? Overall, it went really well! The grown-ups and kids seemed to get a big kick out of the “You Choose” concept, and it brought another level of excitement to our final storytime of the session. The only negative aspect I felt was the fact that not every kid got a chance to pick something. I made sure to tell the kids at the beginning that I would only pick them if they were sitting criss-cross applesauce with their hand in the air quietly and patiently waiting, and I kept to that rule, but some of the kids following the rule still didn’t get a chance. I know that life isn’t fair and storytime is a good place to learn school-readiness behaviors like compromising and turn-taking all that, but I still felt like a meanie. I kept the baskets out after storytime so those who didn’t get a chance to pick still got to peek inside the baskets and explore the objects, though.

Lastly, I have started to write a literacy message on the board each week. I find that it’s an easy way to drop some knowledge on folks without feeling like I’m, well, dropping knowledge on them. Here’s the one I used for this storytime. Quite fitting for the “You Choose” theme, I thought.

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These are a few of my favorite things…

I think I am on the naughty list this year, because I have been a very bad blogger… I guess I took a break after Summer Reading and just kind of never started back up again. I’m not going to make any grand statement by promising that I’ll post more regularly in the New Year, but I’m hoping to do a better job of working it into my 2016 routine. That being said, I’d like to round out the year 2015 by celebrating a few of my favorite (library and non-library) things.

For the record, I totally jacked this idea from the amazing Miss Meg, who posted about her Top 10 faves earlier this week. It struck me as a great way to reflect back on the year and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I thought I’d make my own. Thanks for the inspiration, Meg!

So without further ado, here are my favorite things of the year.

10 Favorite Library Things

10. Finding my own rhythm

2015 was my first full year as a full-time Youth Services Librarian. I can’t quite put it into adequate words, but I feel like I’m finally starting to “come into my own” as a librarian. Now that I’m settled in, I feel empowered to assess the things I’ve been doing and make changes as needed. And *knock on wood,* but I feel like I’m finally starting to overcome the “imposter syndrome” that so many new (and seasoned) professionals experience. You know, that pesky bugger that whispers in your ear, “They can’t possibly be entrusting this whole department to YOU, can they? Soon enough they’re going to figure out you are not qualified…” Yeah, I think I’m doing a better job of squashing that little guy now.

9. Books!

Too hard to just pick one. Of the books I read this year, my faves were…

Picture books: The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (surprise, surprise), Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre, Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead, and Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky

Middle grade: Space Case by Stuart Gibbs, Roller Girl
by Victoria Jamieson, and Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

YAI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

8. ALA-Midwinter Conference in Chicago

I love conferences. Not only did I get lots of new ideas and the chance to surround myself with like-minded people in the library profession, but I got to see Jason Segel and Levar Burton! WHAT?!

7. Science Saturday: Spooky Science

I started a new semi-regular program called Science Saturday (shout out to my super awesome library buddy, Alexandra Collins for this idea!). The first one was in October, so of course the theme was Spooky Science. I’m not a huge science geek, so I was a little intimidated to start this up, but with a little research and a lot of preparation it went off without a hitch! It was a blast and the kids were geeking out and exclaiming all sorts of excited things that made my heart swell. I wish I could share the pictures of their awed expressions, but these pics will have to do.

6. I found my Tween/Teen writing nerds!

Since meeting a couple of young aspiring writers at my very first Tween Book Club meeting last year, I have wanted to offer a writing workshop of some sort. I knew there would be at least two kids interested, but wasn’t really sure how to identify more. This fall, I brought in a local author to teach a three-part writing workshop for 5th-12th graders. It was a huge success! Take-away: the key is local celebs. 😉 After seeing how well that went over, I decided to take the plunge and start offering a monthly Tween/Teen writing club. The first meeting is in January, and I am so super stoked! This is something that I would have LOVED to be a part of when I was their age, so I can’t wait to try out all sorts of fun writing exercises with them and just generally give them a space to share what they are working on and get feedback from peers.

