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


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Toddler Storytime Planning Series #1: Themeless Template Plan

Hi friends!

All of the apologies, so many, for the long break. We've had technical difficulties, but are now back up and runnin! I did the alphabet last year with the toddlers here, framing each week around a different letter of the alphabet. I only posted through the letter C here, though- one of these days I will make a massive post listing out the rhymes, books, and vocabulary words for each letter because WOW that was a lot of work comin up with toddler-level themes for every letter of the alphabet. I commend any brave soul embarking on the alphabet journey.

I think it was all that work that pushed me over the edge into themeless storytimes. Guys, it is so much easier! You don't need themes! Toddlers just want the same thing over and over again! Repetition is good! If you find a cute new book or rhyme, you don't have to wait until you find the right theme to fit it into because they really don't care. This has been life changing for me.My plan is pretty much the same every week. It goes as follows:

Opening rhyme 1: When ___ get up in the morning,
I'm not even sure where I originally got this, but it is a fun, low-key easy song to do while everyone arrives. Gather a bunch of animal puppets (or even pictures) into a basket, pull one out, ask them what it is and what sound it makes, and then sing:

When _(animal)_ get up in the morning, they always say good day
When _(animal)_ get up in the morning, they always say good day
_(animal sound)_, _(animal sound)_, _(animal sound)_, that is what they say.
_(animal sound)_, _(animal sound)_, _(animal sound)_, that is what they say.

Magic box refrain: Here is a box, and here is a lid; I wonder whatever inside is hid? This helps tons with transitions, because as soon as I grab the Magic Box and knock on it, everybody wants to know what is inside. Pretty sure it works because *magic*. I put pictures of characters from whatever book we are reading, or vocabulary words, or whatever felt pieces and small props I plan on using next. 

-This is where I introduce myself and orient new parents with important things like where the bathrooms are located and what time the rest of the library opens at. I also like to remind them that what we do in storytime helps build skills that kids will later use to learn to read, and they can help their kid get the most out of it just by joining in and getting a little silly!

Opening rhyme 2: Open & Shut Them

Magic Box X Book #1:
Early Literacy Concept: I try and find at least one early literacy tip for each book I read. My fab Fairy Twin Sara was one of the librarians trained and observed in the VIEWS2 Research Project, and in turn she has shared many great tips and tools and general enthusiasm with us.
Modeling behavior/ Prompts: I then make a note of how to demonstrate it in storytime and a talking point for the adults explaining the magic behind whatever it was I just did.

Stretching: "Stretch to the windows, stretch to the door, Stretch to the ceiling, and stretch to the floor!" I originally found this on KCLS Tell Me A Story, and have used it every week since. It is a nice, mindless, no memorization necessary rhyme to repeat and repeat and repeat.

 STANDING Movement: I'll make a post about my favorite standing rhymes, but ya can't go wrong with "Grand Old Duke of York" or "Way Up High in the Apple Tree". 

ACTION DICE! I swear by these things. I originally got the idea from the blog Growing a Jeweled Rose, and use ours every week. They are interactive, silly, promote literacy, AND kids get to throw them. 

ZOOM ZOOM! I think there would be a riot if I ever skipped this. It is bad enough when I try and take the group to the sun when we haven't yet gone to the stars. Thanks, Jbrary!
Quieting Rhyme: Usually "Here's a Cup", because toddlers love repetition and also love pretending to pour and share cups of tea. I have a few more fall-back chill-out rhymes that I promise to post about too, though!

Magic Box Y Book #2:  
Early Literacy tip:
Modeling behavior/ Prompts:

Magic Box FLANNEL game or rhyme: Usually a short nursery rhyme or song followed by Little Mouse-- there are a million blog posts on the Little Mouse flannel game, but I'll post my own in coming weeks. Again, this is another activity that the toddlers would freak out if I skipped. 

I close out with a song/rhyme medley for one of the following: 
Blog posts on each coming soon!
Closing song: Up, Down, Turn Around
Up, Down, Turn Around
Touch the sky and touch the ground
Jiggle belly, blink your eyes,
Blow a kiss, and say goodbye!

Then I invite them all to come up and get a stamp if they want one. I have been considering changing up the stamp, but they are CRAZY for this mouse stamp we have. It is pretty cute, and I swear some of them come to storytime each week for the mouse stamp alone. They love that guy.

Aaaaand... that's it! All in all, each toddler storytime here is about 30 minutes, with unstructured time for families to socialize, play with blocks, and read together after. Let me know if you have any questions, and again, apologies for the longwinded post and even longer time without posts! Happy storytiming! ~Emily