Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Exploring "Draw and Tell"

When I first started participating in Flannel Friday, I had no idea that "Draw and Tell" stories would be my most popular posts. "The Night Walk," the first one I posted, is the most popular with over 4,000 views. Overall, the draw and tell stories are the most popular posts on this blog with over 10,000 views. (Cut and tell stories are a distant second with around 3,700 views.)

More people are interested in draw and tell stories than I realized. This was a surprise to me since I didn't think they were used much in storytime any more. They seem old fashioned in these tech obsessed times. Old they are. People have probably been drawing in dirt or wet sand as long as there have been stories to tell. It is this connection to our past that appeals to me. I also love the idea of creating a picture as I tell the story. Children love it because not only do they see the picture being created but they also like to guess what it will be. Some clever folk have adapted this format using technology. A tablet can be a drawing pad and images can be projected. I still prefer a pad of newsprint and a Sharpie but then markers were new technology when I was a kid.

Because of the interest in draw and tell stories, I am going to explore this format in future blog posts. I have gathered some of the resources I have used over the years as well as some that are new to me and will talk about them. I will also post some tips and techniques as well as talk a bit about how I came up with my own stories. I hope that these posts will encourage people to try this form of storytelling.

Now that I am retired, I do some volunteer reading to kindergarteners at a local elementary school. The Wednesday before Halloween I did "The Halloween Hike" for two of the children. For various reasons we did not meet for almost a month. When we met again, the first thing one child asked was for another drawing story. I think I'll be doing more of them and maybe by the end of the school year I'll teach the children how to do one themselves.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 14, 2014 Flannel Friday

Welcome to the November 14 Flannel Friday Round-Up!

This week's submissions include several classics along with a large helping of cute.

Nikki of heytherelibrary is dealing with "Thanksgiving Overload" by using "Stone Soup" and "Turkey Wore His Red Feathers." The large, colorful vegetables for "Stone Soup: will be a hit any time of the year.

Kathryn of Fun with Friends at Storytime did a "Nocturnal Animals" storytime. Her five little owls are not only colorful but have very expressive eyes giving each one a distinct personality. So cute.

Katie of Story Time Secrets has a "What's On Your Plate?" flannel that can be used in different ways with different ages. Although the food theme goes well with Thanksgiving, it can be used at any time of the year.

Maggie of Playing the Hits presents her version of "Little Mouse." She talks about expanding vocabulary by using unusual colors and even patterns.

Jess of From the Liberry of ... shows us her version of "This Is the House That Jack Built." She features another method of making figures for the felt board. I like how when she couldn't find what she wanted, she created it herself.

Tara of Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends celebrates the season with a "Pumpkin" storytime for all ages. Her prop for the song, "Pumpkin Vine," is fantastic. So is her "Magic Autumn Cauldron" activity.

Kristen of Library Village shows us how she made finger puppets for "Two Little Blackbirds." Definitely cute!

Jane of Piper Loves the Library celebrates birthdays with cupcakes including candles and flames. I like how she combines felt and paper - mixed media for Flannel Friday folk. Also, congratulations to Jane for being ALSC member of the month!

Flannel Friday
 Past Round-Ups


So far my transition into retirement has gone quite well. I definitely enjoy not having to work at night especially since the time change.

My storytime skills are transferring to my volunteer work with adjustments. I am part of a group of seniors who read to Kindergartners. We each read to two children. My biggest adjustment is keeping my voice down since I am not the only one reading aloud in the room. I enjoy the fact that the children are very engaged with the books. Monday we read Moo! by David LaRochelle. We went through it three times. We also read That Is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems. I must admit that I was not particularly impressed by this book when I first read it. However, it comes alive when read aloud. The boys immediately joined in with the "chorus" and I got to do different voices.