5. Cleaning out the Storage Closet

This might sound ridiculous, but tackling the giant mess of a storage closet was a big goal of mine this year and it felt SO GOOD. My library is pretty small, so we  use just about every inch of space we have. Organizing that closet took the majority of my 8-hour shift, but it was so worth it! (Cue my husband asking me why I can’t get this excited about being organized at home…)

4. First Summer Library Program under my belt

Although I experienced a Summer Library Program in my first post-grad school job, this was the first one I completely planned and executed on my own. I did some fun stuff (see slide show below), kept some stuff the same, and made some changes–the most prominent one being moving away from physical incentives to a charitable-giving model. Read more about it in this blog post if you’re interested.

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3. Saying YES to things

Things I’ve said “yes” to this year:

  • Being the Communications Chair for the Friends of the CCBC
  • Presenting at local organization meetings, like Kiwanis and Rotary
  • Pulling a question out of a hat and answering it in front of my peers at a Guerrilla Storytime session (If you haven’t participated in a Guerrilla Storytime yet, I highly recommend it! It’s a great way to pick up new ideas, share your own ideas, and feel supported by fellow children’s librarians)
  • Being interviewed on CWTV about the role libraries play in building Early Literacy and Kindergarten Readiness skills. That’s right, I’m gonna be FAMOUS! Well, local/library-famous at least. 😉 I’m so glad my friend Holly of Let the Wild Rumpus Start agreed to do it with me!
  • Being the official “feedback giver” for the local 4H club’s Communication Arts Festival next month
  • Helping start up a Storytime Underground Local Chapter for the Madison, WI area with some library pals–yay, Holly and Mary! If you’re in the area, look for more information about this soon.

OK, so I’m kind of a yes-man. If asked to do something or presented an opportunity, I rarely say no. But that doesn’t mean I’m super comfortable doing All The Things. It can be overwhelming, uncomfortable, and sometimes just plain scary. This year, I’ve tried to be strategic about what I say yes to, but it’s still something I’m working on. Which brings me to #2…

2. Saying NO to things

This is hard for a yes-man to do, but I’m working on it. I recently had a big win in this area, and it felt so good that I’m considering running around and shouting “NO!” at the top of my lungs like a toddler who just learned the word. Alright, I guess I won’t go quite that far. I guess what I’m getting at is that saying no is good sometimes, even if it’s hard.

1. Bringing Tween Book Club back to life

When I started my current job about a year and a half ago, there was already a pretty well-established Tween Book Club in place with 4 or 5 very loyal attendees (which is pretty darn good for a book club that’s not for adults). It quickly became one of my favorite programs to plan and run. However, when the school year came to an end I realized something horrible: Next year, my Tween Book Club kids were all graduating to 7th grade, which meant they were going to be… TEENS. *gasp!* When September came back around and no one showed up to book club, I was a pretty sad librarian. So I reached out to the middle school librarian and asked if I could arrange to visit the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes to promote book club. The next week, I talked up the program to 10 different groups and suddenly there was a waitlist for the next month’s book! The next book club meeting brought six new members to the table, and the month after that? NINE KIDDOS showed up! I successfully saved the beloved Tween Book Club from fizzling out, and for that I feel very happy indeed.20151119_155123.jpg

 

10 Favorite Non-Library Things

10. Binge-watching Star Wars *for the first time*

star wars

This was me up until like a month ago. It took me several tries, as I kept falling asleep (not because it was boring. It was like the music and sound effects were a strange lullaby to me), but I did it! AndNoIHaveNotWatchedTheNewOneSoDon’tRuinItForMe.

