Friday, December 13, 2013

The Napping House - Memory Activity

The Napping House by Audrey Wood is fun to read aloud. It is a cumulative story that will work well for a memory activity I would like to try with my family storytime group. I have played a version of "Memory" with second graders to promote summer reading but I have not done it in a storytime. There aren't too many characters to remember so playing the game should not be too difficult for the younger ones.

After reading the book, I will put it down out of sight and put the napping house on the board. Then I will ask the children who was napping in the napping house. As the characters are named I will put the figures randomly on the board. Next I will put the bed on the board and pile on the sleepers in the wrong order. Since children love it when a grown-up gets it wrong, I expect to be corrected immediately. I will probably get it wrong a couple of times before the figures are in the correct order.

This was an easy activity to prepare. The figures can be found at Make Learning Fun. They can be printed in black and white or in color here. Other activities that go along with the book can be found here. All I had to do was make a napping house.

I am looking forward to doing this activity with my family storytime group. Now I just have to plan the rest of the program.

This week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Kristen, Kristie and Sue of the blog, Let the Wild Rumpus Start. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On Professional Development

Professional development is essential to becoming proficient in one's profession. This is particularly true for youth services librarians because we are impacted by popular culture, changes in technology and by research in education. That's a lot to keep up with and it can be overwhelming.

Libraries were very different when I started as a trainee in 1971 and although it was 1990 when I started as a children's librarian, there have been major changes since then as well. Librarians who are not willing to explore new ideas will lose touch with their patrons' needs which are also constantly changing. You don't have to embrace every new idea but you should be willing to try new things or adapt them to suit your situation.

Many people will say that they can't get out of the building or they can't afford to attend conferences since they aren't reimbursed. That was more of a problem when I was starting out as a children's librarian because there were no webinars or online resources because there was no web (although they were working on it). Also, I was the only youth services person so indeed it was difficult to leave the building. Because my previous experience was limited, I made an effort to attend as many workshops and meetings as possible. Although I believe that one learns the most on the job, meeting with and learning from other children's librarians is also important.

Today there are many more options available for professional development:
1. Online training - some courses or webinars are free or reasonably priced. Look for offerings from state libraries, regional consortiums and cooperatives. State and national associations also offer online training.
2. Newsletters - Get information sent to your inbox. School Library Journal often lists free webinars in its newsletter, "Extra Helping." Keep up with the latest in the library world by subscribing to the weekly newsletter, "AL Direct," if you are a member of ALA. (Previous newsletters are available on the website for those who are not members.) Keep up with the latest news in children's books by subscribing to PW's "Children's Bookshelf" (subscribe here).
3. Even if you are not a member, the ALA website provides numerous resources. For example, ALSC just released a list of recommended titles for tweens that is available for download.  State and regional organizations will have information available to non-members as well. CLEL - Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy is an outstanding example.
4. Seek out websites of non-library organizations that provide information about subjects that interest you. Not only will they list resources but often have newsletters and blogs you can subscribe to. One example is the blog from the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media.
5. Blogs - Learn from your colleagues. Explore some blogs by youth services librarians and subscribe to those that interest you.
6. Social Media - Youth services librarians are on Twitter and Pinterest and Facebook. So are various library organizations. Build a network of people who are passionate about what they do. Join Facebook groups such as Flannel Friday and Storytime Underground. Become part of an online community not just for informed discussion but also for the support offered by these virtual colleagues.
7. Do try to get out of the building and meet with other youth services librarians. Although I have never attended an ALA conference (unless attending PLA once counts), I did treat myself to the ALSC Institute last year. I figured that a program just for youth services librarians was worth my money. I also make an effort to attend New Jersey's annual Youth Services Forum which is well worth my time and money.
8.Teach yourself. Pursue what interests you. When I started out as a children's librarian, I was on the constant lookout for books with draw and tell stories, paper cutting stories and flannel board stories. I built up a nice storytelling resource library over the years. It was almost as tough leaving that collection as it was leaving my storytime families when I left that position. (I have bought some storytelling books for my personal collection and fortunately my current library has a good collection.) Be selective in your professional reading. I tend to focus on material that will be useful to me. I also enjoy reading about trends in the profession.

What's the point of all of this? I don't want youth services librarians to be discouraged about professional development opportunities. There are ways to learn and be supported without going to meetings and conferences. Try to do that if you can but also build a network of librarians and resources to keep yourself informed. We are a friendly bunch and are always willing to help a colleague whether in person or virtually.