Although the boys were completely engaged when we were reading the books, they got restless when we were not reading. I miss my storytime transitions! I would have loved to have done a draw and tell or flannel board story. I was not the only one with restless kids. I think I will borrow some of my storytime activities. I am going to make some Thanksgiving themed memory cards and bring them next week. Being a children's librarian has taught me to be flexible and to try new things as I transition into being an experienced senior volunteer. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Halloween Hike

Inspired by Flannel Friday's annual Halloween Round Up, I wrote another Halloween draw and tell story. This is my third one!

The Halloween Hike
Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
Joe loved to hike and explore. So did his big sister, Meg. One sunny Halloween morning they decided to explore a nearby park.  "A nice long hike will help pass the time until we can go trick-or-treating," said Joe. "We should have plenty of time to explore before then," answered Meg.
When they got to the park, the first thing they did was walk around a crystal clear lake. (Draw 1) On the other side they came to a high hill. They decided to climb up the hill.  (Draw 2) The hill turned out to be much higher than they expected and it took a long time to get to the top. (Draw 3) Fortunately Meg and Joe had packed lunch and water in their backpacks. They had a nice lunch on top of the hill. Then they went down the other side of the hill. (Draw 4) It was much easier going down than up! There were lots of trees on this side of the hill. (Draw 5) They came across a pond with plants floating in it. (Draw 6) There was also a log in the middle of the pond. (Draw 7) They watched a dragonfly skim across the pond. (Draw 8) Joe and Meg walked around the pond. (Draw 9) There were lots of trees on the other side of the pond as well. (Draw 10)
"I feel like I am being watched," said Joe. "Me, too" said Meg. "Let's hurry home. We don't want to be late for the trick-or-treating tonight." Meg and Joe quickly left the park. Who was watching them on their Halloween hike?

This week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Sue of Library Village. Be sure to visit Flannel Friday for more storytime inspiration!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Family Storytime Presentation

This is my presentation as part of a panel, "Storytime Shake-Up," for the 2014 New Jersey Youth Services Forum held on October 1, 2014. A copy will also be available on the New Jersey State Library's Youth Services site.

Linda Meuse
1.  Engage all ages
     Humorous stories and folktales have a wide appeal.
     Book illustrations should be clear and colorful to keep the interest of the little ones.
     Pop-up books and lift-the-flap books will appeal to all ages.
     Don't forget the grown-ups! Draw them in with humor.
2.  Mix it up
      Use different types of storytelling.
      There are many options:
          draw and tell stories
          paper cutting stories
          flannel board stories
          prop stories
          puppet stories
       Keep props simple. Spend time on those that will be used frequently.
       Flannel Friday's Pinterest Pages provides a wealth of storytelling ideas.
3. Make them guess
     Guessing games appeal to all ages - patterns, hidden object, memory, what am I?
     The level of difficulty can be adjusted for various ages.
     Stories and books that involve guessing appeal to all ages.
4. Be flexible
     Have a variety of books suitable for both preschool children and toddlers.
     Ages will vary from program to program.
     Drop or add stories depending on the dynamics of the group.
     Finger puppets work well when the group is young.
     Using visuals when telling a story helps young children to focus.
     Sing songs or play games when the group gets restless.
     Don't worry if you lose little ones while doing a story for older children.
          Follow the longer story with something for the little ones.
          Often the little ones like to emulate the older children and will listen.
5. Make it yours
     Sing if you like to sing.
     Do a craft if you like crafts.
     Pick stories that you enjoy, not because they fit a theme.
     You will learn what works with your group over time.
     Tweak your program to fit your group using formats that work for you.
     Allow for family and sibling dynamics but control the chaos.

Examples of my family storytime programs and of the storytelling materials that I used can be found on this blog. If you have questions please leave a comment. I will reply to your comment. You can also contact me via Twitter - @LMeuse.

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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 30, 2014 Flannel Friday

Welcome to this week's Flannel Friday round-up! Everything you need to know about this great group can be found on the Flannel Friday blog. Don't forget to browse the Flannel Friday Pinterest boards.

