Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Storytime - Flowers

When I am planning my storytimes, I love looking at other librarian blogs to see what they use for theirs. So I thought I would return the favor and post what I use.

This week's theme for preschool and toddlers is flowers to celebrate spring and Earth Day.

My Plan:


Huck Runs Amuck by Sean Taylor (Preschool)

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea (Preschool)
Fran's Flower by Lisa Bruce (Preschool/Toddler)
Big Yellow Sunflower by France Barry (Toddler)


"There's Something In My Garden"

There’s something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There’s something in my garden
That I can’t really see.
Hear its funny sound....
A FROG is what I found!
There’s something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There’s something in my garden,
That I can’t really see.
Hear its funny sound....
A RABBIT is what I found!
There’s something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There’s something in my garden,
That I can’t really see.
Hear its funny sound....
A MOUSE is what I found!
There’s something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There’s something in my garden,
That I can’t really see.
Hear its funny sound....
A CROW is what I found!

You can use puppets or flannels with this rhyme. And you can switch out or add any animals you like. I chose to use a flannel:

"Five Little Flowers" (sing to the tune of "Itsy Bitsy Spider")

Five little flowers (hold up five fingers)

Standing in the sun
See their heads nodding (make fingers nod)
One by one. (make fingers bow)
Out comes the sun (make sun with arms above head)
Down falls the rain, (flutter fingers downward)
And the five little flowers
Lift their heads again! (hold up five fingers)


Paper Plate Flowers

I bought a pack of store-brand small paper plates. For the flower part, I just cut around the plate to create "petals". For the leaves, I cut the plates into 4 sections. I used green cardstock for the stems. Since I am alone with 20 preschoolers, I punched holes in the stems and flowers ahead of time so that we could just add the brads after they finished coloring their flower. Ideally they will spin in the wind!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Baby Storytime

I love baby storytime. I will never understand those who think that taking babies to storytime is useless. Just yesterday, we were singing "The More We Get Together" with baby sign language and I looked over to see most of my storytime babies doing the signs! I absolutely believe that babies benefit from reading and singing and moving. Therefore, I make sure to incorporate at least one book in baby time, but because I love to move, my storytime is very music and movement-heavy. Here's my typical outline:

Baby Sign Language: I like to teach the babies and adults a couple of new baby signs each session. I tell them all about the benefits of using sign with babies. I also say that it's okay if they don't feel like using that method to communicate with their child, but either way it's fun to learn.

Opening: The More We Get Together - I use the signs for "more", "together", "happy", and "friend"

Baby Exercise Song: Come Along and Sing With Me (to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb")

Come along and sing with me, sing with me, sing with me
Come along and sing with me
On a Thursday morning

Continue with:
Come along and clap with me... (clap hands)
Come along and roll with me... (roll hands)
Come along and tap with me... (tap feet)

Bouncing Rhyme: Tick-Tock - This is a favorite!

Tick tock, tick tock (rock baby in lap)
I'm a little cuckoo clock
Tick tock, tick tock
Now I'm striking one o'clock...ready?
Cuckoo! (lift baby once in the air)

Repeat with two o'clock and three o'clock, lifting twice then three times respectively


Puppets: When Ducks Get Up in the Morning (song from the CD "Baby-O" by MaryLee) - I have a blue plastic treasure chest that I bought from Target. I use it to hide my puppets until I'm ready to use them. It's nice because it stows perfectly underneath my storytime chair.



Song: "Milkshake" from the CD Songs for Wiggleworms - Oh my goodness, if I could ever recommend a must-have song for baby time this would be it. I pass out egg shakers and we shake them like crazy to this song. The babies love it and I've even had a few repeat the word "milkshake" to me in the library.

Bubbles: These are also an absolute must-have for baby time. I put on a song that runs about 1 and a half minutes and I just stand in the middle of the room and blow bubbles. I often have a mini-mosh pit on my hands. I highly recommend incorporating bubbles somewhere in your routine. "Bubbles" is another word often repeated to me by the babies.

Closing Song: Skinnamarink - You can either sing this one a capella or use the version by Sharon, Lois, and Bram. I brave it and sing without the CD.

Play Time: I like to incorporate play time into my baby storytime. I set out some developmentally appropriate toys and give the babies and parents about 15 minutes after storytime to play. I leave the storytime room door closed so that it's just a play time for them. The hope is that it will help the babies learn to interact with other babies better and that it'll give the adults a few minutes to relax. I also put on a Baby Mozart CD in hopes that it stimulates their brains. 

Do you have any favorite things that you do in baby storytime?

