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.