Kathryn of Fun with Friends at Storytime welcomes summer with her rhyme, "Sailboats." She not only shows us the flannels she made to go with it but also gives book suggestions and describes a game to play with the colorful pieces.

Meg of Miss Meg's Storytime used a rhyme about "Cupcakes" in her party themed storytime. She thoughtfully provides a template for the felt cupcakes.

Bridget of What is Bridge Reading? shows us her "Crocheted Food Props" and explains how she uses them. I love the donut.

Katie of Storytime Katie captures the world with her "Seven Continents." She used it in a storytime about the number seven and enjoyed bringing geography into storytime. I can see using this flannel set in a storytime featuring folktales from around the world.

Since this round-up is so small, I decided to add a contribution as well. I wrote a flannel/magnet board story for my upcoming robot family storytime, "Springy Arms to the Rescue!"

Friday, May 23, 2014

Building a Bot

I have a feeling that there will be many "Robot" storytimes this summer since the theme goes so well with the CSLP's "Fizz, Boom, Read!" theme. I've found cute songs and rhymes to go with this theme  but not too many other activities for family storytime. Instead of building a robot on the flannel board, I plan to put one together using Sharon's magic envelope. I've also come up with a draw and tell story to go with the theme.

Sometimes I like to change things up when I do something on a regular basis. Most draw and tell stories are pretty straightforward but every once in a while a picture is drawn upside down. The following story is drawn that way. Please note that you cannot draw this story on something that cannot be turned upside down. I like to use a sheet of newsprint paper clipped to cardboard. It's portable and very lightweight. Also, I recommend telling this story at the beginning of the program so the children can guess the theme.

"Building a Bot: A Draw and Tell Story"
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room

Carl and Cindy liked to make things. Their parents let them have a special place in the basement to work (1). There was a table for Carl (2) and a table for Cindy (3). There was also a long bench which they used when they worked together (4). Cindy liked to make things with boxes - little ones (5), big ones (6), and medium-sized ones (7). They were all fun to use. Carl liked to work with wires. He used long wires (8), curly wires (9) and short wires (10). Today Carl and Cindy were working together on a project. It was almost done but wasn't quite right. "I know," said Cindy. "These two boxes should help finish it." She added two boxes to one end of the project. (11). "These wires aren't quite right," said Carl. "I'll fix them." Carl fixed two of the wires. (12). "Now we're done!" said Cindy. "Perfect!," said Carl. What did Cindy and Carl make? (Turn drawing.)

Complete Drawing Sequence

(Step by step instructions will be available soon.)

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Lisa of Libraryland 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Makers by Example

Currently there is much discussion in the library world about libraries as maker spaces. Though 3-D printers and electronics are often cited as part of the maker movement, it also includes crafts. Libraries are including sewing machines and button makers in their maker spaces. The focus is on giving library users the resources to create.

Youth services librarians have always encouraged creativity. Sometimes it is as simple as a storytime craft or having blocks available. Craft programs for older children are staples of youth services programming.

When the maker movement spread to libraries, youth services librarians were quick to point out that they were already offering such opportunities. What is not as obvious, is the fact that much of what we do to present an engaging storytime also involves making. Felt board figures, finger puppets and props are often made by the storytelling staff. Special activities are created to promote early literacy skills. Some are part of storytime and some are part of free play in the children's area.

Much thought has gone into these activities and their relation to early literacy skills. Parents are given early literacy tips during storytime. In addition we should point out that what we make for storytime can be simplified and duplicated at home. Many librarians do point this out to parents but I'm not sure it is done on a regular basis. We are not just providing information but are showing parents how it can be applied.

When I first started doing preschool storytime, I often would hand out a paper with a storytime rhyme and easy to make finger puppets on it. One of my favorite storytime crafts is to make paper bag puppets or stick puppets so that the children can reenact the stories they had just heard (or make up completely new ones). Again we are showing parents a simple way to develop narrative skills.