Gingerbread Man

For this year's Flannel Friday Holiday Round-Up I have a cut and tell guessing activity. The resulting gingerbread man can either be "decorated" or kept plain. It can be a stand alone activity or be used before telling the folktale. The clues are general so that it is not limited to holiday time.

Gingerbread Man Cut and Tell Clues
Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
I am sweet and spicy at the same time. (Cut from 1 to 2)
I can be fancy or plain. (Cut from 2 to 3)
I smell so good when I'm fresh from the oven. (Cut from 3 to 4)
There's a famous story all about me. (Cut from 4 to 5)
In the story I run very fast, calling, "Catch me if you can!" (Cut from 5 to 6)
For I am: THE GINGERBREAD MAN! (Open folded paper)
Preparation: After looking at various gingerbread man images, I drew my template in a shape that I liked. I made one on plain paper for reference and cut out another to use to trace onto the paper. I then traced the outline of the figure onto folded brown paper with the numbers next to it. You will be holding the blank side toward the audience. The paper I used is cheap construction paper. Because it is cheap, it is thin. I used crayons to "decorate" the figure on the inside because crayons won't show through. If you decide to decorate the figure before cutting it out, pay attention to how the figure is positioned. It has to be the same both inside and out. Decorating can also be done after the figure is cut out with the children making suggestions. I would just add eyes and a mouth if I were using it as an introduction to telling the folktale.



Inside view of "decorations" before cutting
Ready to cut

This week's Flannel Friday Holiday Round-Up is hosted by Mollie of What Happens in Storytime.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Glad I'm Not the Only One

I've been a procrastinator all my life. So I smiled when I noticed that my Thanksgiving draw and tell story has gotten the most hits today. Considering that there is only today and tomorrow left for Thanksgiving programs, this makes me think that I'm not the only one who does things at the last minute. I'm so glad that I am not the only procrastinator in a profession that is full of super-organized folk!

Friday, November 8, 2013

At Grandma's House

There are two similiar draw and tell turkey stories that are popular. One is "Turkey Lake" found in Stories to Play With by Hiroko Fujita and the other is "Turkey Tale" found in Twenty Tellable Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald. Even though it has already been done, I chose to draw a turkey because it is a Thanksgiving symbol that is easily recognized by young children.

At Grandma's House: A Thanksgiving Draw and Tell Story
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
November 8, 2013

George and his sister Lisa were visiting their grandmother for the long Thanksgiving weekend. George and Lisa lived in the city but their grandmother lived in the country. George and Lisa loved to explore around Grandma's house. As they were going by Grandma's garden they saw that there was still one large pumpkin left. (Draw #1) The sun was shining brightly in the sky (Draw #2). George and Lisa looked up and saw birds flying south for the winter (Draw #3). Then they decided to explore the woods behind Grandma's house (Draw #4). It was dark in the woods because of all the tall trees (Draw #5). George and Lisa each found a stick (Draw #6). They used their sticks to probe among the fallen leaves. Lisa found a pinecone (Draw #7) and George found a worm (Draw #8). Suddenly they heard a noise. Something was running through the woods. What did George and Lisa see?

Drawing sequence:
1. Draw pumpkin.

2. Draw sun.
3. Draw birds.
4. Draw woods.
5. Draw trees.
6. Draw sticks.
7. Draw pinecone.
8. Draw worm.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Tracey at 1234 More Storytimes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

On Burnout

The main focus of this blog is to be a storytelling resource. I firmly believe that what busy children's librarians need is information and ideas that will help them do their job. I have enjoyed sharing my original storytime ideas as well as those I have learned from others. This will continue to be the main reason for this blog. However, occasionally I will be writing posts like this one, offering my opinions as well as some unsolicited advice. You have been warned.

This will probably be my last year as a working librarian. I plan to be retired by this time next year. I will leave the job but not the profession. I hope to continue participating in Flannel Friday and to keep telling stories.

I have worked in libraries since 1971 with an eleven year break to be a stay-at-home mom. I have seen many changes since I started out as a trainee. The fact that I am at the end of my career has made think about my younger colleagues and the challenges they face. First, I would like to say that the future of youth librarianship is in good hands. Through social media (especially Twitter), I have gotten to know several dedicated, enthusiastic, and creative youth librarians. They are so dedicated that they talk shop on their own time - a lot. They spend personal time on work-related projects. The internet has made it easy to bring work home and the smart phone has made it easy to bring work with you wherever you go. I'm not sure this is a good thing. In the olden days (pre-internet), I brought work home but there was a limit to what I could do. Now there seems to be more pressure to get things done - now.

