Friday, September 30, 2011

No Flannel Friday--Old MacDonald Had a Farm

I got this idea from the amazing puppeteers at Neenah Public Library during the 2009 WLA conference. Take a box (B&T boxes are so great since they have a flat bottom). Paint it to look like a barn door.  Don't worry, you don't even have to do that good of a job--the kids won't care.

Then cut the upper part of the door so that it opens like so:

Now when you sing Old Mac you POP the puppets through the door. "Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a...COW!!!"

Sometimes I put in a big pause and really punch the animals through. Half the kids jump, and then they laugh and laugh. I always tell them when we've seen all the animal friends in the barn, but maybe if we all sing nice and loud one of them will come back for an encore. Usually it's cow who comes back, and he moos with gusto before saying goodbye to the kids.

I use this once a month or so regardless of my theme, but sometimes I'll put in a weird animal who relates to the theme or something to surprise the kids--like at Halloween the sheep 'dressed up' as a ghost when he popped out.

So much fun and easy to do!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Farm Storytime

Today was my first regular storytime since I started this blog. I can barely believe it. I did storytime over the summer, but they were kind of 'greatest hits' storytimes thrown together in a rush.  I would normally have started fall storytime a few weeks ago, but our staffing changes took up all my time. But we're back in business now!

I usually do 1-3 outreach storytimes a week, plus regular storytime Wednesdays at 10:30.  Woe betide any attempts to offer storytime at other days/times in this community!

I will be writing up a few posts on my storytime process later, but for now here's what we did this week:

Opening Song: 1,2,3, I Love the Library (lyrics I wrote to tune I learned as a child).

Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming

I read this one for three of my four sessions and it was a huge hit every time. I am trying to be better about saying the titles of the books, and I defined 'banter' for them. When we looked at the title page most of them thought the goose was a duck so we talked about geese and how they have long necks. The kids LOVED spotting the Goose on every page--more than saying the animal noises with me.

Song: Old MacDonald (with puppets and barn prop) This is one of my most popular storytime activities, and it deserves its own post--coming soon.

Action Activity: I can Jump Jump Jump. It was rainy here this week, so for the daycares and school groups we did this a few times and varied speed to really get those wiggles out (the source is here, but I've adapted it--we stomp stomp stomp and at the end do it again for show. Repeat all, then sit down slow).

Book: Stuck in the Mud by Jan Clarke or Hungry Hen by Richard Waring

 Hungry Hen was a big hit with my my school and daycare groups, but I opted out of reading it for regular storytime. The group skewed young and quiet and I didn't think they'd appreciate the twist at the end. Stuck in the Mud is fun--we all chimed in (more or less) on the refrain he/she pushed and pulled again and again.

Song: There's a Little Chicken (To the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know it"). I do this song with whatever little stuffed animal or fingerpuppet fits my theme or transition best. It's a good way to build body part vocabulary. "There's a little chicken sitting on my...nose! OH NO! I don't know what to say and then he runs away. Now there's no little chicken on my nose." After each verse I have the little chicken pop out from behind my back and pretend that I'm nervous about where he'll go next, which makes the kids laugh and join in. 

Fingerplay: Here is a Cup. I learned this one from last year's Collaborative Summer Reading Program manual, and it's a new favorite.

"Here is a cup (cup hand) and here is a cup (other hand)
and here is a pot of tea (fist with index finger out for spout)
Pour a cup, and pour a cup (you got this).
And have a sip with me"

We start slow and get very fast, ending with a nice looooong drink of tea and rubbing of the belly--YUM!

Book: Clip Clop by Nicola Smee or Moo, Moo, Brown Cow! Have you Any Milk? by Phillis Gershator.

Flannel Story: Make a Pig. I LOVE this flannel. So much.  It's so much fun--the kids just roll with laughter.
Fingerplay: My Hands. The version I use is closest to this one here.

We read one more book--one of the ones I didn't choose above. For each group I decide on the fly depending on how they're reacting and what I'd like to read.  My back up books that I didn't use at all were Margaret Wise Brown's Big Red Barn and Lucy Cousin's Maisy's Morning on the Farm.