Children's librarians are creative folk. We are makers in many ways. Just look at Flannel Friday's Pinterest boards for examples. We are used to sharing our ideas with other librarians but don't forget to share those great ideas with parents as well!

Basic Librarian Maker Tools

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Where Has Polly Gone?

While I was exploring mathisfun.com, I came up with my final activities for my shapes family storytime. I was looking at polygons when the title of the following draw and tell story popped into my head. All I needed was a story to go with it. You will see that all the shapes that make the figures in this story are polygons. I make no apologies for the pun.

"Where Has Polly Gone?"
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room

Jake was worried. His puppy, Polly, had gotten out of the house and was taking herself for a walk. Jake went out to look for her. He could not see Polly. "Where has Polly gone?" wondered Jake. (Write A on top of page.) He looked all around his front yard. (Draw #1) Then he saw his neighbor Sarah playing in her front yard. "Have you seen Polly?" asked Jake. "I saw her running down the street," Sarah replied. "She turned right onto Oak Street." (Draw #2) "Thanks!" yelled Jake as he ran after his dog. He turned onto Oak but he did not see Polly. He did see a lady working in her garden. He asked her if she saw a puppy running by. "Yes," said the lady. "A puppy with a pointy nose came trotting past my house. It stopped to look at some birds and then went around the corner to Spruce Street." (Draw #3) "Thank you!" said Jake. He ran onto Spruce Street but again he was too late. He could not find Polly. Jake saw a man working on his car and asked him if he saw a puppy go by. "I saw a puppy with one ear sticking up and another ear flopping down sniffing around my tree. Then the puppy ran over to my neighbor's yard where it had fun running around his trees. Then the puppy turned right onto Elm Street." (Draw #4) "That's Polly!" said Jake. "Thank you!" Jake ran onto Elm Street. Far ahead at the corner of Elm Street and Pine Street, Jake saw a puppy in front of a very familiar place. It was a cozy house which had a very long front door handle. (Draw #5) Polly had gone all around the block and had ended up right back home! (Write B)
Drawing sequence:


 Finished drawing

Notes: This drawing is made up of three basic shapes - triangles, squares and rectangles. It can easily be simplified. You do not have to add A and B. The story will also work without drawing the house. Just say that Jake saw Polly in front of his house.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-up is hosted by Jbrary.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Preschool Visit

Preschool Visit - Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 10:00 a.m., Ages 3 - 5, Attendance: 36 children, 6 adults

Books:  Moo! by David La Rochelle
             Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting
             It's a Tiger! by David La Rochelle
             Snack Time for Confetti by Kali Stileman
             Cock-A-Doodle Moo! by Bernard Most

Board Story: "The Silly Wishes" from Teeny-Tiny Folktales by Jean Warren

Board and Prop Stories: "Pot Luck"
                                    "The Most Wonderful Egg in the World"

Paper Cutting Story: "Who Is Watching?"

Game: "Little Mouse"

Notes: This storytime was longer than usual but the children enjoyed the stories. As usual, the "Little Mouse" game was the favorite. I did that last so that we could do it several times. When I did "Pot Luck" the children caught on quickly that things doubled when put in the pot. When it came to putting the coins in the pot, I had the children guess how many would come out.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sally the Square

Try something outside of your comfort zone, think outside the box, etc. So say the pundits. Well, this year's CSLP summer reading theme is making me do just that. I have always loved the results of origami but have had difficulty understanding the directions provided to get those results. Now, thanks to YouTube and a presentation by storyteller Megan Hicks, I am going to combine origami with storytelling for my "Shapes" family storytime.

The origami: I did a little online research on origami shapes. I decided I would like to make a cube. I found that there are two ways to make a cube. One way is more complicated but it gave me an idea for a story that I will work on later. The other way is less complicated but the end result isn't as precise (at least for the beginner). It is called the "Water Bomb" and is a basic origami shape. The story of Sally goes with the folding of this shape.

