Friday, September 12, 2014

Autumn Leaf

Several years ago I did a program about different methods of storytelling. Being basically lazy, I didn't bother asking for permission to use material but instead wrote my own examples.  Recently I found the handout for this presentation. I posted the draw and tell example for Flannel Friday's "Shark Week." The following cut and tell example was written for the first presentation which was in October.

Glue two pieces of paper together and then fold lengthwise. The inside piece should be yellow, red, or  orange and the outside piece should be green. I have used both construction paper and colored copy paper. I usually trim the inside paper to make it slightly smaller than the green paper so that the color doesn't show when folded. Fold and then trace the pattern onto the outside paper. Remember to always keep the pattern side facing you so your audience can't see it. Sometimes I will write the rhyme next to the traced pattern so I don't have to memorize it. If it is a story, I just write some key words to help me remember. Always do this on the part that is cut away.

Autumn Leaf: Cut and Tell
By Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room

I start out green,
Often fragile and small.
(Cut from 1 to 2)

I grow through two seasons
On something tall.
(Cut from 2 to 3)

But there are changes
When the nights turn cool,
(Cut from 3 to 4)

That happen to me
When children return to school.
(Cut from 4 to 5)

I am a ....... (leaf)
On a growing tree.
(Open to show a green leaf)

Watch me turn color
One, two, three!
(Turn it to the other side to show the autumn leaf)

Inside paper glued to green paper
Trace pattern onto green paper
Cut leaf & show green side
On last line turn to other side
The photo of the pattern can be found here.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Kelly of Ms. Kelly at the Library.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Kevin's Favorite Animal

Note: This is the first draw and tell story that I wrote. I think I wrote it in 2001. I didn't write another one until 2012. I managed to find this in a box of storytelling material in my basement. The reason I decided to dig it up was that it goes with this week's Flannel Friday theme. Children will guess the animal quickly so I suggest telling them to wait until the end of the story so everyone can shout it out together.

"Kevin's Favorite Animal"
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
Kevin likes to do many different things. He likes to play in his room. (Draw 1) He has bookcases in his room with books about his favorite animal (Draw 2) He sits in a comfy chair in his room to read the books about his favorite animal. (Draw 3) Sometimes he builds towers with blocks in his room (Draw 4) Sometimes he plays with his sister in her room. (Draw 5) Sometimes he plays with his brother in his room. (Draw 6) Sometimes he plays with his brother and sister in their backyard. (Draw 7) However, Kevin's favorite thing to do is to go to the aquarium to see his favorite animal. (Draw 8)
What is Kevin's favorite animal? SHARK!!


This week's Flannel Friday celebrates Shark Week and is hosted by Sharon of Rain Makes Applesauce. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The End is Near So I'm Writing about the Beginning

Only 23 hours left until I retire at the end of the month. Even though I've been working part-time for the last few years, it will be strange to be not working at all. However, it is time to move on.

I consider myself an accidental children's librarian. I was hired simply because I was available even though I had little experience. I had taken the children's literature course in library school so I was not completely ignorant. I had worked occasionally in the children's department as a trainee (where I learned to pin a sausage to a puppet's nose in the dark). Later I volunteered in my children's school library so I was able to observe professionals at work. That was it. I think I did one storytime as a trainee but once I had my MLS I worked in adult services. Becoming a mom changed my perspective. I was fortunate enough that I was able to stay home with my children for 11 years. During that time I discovered that I enjoyed being with children and that I had considerable patience, so when a part-time position as a children's librarian came up I applied. I figured that I would move on to something else later. Evidently there wasn't much competition for I was hired.

I ended up spending my first month in adult services covering for a librarian who was away so I had plenty of time to prepare for my first storytime session. When I started planning my first storytimes, I knew I wasn't going to read a few books and call it a program. I couldn't carry a tune so singing was not an option. I went through the small professional collection and discovered a book of flannel board stories and a series of draw and tell stories. My storytime format took shape. I also added finger puppet rhymes and cut and tell stories to my programs. These were all formats I enjoyed. I was probably not the best storyteller in the beginning but because I enjoyed what I was doing, the children enjoyed themselves as well. I have done the same types of stories throughout the years adapting the format for various ages. I used more music and rhymes with the toddlers (I found some great prerecorded songs) and told stories with props in family storytime.

My next challenge was summer reading. I found out in May that I was doing this program so there was a great deal of frenzied planning. It ended up being a very successful summer though I did some major tweaking the following year. One of the crafts, stenciling a tee shirt, became an annual tradition.

After that summer, the part-time position became a full-time position. I worked at that library for 15 years, learning and growing. I attended workshops, meetings and conferences so that I could learn from my peers. Although I worked the adult desk on my night and Saturdays, I never had any desire to return to adult services. Being the only youth services person was challenging and often stressful but I enjoyed the freedom of developing my own programs.

Each of us has our own journey and our own story to tell. We may take different paths but our goal is the same. We all hope to make a positive difference in the lives of young people. I hope that I have done so in my career.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Robot Family Storytime

Robots: A Family Storytime - All ages, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 3:30 p.m.,  Attendance: 35

Books: Boy + Bot by Arne Dyckman
            Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli
            The Bad Birthday Idea by Madeline Valentine

Draw and Tell Story: "Building a Bot"

Board Story: "Springy Arms to the Rescue!"