Closing Song: Storytime is Over Now (Mary had a Little Lamb).

Hand Stamps (There would be riots if I forgot this).

Craft: I printed a b&w clip art barn onto legal sized paper and there were six animals for the kids to color and glue (precut by my student worker). Easy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flannel Friday--How do I put it on?

So, I jettisoned my to-do list and made a flannel today. It felt good. I've really missed actually working on things for storytime.  The simple yet delightful, "How Do I Put It On?" by Shigeo Watanabe just begged me to turn it into felt.

Little Bear photographed really dark--sorry!

First I looked at the illustrations in the book, and did a Google image search for bears to figure out how I wanted him to look.  I knew he'd need long legs and arms to put the cloths on.  Then I did a small sketch (on the green paper) to test out some ideas.  Once I had it how I wanted it, I sketched him onto a clean sheet.  then I lightly outlined the clothes shapes so that they would be the right size. 

All my felt-making tools.

Next I enlarged my drawing on the photocopier so it would be better for group viewing, and made two copies (one for the bear shape, and one for the clothes).

Then I used my paper scissors (the orange ones) to cut out my pattern for just the bear. I taped that to the felt and then cut the felt with my cloth scissors.  Taping the pattern on works wonderfully--I just cut through the tape.  Paper dulls scissors very quickly, and cutting cloth with dull scissors is a nightmare, so I'm very careful to use different pairs for different materials.

I did the same thing for the clothes, and then I added details with markers using the dabbing approach rather than a dragging/writing motion.

Can't turn it without starting over.

I gave him a Green Bay Packer shirt because I know my audience, and it will delight many of the little boys in my storytimes.  I printed the logo on paper and glued it on.

I'd be happy to share my template if anyone wanted it. 
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Reading

I don't buy books. I never have really. I mean, Ok, so compared to many people I have a largish collection, and when I move more than a few boxes are just books, but in proportion to the amount I have always read, I have a very small book collection.  And since I started actually working in a library I buy even less--1-2 in a year, maybe. When I do buy a book, it's nearly always something I've already read. I only want to own books that are near and dear to my heart, that I will reread for years to come. Otherwise I don't need to own it. I've always been a library user more than a bookstore haunter.  I read at a volume that nothing but the library could keep up with. I read incredibly fast and I would rather read than do most other leisure activites.

I've always been terrible, just terrible, at keeping track of what I read, though I have tried several times.  I've always been a, "Read anything with words--at least once!" kind of reader. No, seriously. My mother was involved with legalizing home birth in Wisconsin, and I have four younger siblings. Guess what kind of books she had in the house--that I read at ten, twelve years old.

In my younger days, overly influenced by all my snobby (said with love!) Lit-major friends, I was embarassed by my all-over-the-place reading habits and didn't want to admit when I was reading something below literary quality (though if I may brag, some of them admitted that I was more well-read then they). I never wanted to study lit because I didn't want to ruin my love of reading.  I felt like all that analysis just got in the way of the living breathing stories I wanted to devour. I definitely recognize and bask in the glory of good writing, but I'm in too in love with the story to limit myself. I'm too interested in too many things to let capital-L Literature guide me.  (so I studied Art/Art History instead...yeah, I know. Let the logic of that sink in...)

Then came library school, and I embraced my populist attitudes towards reading. I mean, I value quality and I haven't read more than six chapters (can two pages be a chapter?) of a Patterson novel yet (Witch and Wizard). I don't like everything, but if I'm curious I'll give it a chance and try it once...or five times (I'm looking at you Margaret Atwood and John Irving). I think it's important to read all over the place, and I let curiousity drive me. Sometimes something random catches my eye, sometimes I just want to know what the hype is about.

All that being said, I don't have as much time to read as I used to. I don't buy the books, and I can't check them out from the library indefinitely, so I need to keep a list. And here's where I'm going to keep it.

Every book its reader. Every reader her book.

Thank goodness for that.

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