9. Chicago with my love

Chicago was another first for me. What’s even better is I got to travel by train! As mentioned above, I went there for the ALA-MW conference, but happily my hubby got to join me, so we did the whole tourist thing too. By “tourist thing” I mostly mean we ate deep-dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches, watched the Super Bowl at a bar, and saw ourselves reflected in “The Bean.” We happened to be there when a giant snowstorm hit, so we didn’t get to go to any museums or the aquarium like we had hoped, but now we have something to look forward to next time!

8. Craft brews with good crews

The Midwest is a great place to be if you’re into craft beer. The husband and I have decided that instead of displaying china like real grown-ups, we’re going to collect and display tasting glasses and growlers from brewery tours. This year, we hit up more breweries than I can count–both within and outside the Midwest–and we’ve just barely scratched the surface. Whether we’re with friends and family or just the two of us, tasting amazing beer is always a good time.

7. Discovering the joys of audiobooks and podcasts

For awhile there, I’d kind of gotten into a bit of a reading rut. I didn’t have the attention span to sit down with a book and just dive in like I used to. It worried me. What if I could never get back into it? Isn’t reading kind of a *requirement* to being a librarian? And then I discovered the joys of “reading with my ears,” as the great librarian and audiobook expert Sharon Grover puts it. Now I can read while in the shower, while walking the dog (something I’m happy to say I’ve done a whole lot more of this year!), while driving to and from work, while doing the dishes… I would talk your ear off about reading with your ears, but then you’d… have no… ears to listen with, so…

Favorite podcasts:

Books I read with my ears this year:

6. Crafting and discovering new ways of making

I’ve always enjoyed making stuff. Painting, drawing, writing, crocheting, you name it. But this year, I came to the conclusion that making stuff is one of the things that makes me happiest. Among other things, I attended my first Paint Nite after being invited by the mom of one of my TAB members, made a rustic-chic wall-hanging after being inspired by metal cut-outs of the states I love, and took a needle felting class which may be the beginning of an unhealthy wool obsession.

5. California trip with friends

This summer we visited our friends Jon and Amanda in California (yes, I took a vacation during Summer Library Program. No, the library didn’t explode.). Our friends Gabe and Leann came, too. We crammed as much fun into those couple days as we could: Lots of wineries, breweries, amazing food, sea kayaking, and we were even on The Price is Right! Sadly, none of us were asked to “Come on down,” but it was still a crazy cool experience.

4. We bought a boat!

We are currently renting a house on a lake, and after experiencing one summer on the lake without being able to actually get out on the lake, we decided to “take the plunge” (pun very much intended) and buy a boat. Best decision ever! We spent every chance we could get out on the water–floating, boating, and drinking gin gimlets all summer long with the dog, friends, and family. Also, due to the persistence of my husband and brother-in-law, I finally got up on skis for only the second time in my life. Whoop, whoop! Can’t wait for another fun summer in the sun.

3. My sister Angela is cancer-free

My sister beat her breast cancer and just completed her reconstructive surgery yesterday! She had such an amazing positive attitude throughout the entire process and always maintained her goofy sense of humor. Love you, Angel!

2. Negative Huntington’s diagnosis for my siblings and me

Last November, we learned that both my uncle and my mom have Huntington’s Disease (HD), a genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It affects things like mood, movement, and memory. HD has been called a mix of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS and as of now there is no cure. In short, it sucks. The good news that we received this year, though, is that my siblings and me (who each had a 50/50 chance of having the Huntingtin gene) all received Negative test results, which means we are HD free and cannot pass it on to our children. While navigating this new reality has made it an oftentimes difficult year for our family, knowing that we kids do not have it makes it easier for us to care for and provide support to my mom and other relatives affected by the disease. To learn more about HD, visit hdsa.org.

