Monday, June 30, 2014

Simply STE(A)M Storytime: Color Science

Yesterday was my very first STE(A)M storytime for ages 3 to 6. I've wanted to do a program like this ever since I found out about Amy Koester's STEAM initiatives on her blog. Since this year's SRP theme is all about science, I thought it would be a great time to try this program out.

For this session, I focused on color science. The first half of the program consisted of a storytime and the second half was all about the hands-on activity stations for the kids and caregivers to experience together.


Opening: "Open Shut Them"

Fiction Picture Book: Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh - This fairly short picture book is all about three white mice who step in some red, yellow, and blue paint and end up mixing colors together to discover others. This was a nice introduction to the concept of primary and secondary colors.

Song/Rhyme: "Red Circle, Red Circle, What Do You See?"

This one follows the cadence of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. I just point to each shape and have the kids chant along with me.

Non-Fiction Book: Ruby, Violet, Lime: Looking for Color by Jane Brocket. - This was a great picture book that teaches kids all about the different colors. The author uses different words for colors like turquoise for blue and even covers concepts such as shade in a very manageable way.

Song/Rhyme: "Color Game" from the CD Jim Gill Sings Do, Re, Jim Gill. - I passed out scarves and we followed along to the lyrics. Very fun!

Hands-On Activities:

Then it was time for the hands-on part of the program. I had three different activities for the kids and caregivers to experience together. For each station, I had a sign with short directions on how to do each activity along with some questions/talking points for the adults to ask the kids as they were completing each one.

The first two activities I found in the awesome book, Science is Simple by Peggy Ashbrook. The author lays
out each section by theme: colors, bubbles, butterflies, etc. Her experiments are simple to do and follow and she includes discussion points for each one. I highly recommend this resource if you want to do a similar program!

Station #1: Color Mixing

You Will Need:

  • Acetate or plastic sheets in red, yellow and blue. (Note: I had a difficult time finding sheets that would make the secondary colors well when combined. I tried cellophane, but that didn't work for me. I ended up purchasing a couple of different lighting gels from Amazon. These were the ones that worked for me. I purchased 2 sets and ended up cutting each sheet into 4 squares.)
  • White paper or a white table cover to use as a background.
  • Color Mixing Worksheet - You can use mine or create one of your own.
  • Crayons
The idea with this station was to let kids combine the different color gels to see what other colors they could make and introduce them to the concepts of primary and secondary colors. Then they would record their observations on the Color Mixing Worksheet.

Station #2: Separating Colors

You Will Need:
  • Coffee filters
  • Black markers
  • Water
  • Clear cups
For this activity, I asked the kids to make some black lines on a coffee filter and then dip one end into the cup of water, but making sure that the water was not touching the marker lines. The idea was that as the water traveled up the coffee filter and reached the black marker, it would then separate the colors found in black (blue, green, red, etc...). I wanted to teach them the concept that black contains all colors and can be separated. I'll be honest, I don't know if it was the brand of marker I used or what, but this experiment didn't work as well as I hoped. Maybe someone else will have better luck with it! I think what I might do the next time is have the kids make black dots on paper towels and ask them to drop a little water on the dots and watch the color spread.

Station #3: Color Reactions

I got this idea from Amy's Color Science blog post. It was by far the most popular station!

You Will Need:
  • Baking soda
  • Plastic plates with rims (to prevent spill-overs)
  • Eye droppers
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring
Ahead of time, I poured a small amount of baking soda onto each plate. Then, I dyed the bottles of vinegar red, blue, and yellow. I had the kids drop a small amount of each color onto the plate to see what would happen. This experiment is neat because adults can discuss not only color mixing with the colored vinegar, but also the reaction with the baking soda and vinegar.

I set up a couple of tables with both fiction and non-fiction color books and encouraged participants to check them out. I also made up a take-home sheet with some science/color definitions and more color experiment ideas (found here) and a "What Is STEAM?" handout that Amy Koester created and so generously let me use.

