Jan 27, 2013

Snowy Stories

Last week was super exciting. My storytime sessions started back up and I added an outreach storytime! I took my show on the road (well down the block to a local church). Preschool storytime this week was about snowmen.

We sang our opening song Rise and Shine. We talked a bit about what storytime was going to be about. Then I read our first story:

The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming. I liked this book because I could encourage crowd participation by not finishing phrases like, "two bright blue. . ." and the kids would shout out, "mittens!" The kids also could participate by finding the new things added and by counting them out (not every time).

We did Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill. Since we had counted backwards from ten, it was fun to count forward to ten and after all that jumping the kids want to sit down for a minute.

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert was the second book I chose. The kids had fun looking for the different materials that were used to make each of the snow creatures; one of the kids even guessd that the dog's name was going to be Spot.

We sang and danced to a little ditty called Dance Like Snowflakes that I have been singing for years and am not sure where it came from.

I read All You need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle. The kids were loud about the missing parts of the snowman. At one point, all you need is one large ball (nooo! the kids would shout out, you need more snowballs).

We danced to The Freeze by Greg & Steve. It is sad to me how many kids are already too embarrassed to put themselves out there and act silly. They all think I'm crazy. I try to make this high energy and get as many kids as I can involved. If you add little dance instructions you can get most of them moving, at one point a kid suggested jumping jacks! I was almost too tired to read the last story.

Our final story was Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. There are a lot of silly details in the pictures (my fave was the cucumber nose). The kids were good at noticing details in the pictures that added to the story.

We don't close with a song, but a craft that is related to the stories we read. This week's project was snowman names. I always try to have a name project the first week so I can hang their names up on the wall to give them a sense of returning to something that is their's every week. I actually came up with this one on my own, then went to Pinterest to see if anyone else had come up with it, and it has been done before (great minds think alike). I cut out the snowballs and wrote their letters from their names in pencil. Let them trace them (I didn't have to do this for the four year old preschool I visited).  I had laid out their names so they could practice finding them. Then the kids glued them on and could decorate them with the hats & carrots I had provided and then with the markers they could add anything their little hearts desired.

Jan 24, 2013

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

I've been working on pulling everything together to start a 1000 Books program at my library. The inspiration started with a Summer Reading Program workshop I attended last spring. Marge Loch-Wouters over at Tiny Tips for Library Fun was presenting and shared tips (literally) and other useful information with us and I was super excited to start planning mine. Seeing as how I am the entire youth services department, it has taken awhile to get all my ducks in a row and organized into a program that I am ready to run. I am almost there.
To access the map, click on the link below!
 In the mean time, I have found a TON of useful information at other library websites and the nerd in me took over. I have been bookmarking libraries to a 1000 Books Map I made with my Google account. I've spent hours looking at program ideas and just added the libraries I looked at to my map. I'm sure I missed many libraries. Please let me know if I need to add a library that is joining this wonderful early literacy revolution!!

Jan 18, 2013

What Happens at Storytime - 2

I usually, officially start storytime at five minutes after the hour to allow for those last minute stragglers (thus the checking in graph). I open the same way EVERY TIME. We sing a little ditty I used to sing with the kids at preschool, but I have tweaked the words a little for storytime.

Opening song:

Rise and Shine

Rise (scoop from floor to ceiling with both hands),

and shine (hands to side of face and wiggle fingers),


welcome to storytime (we make little flapping books with our hands palms up).

Repeat the above one time

Rise (scoop to floor)

And (hands on waist)

Shine (wiggling fingers again)

And (still wiggling fingers)

Welcome to storytime (Flapping books again)

We're so (hands to chest) (and by we, I mean me and all of the children)

Glad (point to smiling face)

You're (point to kids)

Here (point to floor)!

The melody can be heard on a great YouTube video I found. The verse I based it on starts at time 1:24.

Jan 16, 2013

What Happens at Storytime - 1

I have combined what I did for preschool circle times with what I have seen done at some library storytimes into a smorgasbord of early learning activities at my preschool storytimes. I'm going to break down what I do at each storytime into a few different posts so they don't get too long.

