Saturday, July 28, 2012

Transportation Storytime

Transportation: Storytime for ages 4 - 7, 7/17/12, 10:00 a.m., attendance - 16 children

Books:  Away We Go! by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
            Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car by Eileen Christelow
            Mr. Little's Noisy Car by Richard Fowler
            Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
            Ready! Set! Go! by Sue Harris

Finger puppets: "Get a Ticket" from Mitt Magic by Lynda Roberts
Rhyming game: Guess the vehicle from Storytime Magic by Kate McMillan suggested by Sunflower Storytime
Rhyme: "Red car, red car" based on "Purple car, purple car" from Mel's Desk
Vehicle sorting game: based on ideas from Miss Mary Liberry and Falling Flannelboards
Handout: Vehicles from

Notes: Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car was not only the most fun for me to read but also the favorite of the children. The children also enjoyed Shark vs. Train. For the sorting game I had placed all the vehicles in the wrong places and had the children tell me the proper place for each to go. I had around 10 different vehicles on the board. They also liked the guessing game. Most of the activities I used were posted by participants in Flannel Friday. I used Flannel Friday's Pinterest boards to find ideas. Thanks everyone!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hedgehog Draw and Tell Story

I've been filling in for a staff member on medical leave this summer. I am doing a storytime for ages 4 to 7. The themes had already been selected. This week's theme was hedgehogs which is one that I have never done. We hit the peak of activity in July and there has not been much time to work on programs lately so I had to come up with a bunch of hedgehog activities to go with the books that had also been previously selected. (I only used two of the books and filled in with other forms of storytelling.)

While I was on Jan Brett's website looking for ideas I came across the page "How to Draw a Hedgehog" which gave me an idea. The drawing was quite simple and could be used for a draw and tell story. All I had to do was make up the story which I did. It can be found as a Google document here. I now had my opening activity for the storytime. Thank you Jan Brett!

Drawing Sequence

Drawing done during storytime on
18" by 24" newsprint paper
(Apologies for the folds)

Amanda of Toddler Tales is hosting this week's Flannel Friday Round Up. Complete information about Flannel Friday can be found here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Family Story Time Just Got Easier

My preparation for Family Story Time is now much easier thanks to the Friends of the Hamilton Township Public Library. Our Friends of the Library works hard all year running book sales and other events to raise funds to benefit the library. Most of our summer reading events are funded by the Friends of the Library. They have also purchased items for the children's room. This summer the Friends purchased this:

I hold my family story time program in a large meeting room downstairs. Our storytime room is much too small for this program. For years I have had to bring down an easel, a heavy whiteboard and a book truck full of storytelling materials, books and craft supplies. It was quite a balancing act. When the Friends of the Library requested that we give them a wish list, I was quick to add the above cart to it. I was thrilled to find out it was ordered and even more thrilled when it came in and was assembled in time for my first family story time of the summer.

I love this cart. There are so many places to put stuff - big stuff, little stuff, storytelling stuff, craft stuff - it all fits onto one cart that has a magnetic whiteboard in front. I selected this particular model because the whiteboard could be placed high enough that a large group could see.

When it was time for the program, I loaded it up with everything I needed for the program and there was room to spare. All I had to do was wheel it into the elevator and then into the meeting room. Not only was the process of setting up much easier, it went much quicker. Cleaning up was just as easy.

These carts come in various sizes and configurations to meet various needs. Purchasing one is definitely worth considering if you have programs in another part of the library. Our cart will also be used for other programs as well.

I am now a much more efficient (and happier) storyteller thanks to our Friends of the Library.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Inspiration for Summer Storytimes

Flannel Friday is probably my main source of storytime ideas now. I finally got to use the "Alphabet Soup" idea. I used the rhyme from In the Children's Room. Thank you Lucy and all the other Flannel Friday bloggers who showed how versatile this activity is. It was a great hit with at my latest Family Story Time and I will definitely be using it again.

I found clip art in Microsoft Publisher that I liked, enlarged it, added the letters, printed it and had it laminated, and then cut the pieces out. Since we use a magnet board, I added magnets to the back of each piece. I used a black plastic pot for the "soup." For very little time and effort, I had an activity enjoyed by all ages. (I think I will use this concept as a "letter scramble" game for future class visits.)

While I was looking for ideas in the CSLP manual, I came across a small section that mentioned two games I could adapt for the current theme. "Find the Moon" and "Finish the Pattern" (Dream Big Read! 2012 Collaborative Summer Library Program Manual, Chapter 4 - "Night, Night," pp. 126 - 126). I have used variations of both before but this reminded me that I could do them for this summer's theme.