For more STEAM program ideas, check out these links:

Preschool STEM Prezi from Jen Thomas
Simply STEM Wiki
School Library Journal's STEAM Pinterest Board
The Show Me Librarian - All Things STEAM

Did I miss any ideas/resources/etc.? Leave them in the comments!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Storytime - Weather


Hello Sun by Dayle Ann Dodds - This is a cute rhyming story about different kinds of weather and the appropriate clothing to wear for it. I had the kids chime in with the words, "Uh, oh!" when it appeared on the page.

Maisy's Wonderful Weather Book by Lucy Cousins - This short weather book features moveable parts which just fascinated my toddlers!


What's the Weather Like Today?

For this song, which I adapted from an idea here, I made a flannel inspired by the one from Storytime Katie. As we sang the song, I put up a different circle and asked the kids to guess which kind of weather it indicated.

(Tune: London Bridges)

What's the weather like today?
Like today, like today?
What's the weather like today?
It is __________.

(Repeat with the other types of weather)


One day the sun was shining bright (hold up one hand)
But some clouds came along and it became black as night (hold up left hand for clouds)
Then the rain began to sprinkle on the ground (wiggle fingers down for rain)
And soon it was raining all over town.
But when the clouds passed on by (move both hands to the right)
A beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky! (make a rainbow above head with arms)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Campfire Storytime

Every summer since I've been at my current library, I've hosted a Campfire Storytime alongside another staff member. We bill it as a monthly drop-in program for all ages where the first half consists of us reading our favorite storytime books and singing our favorite silly songs and the second half consists of a camping/outdoors-related craft and a s'mores snack. If the weather is nice, we sit on blankets out in the grass or on the library patio. If the weather's not-so-nice, we sit in our meeting room and pretend we're outside!

Due to my summer reading brain, I forgot to take any pictures! I promise I will have some with last month's write-up.

Here's what we did tonight:

Song: "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes"

My coworker got the group ready to go with a fun rendition of this movement song. After she ran through the classic version of the tune, she added this fun verse to challenge the kids:

Elbows, hips, nose, and lips
Nose and lips
Elbows, hips, nose, and lips
Nose and lips
Eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose
Elbows, hips, nose, and lips
Nose and lips!

You can go as fast as you please and the kids will just giggle their way through it.

(Below is another fun renditions from The Learning Station):

Book: Chicken Big by Keith Graves - Next, I read my longest favorite book, Chicken Big, which is a HILARIOUS story about a big chick who's smaller siblings can't figure out what exactly Chicken Big is. Is he a elephant? A sweater? This one definitely had the kids rolling with laughter.

 Song: "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee"

I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz!

I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Won't my mommy hide behind the door?
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Listen to my roar! ROAR!

I'm bringing home a baby crocodile
Won't my mommy wear a great big smile?
I'm bringing home a baby crocodile
Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap!

Book: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin - 
I had been thumbing through my pile of books to decide what to read next when a girl in the front row saw this book and cried, "I love Pete the Cat!" So I felt fate was telling me to read this one. And oh. My. Goodness. This one is ALWAYS a hit! I have the kids sing Pete's song with me as well as reply, "Goodness, no!" when I ask, "Was Pete sad?
Song: "Form the Orange"

I saw this one first performed by Rick Samuelson at a Guerrilla Storytime session and it's been my go-to fun song ever since!

Form the orange, form form the orange (bring one arm up over head in an orange shape)
Form the orange, form form the orange (bring other arm up over head in an orange shape)
Peel the orange, peel peel the orange (bring one arm down)
Peel the orange, peel peel the orange (bring other arm down)
Squeeze the orange, squeeze squeeze the orange! (hug yourself)
Squeeze the orange, squeeze squeeze the orange!

Form the potato, form form the potato (bring one arm up over head in a potato shape)
Form the potato, form form the potato (bring other arm up over head in a potato shape)
Peel the potato, peel peel the potato (bring one arm down)
Peel the potato, peel peel the potato (bring other arm down)
Mash the potato, mash mash the potato (use arms and stomping feet to indicate "mashing")
Mash the potato, mash mash the potato!

