Thursday, September 29, 2016

Opposites Preschool Storytime

Oh frabjous day!! Storytime has returned in the wonderful land of Olympia! I never realize how much I miss storytime when we take a break until my first one of the season. There's nothing better. Seriously. I've been collecting a lot of great new storytime books in the storytime interim, so I decided to design one around one of my favorite new books, The Lion Inside. I thought it would fit great into an opposites theme, so heeere we go!

Opening Song: Open Them Shut Them (click on the link for a video of how I do it).

Opening Rhyme: I Had a Little Turtle

I actually adjust this song a little bit -- instead of the turtle being named "Tiny Tim", I let the kids choose the turtle's name! There's only one requirement -- the turtle's name MUST RHYME WITH SWIM. It's a great exercise in practicing rhyming skills! This time, the kids chose the name "Whim." I love it, really. We had a little turtle, her name was Tiny Whim!

I had a little turtle
Her name was Tiny Whim
I put her in the bathtub
To see if she could swim!
She drank up all the water,
She ate up all the soap!
And now she's home, sick in bed 
With bubbles in her throat!
Bubble bubble bubble, bubble bubble pop!
Bubble bubble bubble, bubble bubble pop!

Opening Activity: If you've been following this blog for a bit now, you know that I have an opening storytime routine in which I had the letters that spell our theme of the day in a Dr. Seuss pencil box. I did this this time, with the word "Opposite." As I pull the felt letters out and stick them on our flannel board, I have the kids shout out the letter! I also have us practice the letter's sound, and ask if anyone in the room has the letter in their name! Lots of good early literacy skills going on in this segment!

Book #1: The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and Jim Field

I was worried this might be a little long (since it was my first storytime of the session, I never know what the crowd's gonna be like), but it went really well! They stayed with me the entire time, and the parents audibly reacted to parts, which always makes me happy. If the parents are engaged in the book, the kids are way more likely to be engaged. Before we started, we talked about some of the ways that a lion and a mouse could be considered opposites. The whole book rhymes, too, so I did some rhyming prediction as we read. Overall, a great storytime choice. The illustrations are big, bold, and STELLAR.

Action Song: Cool Cat

I grabbed this song from Jbrary, and picked a few kids in the audience (I always have too many to do name songs with EVERYONE) to learn the names of. I originally chose this song because it had some good opposites in it, but it was GREAT for learning names. I might actually do a few rounds of it at every storytime and make an attempt to learn everyone's name for real!

Hey there _____ you're a real cool cat!
You've gotta lotta this and you've gotta lotta that!
So come on in and get down
To the left
To the right
Up in the air
And get down

Book #2: Jonathan & Martha by Petr Horacek

We started by talking about whether the two characters on the front look like opposites! Why no...they're the SAME! So why is this an opposite book? Leeet's find out? This book has some good left vs. right stuff, and a morbid part where a bird bites off the worms' tails, and it's nice and short. The picture are super Eric Carle-ish, and it has some fun lift-the-flap type pages. It went over pretty well!

Action Rhyme: This is Big 

I'm basically just stealing all my action rhymes from Jbrary (in this case, via Mel's Desk) this week. We did this pretty much exactly as written, and it went really well! I liked that the kids remembered it and could sing it themselves after we did it a few times.

This is big, big, big
This is small, small, small
This is short, short, short,
This is tall, tall, tall
This is fast, fast, fast
This is slow, slow, slow,
This is yes, yes, yes
This is no, no, no!

Book #3: Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

I just can't help myself when it comes to slightly morbid picture books. Before we read this, I showed the kids pictures of real barnacles, so they'd know what the character in the book was! I'm glad this book was short, 'cause patience was wearing a little thin at this point -- I usually put my shortest books at the end, but sometimes I wonder if I should switch it up so we can spend a little more time on the short books without attention spans getting in the way! It was fun though, I'd do it again. It's a great storytime book, and could actually start a lot of conversation.

Goodbye Song:

I am switching up my goodbye song this year! Time for a new one :) We only did the first half of it this time, and once they really get the hang of it I'll add the second verse. It worked beautifully. Yet again, thanks Jbrary :)

See ya later alligator,
In awhile, crocodile!
Give a hug ladybug,
Blow a kiss jellyfish.

And that's all from me this week, friends! Watch for this page to be updated regularly throughout our storytime session!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SRP 2016 Hype Display: Name Our Game!

Summer Reading is almost here! AAAGGHHHHHH! Are you ready? We are, totally. Suuure. Soooooo ready. :side eye emoji:

Fortunately, the schools in our area don't get out until later in June, so we have a little time. In an effort to drum up some early buzz for "On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!", I threw together a little interactive May Madness sort of book display. Two activities are pitted against each other at a time, and kids can vote for which one they think is more fun by putting a pom pom in the jar of their choice. When the pom pom supply is depleted, or the jars are full, we count the poms and crown a winner, updating the bracket accordingly.