I used "Find the Moon" for a recent Family Story Time but did not have time for "Finish the Pattern." I plan to use it in my upcoming Pajama Story Time.

"Find the Moon"
(Of course I added glitter glue to my moon.)

"Finish the Pattern"
(I used a highlighter to make the stars glow and a metallic marker to make the moons shine.)

This week's Flannel Friday is being hosted by Katie of Storytime Katie.

Summer 2012 Family Story Time - Moon and Stars

Family Story Time - Moon and Stars
Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Attendance: 33 (23 children, 10 adults)

Starting Activity:  "Alphabet Soup" with moon and stars (adapted from Lucy's In the Children's Room blog post for 1/6/12)

Book:  Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith

Board Stories:  "Star Cookies" from Moon Stories by
                       "When the Moon Fell from the Sky" adapted from
                       "The Milky Way" from Story Puzzles: Tales in the Tangram
                        Tradition by Valerie Marsh

Draw and Tell Story: "Anansi Gets into Trouble" from Terrific Tales to Tell by Valerie Marsh

Game:  "Find the Moon" (from the Dream Big Read! 2012 Collaborative Summer Library Program Manual, Chapter 4 - "Night, Night," pp. 126 -127

Craft:  Moon with Star (Inspired by the clip art used for the starting activity)

Moon and Stars pieces for Alphabet Soup
(Clip art from Microsoft Publisher)

Moon and Clouds Guessing Game
(I drew my own figures and printed and then pasted the numbers on the clouds.)


Notes:  I had planned to do a "Finish the Pattern" game in addition to the "Find the Moon" game but ran out of time. I will use it for my Pajama Story Time instead. This game is also from the CSLP manual (same citation). "Alphabet Soup" was a perfect opening because it engaged the older children as well as providing letter recognition for the younger ones. I had the letters all mixed up as I took them out of the pot. I then took the "clues" (moon and stars) out of the pot. I rearranged the letters to the correct words with help from the older children. This was a great activity for a group with a large age range and I will definitely be using it again for family story time. "Star Cookies" was perfect for the younger children. The other stories went over well for the older children and adults. (I got carried away making "ocean" pieces for "When the Moon Fell from the Sky." I won't be using all of them the next time I tell this story.) Using all 10 clouds made the guessing game more challenging which engaged the audience. Eight clouds were selected before the correct one was picked. (Fewer clouds can be used with younger children.) The children enjoyed the craft. I had all the pieces pre-cut and the holes punched. I put the ribbon and sequins in sandwich bags so they were easy to give out. The children colored the pieces with crayons, glued on the sequins and tied the star to the moon with ribbon. Parents and volunteers were there to help. (In the summer I have student volunteers so the craft and clean-up went very smoothly.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tangrams Simplified

I really like tangram stories. Unfortunately, I am not very good at tangrams. Years ago I told "Why the Sun & the Moon Live in the Sky" from Valerie Marsh's Story Puzzles: Tales in the Tangram Tradition. I've been wanting to try another and finally decided to take the plunge. I am planning to tell "The Milky Way" from the same book at Family Story Time next week.  This time I decided to make it easier for myself.

Instead of making a single set of tangram figures, I counted how many times each piece is used in the story and made multiple pieces so each figure would have its own set of shapes. I took some scrap paper and made envelopes for the pieces by taping up the sides. There are 11 figures made in the story so I made 11 envelopes which I then numbered 1 to 11. I also photocopied the story and cut out each figure and pasted it to the corresponding envelope. I will take the pieces out of the envelopes when I set up for the program and make the figures on top of each envelope so they will be ready to be transferred to the magnet board. This will not work for a couple of the larger figures but I should be able to have most of the pieces together. As I take the figures off the board I will quickly put them in a box or bowl (I want to avoid having those pieces getting mixed up with the ones that haven't been used yet) and then add the new ones to the board.  This method may sound complicated but it eliminates the difficult part for me - quickly figuring out the correct placement of the shapes. (Quickly is the operative word here.) This will allow me to concentrate on telling the story without worrying about how to make the figures.

Tangram Shapes with "envelopes."
I made the pieces out of purple card stock. Black is traditional but I wanted color.

Because I enjoy telling stories in different ways, I'm always thinking of ways to do so. I hope the plan works next week because then I'll have another storytelling method to use.

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup is hosted by Mary of Miss Mary Liberry. Visit the Flannel Friday site for complete information.