Thursday, January 8, 2015

Storytime: Blue

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play

This was our first Storytime of the winter/spring session. I did a color one week each month in the fall, and we're continuing the pattern.
I even dressed up for the theme today. :)

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

I like the simple rhymes in this book. The kids got a kick out of the end when I showed them I had blue socks on too!

3) Five Little Bluebirds
I found a bag with five cardstock bluebirds attached to craft sticks, along with this rhyme. The kids held up five fingers to start, and put one finger down each verse, while I held the sticks. We counted how many birds/fingers were left each time.

Five little blue birds, hopping by my door
One went to build a nest, and then there were four.

Four little blue birds singing joyfully
One got out of tune, and then there were three.

Three little blue birds, and what should one do, 
But go in search of dinner, leaving only two.

Two little blue birds singing for fun
One flew away, and then there was one.

One little blue bird sitting in the sun
He took a little nap, and then there was none.

4) Shape Monster flannel
I had enough blue squares to give every kid one, plus another color/shape. We went through all the colors until only blue was left, and it was fun when they all came rushing up to put their blue ones on.

5) Blue Chicken - Deborah Freedman
I really like the images in this book, and the blue stands out so well. Don't forget to check out the inside of the back cover for what the chickens got into next!

6) Song - I Know a Chicken - Laurie Berkner
Any easy transition from the previous book. Lots of kids chose blue eggs.

7) Song & Rhyme Cube
I didn't use this at all in the fall session, and want to do it more now. It's an easy way to use up a few more minutes of time, and expose kids to classic songs and nursery rhymes that wouldn't otherwise "fit" with a weekly theme. This week we rolled I'm a Little Teapot, Five Little Monkeys, and If You're Happy and You Know It.

8) Little Blue Truck - Alice Schertle
Who doesn't love Little Blue Truck? And none of my kids had seen his books before! They loved it.

9) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again. For the table craft I had cardstock and little bowls of blue fingerpaint. 

Other blue ideas:
Blue Sky - Audrey Wood (I used this in my 0-2 yr old group)
It Looked Like Spilt Milk - Charles G. Shaw (I have a flannel that goes with it)
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse - Eric Carle (this would be great to make a flannel for)
Blue Goose - Nancy Tafuri
Baby Bear Sees Blue - Ashley Wolff
Grumpy Bird - Jeremy Tankard
What's the Matter Bunny Blue? - Nicola Smee
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way - Alice Schertle

Friday, January 2, 2015

How I Resolve to Rock in 2015

I'm a couple days late to the party, but Storytime Underground has put out a challenge for us to create some professional goals for 2015. My husband and I create a goal jar around this time of year for us and our family, so branching out and setting some goals for my job is a natural next step, right?

1. Blog consistently, and about more than just storytime plans.
During 12 weeks in the fall, 12 weeks in the winter/spring, and 6 weeks in the summer, I've done a fairly decent job at recording my weekly storytime plans. It keeps track of things for me, and I know I search lots of other blogs for ideas when creating my plans so hopefully what I post will help others too. But during storytime breaks (like now!) my blogging really slacks off. I want to try and post at least once a week, all year-round.

When I checked my stats and tags, I have written 130 posts so far, and 58 of those have been storytime plans. When I take out the 33 posts I wrote for the 31 Days of Writing challenge in October, 60% of my posts are only storytime plans. I want to try and decrease that percentage even more, by writing about other stuff too.

2. Do the 31 Days of Writing challenge again in October
I really enjoyed having something simple yet specific to write about every single day for a whole month. I'd like to do the exact same thing as last October, where I write short picture book reviews about new books that have come out in the previous year.

3. Finish weeding chapter books
I've come to realize that weeding in the children's area at my library hasn't been done for a looooong time. Over the last two years, during storytime/programming breaks, I've worked my way through EJ (picture books), lightly through 000-300s, hard-core through 921 (biographies), and almost all through 596-599 (animals). Last August I did some shifting and re-arranging of chapter books, which resulted in lightly weeding K-Z (based solely on condition). This section is our most tightly packed, and with good reason -- I've found 100+ year old books on the shelf! At a minimum I need to weed A-J on condition, and I really should go through the entire section and weed based on circs too.