Toddler Time

Toddler time, to me, is always 20 minutes of chaos. I feel like I'm walking a thin line between keeping them interested and having a small mutiny on my hands. While it's easy to engage them, you have to be quick. If you pause too long between the pages of the story or in your transitions, you start to lose them. With all that said, I do love doing toddler time. They are at that age where you can really have fun with music and movement and they are reallllly easy to please. Here's my typical todder time outline:

Opening: My rabbit in the hat puppet. This was one of the best personal investments I've ever made. I bought the puppet from Amazon through Folkmanis:

This puppet is my claim to toddler fame
I start out by saying "Bunny, bunny in the hat way down low. Won't you come out and say hello?" Then I ask the kids to help me say the magic words, "I love books". Only then, will the magic rabbit appear. I dramatically pause as I peer into the top to see if it worked and then he pops out! Then we sing to the tune of Frere Jacques:

Hello bunny, hello bunny
How are you, how are you? 
I'm so glad to see you, I'm so glad to see you
Yes it's true, yes it's true

Then I ask the kids to sing "Hello, bunny" with me to the same tune. Then they say goodbye and the bunny goes away.

Song: "Shake Your Sillies Out" by Raffi

Listening Rhyme: Criss-Cross Applesauce (see this post for the lyrics)

Book #1:


Book #2:


Fun Dancing Song: "Tooty-Ta" by Dr. Jean. This one is great for this age. It also inspires lots of laughs from the adults in the room!

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is? (see this post for the lyrics)

Do you have any favorites that you use with toddlers?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Preschool Storytime

One of my absolutely favorite things to do is storytime. Having an undergraduate degree in theatre helps me to imagine that each session is a mini-performance (a.k.a. I have no shame about singing, doing the Tooty-Ta, etc...whatever it takes).

My library is a very small (but very busy) suburban library. Therefore, we have a full slate of storytimes that we offer to our families. In a typical week, I will do:

  • 1 preschool storytime
  • 2 toddler storytimes
  • 1 baby storytime

It's a lot to plan! Luckily, I like to do the same opening and closing for the different age groups. I think that it helps create confidence that the kids know exactly what the routine is. Here's my typical outline for preschool storytime:

Opening: We always talk about what our "best good manners" in storytime are. These are the basic rules they should follow for the 30 minutes I have them. These include putting on their listening ears, raising their hand if they have something to say, and keeping their hands, feet and other objects to themselves. It's a good weekly reminder about behavior expectations.

Magic Listening Dust Box: I bought a plain wooden box from Joann's and covered it with shiny fabric and glitter. I lined the inside with glitter paper. I open the box and pretend to grab a handful of the dust. I blow it out to them and ask them to catch it. Then they rub it on their arms, their legs, their shoulders, and lots and lots on their listening ears.

The outside of the magic box 
The inside with the "magical dust"

Song: "Shake Your Sillies Out" by Raffi. I use this to help them get their wiggles out.

Listening Rhyme: Criss-Cross Applesauce

Criss-cross applesauce
Give a little clap (clap)
Criss-cross applesauce
Put them in your lap (put hands in lap)
Criss-cross applesauce
Quiet as can be (put finger to lips and whisper this line)
Criss-cross applesauce
Eyes on me (I point to myself)

Book #1: This is my longest book.


Book #2:


Book #3: This is my shortest book.

Fun Dancing Song (if time): We usually do "List of Dances" by Jim Gill. I made a poster board with the list of the dances to show the kids (and to help me remember what they are too!).

Closing Song: "Do You Know What Time It Is?" (sung to the tune of "Do You Know the Muffin Man?") I found this one on Abby the Librarian's blog. It goes like this:

Do you know what time it is, time it is, time it is? (pretend to tap watch on wrist)
Do you know what time it is?
Storytime is over.
Now it's time to wave goodbye, wave goodbye, wave goodbye. (wave hands)
Now it's time to wave goodbye.
Storytime is over.
But come back and see us soon, see us soon, see us soon. (clap hands)
But come back and see us soon
When the fun will start again!

Do you have any routines for preschool storytime? Any favorite openers or closers?

I'll post my outlines for toddler and baby time in another post.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

At The Start

I didn't start out wanting to be a librarian. I went through about 3 different career ideas before I even graduated from college: music teacher, businesswoman, and finally costume designer. I worked as a wardrobe supervisor and was a freelance costume designer for a few years after graduating. I had a plan to attend North Carolina School of the Arts to get my Master's in costume design and move to some fabulously artsy city to try to make it big.

And then the Wig Master got too busy.

She called me over one day while we were prepping for the next play and asked me if I wanted to go to a library in the area to help their teen drama club. They were putting on the play "Goldilocks on Trial" and they needed someone to come in and give a makeup workshop. I happily obliged, with stage makeup being one of my favorite things to do.

Long story short, I had a blast.

I had been already leaning towards a career in children's theatre. I much preferred teaching and working with kids and teens than some of the interesting personalities I worked with doing wardrobe professionally. When I sat down with the Teen Librarian there, on a whim I asked what it would take to become a teen librarian. Then it all clicked into place. I could do everything I loved: being creative, telling stories, helping others, etc...all into one neat career package. I dove in headfirst by not renewing my contract at the theater while simultaneously applying to library school and job-hunting. Serendipitously, everything clicked into place and 5 years later, I finally feel like I am where I'm supposed to be.

Do you have an interesting career path?