Before storytime even starts I cram in a few pre-literacy, math and science activities.

1. Name Tag Name Recognition:

As the children come into the room, I greet them and then they look for their name tag on a table full of them. Some of the older children march right up to the table, do a quick scan, grab and go. Some of the younger kids are completely overwhelmed, but it's okay! We talk about the shape of their beginning letter and some of the other letters in their names. My favorite part of this exercise is that I get to see the process from when they recognize the first letter of their name to the time when they eventually walk up to the table and grab their name tag in seconds.

2. Graphing with names:

After they find their name tags they sit on the storytime carpet. Here they are asked our question of the day. This week we are doing a snowman type storytime so the question of the day will be: How many balls did you use to make your snowman at home? This is a multiple choice question, and they will choose from 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4+. By the time all of the children have wandered in, we have learned that writing represents words, and we have been asking and answering math and science questions. How many snowballs do you think will have the most names? Do you think everyone will have made a snowman? Do you still have your snowman? What happened to it (it rained so it melted)? We also practice adding (by ones) to get the total for each column. I write the totals down (writing represents information). We discuss concepts such as less and more, the most and least, and next week with snow we get the bonus of liquid and solid since most of their snowmen have probably melted from recent rain.

Jan 14, 2013

Like a Mirror

I am not exactly sure why I started on this crazy journey of blogging.

As I joined Children's Librarian land in the last couple years, I started reading blogs by librarians and other professionals. They seemed to have a lot to share with the world. I was interested in joining in, but I was convinced I didn't have a lot to share.

Then I started to play around on Pinterest. I was finding that I had already done some of the same activities, or similar versions of them in early childcare. I started thinking to myself. . . I could do this. I could share what I have been doing with others. Oh yeah (thinking to myself). . . that's right it has already been done. So I put the idea of blogging away again.

I continued to read librarian's blogs and I discovered book reviews by other librarians, again I thought to myself I could do this, but again, it is already being done.

I was asked to write something about how my experience in early childhood influenced my work as a children's librarian for Leah over at Keeping Up With Kids. As I was working on the write up, I realized that what I was writing would make a good first post for the blog I had thought about starting. I told Leah I was sorry to bail on her, but I was going to use my story to start my own blog and this blog was born. Leah is great and was so supportive that she promoted my blog in place of my story! Thanks Leah!!

mirrors by "flo"

So now I guess that I am keeping this up as a sort of scrapbook of my career. I have a ton of stuff flitting around in my head and sometimes forget what I've done and how it went. As part of my Master's in Ed and Professional Development we were trained to reflect and reflect again. So I will be reflecting like a mirror on the programs and experiences as I go about my days as a Children's Librarian. Some day down the road I will look back and revisit those ideas that excelled or failed and reflect on those moments with a more objective view.

Jan 8, 2013

To Book or not to Book. . .hmmmmm

Summer Reading Program (small grimace)

I started my Summer Reading Program planning calendar of hell fun today. Many librarians in my area are booking their performers for the summer and I find myself completely balking at the thought of paying someone $400 (yeah that's right) just to entertain kids at my library for an  hour. Do you know how much I make an hour to entertain the little tykes? . . . . best keep that information to myself, but I'll have you know it is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than $400.

Needless to say, I'm thinking of going a different route and maybe not having a performer at all this year. This is my second year at the library and my director is super awesome at letting me do things my way, so I may have to shake up the natural order of the universe. $400? Yeah, I'm still stuck on that one too.

Professor Marvel rocked it last summer! But, I am not looking forward to cramming over 80 people into a 20 x 20 room that is about 95 degrees this year - the $400 (had to) performer took up about one third of the space so you can just imagine the stinky sardines coming out of that room after an hour and a half!

I am picturing a kick off carnival that is drop in, OUTSIDE under tents with fresh air and room for all. It could even last for two to three hours so parents would be able to drop in and spend time with their children participating in some literacy/ science-y type activities after they register for the summer reading program of course!

I can't believe how fast summer is approaching! I'll have to decide quickly before all the good performers are all booked up. It would be too bad if I waited too long and no one was available.