4. Professional development - attend more workshops and conferences
Because I don't have a library science degree, I am learning A LOT as I go in this job. Between everyday experience and online reading (yay for Storytime Underground and SO many other great youth services blogs!) I am slowly getting up to speed in the library world. But nothing beats face-to-face conversations and presentations and discussions like what happens in a workshop or conference. In 2014 I attended three small, local workshops about things like Summer Reading and Storytime 101. Looking ahead to 2015 I'm already super excited about Spring Institute and MIKidLib Unconference, as well as smaller workshops put out by my co-op.

5. Personally read 36 books
It may not seem like very much, but I checked my Goodreads and discovered I'd only read 24 books in all of 2014. Granted, I read things like Harry Potter and Eragon which are huge books. But I do work outside of the home 30 hours a week, and have a home to clean and food to cook and a young family to be with. So I've officially made my challenge for Goodreads to up my reading from 2 books a month to 3. And note, these do not include the picture books I might read to my kids or for storytime or as new ones come in to the library - these 36 books are only the ones I'll read for myself (I love Jessica's post on tips to help you read more often, even if you have little kids! I plan to try a lot of these!)

I'm sure other things will come to mind, like increase Summer Reading participation and plan more teen events, but the five points above are what I feel really passionate about right now. What are your goals for the upcoming year? If you need ideas, Lisa has a really good list of goals to consider for all levels of expertise!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Thoughts on Caldecott 2015

I love reading everyone's predictions this time of year for Caldecott and Newbery winners (mostly Caldecott since I never seem to have time to read many chapter books...). I'm still fairly new in the library world, so it's difficult for me to just pick titles off the shelf as winners, but I do have opinions on some of the books other people have chosen! 

Draw! by Raúl Colón
In general I'm not a fan of wordless books. I hated it when my daughters wanted me to "read" Goodnight Gorilla every night. And when this one came in at our library I wasn't expecting big things. But once I opened it up and paged through, and now the more I see it the more I like it. The sketching reminds me of last year's Locomotive winner, with realistic pencil drawings. And if the Caldecott is meant to honor "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children", what is more distinguished than a beautifully illustrated book that doesn't even need words to tell the story?

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio
My own kids LOVE this book. I honestly had no idea it was even a possibility for the Caldecott until I saw it popping up on others' lists. It just seemed too simple to win the award, but I suppose it's the simplicity that is so appealing. There is great use of white space on some pages and full spreads of color on others. And illustrations that get across the idea of fitting in to a family no matter how you look gives it bonus points. 

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
I've only seen this book sporadically on mock Caldecott lists, but I'm hoping it will sneak in for at least an Honor this year. The way Soman creates the look of beautiful moving water is absolutely stunning.

Two books I haven't seen myself yet but are on order and I'm excited to look at are Blizzard by John Rocco and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

What are your favorite Caldecott contenders this year? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

O Christmas Tree

Every year our city's Chamber of Commerce holds a Christmas tree decorating contest among the local businesses. People in the community can vote for their favorite tree by bringing a non-perishable food item to be collected at the business. Here is our library's tree from last year:
We made it entirely out of old reference books, then strung a lighted garland around it. We had a contest for patrons to guess the number of books we used - 235!

This year we created a fireplace, and just put a little tree on top:
Yes there is a stocking for each staff member. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Storytime: Thanksgiving

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 25 minutes + play

This was our last Storytime of the fall session. Since we're closed on a couple Wednesdays in December and I've already been doing this for 12 weeks, the day before Thanksgiving was a good stopping point. We'll pick back up again when school starts, the first week of January.

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) Thanksgiving Rules - Laurie Friedman
A fun what-to-expect-at-Thanksgiving book. I didn't read the "extra" sentences and list of rules on the pages, just the basic story.

