Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baby Storytime–Cows

I've decided to slightly restructure my baby storytimes this session. The structure I was using worked, but I realized it could definitely be better.

My first big change is that I have decided to theme each of my storytimes. While I love just picking my favorite books of the week for toddlers and preschoolers, I definitely think babies work better on a theme. This gives parents a specific thing to focus on and it makes conversation a little easier.

I also decided to start including more flannel pieces. Each week, I introduce the theme by using the "Shape Game". I also do a nursery rhyme flannel each week. So without further ado...

Check out what my typical storytime looks like here. All the words to my songs and rhymes can be found here

Opening Song
Welcome Song

Opening Rhyme/Movement
Hands are Clapping

Early Literacy Tip
We use repetition a lot in storytime. Each week we will be following the same basic structure and change the books we read. Repetition is a great way to help your baby learn. They will begin to anticipate what comes next and feel empowered.  By the end of the 5 week session you will notice your little one doing the motions to songs and babbling when we are singing. It's an awesome thing to see!

Shape Game!
Today, I hid a cow under the blue square. This game is a fun to introduce your theme and you can find out about it here.
Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Do Cows Meow by Salina Yoon
This book is fabulous. All of her books are fabulous. Seriously, buy them all.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat 


Farm Animals by Simms Taback
This book has huge fold -out animals in it. The "clues" are extremely easy and it is perfect for babies.

Giddy-up, Giddy-up


Nursery Rhyme
Humpty Dumpty

The parents were not as excited about this as I expected them to be. Perhaps I did a poor explanation of why we are doing nursery rhymes? I will try again next week. I found this fabulous idea at Storytimes with Moxie. She sadly does not blog anymore, but she has some great flannel pieces posted.

Choral Reading
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

Egg Shakers
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep 

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom


Friday, July 26, 2013

Flannel Friday – The Shape Game!

This session I decided to start having a theme each week in my baby storytime. What better way to introduce it then with a game?

I think including a theme has made it easier for my parents to focus on the books. Plus, it gives them a sense of what to expect each storytime. I have definitely noticed a difference in the conversations parents are having with their babies about the books.

I have been using this game off and on for over a year, so I have no idea if I stole this from someone or not. All of my bookmarks were lost in the great Google Reader switch. So, if you gave me this great idea, please tell me!

The actual flannel pieces are super easy. All you do is cut out 4 shapes in flannel pieces. Make sure they are different colors and make sure they are big enough to hide things behind.

Each week I pick a theme and then make a piece that relates to it out of flannel.

Our theme was babies!

After our opening song and rhyme, we unveil the shape game. Unveiling is important. It takes away the temptation for kids to pull pieces off as soon as they enter the room. Plus, it makes it more exciting!

Every week I say, "Now it's time for our shape game! Are we ready to see what we're going to read about this week? Let's see if there is anything under the purple star...." I always wait until the last shape to find my item.

The babies have responded really well to this. The first two weeks they were a little unresponsive, but now they clap when I unveil the shape game and make a mad rush to the flannel board. It's adorable. Plus, they're getting exposed to shapes which is a precursor to learning letters!

You can see all the other Flannel Friday Roundup submissions for this week at Future Librarian Superhero!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vertical by Janet Eoff Berend

Looking for a high interest/low level reader for teenagers? Do they love skating?

Guess what?

I have the book for you!

Vertical by Janet Eoff Berend is a wonderful novel about a teenage boy whose life revolves around skating. While the text is short with only 122 pages, the main character shows remarkable development and the book captures your attention completely.

The book opens with Josh, the main character, talking about skating. As someone who has personally never stepped on a skateboard, the text is readable without prior knowledge. However, teens who love skating will be impressed that there is a book written specifically in their language.

This book is a roller coaster. Within the first 20 pages, Josh witnesses a burglary. "No one likes a rat" though, so he keeps quiet. As the book progresses, Josh finds himself falling out of touch with his best friend who is making questionable choices, navigating the school world, and of course—skating.

Throughout the book, Josh is constantly introspective and walks the reader through each emotion and action he makes. The author does not waste time on minor details though, except when it comes to skating. In these scenes the reader feels as if they are in the skate park with Josh.

There is also a violent twist toward the end that I didn't see coming. Josh gets seriously hurt by another kid while his friend simply stands by and watches. It is a graphic scene, but it helps move the plot to a conclusion. Plus, it forces Josh to make a tough decision that he wouldn't have been able to make at the beginning of the book.

I don't think a library can ever have too many sports books for their teens. If this is an area where you are constantly getting reader's advisory questions, then definitely add this book. This would also be a great book for English teachers to add to their classroom libraries. The book includes a glossary of skateboarding terms and discussion questions at the end. 

Vertical by Janet Eoff Berend is available now!

Review copy provided by author.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dinosaurs in the Library!

This week I presented a dinosaur themed program for ages 5+. While I adore my babies, it is nice to present to kids who can interact a little more with you.

I started the program by talking briefly about dinosaurs and giving some fun dinosaur facts. For example, no one has ever found dinosaur fossils in Wisconsin! Many kids said they were going to be the first to find them, so I tried to convince them to name their dinosaur after me. We will see if they follow through.

Next, I read "The Super Hungry Dinosaur" by Martin Waddell. My group definitely skewed younger and this was the perfect book for them. We all roared with the dinosaur and they even changed their roar as the dinosaur got more upset. It was awesome.

Then, I released them to the craft table after briefly explaining the project. Thanks to Sunflower Storytime for this great idea! I also used the template and instructions from Loving My Nest.

While we waited for the glue to dry, we read "Chalk" by Bill Thomson. I stopped the book right before the final few pages and told everyone to close their eyes and stay quiet while they thought about what they would do next with their chalk. Then, I passed out paper and markers and let them draw it out. They stayed pretty much silent throughout this whole process because they wanted to surprise their friends with their idea. The ideas ranged from making another dinosaur, to a sword, to steaks and nachos because they thought the dinosaur was probably just hungry like our last one. I had quite a few kids even guess the ending. I was very impressed with their creativity.

Then, we went back to our craft tables and sprinkled coffee on the artwork. Kids really enjoyed this part. They somehow managed to keep the floor clean, and they had a great time just smelling and feeling the coffee.

Once they were done with their art, I gave them a cookie in a small bowl with a toothpick. I instructed them to dig out the chocolate chips with a toothpick. A few older kids immediately said they were just going to eat the cookie. I told them I understood, but if they could get at least 2 chocolate chips out without breaking the cookie they would officially be a paleontologist. Surprisingly, it worked.

The program was a success with around 55 people attending. The kids were all extremely well behaved and I couldn't have asked for a better group!


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