Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flannel Friday: Chinese Dragon Edition

Five Red Dragons

Just in time for Chinese New Year, I have an amazing set of flannels to share with you. One of my new coworkers (who doesn't even work in the children's department!) creates the most A-MAZE-ING flannels for the library system. I feel soooo lucky to have someone on staff who has the time and talent to create pretty much whatever we ask her to make! I've seen her work before, but these dragons just blow me away.

She does such a great job of layering the felt pieces to create a 3D look, and these are large pieces--bigger than my hand. Last year Mollie posted her cute dragons and the rhyme she used them with, make sure to check it out here. 

Those teeth!

Anne is hosting this week's Flannel Friday round-up. To learn more about Flannel Friday or how to participate, check out the Flannel Friday Blog.

The shiny glitter talons!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flannel Friday--Puppet Edition

Meet Fergus! Fergus is a very large, very animated puppet. I named him with the help of the Flannel Friday Facebook group. Unfortunately, I can't remember who it was who suggested the name Fergus (Linda, was it you? or was it Lisa?!), but I want to give credit to whomever it was. There were lots of great suggestions, but Fergus just stuck.

So, this qualifies as a Flannel Friday because I'm sharing my method for using Fergus in storytime. Fergus is our letter monster! He loooooooooves eating delicious letters, but he's very hungry, so after he eats them we have to think of some delicious words that start with that letter.

I know I've mentioned them before, but I'm a big fan of this set of Alphabet Soup Starters from S&S Worldwide. There's a 'soup can' for every letter. Inside are cardboard upper and lowercase letters, and a variety of images that start with that letter. On the back of each image the word is printed and the letter is highlighted in a second color. For the vowels there are images for both long and short vowel sounds. I usually tape the images up on my storytime easel to prompt the kids with ideas, especially since many of my storytime kids are on the younger side of things.

I ask the kids if they can think of any words that start with our letter of the day, and as they throw out suggestions I pick one, "OOoh, ball is a GREAT "b" word. Buh, buh, BALL listen to that 'b' sound. Ok, let's feed it to Fergus-he's so hungry!" And then we count, "One, two, three, BALL" and 'throw' the word towards Fergus, who gobbles up words being thrown at him from all corners of the room (Think Cookie Monster).

It's a really fun shtick, and the kids find it delightful. I think it's a great way of making the letter of the day a truly fun part of storytime!

**update** if you are looking for ideas to do a letter of the day, but puppets just aren't your thing, check out this post

Here's an idea of how big they are.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

All kinds of Impact

One of the huge outreach programs that my library does is the Kindergarten Party. Basically we visit every Kindergarten in the county and send home library card applications. Every application that is returned equals an invitation for that child to attend the Kindergarten Party where, with great pomp and circumstance, we present them with their very own library card (among other fun things for them to do that day at the library).

I personally presented to a total of about 250 kids during November to promote the program. Most of the classes were strapped for time so we sang one silly song, read Bark, George by Feiffer, and then I told them about the party.

In one class, after we finished and I was packing up my stuff there was one little boy at the back of the room who was sitting criss-cross with his hands clasped in his lap. "I just really want to tell you a secret," he said to me, agonized. "Sure, come on up." I said, and bent over to his level. After he carefully and fastidiously parted my hair so that there was nothing in front of my ear, he whispered with great intensity, "I just love you SO MUCH."*


This month, my coworker was doing a search for a young boy. When she asked for his card, his dad joked, "We'll be back in three weeks then." I knew that the Kindergarten party was three weeks away, so I asked the boy if he was going to attend. He looked at me in that super-suspicious way that kids do when they suspect adults are messing with them. "How did you know that?" I said, "It was probably me who visited your class and told you about the party, what school do you go to?" After he told me what school and I knew that it was I who had visited I said, "Yeah! It was me who came to your class--don't you remember when we read Bark, George?" Friends, his whole face just lit up as soon as I mentioned Bark, George. "I know you!" he said with a huge grin.


I believe I made a difference in those kids' lives, however briefly.  I believe that Jules Feiffer himself would have been proud of how I hammed up the reading of his book. I believe that that book will have a special place in many of those kids' hearts from now on. I believe in what we do.

*And then I melted into a puddle of goo on the floor.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Library Picnic

I've been working really hard to revamp the play area since I started at my new library (there was almost a full year with no children's librarian at my branch). 

Sometimes you just don't know if what you do makes a difference or has an effect. So it's unbelievably awesome to come across a scene like this: 

And a half hour later when I came by again? Everything was neatly put away where it belonged. 

So worth it.

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