I never know how many kids are going to show up on any given day. This morning it was raining heavily which means there’s always a threat of flooding and people just don’t leave the house if they don’t have to. Plus it is truly fall and all the summer people have gone home.
So I was happy to have a pair of three-year olds and an 18 month old (plus two moms and a set of grandparents at my Where the Wild Things Are program) even if they were very quiet three-year olds.
What I Did (roughly in this order):
“Open, Shut Them”
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Admittedly, I wouldn’t normally include this book for this age audience, but since that was the premise for the whole thing . . .
Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
I love using this book with almost any age kids careening from silly to scary depending on the age of the audience. As the little girl’s eyes got bigger I had to make it sillier and sillier. She actually joined in, telling the monster to “Go away!”.
“Two Little Blackbirds”
One of my standards to grab attention.
“If You’re Happy and You Know it”
A get up a move song that usually works.
Witch’s House cut and tell
If you’re not familiar with this one, it is about a little witch who makes a house for herself and a little ghost out of an orange piece of paper. The twist being that she’s really cut a pumpkin. Shhh! They particularly loved the pumpkin.
Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara
When this book arrived at the library I immediately put it in my storyingtelling collection. It is one of those “holiday” books I’ll try and make an excuse to read anytime.
activity: make Max crowns
The original idea was to have the kids make crowns and/or terrible claws and parade around the library. The kids were so reserved that we ended up just making the crowns. The kids took marker to precut paper and then I fitted them to their heads. It was fun to watch the eighteen month old scribble and try and wipe the marks away. His markers were quickly replaced with my piggie puppet that he could chew on.
Spooky Spooky Spooky by Cathy MacLennan
I don’t love this book as much as her Chicky Chicky Chook Chook, but to be honest that would be near impossible. I love that there’s a jack-o-cucumber and jack-o-eggplant and a number of other nontraditional jack-o-lanterns.
As I do almost every October, I forgot to include the audience favorite Chocolate Chip Ghost flannel board, but I use that often enough when doing color stories that I don’t feel bad about the missed opportunity.
Last night I had a pajama storytime. I shared: Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, Baby Danced the Polka, The Napping House (in story apron form), When Sheep Sleep and Shhh! Everybody’s Sleeping.
It was a rousing success, despite 1) the noisy town event outside that 2) kept a lot of attendees away and 3) as a whole the stories were younger than my audience. So what bedtime/pajama stories do you suggest for kids past the preschool set?
That’s me, blowing my own horn. I just finished up a story time and received some fantastic feedback. A circ worker came to tell me that a little girl of about 6 wanted to make sure I knew that she really like me. Everyone say it together: awwww! Reason number one I love my job.
I wish I had more time scheduled with the kids. Just this week did they really feel at home and comfortable with me. I did stretch the program by adding more music and a craft. Now, I wouldn’t normally do a craft with toddlers, but caved to the enormous pressure I was feeling. It was a simple gluing project to piece together a bear puppet. The stuffed animals were more successful than they have been in the past. As always, the bubbles were the favorite.
This program wore me out, or maybe it’s the lingering cold. Either way I can’t seem to focus critically on the toddler time series.
Opening Song: Let’s All Clap . . .
Song: Shake your Sillies Out
Rhyme: Jump, Jump, Jump
Flannel: 3 Bears
Book: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
Song: “Going to the Zoo” by Raffi on Singable Songs for the Very Young
Book: Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough
Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin
Music and bubbles
“Willoughby Wallyby Woo” by Raffi on Singable Songs for the Very Young
“I’m Different” by Butterfly Boucher on For the Kids Too!
“If You’re Happy and You Know It” by Raffi on Let’s Play
“Teddy Bear Hug” by Raffi on Everything Grows
Opening Song: Let’s All Clap . . .
Song: Shake your Sillies Out
Rhyme: Jump, Jump, Jump
Book: Freight Train by Donald Crews
Song: Wheels on the Bus
Book: Away We Go by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Song: Drive the Firetruck
Music and Bubbles
Action: Wave your nose . . .
I know this isn’t the order I went in, and I know I added something else. This is why I have to type of my reactions right after the program. I do remember that I couldn’t remember some of my songs. Luckily the parents didn’t make anything of it.
A parent finally commented on the fact that my programs aren’t as long as the baby program my colleague runs. I did not mention, like I should have, that I designed short programs for short toddler attention spans. I don’t know how my coworker does it with the babies. Instead, I told her I was working on making my programs longer, which is true.
We’ve been having a lot of school visits throughout the year. We do a tour half the time and storytime the other half, with a chance for them to select and check out a book. I had one of the best audiences I’ve ever had this morning. I was lucky and got to do the storytime section twice, because I was splitting the duty with a librarian who likes to do the tour part. Win-win.
I like to start off with Shel Silverstein’s poem “Sick”. Today I had a large stack of books with me, because I couldn’t decide where to stop. (Unfortunately the stack did not include Who Is Melvin Bubble?, my newest favorite read aloud.) I shared Hot City because I love the language, and to escape the bitter cold we’re finally experiencing. I also shared Wolves, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, “I Dream a World” by Langston Hughes, and The Paper Bag Princess. I also told Stephanie’s Ponytail, which has yet to fail me.
The first group ate everything up. An administrator passing by (and waiting for the nearby elevator) got sucked in and stopped to listen. (YAY!) I was on cloud nine.
I could tell right away the second group of students was different. They were much less engaged and vocal. Turns out it was a special ed classroom. But by the end I had them talking with me and really participating. FTW.
Many of the kids came and told me afterward that they liked my stories, mentioning their favorite bits. This is why I love my job.
At the request of my supervisor I am running a book club for 1-3 graders. The first time I heard this request nervous did not begin to describe my attitude. Not only had I never run a book club, but I had never even attended a book club. And for 1-3 graders? Surely this age range was a little young for something like a book group.
I began preparing. Reading everything I could find, talking to the librarian here who’d done a test run, and visiting another branch with a very successful book club for this age group. I (unnecessarily) stretched the planning process out and the concept changed at least once. The first month I only had three girls show up. Still, it was a success because they actually seemed to have fun, and even better, so did I.
The fourth session met last Friday. I had about 8 kids (half the number who registered). Of these 8, about half were new and half were returnees. So it seems I’m slowly building a loyal group. Hopefully, this will continue.
Anyway, this month we read Frog and Toad are Friends. The questions I ask are all very low key, with no right or wrong answer (usually). I try to get the kids to think about what they’ve read. Though, as I said, this is very low key.
Then we move in to a couple of games or activities. I’ve done reader’s theaters, underpants flings, and pin the flower on Amelia Bedelia’s hat. This month we played a button game, wherein the kids had to find hidden buttons and try to match the one in my pocket. The second round of this went better than the first, they actually listened to the clues and helped each other out. Yay!
So, I didn’t want to do this book club, rather I was very hesitant about it. Now I love it. I love what I’m learning from the kids about how they read and relate to books and each other and even me. I look forward to experimenting and seeing how I can make the program grow.