Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring Second Grade Visits

It's time for the spring round of second grade class visits.  This time around I not only talked about using the library but about our upcoming summer reading program and activities.

After talking about the library, I read a humorous picture book and tell stories.  This spring I chose to read The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems.  Surprisingly most of the children in this group were not familiar with the Pigeon books but that did not stop them from enjoying the story.  I had a grand time emoting as the Pigeon and then being a sweet little Duckling.  I then told the story, "Drakestail," using my duck prop.  (I substituted "Pot Luck" when I had to do the program at the last minute.)  That story was followed by a paper tearing story called "Lost, Left and All Gone" from Mudluscious: Stories and Activities Featuring Food for Preschool Children by Jan Irving and Robin Currie. 

Because I talk about summer programs, I do not tell as many stories as I do for the fall class visits.  The challenge is to keep the children interested while talking about the programs.  I use our magnet board for visuals and to play a memory game using clip art from the summer reading program manual (for more information see my posts for April 13 and April 20).  When I do tell stories, I make an effort to vary the types of stories I tell.  This helps to hold the children's interest because they don't know what kind of story I will do next.  Over the years I have gathered a collection of paper cutting stories, draw and tell stories, flannel/magnet board stories, stick puppet stories and prop stories.  I am constantly adding to it.

I change the stories every year.  Even though the children only come once, the teachers come every year.  Early in my career as a children's librarian, my next door neighbor, who owned a preschool, mentioned how boring her school's annual visit to the local public library was for her because the children's librarian did the same program year after year.  To her the librarian came across as uninspired and unwilling to try something new.  From then on I have kept notes of what I did for each class visit and varied my programs each year.  Teachers are not going to make an effort to bring their students to the library or invite the local librarian to visit their classes if they don't have a positive experience as well as the children.  I've been invited to additional classes after visiting one class because of teacher recommendations.  So although the primary focus is the children, it is also a good idea to keep the adults in mind as well when planning class visits.  After all we want both adults and children to enjoy the library and what it has to offer.

(Life has been crazy this week so I don't have a Flannel Friday contribution.  However, this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Kay Leigh on her blog Storytime ABC's.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flannel Friday Follow-Up

Last week I posted about how I use the magnet board to promote summer reading to classes that visit in the spring.  One of my colleagues, Gina, made this year's set of pieces for the memory game for me and she did such a nice job that I wanted to share it with you. 

She not only used fancy scissors to cut the colorful paper but laminated the pieces as well.  Since I only work part-time, Gina has been a tremendous help to me. 

The group I had today enjoyed playing the memory game.  They remembered all but one.  I also put up the pieces about upcoming programs that I posted about last week.  They cheered when they found out we are having a DJ for our kick-off party.  I will post the program that I am doing for this spring's class visits soon.

Cate of Storytiming is hosting this week's Flannel Friday round-up.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Way to Promote Library Programs

I don't just use our magnet board for storytelling.  Every spring I use it to promote our summer reading program to visiting school groups.  During April and May second grade students visit the library.  I play a memory game with them using the board and figures from the Collaborative Summer Library Program manual.  Usually I focus on the reading program and just mention the other programs and activities that take place in the library during the summer.  This year I have decided to talk about these other programs a bit more.  I made visuals to go with the various programs and will be placing them up on the board as I briefly describe what is scheduled.  I made the visuals using Microsoft Publisher and then glued them onto construction paper. 

I deliberately avoided straight lines when I cut out the pieces.  This keeps the pieces from looking crooked since there are no straight lines - quick and easy.

With magnets on the back, the pieces are ready to promote our summer programs.  When the class visits are finished, we can remove the magnets and glue to pieces onto poster board for a more permanent display next to our handouts for summer programs.

So don't just use your flannel/magnet board just for rhymes and storytelling.  Use it to tell your library's "story" as well. 

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Library Quine of Loons and Quines at Librarytime.  Complete information about Flannel Friday can be found at So Tomorrow's Flannel Friday page.

Friday, April 6, 2012

How Ishikawa Became a Kite Maker

This prop story takes a bit of effort to prepare but the end result was well worth it.  It was the hit of my March Family Story Time program

Although the story may seem long, the narrative flows quickly.  I greatly simplified the original story, The Dragon Kite by Nancy Luenn, by eliminating all but the main characters.  I also changed the "villain" to the Shogun rather than his son.  The story has enough action and suspense to keep the audience interested.  My version can be found as a Google document here.

The two most important props are the dragon kite and the dragon it becomes.  I made stand-up figures for Ishikawa and Katsuta, but they are optional.  I looked at pictures of Chinese and Japanese dragon kites and chose the traditional style made out of circles for my kite.  This is also the style used in the book's illustrations.  I cut out several circles from yellow card stock with the circles getting smaller toward the tail.  I simply colored the edges with red marker.  On one of the largest circles I drew a dragon face with marker and used red and orange paper for the rest.  My original plan was to string the circles together like a kite but once I did that, it was difficult to keep the circles from twisting when I held the kite up.  I removed the yarn and just glued the circles together.  I did add yarn for the harness. 

Dragon Kite

I then made the dragon out several pieces of yellow textured card stock.  I used the first piece for the head and drew a body across the others.  I cut out the body pieces and taped them together.  I also made claws for the dragon and glued them on the body.  I drew a dragon face and cut out the other features from red textured paper.  The flames were cut from foil paper.  I also added scales cut from foil paper.  I used my imagination to make the dragon though I did use the same colors as the kite for I wanted the children to get the connection that the dragon was once the kite.


The important thing to remember when creating these props is that the dragon should be much larger than the kite.  My dragon is around 42 inches and the kite is around 18 inches.

I made figures for Ishikawa and Katsuta using clip art from Microsoft Publisher.  I glued them onto heavier paper and made stands for them.  I just put them on the large table behind me when I told the story.  They seemed a bit lost sitting on the table with my other storytelling materials.  The next time I tell the story, I will set them on my Amazon theater stage (overturned box). 

Ishikawa and Katsuta

I used paperclips as hooks and put them in Ishikawa's and Katsuta's heads.  That way I could hook Ishikawa to the kite harness when he goes up to the palace roof. 

I punched holes in the dragon's claws and hung Ishikawa and Katsuta from them when the dragon carried them off. 

I had the dragon face-down on a table behind me. When I lifted him up, several of the children oohed and ahhed. It wasn't my artwork as much as his large size that made the impression.

I really enjoyed telling this story and my audience seemed to enjoy listening to it.  It really did not take long to make the props.  I am looking forward to telling this story to visiting elementary school groups.

This week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Erin of Falling Flannelboards.  For complete Flannel Friday information see the So Tomorrow Flannel Friday page.