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, 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.