Notes: You will need a flat surface. If you are standing, have a table next to you. If you are sitting, I have found that a large book in my laps works well as a surface for folding. Telling this story will take practice. Use scrap paper - I used outdated fliers. You can make your own origami paper.  I would suggest pre-folding the paper you are using so that it folds easily as you tell the story. Do not rely on the instructions within the story below. They are just there to tell you which action to do at that time. Find a video or online tutorial that makes sense to you and learn how to make the water bomb. Please note that for the folding to work with this story both sides have to be done at the same time. Some instructions have you completing one side before repeating the steps to do the other. Also, I plan to have an "emergency cube" hidden just in case I mess up the last part!

 Sally the Square
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
April 11, 2014

Sally was a square that liked to change herself. Sometimes she would turn herself into a rectangle. (Fold in half then unfold.) Sometimes she liked to be a triangle, folding herself one way or the other way. (Fold corner to corner both ways then unfold.) The problem is that all these shapes are flat. Sally really wanted to be 3 dimensional so that she could stand up on her own. One day Sally decided to try to get herself to stand up on her own. She managed to fold herself into a smaller triangle. (Push the sides in to make the base.) She could stand up but the wind soon knocked her over. "I need to be stronger," thought Sally. "I will fold myself up some more." (Fold the corners up on both sides to make a square.) Sally was stronger but she still couldn't stand up so she folded herself up some more. (Turn the square to make a diamond and fold the corners to the center on both sides.) Sally had never folded herself up like this before. Now she was an interesting shape but still couldn't stand up. Sally decided to fold herself up some more. (Fold all of the flaps and tuck them in to the pocket - this will take some time so you may want to count each section as you fold it.) Sally then started to try to stand herself up. (Gently pull apart sides.) Suddenly a gust of wind came along and much to Sally's surprise she became bigger and was able to stand up! (Blow into hole at one end and inflate the cube.) Sally was very happy because now she was 3 dimensional. She was a cube. Optional: Draw a happy face on Sally with a black marker.

Origami paper from copy paper
First fold - rectangle
Second and third folds - triangles
(These folds are made on the opposite side of the first fold)
Open paper and push sides with crease in to make base.
Fold corners of triangle up on both sides to make a square.
Fold opposite corners in toward center.
Fold flaps on top and tuck into "pocket."
Left figure: The left flap is folded but not tucked in yet.
Right figure: Flaps are tucked in and it has been gently pulled apart.
Blow in the hole formed at the bottom point to inflate cube.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Anna of Future Librarian Superhero.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Shape Matching

One of the challenges of presenting a family storytime is engaging multiple ages - not just children but parents and grandparents as well. To go along with the "Fizz, Boom, Read" summer reading theme, I am planning a "Shapes" program. I am planning activities that we can do using the magnet board. One will be a shape matching game. However, it will include increasing levels of difficulty.

We will start out with the basic shapes:

Then it will get a little bit more difficult:

Then it will get even more difficult:

We may even try some like these:

The photos above are just examples. There will be many more shapes in each group to choose from so it will not be as easy as it looks.

My groups have been very good at guessing and figuring things out. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do with the shape challenge. I will also reuse some of the shapes to play a "Which Shape is Missing?" game. To increase the level of difficulty, I will add more shapes after each correct guess. I also plan to make a "Shapes" memory game.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Anne of Itsybitsymom. The Flannel Friday blog has everything you need to know about this great storytime resource.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Spine Poetry

Last year I came across a post about book spine poetry. It looked like fun. Ever since then I have wanted to give it a try. At 100 Scope Notes, readers are invited to submit book spine poetry to celebrate National Poetry Month. This year I decided to create a poem. I challenged myself to use titles from my personal collection which contains way too many books about knitting and a growing collection of humorous picture books. Coming up with something was not all that easy despite several interesting titles in my collection. However once I started I came up with most of my "poem" fairly quickly. I just needed one "line" to tie it together. Earlier in the week some books I had ordered arrived. One of the titles turned out to be just what I needed to complete the "poem" in a way that made sense (at least to me). The photo below shows my book spine poem.