1. Getting more in touch with my Zen side

Speaking of the crazy rollercoaster ride of a year I’ve had, I learned a few tricks for managing stress and anxiety. Right around the time I was dealing with all the “getting tested for HD stuff,” I started a yoga class. It felt so good that I got a yoga mat and started doing it on my own at home, too. Although lately I’m about as good at doing yoga as I am at blogging. I think one of my New Year’s resolutions will be getting back into yoga. 🙂 I have also been dabbling in meditation, which helps me tap into my emotions and clear my mind. If you are interested, I highly recommend the Headspace app (yes, there’s an app for that!). Yoga, deep breathing, meditation, Sleepytime tea, and going for walks with the dog have helped me get through this crazy year. Along with my supportive husband, friends, and family of course.

With that, I’d like to say happy holidays to you and yours. May 2016 bring even bigger, better, and more favorite-y things!

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite library and non-library things of the year? Even if you don’t share it publicly, I challenge you to come up with your own list. It’s a great exercise!

Storytime – Rainy Days

I’ve always loved the rain. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am an April baby. I was crossing my fingers for rainy weather during this storytime, but alas, it was sunny and warm. I won’t complain one bit about sunny and warm weather, though! This still made for a fun and cozy storytime theme.

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Welcome Song: “We Clap and Sing Hello” (Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)

We clap and sing hello,
We clap and sing hello,
With our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello

Continue with: We stomp… We wave…

Letter of the Week: U

  • Umpire – I showed a picture of an umpire, and asked if they knew who it was and got a lot of blank stares. I gave hints about baseball and how he’s the guy who says “You’re out!” and “Strike one!” Still nothing. So I guess I taught them a new word!
  • Ukulele – Again I showed a picture of this (as I am not–yet–one of the many children’s librarians who’ve gotten on board with the latest trend of playing ukulele in storytime). Most of the guesses were “Guitar!” and “Violin!” but a few kiddos knew right away what it was. This was a fun word to say all together.
  • Umbrella – This was an easy one. I held up my umbrella and all the kids shouted “Umbrella!” Then we talked about what we use umbrellas for, which led in to the theme of rainy days.

Book 1: Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayreraindrops roll

I love this book! Beautiful, up close photographs of nature and raindrops in all different shapes and forms paired with simple, lovely text. I don’t normally read stories like this in storytime, with real photographs and not much of a storyline, but it was a fun way to mix things up and get kids talking about the different animals and insects pictured. It also includes text at the back with more information and facts about rain and the water cycle.

Song: “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring / Itsy-Bitsy Spider Medley” from the CD Music for Little People: 101 Toddler Favorites

I like using this song because it adds an additional layer to songs that are already familiar to most children. We patted on our legs for the parts that go “Drip, drop! Drip, drop!” then did the traditional hand signals for the two songs. I also enjoy that the recording includes somewhat off-key young children’s voices for one verse, which I think helped to encourage some of the more shy singers to join in.

Book 2: Storm Song by Nancy Viaustorm song

I’ve used this book in storytime before and I’ll use it again in the future for sure. I love the sweet rhyming text and vivid Pixar-like illustrations depicting the expressive characters as they wait out a thunderstorm.

Make a Rain Storm

I told the children that I thought it would be fun to make a rainstorm together and asked if they could help me with that. I got some confused but eager head nods.

First we rubbed our hands together to make the wind,
then clicked our tongues to sound like drops of rain,
then clapped our hands (“It’s raining a little harder now”),
then slapped our knees (“It’s really starting to pour now!”),
then stompped our feet (“it’s raining super hard!”)
Then on the count of three we jumped to make a thunderclap. (“Ready? 1, 2, 3!”)
After the giant thunderclap we did all of the actions in reverse to make the rain “stop.”

This was a fun activity that was both physical and imaginative. I like mixing it up when I can, instead of just doing a song or rhyme.

Book 3: The Thingamabob by Il Sung Nathingamabob

I have a soft spot for Il Sung Na’s quirky illustrations. This was the first time I used one of his books in storytime, though. It went over quite well! I think the kids enjoyed being in on the “secret” that the mysterious thingamabob was really an umbrella.

Craft: Umbrellas

Many thanks to Sunflower Storytime for this rainy day craft!

