Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teen Room Display

Though I don't directly work with teens, I am still the on-site advocate for teens at my branch. Due to the demise of Google Reader, I don't know where this fab idea first came from--but it wasn't mine. Sad face.

Just Give Me a Reason...What books do YOU recommend?

Post-its, a writing prompt pulled from the title of a Top 40 song, markers, and a poster frame lined with colorful paper.

It took a while to get started...

But it began to catch on...

Yep, the teens are my branch are excited about books and reading--no doubt about it! I am thinking I'll change it to ask for favorite quotes next.

What else could I do?


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Flannel Friday Round Up 7/26/13

It's a blustery October-like day here in Minnesota, (despite being July 26th!) so it's a perfect day to cozy up and enjoy some fantastic ideas from colleagues.

First up we have Mrs. S at Thrive after Three showcasing her *amazing* system for organizing all her flannels, puppets, and props.

From "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" to a variety of stylin' kicks, Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime shares lots of inspiration for a shoe-themed storytime.

Jane at Piper Loves the Library celebrates Shark Week with a fierce shark flannel, and also inspires with the clever idea to give kids a color photocopy of the flannel pieces. Kids can take the sheet home, cut out the pieces, and play storytime at home!

What is Bridget Reading? Lunch! by Denise Fleming. An excellent example of making the most out of those gorgeous flannel pieces we work so hard on--re purposing for multiple stories!

Jane (and Piper!) just couldn't stay away from Flannel Friday, and came back with another post. This time showcasing some older pieces and sharing a technique to make flannel board time interactive in a whole new way.

Brooke at Reading with Red shares a sweet way to introduce a theme into baby storytime, and backs it with with her early literacy mojo.

Lisa in Libraryland (I just love saying that) has some adorable (sturdy) foam sheep, and has really done her research to find dynamic ways to share the familiar tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"

Over at Artistic Literacy, Amber inspires us with some awesome flowers that have multiple uses, from counting, to color identification, to matching and patterning. Awesome!

Andrea at Librarian vs. Storytime has a flannelization of the new-to-me book "I Heard a Little Baa." Andrea wins the, "Most likely to make Anna run out and copy her" award this week! How have I missed this perfect little storytime rhyme?!

This week, I shared a technique for doing a 'letter of the day' in storytime without using puppets. For some reason lots of the people who do a regular "Letter of the day" use puppets (including me). But if you want to read my ideas for a puppet-free letter of the day, check it out here.

Thanks for reading and contributing, you are what makes Flannel Friday wonderful! To learn more about Flannel Friday, check out the Flannel Friday Blog.

Letter of the Day without Puppets

Image by mconnors via MorgueFile

I was brainstorming with @lizpatanders on Twitter about ways to do a "Letter of the Day" in storytime. I normally use a puppet for the letter of the day (Fergus the Letter Monster), but Liz was looking for ideas without using puppets and we came up with this idea:

"Letter" of the day. Decorate a box like a mailbox, or just use a manila envelope addressed to storytime.

"Letter B went on vacation and sent us back some pictures of things that start with 'B'!

Here's an uppercase letter 'B', and a lowercase letter 'b'. When we see the letter B we make the sound, Buh. Let's see what letter B sent us."

Then you could have pictures of things that start with B (and maybe even one that doesn't start with the right letter).

For doing this with a toddler group, eliminate the pictures, and just show the letter B and talk about its shape using words like straight, tall, round--maybe with some directed movement. Throw in some vocabulary stretching B words and you're set!

What other ways do you use to share a letter of the day--with or without puppets?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Storytime Set Up

Speaking of things I've been sitting on for a while, today I'm sharing my Storytime set-up routine. I have already posted about choosing books for storytime, and I have another post coming about how I put everything together. Anne at So Tomorrow provides the kick-in-the-pants I needed to actually share this post, due to her fab post on how SHE sets up her storytime. Lisa also accepted the gauntlet Anne threw down and posted her process.

Once I have my storytime mapped out, I load up all my books and supplies on my Storytime Cart.

Yes, this is a cart that I spray-painted. No, this is not a project that I recommend.

I wheel it into the program room and get set up about a half hour before storytime begins. I do not have a storage area in my program room, so the cart is crucial.