This was fun to do. Give it a try. You will end up looking at book titles in a new way.

Raccoon and the Magic Fish

I wrote a version of this story for a "Night Animals" storytime in 2012. It is based on the popular folktale theme, be careful what you wish for. I never posted it because I did not use original art work but instead used a template from one of the crafts. Since I made an original raccoon for "Mole's New Hole" last summer, I decided to use it for this story. I did make some changes to make the raccoon look younger. Although I wrote this for the flannel or magnet board, it could also be a prop or folder story.

Raccoon and the Magic Fish 
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
March 28, 2014

Ryan Raccoon was hungry one night. He came across a stream and decided to catch a tasty fish. He stuck his paw into the water and soon pulled out a fish. "Dinner!" said Ryan with a smile. "Oh, please don't eat me!" cried the fish. "My goodness, why not?" asked Ryan. The fish replied, "Because I am a very special fish. I can grant wishes. All you have to say is, 'Magic fish, magic fish, please grant me a wish,' and I will grant your wish." "I'll give it a try," said Ryan. "Magic fish, magic fish, grant me a wish." "I can't," said the fish. "You didn't say it right." What did Ryan forget? He forgot to say please. Ryan tried again and this time he remembered to say it correctly. "Magic fish, magic fish, please grant me a wish." "What would you like?" asked the fish. "I'm tired of being plain and boring." said Ryan. "I want to be interesting. I want to be green!" "Wish granted," said the fish as he jumped back into the stream. Moonlight was shining on the water. Ryan looked at his reflection. He was indeed green. Ryan ran to show his friends. They were quite surprised to see how he had changed. Possum said, "I'm not sure green is a good color for a night animal. Green is the color of grass in the daylight but it stands out in the moonlight. We don't want to stand out for we are creatures of the night. We think you should change your color if you want to play with us."  Ryan was disappointed that his friends did not like his new color. He went back to the stream and called, "Magic fish, magic fish, may I please change my wish?" The fish poked his head out of the water and asked, "What would you like?" "May I please be blue?" asked Ryan. "Wish granted," answered the fish. Ryan looked at his reflection and indeed he was blue. Blue blended well with the night shadows. Ryan heard a noise. It was his brother and sister foraging for nuts. "Hi," said Ryan. "Find anything good to eat?" His brother and sister stared at him and then ran away. "Oh no," said Ryan. "I think I scared them." I need a happier color." He returned to the stream and asked, "Magic fish, magic fish, may I please change my wish." "What would you like?," asked the fish. "May I please be orange?" asked Ryan. "Wish granted," answered the fish. Ryan looked at his reflection in the water and he was indeed orange. "It's a happy color," he thought, "and it shouldn't scare anyone even if it is very bright." Soon Ryan was very hungry and not very happy. He was so bright that when he tried to have a bug snack, the bugs saw him coming and were able to get away. Even the worms saw him soon enough to hide in the ground. Ryan decided that orange is not a good color for a raccoon and he returned to the stream. Ryan called, "Magic fish, magic fish, may I please change my wish." Again the fish asked, "What would you like?" "May I please be purple?" asked Ryan. "Wish granted!" said the fish. Ryan saw his reflection and indeed he was purple. Purple blended in well with the night. Ryan went to show his mom his new look but when he got home she didn't recognize him. "You are not my Ryan," she said. "My Ryan isn't purple." Ryan ran back to the stream and called again. "Magic fish, magic fish, please change my wish." "What would you like?" asked the fish. Ryan decided that being plain wasn't so bad after all so he asked, "May I please be my plain self again?" "Wish granted," said the fish. Ryan was back to his plain self which he decided was the perfect color for a raccoon to be.