Because this has been so popular, with the jars filling up so fast, we are going to expand it to a sweet 16 bracket after a winner from this set is named. Sweet 16?? I think that's what it called? Sara came up with that, and I don't really know sport things.

Oh and I mostly just raided the 796 shelves of Juvenile Nonfiction, but there are a bunch of picture books and sports fiction books in there, too.

Anyway, fun easy interactive SRP display! Good luck and have fun out there!!

<3, Emily

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Display Idea: (Magnetic) Poetry Month!

Hi all,

Here in fairytwinland, we like to make as many of our book displays as interactive as possible. Any excuse for play, imagination, ownership, and creative thinking, amirite?

A couple years ago I made a magnetic poetry set for an "animal poetry" display (typed in word doc, printed, laminated, cut, added magnets), so this year I just busted that out again with our old flannelboard, covered the table in black, and emptied the nonfiction shelves of all the coolest poetry for kids the 800s could offer.

May be too late in the month for you to use for Poetry Month this year, but please! So easy! So fun! So poetry! Use away!

<3, Emily

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Toddler Storytime: Little Bear's Big Day!

Hi all,

Just a quick post to share one of my favorite little imaginative play book-less stories to share in storytime! I learned and saved this years ago, I think it might have been in a workshop led by Naomi Baltuck. It is a fun alternative to Goin On A Bear Hunt, and the end is the sweetest thing. <3


Little Bear’s Big Day

Once there was a little bear who was sleeping in his bed in his nice little cave. Let’s all go to sleep!
"Have a little sleep bear, sleep bear, sleep bear.
Have a little sleep bear, sleep bear, sleep."

The next day the sun came out and little bear woke up and stretched. Wake up everybody, let’s stretch!
"Have a little stretch bear, stretch bear, stretch bear.
Have a little stretch bear, stretch bear, stretch."

And since it was a very sunny day the bear decided to go for a walk.
"Have a little walk bear,."

But this was a very active little bear and soon he became bored with walking and began to run!
"Have a little run bear,."

And after all that running he was hot and sweaty. Before him was a big cool lake, so what do you think he did? Yes! He jumped right in and swam! Swim with me!
"Have a little swim bear,."

And after he swam a little while he climbed out of the water and he was all drippy wet. And do you know how bears dry themselves off when they are wet? Yes, they shake!
"Have a little shake bear,."

And after all that shaking he looked up and saw a tall tree. You know how bears love to climb!
"Have a little climb bear,."

And when he got to the top do you know what he saw? Some golden, sweet, delicious HONEY! And you know how much bears love honey! C’mon, let’s have a little taste! Yummy!
"Have a little taste bear,."

But you know wherever there is honey there are honeybees. And those bees did not like that bear messing with their honey. Do you know what bees do when they are angry? They sting!
"Have a little sting bee,."

The bear cried out, "OUCH!" (sing fast and frantic)
"Have a little climb bear, climb bear, climb.
Have a little swim bear, swim bear, swim.
Have a little shake bear, shake bear, shake.
Have a little run bear, run bear, run.
Have a little walk bear, walk bear, walk."

And the bear reached his cave and called out to his Mommy,
"Mommy, Mommy! I went for a walk, and a run, and a swim, and I shook off, and then I climbed a tree, and I found some honey, and it tasted good. But the bees got mad and one stung me on the nose!"

And his mommy said,
"Awww! Have a little hug bear, hug bear, hug bear. Have a little hug bear, hug bear, hug."


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Toddler Storytime Planning Series: Stretchy band!

Are you familiar with the stretchy band?? It is so much fun! It is like a parachute, but with no mess of fabric in the middle to worry about. Storytime music superstar Jim Gill sang their praises at a workshop we attended, and we knew we had to have one of our own! Fortunately, we work with a talented seamstress, and she whipped one up using all sorts of different kinds of lycra in no time.
Bonus-- the band doubles as a fashionable scarf till you're ready to use it!
Stretchy bands are good for starting storytime or group activities when you want everyone to sit in a circle as they arrive-- one way to bring parents in and encourage them to engage in the activity with their child. I use it as a fun music and movement tool at the end of storytime. Using the band can help teach concepts (like up & down, slow & fast, in & out), build upper arm muscles, and gives them practice sitting in a circle (a crazy difficult skill to master!). Ours is just big enough for all the kids to stand around it and hold, with their adults behind them. 