We folded cupcake liners in half and poked pipe cleaners inside them. Here’s where making a sample craft proves to be necessary, as I learned ahead of time that pipe cleaners do NOT glue down to paper (newbie here!). So I provided a piece of tape for everyone to secure their pipe cleaners to the inside of the cupcake liner and we glued the cupcake liners to the paper. Cotton balls served as clouds and the kids drew raindrops and puddles with crayons.

I set up another book display this week, and GOOD NEWS! People actually took books home this time, yay! 🙂 My heart was very happy.

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Storytime – Trees

We did this one at the library during the week of Arbor Day/ Earth Day and I enjoyed bringing it to the outreach storytimes, too. DSC08541 Welcome Song: “We Clap and Sing Hello” (Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)

We clap and sing hello,
We clap and sing hello,
With our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello

Continue with: We stomp… We wave…

Letter of the Week: T

  • Teeth, Tongue, Toes, Tonsils – All things on our bodies that start with ‘T’ (a kiddo suggested “Tonsils”–I hadn’t thought of it!).
  • Trampoline
  • Tree frog – I introduced Tyson the Red-Eyed Tree Frog puppet and talked about how in real life he is the size of a teacup and he lives in the rainforest and sleeps clinging to the underside of a leaf with his sticky hands and feet.
  • Tree – I showed a picture of an apple tree and we identified the different parts–Roots, Trunk, Branches, Leaves, and Apples.

Book 1: Maple by Lori Nicholsmaple

I stumbled upon this book while facing out picture books one day and knew that I had to use it in storytime at some point. It is the sweet story of a little girl named Maple who grows up alongside the maple tree her parents planted “when she was still a whisper.” At one point in the story, Maple acts like a tree and is shown doing the yoga pose for tree. This led perfectly in to our next little stretching activity.

Yoga Pose: Treeyoga

I’ve recently gotten into yoga myself which inspired me to incorporate the Tree Pose into storytime. I’ll definitely try doing yoga poses again if it fits with the theme in the future (I’d LOVE to do a whole yoga-themed storytime someday). It was hilarious to see the storytimers try this pose. Some of them nailed it right away and others teetered awkwardly, but it was so cool to see them try! I enjoyed telling the 1st-4th grade class I visited that they were waaaay more coordinated than the 3-year-olds I tried it with that morning! 😉

Song: “If You’re a Tree and You Know It” (Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)

If you’re a tree and you know it reach up high (stretch arms above head)
If you’re a tree and you know it reach up high
If you’re a tree and you know it and you really want to show it,
If you’re a tree and you know it reach up high.

Continue with: Touch your roots (touch toes), Sway in the wind (sway back and forth), Shake Your Leaves (shake whole body)

The kids got pretty silly after shaking all their leaves, so I transitioned into the next book by asking them to be like trees and sit very still and silent.

Book 2: Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Mathesontap the magic tree

Definitely a go-to storytime pick. The kids got a big kick out of listening to the instructions and helping me do what the book told us to do. After opening their eyes at the end to see the egg had hatched in the nest, I heard several different kids say “How did you do that?” and “It really is magic!”

Action rhyme: “Two Little Blackbirds”

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill
One named Jack, the other named Jill
Fly away Jack, fly away Jill
Come back Jack, come back Jill

Two little blackbirds sitting on a stick
One named slow, the other named quick
Fly away slow, fly away quick
Come back slow, come back quick

Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud
One named soft, the other named loud
Fly away soft, fly away loud
Come back soft, come back loud!