3) Hello Mr. Turkey
Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It

Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap clap)
Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap clap)
With a gobble gobble gobble (hand under chin, wiggle fingers)
And a wobble wobble wobble (shake body)
Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap clap)

4) I'm a Little Turkey
Tune: I'm a Little Teapot

I'm a little turkey, my name is Ted
Here are my feathers, here is my head
Gobble gobble gobble is what I say
Quick! Run! It's Thanksgiving Day!

5) Turkey Pokey
Tune: Hokey Pokey

You put your wings in, you put your wings out
You put your wings in and you shake them all about
You do the turkey pokey and you gobble all around
That's what it's all about!

... drumsticks
... tail feathers
... whole turkey

6) Thanksgiving - Miriam Nerlove (non-fiction)
I wanted to include a book that told the story of Thanksgiving, since the majority of the kids weren't in school yet and had probably never heard of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. This was the best one I could come up with, it was published in 1990 so some of the pictures were a bit dated. If anyone else knows of a better non-fiction Thanksgiving book for preschoolers let me know!!

7) Five Little Pilgrims fingerplay
Five little pilgrims fish in the morn (hold up right hand, wiggle fingers)
Five little Indians help them plant corn (hold up left hand, wiggles fingers)
Pilgrims bring bread (bring right hand closer to middle)
Indians bring meat (bring left hand closer to middle)
Ten new friends sit down to eat! (fold hands together)

8) (10) Little Turkeys
I had a handful of stick puppet turkeys that I handed out to the kids. They stood in a line while we said the rhyme. I'd point at one kid during "one little turkey flew far away" and they would bring fly their turkey up for me to take. I have "ten" in parentheses because it doesn't really matter how many turkeys you start with!

(Ten) little turkeys sat in their pen
"Hide, turkeys, hide!" said the little red hen
One little turkey flew far away
But the other ones decided to stay
One little turkey sat in his pen
"Hide, turkey, hide!" said the little red hen
The last little turkey flew off toward the sun
And when he was gone, there were... none!

9) Thanksgiving Mice - Bethany Roberts

A simple re-telling of the Thanksgiving story. I don't think my kids really got the concept of the mice doing a play to tell the story though.

10) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

11) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again. For the table craft I had cardstock with this little poem printed on the bottom:

This isn't just a turkey, as anyone can see
I made it with my hand, which is a part of me.
It comes with lots of love especially to say
I hope that you have a very

The kids traced their hands (or had their grown-up help) then colored their turkeys, and chose someone to give it to the next day at Thanksgiving.

Other Thanksgiving ideas:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Storytime: Family/Families

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 25 minutes + play

With Thanksgiving coming up I thought it would be fun to have a storytime all about family. But do you know how hard it is to do a search online for this theme?? I kept coming up with advertisements and plans for different library "Family Storytimes" which meant they were FOR families, not ABOUT them...

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) The Family Book - Todd Parr
A nice introduction to the theme, this book showed that while a lot of families may look different from each other, there are a few things that are always the same.

3) My Family (fingerplay)
This is mama, kind and dear. (point to thumb)
This is daddy, standing near. (point to pointer finger)
This is brother, see how tall! (point to middle finger)
This is sister, not so tall. (point to ring finger)
This is baby, sweet and small. (point to pinky finger)
This is the family, one and all! (wiggle all fingers)

4) Family Scarves flannel
From Katie. I made faces of grandpa, grandma, mommy, and daddy. I already had some winter clothing (scarves, hats, mittens) from another flannel activity, and while they didn't fit the greatest on the people, I didn't have time to make new ones! I handed out pieces to the kids and put the faces up on the board, and when we sang about the kids' pieces they brought them up.

(tune of Mary Wore Her Red Dress)
Grandma wore her blue scarf, blue scarf, blue scarf
Grandma wore her blue scarf all day long

5) I'm Going to Grandma's - Mary Ann Hoberman
A neat little book about not being afraid to stay overnight at grandpa & grandma's house. I think the story of the quilt went over the heads of some of my younger kids, but overall it was okay.