 Top shelf left to right:

  • Books for this week's storytime.
  • My storytime outline.
  • Alphabet Soup Can with the letter of the day.
  • Hand stamp and ink--usually ties in with theme, but might be "I love to read" type stamp.
  • CD of the month--I highlight one CD in our collection by playing it before storytime for a few weeks at a time.
  • CD player that stays on the cart permanently.
Middle shelf left to right:
  •  Magnetic upper and lower case foam letters, which are stuck all over the cart in order.
  • Today's letter of the day--Qq
  • Tape which I use to stick up the prompts for the letter of the day, hang signs, etc. 
  • Not pictured: masking tape I used to create the 'magic tape line' so kids don't sit in my lap.
  • Felt pieces, which I will use on the easel (Five in the Bed).
  • Storytime signs.
  • Fergus the letter monster.
Bottom shelf:

I use masking tape now--MUCH better than yarn

This is how I normally set everything up. I invite families to take the books after storytime, so I usually have quite a few extras. The easel is magnetic on one side, and that's the side we mainly use. I make posters of song lyrics and tape them up on the easel for those who can read. Often if I'm doing a flannel story I use a lap board, but if we're doing a larger flannel activity I just turn the whole easel around after the letter of the day.

This is what people see upon entering the room. I play music 15-20 minutes before storytime starts, which makes the room nice and welcoming as people get settled. Stopping the music once I'm ready to start storytime also creates a noticeable 'break' in the noise of the room--everyone notices when the music stops, so I don't have to work as hard to capture everyone's attention to begin.

I change the message on the white board to whatever is relevant that week. The kids love choosing their circle mats, and it encourages families to sit together on the floor (in the front!). There are about 15-20 chairs lining the wall to the right, and I don't move or set up any additional chairs.

After we sing our closing song, I invite kids to come forward and get a stamp and tell families they are welcome to take the books. Most everyone puts away their circle mat and it only takes me a few minutes to completely clean up.

Who else wants to share their storytime process?

You can read about how I choose books for storytime here

Friday, July 19, 2013

Flannel Friday--10 Little Babies

One little, two little, three little babies...

Four little, five little, six little babies...

Seven little, eight little, nine little babies...

Ten little darling babies! *kisses*

The babies are quite large; each face is four inches round. I used them in baby storytime this week, and all the babies (and adults) LOVED them. We sang the song three times, and the first time I put the babies up on the board as we sang, and then pointed to each face on the repeats.

These are HEAVILY influenced by the artwork of Karen Katz, so all credit for their adorableness goes to her!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Club--Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Today was the first meeting of our four-week 6th and 7th grade summer book club. The first book was Wonder by R.J. Palacio, a book which I love deeply and truly. Still, I fretted about making it awesome--if kids thought week one was lame they wouldn't come back. And with only seven kids signed up, that's a lot of pressure to not wreck the bookclub.

It was awesome.

Unsurprisingly, all the kids declined to be in the shot.

So, you can't see it very well in the photo, but please note the rubber mallet sticking out of the box. This was an important piece of our successful hour.

It was a very shy group. Fortunately one of my life-skills is making shy people feel comfortable (through making a fool of myself, mostly), so no one wanted to leave after the hour was up!

We started by watching the book trailer, and giving general impressions of the book. Since they were not very talkative, I talked a little about precepts and kindness, and they shared which precept from the book they liked best. Then I had them write something kind on a piece of paper I had pre-cut into squares, and then we folded them into paper balloons. We also talked about pets while this was going on. It was a good kind of ice-breaker activity. We also listened to the Bowie song from the book while we were doing this.

Then I showed them the "Choose Kind" pledge and website, and we had a good discussion about the bullying in the book. I asked the question, "What was the worst instance of bullying in the book?" and one of the girls said that for Auggie they were all the same--so insightful! Then I introduced our final activity, which is where the rubber mallet came in. I talked about a personal instance of bullying I experienced as a kid, and we talked about how we have ALL been bullied or at the very least witnesses bullying. So I had them think of a time they'd felt or witnessed bullying, then write one or two words that represented that story on a strip of paper. Next we put the strips into the cardboard tubes and SMASHED them.

It was great!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Design

I'm so excited to have revamped my site with a new design. If you're using email or RSS to read this, please pop over and check out my snazzy new look! My husband does freelance graphic design, and I love the new header he made for me.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Overthinking It

I'm so thankful for other bloggers who inspire me to complete and actually share things I've been sitting on forever. Sometimes I get very frustrated with myself for being such a slow processor. I get an idea and I need to think about it and just let it be for a long while before I put it into words. Mostly I am learning to appreciate that about myself, but it's hard sometimes when I see people who are so talented at just getting things done quickly and efficiently.

I recently attended my first ALA, and it was amazing. I was able to have some great conversations with Melissa and Kendra about being a slow-processor, and I also sharpened some of my thinking about my approach to programming through Marge and Amy's session on Unprogramming.

One of the pivotal slides from Marge and Amy's Unprogramming session

I have DEFINITELY struggled with over-planning programs, and I have a few posts I've been sitting on that I feel like I can finish now (yay!). I love when I read a blog post, connect with colleagues, or attend a session that sharpens and focuses the amorphous blob of thoughts I've been sitting on forever. It feels like magic. 

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