Ryan and Magic Fish - Plain

Ryan and Magic Fish

Colorful Raccoons

Folder Version

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Brooke of Reading with Red. The Flannel Friday blog has everything you need to know about Flannel Friday.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Who Is Watching?

"Who Is Watching?: A Cut-and-Tell Story"
Linda Meuse
March 21, 2014
Notes from the Story Room

Sam was in his backyard waiting for his friend Jerry to come over to play. He was swinging on his playset, going up and down. (Cut from 1 to 2). Suddenly he stopped and looked around. He was sure he was being watched but could not see anyone. He took one more swing up and down but stopped again. (Cut from 2 to 3.) He still felt like someone was watching him. Sam decided to climb his slide. (Cut from 3 to 4.) He quickly slid down and almost landed on Jerry who had just arrived! (Cut from 4 to 5.) "Am I glad you're here!" said Sam. "I feel like someone is watching but I've looked all around and no one is here." Jerry looked around and said, "Maybe they're hiding. Let's search the yard." Sam and Jerry looked under the bushes but no one was there. (Cut A.) They looked behind the maple tree but no one was there. (Cut B.) They even looked into the trash cans but no one was there. (Cut C.)
Then Jerry looked up into the maple tree. "I know who's watching you!" said Jerry. Do you?

Notes: After cutting out the owl, push out the beak (A). You can also add eyes and feathers if you wish. Us a hole punch to make eyes after you are finished cutting but before you unfold the owl. In addition you can make a "branch" for the owl to perch on. Just slide the owl on with its feet in front and tail in back (made from cuts C and D). See photo below.
I usually make a pattern to trace.  I cut construction paper to 8.5 inches by 11 inches.
Pattern ready to cut.
Hold the pattern sidewise while cutting.
Owl with optional "branch."
Owl on "branch."
*For now you can copy and paste the photo. I plan to add a scan of the template soon.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Katie of Story Time Secrets. More information can be found on Flannel Friday's home page. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Three Years of Storytime Inspiration

Flannel Friday is celebrating its third anniversary. To celebrate, readers and participants have been asked to share favorite projects and posts that inspired them, stretched their artistic skills, or enhanced their professional development.

When I started thinking about how many times I was inspired by a post, I realized that I have used ideas from Flannel Friday more times than I could possibly list here. I always check Flannel Friday's Pinterest boards when planning a program. Sometimes I will use the an idea exactly as posted and sometimes I will change it to suit my program.

I've been inspired to make my own versions of various Flannel Friday ideas. One of my favorites is "Sam and the Acorn." I made it for a "Monster" family storytime but it was inspired by Sarah's "Silly Super Hero."  The parents laughed just as much as the children when I told this story.

I love using props when telling stories. Sharon's post about her "Magic Envelope" inspired me to make one of my own. As you can see I deliberately made it with a distracting pattern to help with the "magic." I used it for Halloween, making a Jack-O-Lantern. I plan to use it for a class visit this spring. I was thinking of either making a bicycle or using it to promote our summer programs.

In addition to finding ideas for storytime programs, I enjoy looking at the lovely felt pieces made by participants such as Bridget's "Chester" and Sue's "Grumpy Cat."

Flannel Friday has definitely caused me to stretch my artistic as well as my storytelling skills. I wrote a draw and tell story, "The Night Walk," for a family storytime program. After posting it for Flannel Friday, much to my surprise, this story became my most popular post ever. I was encouraged to write more such stories. The page listing the draw and tell stories has become the most popular section of this blog.

These are some Flannel Friday projects I want to make:
   "Magical Rainbow Stew"
   "Make-a-Pig Flannel"
   "5 Green and Speckled Frogs"

Participating in Flannel Friday has not only made me more creative but has vastly expanded my storytelling repertoire.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Anne of So Tomorrow.