This pressure to get all the things done right away has me worried. I want these people to continue in the profession (because they are so good) and to continue to love what they do (so they will continue to innovate and create) and not burn out. Management is very good at piling on projects all the while citing budget woes so there will be no additional help. A personal drive to provide great service with limited resources also adds to the pressure. Increasing that pressure is a trend that I have seen lately which is the need to stand out in the profession and to do so early in one's career. (I'm assuming the tight job market is contributing to this need to make a name for oneself.) I admire those who want to quickly advance their career but I worry about them as well. Despite the public's perception (and that of some adult services staff), being a children's librarian is not an easy job. It is particularly challenging for those who are a department of one. All this pressure can lead to burnout.

The mediocre do not face burnout. Those that strive for excellence do. For this reason I am now going to offer some unsolicited advice:
1. Find a balance. Do not let work negatively affect your personal life. (Family has always been my priority though that did not stop me from drafting my daughters as summer volunteers when I needed them.)
2. Every library is different. What works for one library, may not work for another. It is up to each library to determine what works best for both staff and patrons. Libraries exist for their patrons but do them no service if the staff is stressed and disengaged.
3. Be realistic about your goals. Yes, you should strive for excellence but do not berate yourself for not being superlibrarian.
4. Slow down. Being older I have a different perspective. I didn't become a children's librarian until I was forty. I didn't feel like I was at the top of my game until I was well past fifty. For those of you in your twenties and thirties, you have plenty of time to develop your career.
5. Don't choose a path because you feel you should but choose it because you really want to. Decide if you want to spend the energy needed to become a name in the library world. If you do want to be a power in the library world, please try to make it an enjoyable goal, not one to stress about. Do not feel badly if you don't have that goal. I found this wonderful quote in More magazine (October 2013, p.25) - "I reject the notion that the job you excel at is somehow not enough to aspire to." - Lisa Fischer, back-up singer who has accompanied Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, and other music legends. Even once you choose a path, you can always change your mind and go in a different direction.
6. Never stop learning. Just a reminder, we children's librarians already know that.
7. Focus on the children. They are the reason our jobs exist!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween Preschool Storytime

October 31, 2013, 10:00 a.m., Attendance - 14 lively preschoolers

Books: What's in the Witch's Kitchen? by Nick Sharret
            The Spooky Box by Mark Gonyer
            Silly Skeletons by Janet Lawler

Board Stories: "Snacks for Ghosts"
                        "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything"
Rhyme: "Flap, Flap, Flap Go the Wings of the Bat..." by Katie Ahearn Fitzgerald

Rhyme with Prop: "Five Little Ghosts"

Magic Envelope: In went parts, out came a Jack O'Lantern

Game: Find the Bat Under the Witch's Hat

Craft: Paper plate Jack O'Lantern (Craft from Oriental Trading)

Notes: This group was ready to celebrate! Most came in costume. We played a trick on them for I switched with the librarian who usually does the preschool storytime. We started with a cryer (evidently this was not unusual for him) which caused me to change my plan a bit. I had wanted to start with a book but instead started with "Snacks for Ghosts" which caught every one's attention. From then on we had a great time and could have gone well beyond our thirty minutes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rooster Looses His Magic Feather

I found the story this is based on while searching for stories for my Worms Family Storytime which took place last summer. I used it even though the worm is a secondary character. There are other versions such as the one found here.

Rooster Looses His Magic Feather
Adapted from a Chinese Folktale
Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
November 1, 2013
Long ago Rooster was the most important animal on the farm. He not only kept the chickens safe but all the other animals as well. He could fly around the farm scaring off foxes and dogs and even sneaky cats so the chickens could roam freely. No animal could get past Rooster for he could easily fly from rooftop to rooftop making sure that all was well around the farm.

One day Dragon and his friend Worm spied Rooster flying around the farm. In those days dragons could not fly. Dragon was curious. He wanted to learn how Rooster could fly all over the farm. Dragon would love to be able to fly like that.

Dragon went up to Rooster and said, "You certainly are very good at flying. I am most impressed. How do you do it?" Rooster was pleased with the compliment so he boasted, "I am very good a flying because of my magic feather. I am the only one who has this magic feather." "I would love to be able to fly like you. Could I borrow your feather for just a little while? I will bring it right back." Rooster wasn't sure he could trust dragon. Just then Worm spoke up, "Don't worry, Dragon will bring it back." Reluctantly, Rooster handed his feather to Dragon. "Thank you!" said Dragon with a big smile as he flew high in the sky. Soon he was so high up that Rooster and Worm could no longer see him.

