SNOW!

This week it snowed in Chicago! It was the fifth largest snowstorm on record and it just keeps falling. I planned this story time a few weeks ago and really wanted to wait for a snowy week to share this theme with my story time friends.

Books we read:

Snow by Urio ShulevitzSnowballs by Lois EhlertSnow by Manya Stojic

Snowball by Nina Crews

Oh! by Kevin Henkes

Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Snowballs by Lois Ehelrt

Snow by Manya Stojic

Snowball by Nina Crews

Oh! by Kevin Henkes

I do multiple story times each week for different groups and ages of children, so I always like to have more than a few choices to swap in and out.

Songs we sang:

I’m A Little Snowfriend (to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot)

I’m a little snowfriend short and fat!

Here’s my scarf and here’s my hat!

When the snow is falling hear me say,

Build a snowman every day!

*

I’m a little snowfriend short and fat!

Here’s my scarf and here’s my hat!

When the weather warms up, tee, hee, hee

I’ll melt and there’s no more of me!

I found it here (http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/my-little-snowman-kids-songs-for-christmas/) and changed the words from snowman to snowfriend.

Flannel board activities:

I made two flannel boards for this week’s them. The first is all over the internet, but I first found it on Loons and Quines @ Librarytime (http://loonsandquines.blogspot.com/2012/01/flannel-friday-five-little-snowflakes.html). I really love the idea of backing the snowflakes with blue felt to make them more sturdy and also I think it will look a bit nicer on my red flannel board. Something to add for my next snow themed story time!

Five little snowflakes

Five Little Snowflakes

One little snowflake with nothing to do,
Along came another and then there were… two!
Two little snowflakes laughing with me,
Along came another and then there were…three!
Three little snowflakes looking for some more,
Along came another and then there were…four!
Four little snowflakes dancing a jive,
Along came another, and then there were…five!
Five little snowflakes, having so much fun!
Out came the sun, and then there were none!
I was also very inspired by Storytime Katie’s mittens (http://storytimekatie.com/2012/01/20/flannel-friday-mittens/). I really loved how she added shapes to her mittens, which can add some depth to the activity and made the mittens a little more exciting to look at.
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Everyone LOVED this activity, which was no surprise. The kids really loved matching their mittens and we had a nice chat about whether or not we wore mittens or gloves (I prefer mittens!)

I am back!

After taking a few years off, I am back to blogging. A lot has changed for me professionally since I last blogged. I have worked at 4 different branches in my library system in 4 different neighborhoods in my fair city. As a result, story time has been something I have learned to be flexible with. I am at new library with a really wonderful community and have the pleasure of having full and fun story times once again. Weekly, I do on average 4 story times to different ages. Some of these are outreach story times and some are for neighborhood families. I don’t do crafts anymore, but am trying to figure out how to bring that back at some point. For me, this blog is a great way to keep track of my ideas and share them with anyone who stumbles upon it.

A Green Story Time!

Hello there folks! After yellow comes GREEN! You will remember, I have been doing this whole colors theme for storytime. First came Red then
Orange, and then Yellow and we are on Green. I looked forward to this week because I really like green and there are TONS of books that work with this theme.

The books we shared this week:

Snip Snap! What’s That? by Mara Bergman

This is a great storytime book! It has a lot of momentum and tons of repetition so the children really get into it.

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox

Ok, I totes stole this one from Storytime Katie’s Green Story time. It’s a storytime classic and so much fun. I had honestly forgotten about it and was really glad when her storytime reminded me of it!

Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra

I discovered this title while shelf reading. I have a love/hate relationship with shelf reading. I LOVE that I always discover a pile of new books etc…

The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long

I love using Ethan Long’s books in storytime. This book is a hilarious take on the hokey pokey and had all of us up and moving around

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

I recently made this into a flannel board! Hooray!  Here is a link to the template I used: Kizclub.com’s Big Green Monster Template. I will be honest, I found it because of Storytime Katie’s blog. Credit where it’s due, folks! Anyway, this flannel board is super popular with the kids and they asked for it again and again!

How it went:

It went really well. Green is an awesome color and there are tons of great books that fit this theme. The kids were super receptive and especially loved The Croaky Pokey and Go Away Big Green Monster.

Crafts are back!

I am really still trying to catch my stride with this. With such large numbers of children and just a few adults, it’s been a challenge to find anything that works really well that isn’t just coloring pages. There is a huge difference between what a 3-year-old with an adult and a 3-year-old by themselves can handle. This week’s craft was inspired by The Croaky Pokey. We made frogs!

I gave each child a frog outline and they glued the green squares inside. It worked really well. For a lot of the children, this was one of the first times they have ever used a glue stick. We did have some messy fingers but it was a lot of fun! I think I would use this again and give the kids more color choices. Usually I am all about letting them express themseves but since our theme was green we just used the green squares.

Look who’s back…

Helloooo! Is there anybody out there? I am back from a long hiatus! I moved jobs and it has taken a bit for the dust to settle. I apologize for my super long absence from blogging. I will try to not let it happen again. I changed jobs in the absolute middle of Summer Reading so things were a bit crazy. I am not sure I would ever recommend doing this… I guess there’s no harm in jumping in head first, eh? It’s all over now so I’ve been able to get my head on straight and have finally been able to sit down after a few weeks of running around totally crazy.

So, things have changed for me storytime-wise. I am now doing four storytimes a week, three of them are local preschools/daycares that come to the library and the other is an evening storytime for folks in the neighborhood. I am still going to plan one storytime per week and just run it three four separate times. So, when I discuss it in the blog, I will tell you about the books and any extras that are necessary to discuss then I will tell you what the kids thought.