I give them simple prompts to orient them with the band when we first bring it out, like "raise it over your head!", "bring your hands together!", "lean back!", "shake it fast!", etc.

There are so many songs that work with the band! Here are some of my favorites:

Sticky Bubblegum (I found this on jbrary's channel and tweaked it, replacing the word "hands" with "band"!)
Sticky, sticky, sticky bubblegum, bubblegum, bubblegum
Sticky, sticky, sticky bubblegum, sticking the band to our head 
Ready.... unstick!
(repeat with as many body parts as you want, and end with sticking the band to the floor!)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat (I assume that you know this song, but do you know any extra verses?)
Have kids practice "rowing" with the band before you start:
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily
Life is but a dream.

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see a dinosaur
Don't forget to roar! (ROAR!)

So many possibilities! If you see a mouse, squeak/ If you see an alligator, scream, etc etc etc.

Wheels on the Bus (again, you probably already know this one, but it is super fun with the band!)
Roll band in a circle in front of you:
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.

Wave band in front of you like windshield wipers:
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish...

Push band in front of you like a horn:
The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep..

Sit-ups while holding band if they are an older group/capable of it, otherwise raise arms all the way up above you and back down:
The windows on the bus go open and shut...

Bring two hands together like you're clapping:
The people on the bus go in and out...

Have you used a stretchy band in story time? Are there any other songs or activities you've used with it? It is so much fun!

Here are some more helpful posts on using bands in storytime:

Happy storytiming, friends! ~Emily

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sharks Preschool Storytime

This is probably my favorite storytime theme so far this session!  Everything about it worked perfectly -- the books were magical, the songs and rhymes went really well, I had a really perfectly sized crowd (40 kids and adults is SO MUCH easier and better for the kids than the 50-70 I tend to get).  I highly recommend this one :)  Without further's my SHARKS themed storytime from today!

Opening Song: Open Them Shut Them (click on the link for a video of how I do it).

Opening Rhyme: Hickory Dickory Dock with movement

I just want to make a little note about this -- I usually present this part of the storytime without comment, but I noticed something cool today. We do this rhyme pretty often, and every time I ask the kids to think of words that rhyme with "one", "two", and "three". I can tell that the kids are getting better at this, which makes me happy!  I got some unique answers that no one had said before ("blue" and "bee" instead of the usually "boo" and "whee!"). Kids really do learn at storytime. I can see it happening. At some point I need to do a standalone blog entry about my experience integrating early literacy skills in storytime and my experience being a part of the University of Washington's VIEWS2 study!

Opening Activity: As usual, before we started reading our first book, we spelled "SHARKS" in felt letters on the flannel board, and learned the ASL sign for shark (see below)!  Which is fun, btw.

Book One: Shark in the Dark by Peter Bently, illustrated by Ben Cort

I like that this book has a straightforward story line paired with really well-done rhyming text. It's sometimes hard to find books for preschoolers with a linear PLOT that isn't so wordy that it's overwhelming.  This is a perfect choice.  We did a lot of talking about what plan the fish might be coming up with, and also a lot of guessing of what the ends of sentences would be based on the rhyming words.  It's great.

Action Rhyme: Slippery Fish

You probably already know slippery fish.  It's kinda a storytime staple.  We have an adorable felt set for this song with animals that actually have pouches so you can make each creature "eat" the creature before it.  I added a bit to this -- for each animal, we did the ASL sign for the animal while we were singing about it!  Here's a cute video of Jbrary's version of this song with sign language :)

Book Two: Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld

Image result for shark vs. trainThis book is a little confusing to explain to kids -- it's kinda cerebral.  Before we started reading, we talked about how it's not a REAL shark and train, it's two kids playing with shark and train TOYS, and I think that helped them grasp the concepts a little better.  I paused at many of the pictures to ask if they thought the shark or the train was winning.  We also voted at the end with our hands whether the shark or the train was the winner.  Votes were split :)
Action Rhyme: Baby Shark

Somehow we hadn't done this one yet this season!  It's kinda the whole reason I wanted to do this storytime in the first place. 

Book Three: Shark in the Park! by Nick Sharratt

Image result for shark in the park bookThis book is just too perfect for storytime. We all pretended to have telescopes like Timothy Pope and looked up, down, left, right, and all around...and then we tried to guess if he was ACTUALLY seeing a shark, or if perhaps it might be something else... This was a short and sweet way to end the storytime. Kids loved it.

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Clouds

Tickle the clouds
Tickle your toes
Turn around
Tickle your nose!
Reach for the ground
Reach up high!
Story time is over,
Wave goodbye!

I got this rhyme from this awesome Jbrary video: Jbrary Goodbye Songs