Rooster waited all day long but Dragon did not come back. "Don't worry," said Worm. "He'll come back tomorrow." But Dragon did not come back the next day even after Rooster called for him all day long. "Don't worry," said Worm. "He'll come back tomorrow." Dragon was still not back the next day. Rooster called for Dragon to come back all that day too. "Don't worry," said Worm. "He'll come back tomorrow." The next day Rooster waited and called but still no Dragon. "When is Dragon coming back with my magic feather?" he asked Worm. Worm laughed and said, "Dragon fooled you. He has your feather and he's not coming back." This made Rooster very angry and he ran after Worm who quickly hid in a hole in the ground.

From that day on Rooster calls for Dragon every morning when he wakes up and then spends the day pecking at the ground looking for Worm.

I used Microsoft Publisher clip art for the figures and the feather is from our craft supplies. I just stuck it on each figure as needed.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Lisa of Thrive After Three.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is another story that is popular with Flannel Friday folk this time of year. Jenna of Stories with Ms. Jenna just posted her version last week. There are three more versions on Flannel Friday's Halloween Pinterest board - one by Jane of Piper Loves the Library, one by Meghan of Busy Crafting Mommy and one by Mary of Miss Mary Liberry.

I liked the idea of taking the pieces off the board to make the scarecrow in Meghan's version. I was able to find a suitable piece of wood to hold the scarecrow at a craft store. I also used "Velcro" clear dots to attach the pieces to the wood and to each other. I also added magnets to the back so that I can put the individual pieces on the board as I tell the story.

The Pieces
 The Scarecrow
This was an easy prop to make. Coloring the pieces took the most time. I drew my own figures because I wanted them to be bright and colorful.
This week's Flannel Friday Round-up is hosted by Katie of Storytime Katie. Check the Flannel Friday pages for everything you need to know about Flannel Friday.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Haunted Houses, Courtesy of Flannel Friday

I'm planning a Halloween Preschool Storytime. Two years ago, I did a Halloween Family Storytime. (Last year we did a Monster Family Storytime in October.) I wanted to do another family program but due to a bump in my personal life, it was not to be. However, since our regular preschool storytime takes place on the 31st, I will be doing that program instead. Since I don't want to repeat everything that I did before (at least one of my family storytime regulars will be attending), I decided to look for some new ideas. Of course the first place I went to was the Flannel Friday Halloween Pinterest board.

I found several haunted house props. Amanda of Trails & Tails created an amazing haunted house play mat with removable finger puppets. It goes with her "Jack Lantern, Jack Lantern, What Do You See?" rhyme. Sarah of Read, Sarah, Read made a great haunted house to go with Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell. She also added a rhyme, "Five Little Ghosts" that could be adapted for use with the haunted house. Andrea of RovingFiddlehead KidLit has a simple but very effective haunted house for the song, "The Haunted House." Another haunted house prop has also been added to the Halloween board from this year's Halloween Round-Up. Sarah inspired Lisa of Thrive After Three to create her fantastic haunted house for Ten Timid Ghosts.

Since our story room is quite small, I did not need a large prop. I decided to go with the "Five Little Ghosts" rhyme found on Sarah's blog. Of course I adapted the rhyme to suit the characters I wanted to use. I drew my own figures. For me it was quicker than trying to size clip art to fit the "windows." I did use clip art for inspiration.

The haunted house is made from orange card stock. The roof and chimney are made from construction paper. I used leftover laminating film to cover the windows. I made pockets by taping a piece of card stock to the back of each window to hold the figures.

The figures are glued onto card stock pieces that fit in the pockets with a ghost on one side and the one who chases it away on the other side. As I say the rhyme, I simply turn the piece to the other side and return it to the pocket. At the end, the piece is turned again to have the ghosts return. I numbered and labeled the pockets so that I would have the figures in the correct order for the rhyme.

This is my adaptation of the rhyme:

                                    "Five Little Ghosts"

                    Five little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
                    Along came a witch who chased one ghost away.
                    Four little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
                    Along came a monster who chased one ghost away.
                    Three little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
                    Along came a vampire who chased one ghost away.
                    Two little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
                    Along came a mummy who chased one ghost away.
                    One little ghost in a haunted house at play,
                    Along came a bat who chased that ghost away.
                    Let's find the ghosts and say:
                    1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ghosts come back and play!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Shadows on the Moon

Flannel Friday's Annual Halloween Round-Up is this week. Last year I contributed a draw and tell story. I have another one for this year.