6) We Are the Dinosaurs & The Goldfish Song
I needed to fill some time, so I took requests for songs to dance to.

7)  Is Your Mama a Llama? - Deborah Guarino
I found I had little stick puppets of the characters in this story, so I showed the kids the cover of the book but explained I was going to tell them the story with puppets instead of showing them the pictures. I used the book as a sort of puppet stage on my lap, and had them help guess the animals based on the descriptions and rhymes before revealing them.

8) I Love My Mommy - Giles Andreae & Emma Dodd
Aww... Lots of love to the mommies, some of whom were there and some of whom the kids would see in the evening after work.

 I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again, and just had some Thanksgiving coloring pages available. Right now I'm not trying very hard to come up with crafts that tie to the theme, and I don't think the kids miss it. :)

Other family ideas:
Here Comes Grandma! - Janet Lord (I read this one in my Littles [0-2 yrs] class)
Big Sister, Little Sister - Leuyen Pham
My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks - Hanoch Piven
My Beastly Brother - Laura Leuck

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Storytime: Travel

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 25 minutes + play

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) Dinos on the Go! - Karma Wilson
I liked how this one had all sorts of different forms of transportation. I did paperclip a few.

3) Vehicle Guessing Game Flannel
Thanks to Kate for this fun flannel! The kids were able to guess all of them except the hot air balloon, which I saved for last.

4) The Wheels on the Bus
One way that people travel that we didn't talk about in our flannel is a bus!

The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round, round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All through the town

...doors... open and shut
...wipers... swish, swish, swish 

...lights... blink, blink, blink
...people... up and down

5) Toot Toot Beep Beep - Emma Garcia
I love this book and Garcia's Tip Tip Dig Dig. I made it interactive, asking the kids to repeat the noises after me

6) Green Says Go
I used this in my Vehicles storytime last spring. I put large green, yellow, and red paper circles on craft sticks. I asked the kids if they've ever seen a stoplight when their parents are driving. Most of them already knew that green means go and red means stop. Then I had them stand up and march in place while I showed them the different colors. I even switched the colors up a few times (straight from green to red, etc.).

Green says, “Go!” (march quickly)
Go go go! Go go go! Go go go! Go go go! 
Yellow says, “Slow...” (march slowly)
Slow slow slow... Slow slow slow... Slow slow slow... Slow slow slow...
And red says, “Stop!” (stop and freeze)

Go go go! Go go go! Go go go! Go go go!
Slow slow slow... Slow slow slow... Slow slow slow... Slow slow slow...

Also used this in my Vehicles storytime. I taught them the motions first, explaining the song goes really really fast. Then I played it directly from YouTube on my iPad (just for the song), since I haven't been able to find it available for purchase.

8) Road Work Ahead - Anastasia Suen
My own kids love this book. They like finding the ducks and chicken throughout. Not as easy with a large group though. But the rhymes flow well, and kids love construction equipment.

I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments as usual. I also had some coloring pages with lots of different vehicles. 

Other travel ideas:
Honk Honk Beep Beep - Daniel Kirk
On the Road - Susan Steggall
Boats - Byron Barton
Red Light, Green Light - Anastasia Suen
Sheep in a Jeep - Shaw
Other things from my vehicles storytime
Purple car - Mel's Desk

Monday, November 17, 2014

Storytime: Yellow

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play and craft

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) In My New Yellow Shirt - Eileen Spinelli
A fun book about a boy who pretends to be all kinds of yellow things because he's wearing a yellow shirt. Perfect for introducing a "yellow" storytime. I could see this being made into a flannel story.

3) Five Big Lemons flannel

Five big lemons in the bowl. (hold up five fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (Fold down one finger, and roll hands)
It bumped the table, and hit my toe! (clap once, and touch toes )
How many lemons in the bowl? 1-2-3-4 (Count fingers/flannel pieces)

Four big lemons in the bowl...

4) Lemon Tree
From Miss Katie. I did the apple tree version earlier in the year.