Book 3: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.Chicka Chicka

Obviously this one’s a classic! I loved reading it with my mom and sister when I was little and it still entertains kids today. Many kids and grown-ups alike spoke the words aloud with me as I read. The only problem with this book is that for the rest of the day I have this phrase doing laps in my brain: “Skit skat skoodle doot, Flip flop flee. Everybody running to the coconut tree.” Can’t complain too much about that earworm. 🙂

Craft: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees

I kept it pretty simple for this craft, and it was a big hit with the kids and caregivers. I gave them coconut tree coloring sheets and dot label stickers with letters pre-Sharpied on them. I made sure there were enough stickers for everyone to put the whole alphabet on their tree if they wanted. DSC08540 - Copy The most labor-intensive part of this craft prep was writing all those letters on the stickers and cutting them out. I cut the sheets so there were 6 of the same letter on each sheet and the kids shared with their tablemates. It was cool watching the older kids do a bit of an alphabet hunt for each letter! Again, I included a display with other books on the theme. 20150421_092504

Storytime – Eggs

Just in time for Easter, here is the “Eggscellent” storytime I did this week! I really enjoyed doing this storytime, and the kids seemed to like it too. I brought this one to some of the outreach storytimes I do at area preschools and daycares, but also did it for regular storytime at the library. I wanted to do something that was festive while not being overtly Easter-y, and I think I successfully achieved the goal.

Welcome Song: “We Clap and Sing Hello”

We clap and sing hello,
We clap and sing hello,
With our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello

Continue with: We stomp… We wave…

Letter of the Week: E

  • Elephant – Edgar the Elephant puppet came out of his hiding spot in the basket and said hello. Then we all trumpeted like elephants! One little guy asked what the white things were on Edgar’s face, and that gave us the opportunity to identify them as tusks.
  • Eyes – We talked about how we have two eyes and we use them to see.
  • Ears – We talked about how we have two ears and we use them to hear or listen.
  • Eggs – I held up one of the egg shakers that we’d be using later. This led perfectly into our theme!

Book 1: Ollie by Olivier Dunrea

This is a sweet, simple story that the kids loved (and many were already familiar with the book). I only wish the book was larger. It’s a tiny little book, so the kids in the back probably had a hard time seeing the pictures.

Flannelboard: Where is the little yellow chick?

Many thanks to Anne’s Library Life for sharing this one. I laminated ten different clipart images and stuck a small square of velcro to the back. Each of the images hid under one of ten colorful eggs, and the storytimers helped me look for the little yellow chick by raising their hand and choosing a color. I hid the chick under the grey egg, hoping it would be chosen last (or close to last), and sure enough I was right! So we got to explore under all of the eggs before we found him. 🙂

Song “Head and Shoulders”

Head and shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes)
Head and shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes)
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head and shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes)

Book 2: Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be? by Janet Halfmann

I absolutely love this book! The illustrations are gorgeous, the rhyming text flows nicely, the lift-the-flap builds excitement, and it contains just enough little factoids to keep things interesting (“Did you know baby fish are called ‘fry’? I didn’t either, until I read this book!”).

Song w/ egg shakers: “I Know a Chicken” – The Laurie Berkner Band, from the CD Whaddaya Think of That?

My favorite egg shaker song ever! In the past, I’ve borrowed egg shakers from another library, but a recent donation of plastic eggs inspired me to make my own. I filled them with rice (the least possible choking hazard I could think of), hot glued the two sides together, and added a strip of colorful Duck Tape. I only saw a few grains of rice go flying, so hopefully they’ll be sturdy for awhile.

Book 3: First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Another lovely, simple book. I like pointing out the cyclical nature of the book–it starts with an egg and ends with an egg! Not sure if the kiddos understand this concept, but they liked helping me guess what each of the “then” objects would be.

Activity: Plastic egg stamping

Thanks to Kids Activities Blog for this great idea. It was a little messy, but lots of fun! I got smart and used the plastic tablecloths after cleaning up from the first storytime took me close to an hour.

There are Except Ifso many great egg-themed books out there! One that I used in my outreach storytimes was the very clever Except If by Jim Averbeck.

I also tried another book display this week, but didn’t have any takers. Not sure what the deal is with that, but I’ll keep trying!

