Monday, June 18, 2012

That Time of Year Again

It's my first giveaway post!

Well, duckies, it's that time of year. I'm determined to keep my workload at 40-45 hours per week and NO MORE. Since I was a bit sick last week and it was my Saturday to work I ended up making up hours on Sunday and essentially worked all weekend. Then I looked at the calendar for the next two weeks and basically had a panic attack. So. I'm taking the blog off my plate for a little bit--don't worry about me if I disappear for a few weeks. My goal is to just take the rest of June off and come back in July, but we'll see.

In order to share how much I appreciate all of you who read my words here, I have a giveaway!

I have a copy of "Bugs Galore" by Peter Stein and illustrated by Bob Staake (LOVE Bob's illustrations, which you may have gathered from my homage in felt) I received this copy for free by reviewing it for School Library Journal, but I'm going to share it with you.

Just leave a comment and tell me why you like to read this blog. Your comments will fortify me during the C-R-A-Z-Yness of summer.

You have until July 1st to enter the giveaway contest--good luck and see you soon!

Miss Anna

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Storytime Power

I give out hand stamps at storytime, and when kids stop by to see me in my office. They are VERY IMPORTANT to my kids.

During most of the T-ball season, L had a temporary tattoo of a dragon which he credited with his fast running. Last night he didn't have it, and Coach H. asked him if he'd be slow since he didn't have his dragon. He said, "No! I've got a new one!" and he showed off the SLP "READ" stamp that I had given him. Coach H (who is a regular ST parent) asked if L got the stamp at storytime. L said yes, and that he'd run super fast with storytime power! And he did indeed run super fast to first base after his hit, fueled by storytime power.

Storytime Power!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

SLP Outreach/Confessions of a School Visitor pt. 3

I've expressed my frustration with SLP school visits before--they stress me out BIG TIME, take a huge toll on my workload, and my data shows that they don't have much effect in terms of SLP sign-up.

Despite my well-laid plans for this year, I ended up making the decision not to do SLP visits to the schools this year. The reasons were many, and I had an awesome discussion about it over Twitter with several other librarians, which led Marge Loch-Wouters (who I'm delighted to call one of my stealth mentors) to write about SLP visits over on her blog, Tiny Tips for Library Fun

Sara, at Bryce Don't Play, also hit on some of the issues I've had with presenting SLP as well--I've definitely been struggling with 'The Way SLP Visits Have Always Been Done' ie: costumes and puppets. (I LOVE costumes and I LOVE doing puppets with the kids--but that just doesn't fly or seem authentic when you're trying to convince the fifth graders that the program isn't just for the first graders).

(I need to learn from Marge how to not write a book with each blog post...sigh).

Last summer I did collect data on what schools had the most participation so I could compare that with my school visits. And, as I suspected, there's little or no correlation. Regardless of whether I visited, the biggest factors were location (nearness to library) and the school's own library situation. Unsurprisingly, schools that had dedicated library staff had kids who were more likely to participate in the program. Readers gonna read.

In my geographically spread out library population, I've often considered that it doesn't matter how excited I get the kids about the program, if they can't get to the library they can't participate. It's the parents I have to find.

So with that in mind, when I was invited to participate in the City's Healthy Way Walk (booths and giveaways along the new trail around the lake to encourage families to get out and walk), I said "YES!"

I had FORTY FIVE kids sign up, fifteen of which were teens. MANY of whom said they'd never doen the program before. Let me put that into perspective for you: last year I had a total of 275 kids, 42 of which were teens (yes, small numbers overall, but steadily growing each year I've been doing this).


Friday, June 1, 2012

Robot Storytime

One of the most common searches that brings people here is "Robot Storytime." So, by popular demand, I'm posting my robot storytime outline for your edification.

Edit: I *just* read Ame Dyckman's Boy + Bot and it's absolutely perfect for robot storytime! It would be fun to do a movement activity that had the kids doing some robot movement until the adults turned their 'off' buttons. Robot Freeze!

My favorite books are:
Hello Robots by Staake
Rolie Polie Olie by Joyce (also works for Underwear Theme)
Ribbit Rabbit by Ryan
The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot (also works for Space or Alien Theme)
The Birthday Box by Patricelli

Other books that might work for you:
Robobots by Novak
The Robot and the Bluebird by Lucas
Snowbots by Reynolds


We sing our opening song and jump right in with Rolie Polie Olie. I like to lead with this one because it sets the stage nicely to talk about robots. I ask them what a robot is, and we talk about machines. Some kids get REALLY excited about robots, so this is always a fun discussion. Then I tell them we're turning into robots today in storytime and we practice saying, "Hello" and "Goodbye" like robots.

This leads us nicely into our second book, Hello Robots.
After we read it, we use my Hello Robots flannel and the kids re-tell the story as I place the pieces. It's a great way to build narrative skills, and at the end we also have a discussion about the shapes and colors involved, "Which robot has a triangle body? What color is he?"

 Now it's time to get some movement going. Depending on how wiggly the group is, I would probably add one or two of our standard every-week wiggle busters like I Can Jump Jump Jump or A is for Alligator before moving on to a themed action activity that I wrote.

I Am a Robot (obviously you'll need your best robot voices and movements here)
I am a robot (march in place with 'robot arms')
I am a robot
Clank Clank (bend forward and back at waist)
Clank Clank (bend side-to-side at waist)
ZZZZZZZrt (Raise arms up while shaking them)
CRASH (Either fall, or 'lose power' or clap--my kids love anything that ends with an anticipated CLAP BANG CRASH)
(feel free to use, but please credit back--thanks!)

At this point I'd read another story. I would choose which one on the fly depending on how the group was doing. If they were antsy or skewed younger, I would read The Birthday Box by Patricelli and that would be the final book of the session. If they were older or still doing really well, I would read Ribbit Rabbit (a little shorter) or Three Little Aliens (need really good listeners for this one).

For this theme, we'll also sing a piggy-back version of "Happy and You Know It" which would obviously by "If You're a Robot and You Know It." You can easily make up your own verses, but here's what I did:

If you're a robot and you know it
Clank your coils (clap hands)
Clunk your gears (stomp feet)
Press your buttons ("Beep beep")

As far as other extension activities--basically any song or fingerplay works since all you have to do is add 'robot voice' and it's on-theme (if that's important to you).

And finally, for craft time we made robot costumes. I used brown paper bags which I prepared ahead of time. Cut straight down the middle of the back of the bag, then cut out the bottom of the bag so that the whole thing lies flat. Then cut armholes in the sides, and a half-moon out of the front for the neck. The idea is that the kids can stick their arms through and wear it--like putting a vest on backwards.

Then I put out glue, tin foil, chenille stems, markers and anything else that they might want to use to decorate their costumes.

Hope that helps!

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