Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Meow! A Kitty-Cat Storytime

I love cats (don't most of us?) and every time I plan this theme it gives me great pleasure selecting titles. Except that there are so many good titles it is difficult to select the best of the best.

Planning this storytime also required a little bit of forethought : being the first storytime in the school year I had to remind myself to "dumb down" storytime, something we often need to do when summer ends and all our 5-year-olds go off to kindergarten and our 4-year-olds go off to preschool. Instant toddler storytime!

I love to introduce the kids to my cats, mostly because they have a great backstory. My first cat was found in a box in the road as a 3-week-old kitten. We took him in but he was such a ferociously playful guy that we needed to get him a playmate - hence, our acquiring our second cat.

Just because, here they are ...
Aren't they beautiful? Of course I'm biased ...

Anyway, these are the books that we read today. I did include one long-ish book simply because I could not resist the title where a black cat and a white cat make orange kittens.

I made a flannel of a draw-and-tell story a few years ago titled "Poppa Pugleasee" ... not sure if I prefer this as a flannel or draw-and-tell, but here is the flannel version :

Poppa Pugleasee is round and fat
With two pointy ears and little black hat
He has circles for eyes and a triangle nose
and very sharp claws at the end of his toes
His little pink tongue is kind of funny
And he eats too much by the look of his tummy
He wags his tail when I give him a pat
I love Poppa Pugleasee because he’s my….CAT!

I guess this flannel kitty-cat is cute ...

My library still carries the old book props in our shared storytime collection. The one for Pat Thomson's "Drat That Fat Cat!" is pretty good ... as you tell the story, each animal gets swallowed by the fat cat ... but in a transparent body so kids can see what's going on inside.

Our early literacy tip for the day was to read together -- to that end, I created this take-home activity sheet for kids to do at home reinforcing this skill.
for at-home use only

Friday, September 2, 2016

Picnic with the Librarian!

At the end of each summer I try to find a fun way to say "goodbye and good luck" too all my storytime attendees who will be starting kindergarten in the fall. This year I decided to host an outdoor "picnic" storytime. This is not an original idea, having been hosted by my colleagues many times in the past. For me, however, this was my first time ...

We were blessed with absolutely STUNNING weather -- blue sky, temps in the high-60s, low-70s, a slight breeze and NO MOSQUITOES (amazing for Minnesota).

The grass was, naturally, damp due to morning dew so I did bring a tarp to place underneath my picnic blanket :

I have a nice, large wicker picnic blanket at home that I brought in not only to carry snacks that I planned to share with my storytime attendees, but to use as a prop for the Raffi song "Goin' On A Picnic" (can be found here : Goin' on a Picnic)

However ... instead of pulling out sandwiches, lemonade and cookies from my picnic basket, I pulled out a hammer, wrapping paper, a stapler, an extension cord, a Ping-Pong paddle and a license plate. After deciding that we didn't need those items for a picnic, we substituted with things that kids thought we *did* need to have at a picnic (including ice cream which always makes me kind of scratch my head ... how does that work??). I give my co-worker Tami Lee full credit for this idea.

Because storytime was being held outside and not only does the voice not carry as well outdoors but kids are less likely to have long attention spans, I only shared one "regular" book at this storytime. My choice for this event was "Good News, Bad News" by Jeff Mack.

Since the only text in this book are these two phrases, it was easy to keep the attendees' attention and we talked a lot about what they were seeing in the pictures. This page spread is a perfect example -- even more so since the tree we were sitting under was a crabapple tree :

I shared the fingerplay/rhyme "Five Hungry Ants" :

Five hungry ants were marching in a line
Looking for a picnic where they could dine.
They marched upon the salad,
They marched upon the cake,
They marched upon the pepper ...
ahh ... ahhh ... AH-CHOO!!!!!
What a mistake!

I sing this fingerplay to the tune of "Six Little Ducks" and speak the "what a mistake!" line.
To make this more visually appealing, I made five felt ants that I used on a fingerpuppet mitt, and had actual salad, cake (cupcakes) and pepper on a tray that my little ants "walked" over. Each sneeze resulted in an ant being tossed over my back. What a hoot.

We ended storytime attempting to play "Duck, Duck, Grey Duck" (in Minnesota, you have to use "Grey Duck" -- "Goose" just doesn't cut it in this state ...) but surprisingly a lot of the kids didn't really know how to play it. I was "it" four times and allowed each kid I selected to catch me, just so it was fair.

After storytime I had snacks plus bubbles and sidewalk chalk available for play.
Overall, this was a glorious storytime ... wish they could all be outside on beautiful days!