Shadows on the Moon: A Halloween Draw and Tell Story
by Linda Meuse
(Notes from the Story Room - 10/4/13)

It had been a great night for trick-or-treating. Mike and Sara were on their way home with bags full of candy. Sara glanced up to see a full moon in the night sky. (1) "The moon looks different tonight. It seems to have lots of shadows on it," said Sara. (2) "Some of those shadows look more like spots," replied Mike, stopping to look at the moon. "See, there is one right in the middle." (3) Sara also stopped to look carefully at the moon. "I see it," she said, "and there's an even bigger one under it!" (4) Mike started to get excited. "I see two more!," he said. "They are on top of the other spots. There is one on each side." (5) "It looks like the moon has a face," said Sara. "There is also something on top of the moon. It looks like the moon is wearing a funny hat." (6) Sara and Mike looked at the moon and then looked at each other. They both smiled for they realized that the moon was having some Halloween fun too!

Drawing Sequence:

(1) Draw moon

(2) Draw shadows

(3) Draw middle spot

(4) Draw big spot

(5) Draw two more spots

(6) Draw hat

Just for fun - Picasa automatically made this:

Click on "Halloween" in the Labels list to the right to find other Halloween storytime ideas on this blog.

This week's Round-Up is hosted by Storytime ABC's. Information about Flannel Friday can be found on the Flannel Friday blog. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Flannel Friday Round-Up for August 16, 2013

There are fewer submissions than usual this week. I'm envisioning legions of youth services librarians enjoying much needed post summer reading program vacations with absolutely no thoughts of flannel boards. Alas, some of us are still involved with summer programs (our final program is Monday) and others are busy planning fall activities. So for those of us still around, here's this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up:

Lisa of Thrive After Three has made a flannel story out of The Day the Crayons Quit. She combines felt pieces and props to make the story work for large groups.

Kathryn of Fun with Friends at Storytime has made the cutest spiders to go with the rhyme, "Five Little Spiders." Yes, cute spiders - they have big smiles and sparkly legs. Kathryn has been busy planning her October programs for in addition to spiders, she has made colorful firetrucks for children to "drive" to the flannel board. They go with her rhyme, "Calling All Firetrucks!"

Kristen of Let the Wild Rumpus Start has created an adorable set of figures for the flannel board from Sandra Boynton's Happy Hippo, Angry Duck. Now this small book about moods can be shared with a group.

Lisa of Libraryland shows how her technique for making felt board pieces has changed. She points out that they have become larger and more vibrant and she shares her tips with us by showing how she made the figures for The Big Red Barn.

Rachel of Rachel Moani: The Crafty Life of an Almost Librarian identifies with Little Monkey of the story Monkey Face. Not only does she show us her fantastic felt pieces but she also graciously provides us with a template for them.

Bridget of What Is Bridget Reading? wrote some rhymes to go with her lovely crocheted cupcakes. (The first one made me, as my grandson would say, hungry for cupcakes.)

Amber of Artistic Literacy has created a colorful truck matching game using die cuts backed with black felt. She provides a song for identifying the trucks and people to match with them.

My contribution is "The Three Little Rabbits." It's based on a Turkish folktale that is similar to "The Three Little Pigs."

The Flannel Friday blog is the source for everything you need to know about Flannel Friday.

The Three Little Rabbits

While searching the Web for folktales about animals that lived underground, I came across the website of storyteller Dr. Mike Lockett. Among his selections of folktale retellings was a story based on a Turkish folktale, "The Three Hares." I liked the fact that it was similar to "The Three Little Pigs" and that it could easily be made into a board story. I made some changes to the story. For example, the hares are not eaten but end up together in a very large burrow. I also called it the "The Three Little Rabbits." I wanted to make it similar to the version of "The Three Little Pigs" that I tell.
"The Three Little Rabbits"
Based on a story by Dr. Mike Lockett
Mother Rabbit decided that her three little rabbits were now old enough to leave their crowded burrow and make a home of their own. Before they left, she said to them, "Make sure you dig deep into the ground so your home will be nice and safe."
The first little rabbit was lazy. He didn't want to dig and dig. He made his house out of sticks and leaves and bushes and grass. It was right at the edge of the forest. He was hungry after he finished so he went to the meadow to find something to eat. He did not get very far when a fox appeared. The fox was hungry too and when he saw the little rabbit he found his dinner. The fox ran after the rabbit. The fox was fast but fortunately the rabbit was faster. He ran to his home. When the fox got there, he knew exactly what to do. He raised his paw and with one swipe he knocked over the rabbit's house. The little rabbit ran as fast as he could deep into the woods. The fox followed but soon lost him. Fox returned to the meadow to find something else for dinner.