Songs:  "The Robot" (tune: "The Wheels on the Bus") from 1001 Rhymes and Fingerplays
              "Five Noisy Robots" (tune: "5 Green and Speckled Frogs")
The song lyrics were found in "Here Come the Robots" a storytime plan from the Omaha Public Library. Of course there is no URL on the pages I printed out and I cannot find it again.

Magic Envelope: Robot (for information about the magic envelope see this post by Sharon of Rain Makes Applesauce.)

Craft: Robot Masks Various robot masks can be found online. Each mask was printed on card stock  and then cut out. A large craft stick was taped in the back so each child could hold it up in front of his/her face.

Notes: I did not do this storytime due to an injury. My colleague,who substituted, informed me that the draw and tell story, board story and the magic envelope were very successful. It took a while but a 5-year-old did guess what was being drawn upside down. Even the older kids were impressed by the magic envelope.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Children have to check in four times to complete our summer reading program. At the first one, they each get to color a robot. It then goes up on our bulletin board. We are getting a very colorful board!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer 2014

Last week was extremely busy. This week so far, not so much. What a difference an upcoming holiday weekend makes. Storytimes begin Monday so this lull will not last.

We have decorated for the CSLP program, "Fizz, Boom, Read."

Like many other libraries we have laminated "green slime."

Like many other libraries we have a "robot."

Not as many libraries have a robot dog.

Participants get to add their own robot figure.

Two talented members of our circulation staff, Dena and Lori, created the "slime" bulletin board. I made the robot and his dog. I managed to get him up while doing battle with the stapler. He's over 5 feet tall so it was a long battle. He is still up there so I guess I won.

This will be my last summer reading program. I am retiring at the end of August. I definitely have mixed feelings about it. I enjoy working with children but I am looking forward to freedom from schedules. I plan to ease my way into retirement by continuing to be active in Flannel Friday, keeping up this blog, and doing some volunteer work.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Springy Arms to the Rescue!

One of my family storytime programs this summer will be about robots. There are plenty of books about robots but I try to have a variety of stories to keep the interest of this multi-age group. The following is the story I came up with to tell using our magnet board. It will work well with a felt/flannel board too.

Springy Arms to the Rescue!
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room 

LR1 was a bored little bot. The big robots were always busy running back and forth all day long. Not one had time for him. He wanted to help but no one would stop to tell him what to do.

One day LR1 had an idea. He noticed that the big robots had to slow down to get around him, but he was the only little bot so they quickly sped up again. He thought, "If there were lots of little bots then the big robots would have to slow down even more. Then I could talk to them." LR1 needed to get into the "Robot Production Room" so he could make more little bots. He looked around and saw three doors. One door had the letters RRR on it. That must be the "Robot Repair Room." That was where the robots who broke down went to get fixed. The second door had the letters RLR on it. That was the "Robot Lubrication Room." Once a week each robot went in there to get a bath of fresh oil to keep all parts running smoothly. The third door had the letters RPR on it. "Yes!" said LR1, "That's the "Robot Production Room." Now since LR1 was a very small bot, the door handle was out of reach. For a second LR1 was worried but then he remembered, "I have springy arms. Springy arms to the rescue!" His arm uncurled and easily reached the door handle. He quickly opened the door and slipped into the "Robot Production Room," closing the door behind him. The big robots were too busy to notice. LR1 went to the control panel and punched in all the information needed to make little bots. He made sure that they all had springy arms. Then he pressed the start button. The conveyor belt began to roll. Pieces were assembled. It did not take long to make more little bots. "Now we can slow down the big bots," said LR1. "Follow me!" The little bots followed LR1 into the other room. Almost immediately the big robots started slowing down. They didn't want to trip over the little bots. If they did, they would end up in the "Robot Repair Room." "Where did all these little bots come from?" asked BR1. "We're here to help!" said LR1. "What do you want us to do?" BR1 thought for a moment and said, "It's difficult for us to bend down. Perhaps you can pick things up for us. You can use your springy arms to reach under things for us too." "Great!" said LR1. "Springy arms to the rescue!"

Each little bot was paired with a big robot. LR1 was no longer bored. Not only did he have a job to do but he also now had lots of little robot friends.

LR1 and BR1
Doors and Control Panel
LR1's arm uncoiled

Notes: Since my library has a magnet board, I made my robots out of card stock and colored them with marker. Each "springy" arm is made by cutting a spiral. Then glue the outer end to the back of the robot. Since I am using paper, it will be easy for me to make more robots. I will run a master through the copy machine. I will probably make 10 of each. Five would be fine if you don't want to make that many. The children will get the point. I drew my own robots which is easy to do but you can also use clip art which is also easy to reproduce. The robots can also be made of felt. Some of you may already have ones you can use if you've done the "Five Little Robots" rhyme. I would still make the arms from paper since it coils and uncoils so well. My additional figures will all have numbers. For the little robots it will be LR2, LR3, LR4 etc. and for the big robots it will be BR2, BR3, BR4 etc. LR stands for Little Robot and BR stands for Big Robot. Numbering the robots is optional.

I am hosting this week's (small) Flannel Friday round-up. Click here for the direct link.