Storytime – The Color Green

As a nod to St. Paddy’s Day this week, storytime was all about the color GREEN (which also happens to be Miss Katrina’s favorite color)! Talking about green things with the kiddos sure got me in the mood for spring (green grass, green frogs, green trees, green bugs). Here’s hoping we’ll see some of that green stuff popping up through the dull brown soon…

Welcome Song: “We Clap and Sing Hello”

We clap and sing hello,
We clap and sing hello,
With our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello

Continue with: We stomp… We wave…

Letter of the Week: R

  • Rabbit – Rebecca Rabbit is a very soft rabbit puppet, that I told the kids was very shy, so she was going to take a little nap while we had storytime and she came back out before the craft to let all the kids pet her. I just love when the puppets get hugs and kisses (even though some of the parents cringe about germs…).
  • Radish – Rebecca Rabbit’s favorite treat! I showed a picture of a radish–my favorite guess as to what kind of vegetable it was, was “rutabega?” Good guess!
  • Robot – A printed off picture of a friendly robot.
  • Rainbow – I made a flannel rainbow awhile back for “Rainbow in a Pot,” so I borrowed the rainbow for this. Starting with red, I had the kids tell me what each color was as I put the flannel pieces up on the board. Then I said, “We have a lot of colors up here, but today our storytime is all about the color GREEN!”

We talked about animals that were green (frogs, snakes, lizards, turtles), and then I asked them if sheep are green. Of course they aren’t! But in this first book, there are sheep of all different colors and together we looked for the green sheep.

Book 1: Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox

This book was a big hit! I had all the kids help me say “But where is the green sheep?” each time it came up on a page. At the end, when we found the green sheep sleeping beside a green bush, we talked about how he was blending in to the bush. One kid raised his hand and said, “He’s camouflaged!” Awesome.

Song: “Five Green and Speckled Frogs”

Five green and speckled frogs (Hold up 5 fingers)
Sat on a speckled log (Hold arm across body like a log, placing fingers on top)
Eating some most delicious bugs (ASL sign for “eat”) “Yum, yum!” (Rub belly)
One jumped into the pool (Hold up index finger and arc it away from “arm log”)
Where it was nice and cool (Swimming motion with arms)
Now there are four green speckled frogs “Ribbit! Ribbit!” (Hold up 4 fingers)

Continue until there are zero frogs!

Book 2: Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This is such an adorable book. Little pea likes a lot of things, but there is one thing that he can’t stand: Candy. If he can just get through eating his required five pieces of candy, then he can have dessert: Spinach! His favorite! It took a little bit of prompting for me to get the kids on board with the humor in this one (“Would you like to eat candy for dinner every night?” “Do you like eating spinach for dessert?”), but there were some older kids in my storytimes this week and they were totally hooked. The grown-ups were definitely chuckling, too. 🙂

Action Rhyme: “Five Green Peas”

Five green peas in a peapod, pressed (hold up 5 fingers, then press both fists together)
One grew, two grew, and so did all the rest (raise fingers one at a time)
They grew and grew and they did not stop (stretch fingers and arms wide)
Until one day that pod went POP! (clap)

Continue until there are no more peas!

Book 3: In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming

I personally enjoy this one and I thought the bright, bold illustrations would work well for storytime, but unfortunately it fell a little flat. Too few words on the page, I think. I did this one for preschool storytimes, but skipped it with the regular storytime crowd.

Activity: Five peas in a pod

We happened to have those little wooden ice cream spoons lying around, so I used those up, but you could also use popsicle sticks or the wider tongue-depressor type wooden craft sticks. Each kid got a blank “pod,” a green marker, and a handful of green pompoms in a variety of sizes to glue on to the peapod. The idea was to have them count out five peas, but some of the kids piled tons onto the pod, which was okay too!

 

This time I also included a little display with more green-themed books (that’s the most action the puppet theater has seen in years!).