The second little rabbit decided that he did not want to live underground. He went into the forest and found a tree with big roots and decided to build his house between the roots. He made it out of straw and twigs. He too was hungry after he finished so he went to the meadow to find something to eat. Who was also in the meadow looking for something to eat? It was the fox and he went after the little rabbit as soon as he saw him. Fortunately this little rabbit could also run very fast. He was in his new home when the fox got there. The fox decided to knock that house down too. He raised his paw but only knocked part of the house down. He raised his other paw and with one more swipe knocked the rest of the house down. The little rabbit ran as fast as he could deep into the woods. Soon the fox lost him too. A now very hungry fox returned to the meadow.

The third little rabbit paid attention to what her mother said. She went deep into the forest and dug herself a nice burrow. She spent the entire day digging. She made a very large burrow for she did not want to live in a crowded home. This one was much larger than her old home. She was very hungry when she was finished so she went to the meadow to find something to eat even though it was very late. Unfortunately the fox saw her as soon as she got there but this little rabbit was very fast too. She ran deep into the woods with the fox close behind. This time the fox did not loose the little rabbit in the forest but the little rabbit did make it to her home. This time the fox had nothing to knock down. There was just a hole in the ground. It was not even big enough for fox to stick his head in so again fox lost his dinner. He went to bed very hungry that night.

The third little rabbit was glad that she had listened to her mother's advice. She had built a nice safe home and it was big enough to share with her two brothers without it being crowded at all.

Notes: This version was written to be told with magnet/flannel board figures. The animal figures below are based on Microsoft Publisher clip art. The "homes" are original. When telling the story, add the other rabbits to the burrow at the end.

The Animals

The Homes

I'm hosting this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up here

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Underground Animals - A Family Storytime

Family Storytime - Underground Animals
Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Attendance: 10 children, 5 adults

Book: Underground by Denise Fleming

Board: "Five Hungry Ants"

Book: Mole's Hill by Lois Ehlert

Board: "Mole's New Hole"

Book: Badger's Fancy Meal by Keiko Kasza

Board: "The Three Little Rabbits"

Board: "How Chipmunk Got His Stripes" adapted from the book, How Chipmunk Got His Stripes by Joseph Bruchac. Images found in the 2013 CSLP Manual.

Crafts: Mole and ant stick puppets from the 2013 CSLP Manual
            Underground animals in burrows - Children glued "burrows" of different sizes to brown construction paper (cut from orange construction paper). They then matched each animal to the right sized burrow. After the children glued the animals to their burrows, they colored them with crayons.

Animals Underground
Notes: The theme of this program ties in with the 2013 CSLP general theme, "Dig Into Reading." It was a small group due to vacations and the change of date (due to broken air conditioning last month). "Five Hungry Ants" was the most enjoyed because everyone got to sneeze loudly each time an ant marched into the pepper. The audience also liked "Moles New Hole" and "The Three Little Rabbits."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dinosaurs - Toddler Time

I was recently a substitute for a Toddler program this summer. The age range was 1 to 3. Usually our Toddler programs are ages 2 to 3.5. We have a separate program for one-year-olds during the school year but not in the summer. This year there were numerous requests to continue it in the summer. The only way it could be done this summer was to include them in the Toddler program. The program was so popular that we ended up adding two more sessions.

Toddler Time - Dinosaurs

7/31/13, two sessions - 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m., 20 children & 15 adults

Opening Song - "If You're Happy and You Know It"

Book: Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton

Activity: "I Spy" Six dinosaurs, each a different color, were on the walls of the storytime room. I would say, "I spy with my little eye, a green dinosaur!" The children would then look around and find it. The caregivers helped the younger children.

Rhyme: "One Baby Dinosaur Began to Roar" based on "One Baby Dino Began to Roar." We emphasized the roaring part. I put up baby dinosaurs on the board and put them on their backs when they "began to snore."

Activity: "Red Dinosaur, Red Dinosaur, What Do You See?" This is from the Thrive After Three blog.

Book: How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen

Rhyme/Song: "One Baby Dinosaur Went Out to Play" I made a prop instead of board figures.

Book: If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most. I did not read this at the first session. The second session had more older children so I added this book.

Rhyme: "Five Fat Funny Dinosaurs" This is a monkey mitt rhyme that I have used for years.

Book: A Number of Dinosaurs by Paul Stickland

Activity/Game: "Baby Dinosaur, Baby Dinosaur" Baby dinosaur is hiding from his mother and the children have to find him. This is a variation of the "Little Mouse" game.