The other HUGE difference is the preschools and daycares come for an HOUR so my storytimes are much, much longer. These groups are walking dozens of small children long distances so we are making it worth their while and having a long program for them. I know everyone has an opinion about appropriate length for storytime. I, myself think about 25-30 minutes is the sweet spot, but this is something out of my control. As a result these programs are very fingerplay, flannel board and movement heavy. I still read 3-4 books but that happens towards the beginning since the groups are generally less antsy at the beginning and can sit still then. After that we are getting up and moving a lot more.

Working at a new library always brings new colleagues to learn from and this place is no exception. The person I work with most closely is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fingerplays, so that’s been a huge help.

Finally, the last thing that has changed is I am not doing any crafts – for the time being. My preschool/daycare groups are all much too large and we don’t really have the space supplies. There also aren’t quite enough adults around to help. Each group has at least 45 children so it’s a little intimidating. I do want to get a craft started with my nighttime group, because that is generally much smaller. Eventually, I do want to start doing some crafts with the larger groups because frankly speaking I think it would be helpful for them and also a great use of that hour. Hopefully I can get this started soon!

It’s all a work in progress. Does anyone have any advice? I have been re-reading Storytime Katie’s blog entries because I know she is doing similar things. You will even notice she has inspired my first few weeks of planning on my own at this job.

Picnic Storytime

Storytime is back! This week was the beginning of our 6 week session. But sadly, I will only be doing three of those weeks. The weather was crummy this morning and I arrived to work with totally soaked pants. Needless to say, I was not in the best of moods but luckily my storytime crew turned that around really quickly. I had a very big bunch today so there was great energy in the room.

Our theme today was picnics, a perfect summer theme.

The first book we read was Picnic by Emily Arnold McCully.

In this book, a family of mice are going on a picnic. On the way to the perfect spot, they lose the youngest member of their family. (Spoiler alert!) Luckily they are all reunited and have a lovely picnic. This is a very simple story and I had the children guess if they would find her. Almost everyone said yes- there’s always one who goes against the grain.

The next book we read was The Best Picnic Ever by Clare Jarrett.

This is a great book about a boy named Jack who is going on a picnic with his mom. He has lots of adventures with animals before sitting down to the best picnic ever. It’s full of imagination and has lots of repetition. It’s a bit long, so make sure you group can handle longer-ish books.

The last book we read was We’re Going on A Picnic by Pat Hutchins.

In this book Hen, Duck and Goose are going on a picnic! They are a bit silly and can’t find the right place to have the picnic. There is a lot of silliness in this book and it’s fun to share with a group.

For our craft today, we made one of my favorite picnic foods: watermelons!

Since it is summer and we have lots of teen volunteers, I had one cut out the shapes prior to the program. I gave them crayons and black circles to glue on as seeds. I told one of my little friends that his watermelon looked good enough to eat. He nicely reminded me “Miss Sarah, you can’t eat paper.” Silly librarian!

Book Bundles

Recently, a co-worker of mine read an article about book bundles in VOYA magazine and implemented it in our library. The idea is to create groupings of books and other materials on a singular theme in order to help patrons find new titles on topics that interest them. She has been doing this with our Young Adult Fiction section for a few months and had great success. As a result, we have decided to expand book bundles to our picture books. Other libraries in our area have also been doing these bundles and calling them Literacy Bundles.  

I am very excited about this! It’s very common to be asked to find books on specific topics at the reference desk. We won’t be rolling this out until the summer, so there is plenty of time to think of topics for the Bundles. Why am I mentioning this here? Well, it’s a bit like storytime, isn’t it? Gathering books and materials on a theme to share with patrons. I’ve been brainstorming ideas and so far come up with these:

  • gardens
  • jungle
  • shapes
  • counting
  • dinosaurs
  • things with wheels
  • best friends
  • fairy tales
  • folktales
  • princesses
  • family
  • sea animals
  • the beach
  • seasons

What about you? What do you think are the must include themes for our book bundles?

Storytime Contenders III

First, I apologize for not posting last week. It was Christmas and I was off. That’s really no excuse because you can set blogs to automatically publish at a later date, so I do apologize.

It’s time for more Storytime Contenders. These are books I think would be fun to read in a storytime, I just haven’t found the right one yet.

Contender Title: Jump
Author: Scott M. Fisher
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster / 2010
ISBN: 9781416978848
Storytime appeal: This book’s premise is super similar to I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly (or whatever else she swallowed). The main difference is (spoiler!) nobody dies at the end. There are so many things I like about this book for storytime. First, the rhyming text is perfect. IT’s fun to read aloud and that’s important, don’t you think? There is a lot of repetition of the word JUMP! throughout and I can see kids really connecting with that and reading it along with the librarian. Also, the illustrations are fun and silly. There is even one spread that turns the book on it’s side. I love that, it’s like a super special surprise.
Possible themes: It does have a frog on the cover, so maybe frogs. Otherwise, it could be used for a silly storytime or a rhyming storytime. That might be fun… only read books that rhyme.

Contender Title: Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai’i
Author: Gerald McDermott
Publisher/Year: Harcourt Children’s Books/ 2009
ISBN: 9780152165901
Storytime appeal: I will be honest from the get go- I did not discover this book on my own. A friend of mine from library school reviewed it on Goodreads and I felt very compelled to check it out. She’s right, it’s awesome!  This is a trickster tale and it is all sorts of silly. An added bonus is that it’s a folktale. I never think of folktales for storytime even though that section has some of the best illustrations and stories. Thank you, Amanda, for reminding me of this great resource!
Possible themes: This would make a good addition to a pig storytime. He is purple after all! I also think it might be neat to go whole hog (ha!) and try to do a trickster storytime.