Way up high, in a tall tall tree (hold hands up as high as possible)
Two big lemons smiled at me (make hands into fists)
I shook that tree with all of my power (shake shake shake!)
Down came the lemons (drop down and slap hands on floor)
Whoa, they were SOUR!! (hands on cheeks, make sour face)

5) School Bus - Donald Crews
Something that all of the kids have at least seen around town that is very yellow!

6)  The Wheels on the Bus
An easy follow-up song to the previous book.

The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round, round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All through the town

...doors... open and shut ...wipers... swish, swish, swish 
...lights... blink, blink, blink
...people... up and down

7) Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz) - Laurie Berkner from The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
I handed out scarves to all the kids and we just flew around flapping our wings during the chorus and sat down during the verses.

8Press Here - Hervè Tullet
It took me a little bit to explain that I wanted the kids to do the motions/tapping in the air in front of them, and I would be the one to do it on the book. I had a mom come up to me afterward and want to check this book out right away so her daughter could do it at home!

9) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
Blocks and instruments as usual, white paper and yellow finger paint for the table activity.

Other yellow ideas:
Banana! - Ed Vere (I read this in the 0-2 class and they loved it!)
Lemons are Not Red - Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Yellow shirt cut and paste

Friday, November 14, 2014

Storytime: Opening & Closing Songs

In an effort to "bookend" my storytimes with something familiar each week, I've started using the same opening and closing songs for both my "Littles" (0-2 years) and "Bigs" (2-5 years).

1) Greet with puppet
This year I introduced my friend Leo the Lion to the kids. He's a nice lion, his mouth doesn't even open! His favorite thing to do is wave to the kids. Therefore he helps us sing our opening and closing songs. With the older kids I'll often ask if they want to give him a high five before putting him away. Sometimes with the littles we'll sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and I'll ask various kids to help me find the parts of Leo's body.

2) This is the Way We Wave Hello
(tune: Mulberry Bush)
This is the way we wave hello, wave hello, wave hello
This is the way we wave hello, hello, hello, hello! 

This is the way we clap hello, clap hello, clap hello...
This is the way we pat hello (pat thighs), pat hello, pat hello...

Repeat waving verse again with older kids, repeat all 3 verses again with younger.

3) These Are My Glasses - Laurie Berkner
I started using this song before reading our first book each week during my very first Summer Reading Program in 2013, and have used it ever since. The kids know it so well, I think I'd have a mutiny if I ever left it out now. We sing it through (acapella) twice.

These are my glasses (make the letter o with each hand)
And this is my book (hands together)
I put on my glasses (put "glasses" over eyes)
And open up the book (open book hands)
Now I read read read (hold book up in front of face like reading)
And I look look look (put glasses over eyes and look around room)
I put down my glasses and… (lower glasses)
WHOOP! Close up the book. (clap as if closing a book quickly)

Do You Know What Time It Is?
(tune: Muffin Man) Early in the season I had to explain to the kids a few times that some grown-ups wear watches on their wrist to see what time it is. One week a little 2 year old, who never talks and never smiles, came up to show me she'd worn her own watch that day!

Do you know what time it is? (tap wrist)
What time it is? What time it is?
Do you know what time it is?
Storytime is over!

Now it's time to stretch up tall 
(stand/reach up)
Stretch up tall, stretch up tall
Now it's time to stretch up tall
Storytime is over!

Wave goodbye to all your friends (wave)
All your friends, all your friends
Wave goodbye to all your friends
Storytime is over!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bulletin Board: Hang Out at Your Library

I honestly don't remember where I read the phrase "hang out at ___" with the clothesline idea, but here's a new programming bulletin board I came up with:
It really is a clothesline with clothespins. On each shirt I list the library hours for the day, along with the weekly/monthly things we offer on that day of the week. The last shirt is labeled "Special Events" and is for one-time things, like our teen Halloween party we had this fall. I took small manila envelopes and cut them to make pockets, to put our mini-flyers in for people to take.