Posted with BlogsyPosted with Blogsy

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Worms - Family Story Time

Family Story Time Program - Worms
Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Attendance - 39 (26 children, 13 adults)

Books: Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
            Big Fat Worm by Nancy Van Laan
            The Game of Finger Worms by Herve Tullet

Board Stories: "Herman the Worm - Vegan Version"
                       "The Proud Artist and the Clever Boy"
                       "Rooster Loses His Magic Feather"

Activity: "Wiggle Worms"

Craft: Worm poking out of an apple
         "Bookworm" bookmark

Notes: The children enjoyed Herman and the wiggle worm activity the most. For the wiggle worm activity, a volunteer cut worm-sized pieces of black yarn and put each one into a small paper cup. My volunteers then gave each child a cup with a "worm" to each child as they came into storytime. The children could take their "worms" home if they wanted. The bookworm bookmark was the favorite craft. I drew a template for the bookworm shape. Stickers, wiggle eyes, and a feather for each worm were provided. I found everything in our craft supply cabinet so I did not have to purchase any supplies this time around.
"Worm" to Wiggle


Friday, June 28, 2013

The Proud Artist and the Clever Boy

While I was searching for worm stories for an upcoming program I came across a story called "The Art Contest" told by an ESL student from Viet Nam which can be found here. I changed the story to suit my audience putting more emphasis on the artist, keeping in mind the proverb, "Pride goes before a fall."

The Proud Artist and the Clever Boy
Adapted from a Vietnamese Folktale
Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room

A long, long time age there was an artist who was very good at drawing animals. He practiced his drawing every day and became better and better as he grew older. He could draw any animal and it was perfectly rendered. People admired his work and he became quite successful. He continued to practice until he became so good that he could draw with a brush in each hand. He was able to draw two animals at the same time! Not only that but he could do it in only one minute.

The artist became quite proud of his accomplishment. He was sure that not one else could draw two animals at the same time and do it in only one minute. Indeed he was so sure that he offered ten gold coins to anyone who could draw more than two animals in one minute. A few other artists tried but none were able to draw more. In fact, none could even draw two animals as fast as he could.

One day a young boy came to take up the challenge. The artist smiled because he thought that the boy was very foolish to challenge him. The boy was far from foolish. He was very smart.

When word got out that a young boy had challenged the artist, a crowd gathered to watch the contest. The artist loved showing off his skills though in this case he thought it was going to be too easy. The artist went first. He picked up his brushes, one for each hand, dipped them into the ink and started to draw. On one piece of paper a magnificant tiger took shape and on the other a majestic lion. He finished faster than he ever had before. It took him only fifty seconds to do the drawings. The crowd was amazed. Surely there was no way that the boy could do better. "It's a shame that you can only draw two animals," said the boy. "I will draw ten!" The boy did not bother with brushes but dipped all ten of his fingers into the ink and placed them on a piece of paper. He moved his fingers down the paper and lifted them off. "Ten worms in less than ten seconds," said the boy. "I win!"

The artist realized that he had been outsmarted. Worms were animals. He had to give the boy the ten gold coins. The artist said, "You may not be the best artist but you are certainly a very clever young man! You have made me realize that I have become overconfident in my abilities and I thank you for that." The boy thanked the artist for the gold coins and returned home.




The props were simple to make. I used clip art from Microsoft Publisher for the tiger and lion. I drew my own worms. Since I have a magnet board, I just put magnet strips on the back of each paper. Put the tiger and lion up when describing what the artist drew, take them down and put up the worms when describing what the boy drew. You could also simply hold them up to show the audience thus making this a good story to take "on the road." To make them last, print/draw them on card stock or mount them on stiff paper.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Bridget of What is Bridget Reading? 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Herman the Worm - Vegan Version

One of my family storytime programs this summer will be about "Worms." This theme ties in with the summer reading program theme, "Dig into Reading."

It's been a few years since I used my version of "Herman the Worm."  Unfortunately I do not remember where I got the clip art but it is easy enough to find a suitable worm. I just enlarged the same figure several times. I did write my own version of "Herman" which follows:

Herman the Worm - Vegan Version
Linda Meuse
                                           Sitting on my fence post
                                           Chewing bubble gum
                                           Playing with my yo-yo
                                           When along came Herman the worm.
                                           I said, "Hi, Herman."
                                           He said, "Hi, kid."

                                           Sitting on my fence post
                                           Chewing bubble gum                 
                                           Playing with my yo-yo
                                           When along came Herman the worm
                                           And he was this big.
                                           I said, "Herman, what happened?"
                                           And he said, "I ate a grape."

                                           Sitting on my fence post
                                           Chewing bubble gum
                                           Playing with my yo-yo
                                           When along came Herman the worm
                                           And he was this big.
                                           I said, "Herman, what happened?"
                                           And he said, "I ate an apple."

                                           Sitting on my fence post
                                           Chewing bubble gum
                                           Playing with my yo-yo
                                           When along came Herman the worm
                                           And he was this big.
                                           I said, "Herman, what happened?"
                                           And he said, "I ate a banana."

                                           Sitting on my fence post
                                           Chewing bubble gum
                                           Playing with my yo-yo
                                           When along came Herman the worm
                                           And he was this big.
                                           I said, "Herman, what happened?"
                                           And he said, "I ate a watermelon."

                                           Sitting on my fence post
                                           Chewing bubble gum
                                           Playing with my yo-yo
                                           When along came Herman the worm
                                           And he was this big.
                                           I said, "Herman, what happened?"
                                           And he said, "I burped!"

For those of you who are not familiar with Herman, you spread your arms out more and more each time you say "And he was this big" except for the last verse.  Also, remove the smaller Herman and replace him with a larger one if you are using flannel/magnet board figures. For the last verse, replace the largest worm with the smallest.

This week's Flannel Friday round-up is hosted by Kathryn of Fun with Friends at Storytime.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Getting Ready to "Dig Into Reading"

Judging by the Tweets I've been reading, it seems as if most of the libraries in the country have started their summer reading programs. In New Jersey most public schools don't get out until mid-June. Many will get out even later thanks to power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. However, we are getting ready. I came to work Tuesday to find the bulletin boards decorated and the fliers out. (I work part-time so I missed all the prep.) Our boards were created by another part-timer who is a school librarian. She creates most of our bulletin boards and I love her attention to detail.

Registration for our summer programs begins June 17 and our Kick-off event is the evening of June 25. (The DJ will be back!) The reading program runs June 24 to August 17. Scheduled library programs include storytimes, craft programs and entertainers. New this year is a "Kids Cook" program (the first program features "dirt cake" complete with gummy worms), as well as free movies and a craft program just for tweens.  It's going to be a very busy summer!

Small Bulletin Board for Program Announcements:

Large Board for Participants:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May Preschool Class Visit

Preschool Class Visit - Thursday, May 2, 2013, 9:30 a.m., Ages 3 and 4, Attendance:
46 (28 children, 18 adults)

Books: The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
             Roly-Poly Egg by Kali Stileman
             Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek

Board Story: "The Knee High Man" from Multicultural Folktales: Stories to Tell Young Children by Judy Sierra

Prop Story: "Penny Penguin's Magical Meal"

Board and Prop Story: "The Most Wonderful Egg in the World"

Game: Birthday Guessing Game

Notes: It's been some time since I have done a preschool class visit so I really enjoyed doing this one. I picked some favorite stories and activities from recent family storytimes. The children particularly enjoyed "Penny Penguin's Magical Meal" though I think that "The Most Wonderful Egg in the World" was the audience favorite. I also had a great time reading The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?


Friday, May 17, 2013

The Most Wonderful Egg in the World

The Most Wonderful Egg in the World by Helme Heine is a great story that has been adapted for the flannel board. I found one with fantastic felt pieces on Flannel Friday's "Picture Books" board on Pinterest. The original post which has a brief plot summary is here. Years ago I found another version in Books in Bloom: Creative Patterns and Props That Bring Stories to Life by Kimberly K. Faurot (ALA, 2003). I loved the story but I did not love how complicated it was to make the chickens so I decided to simply make them out of card stock. I threw some yarn in a plastic bowl for the nest and that was it. The chickens became rather beat up after several years of use so I decided to make a new set for my recent family storytime program. This time I made a nice nest using a basket and filler shred (aka Easter grass). I also added a construction paper crown which I wore when the king spoke.

What makes this story so great is the fact that you take each hen off the board and place her in the nest to lay her egg. The eggs are previously hidden in the nest. It's a great opportunity to express each hen's personality as she lays her egg. Much can be conveyed by saying "Bawk!" in various ways. This silliness is what makes the story special. It is one of those rare instances when I think the board version is better than just reading the story. The audience loves it.

I really like using the board figures with a prop. It seems to add to the story. I did this as well with "Pot Luck" which is an adaptation of Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong. I'll have to see if I can find another story that would work well with this format.

The Ladies

The Eggs

The Props


This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Katie of the Storytime Katie blog.