Form the banana, form form the banana (bring one arm up over head in a banana shape)
Form the banana, form form the banana (bring other arm up over head in a banana shape)
Peel the banana, peel peel the banana (bring one arm down)
Peel the banana, peel peel the banana (bring other arm down)
Go bananas, go go bananas! (Go crazy!)
Go bananas, go go bananas!

Craft: Marshmallow Painting!
This craft is super easy to prep. I just purchased some regular-sized marshmallows, some bamboo forks (you could also use pretzel sticks or twigs), tempera paint, and card stock. I put some paint into bowls and added 3 or 4 marshmallows on forks to each and let the kids go wild with painting. (Caution: This one can get a bit messy!)

Image Source
This snack is super easy and super yummy. I just set out bowls with Golden Grahams cereal, mini marshmallows, and mini chocolate chips and let the kids scoop a small bit of each into a sandwich baggie. I also provide apple juice for a beverage. Then they gather back on the blankets to hear 1 or 2 final stories while they enjoy their treat.

Book: Farmyard Beat by Lindsay Craig - True to its name, this short and sweet readaloud has a great

Book: The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson - I first discovered this delightful book when I was searching for books to go along with my ice cream storytime theme. It was still a hit tonight with the kids chiming in occasionally with "The cow loves cookies!".

For more ideas, check out my Campfire Storytime Pinterest board!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Storytime - Ice Cream

The Ice Cream King by Steve Metzger - This is a short, fun book about a boy named Teddy who visits the ice cream shop with his family. He is so amazed by the shop, that he makes believe that he is transported to an ice cream kingdom where he can have all of the flavors for himself. This is a good one to share in storytime as it's fairly short, has a good cadence, and teaches kids a lesson about sharing.

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson - I couldn't really find another ice cream book that I loved, so I made this book fit with the theme. I told the kids that ice cream was made from milk and had them tell me where milk comes from ("Cows!" they cried.). This is a book with a great rhythm about what different animals eat. I made it interactive by having the kids say "The cow loves cookies!" with me throughout the book.


We All Want an Ice Cream Cone (w/ flannel)

(Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)
Flannel made by a former employee

We all want an ice cream cone
Ice cream cone, ice cream cone
We all want an ice cream cone
We'll eat it every day!

Then I pointed to the different flavors and asked the kids to guess which kind it was

(Flavor) is our favorite kind
Favorite kind, favorite kind
(Flavor) is our favorite kind
We'll eat it every day!

Milkshake Song from the CD Songs for Wiggleworms

I passed out shaky eggs and we sang and shook along to this short, fun tune!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pizza and Pages: Bird by Angela Johnson

Type of Book: Realistic

Plot Summary:

Thirteen year-old Bird runs away from Ohio to Alabama to chase after her stepfather, Cecil and bring him back home. There, Bird meets Ethan, who lives in the house next to the barn where she is hiding. She also encounters a boy named Jay who is dealing with the death of his brother, Derek. Their lives intertwine in interesting and quietly surprising ways.

Average Teen Rating: 7.4
My realistic fiction fans rated this one high, but my sci-fi fans still gave it good marks!

Discussion Questions:

This Pizza and Pages meeting was unique because we were fortunate enough to get Angela Johnson live and in-person to answer questions! First of all, can I just be a fangirl and gush for a minute about her? I highly recommend trying to get Ms. Johnson to your school or library. She is lovely. She put the teens at ease with her demeanor and sense of humor and was always interested in hearing their thoughts and opinions.

So needless to say we didn't follow our typical discussion questions format, but I'll post the ones I had prepared anyway.

1. What do you think of the cover?
2. Why did Bird run away from home? Would you ever do the same thing?
3. What would you do and how would you feel if you were in Bird's situation?
4. On page 18, Ethan says that the world whispers when his Mama is near. He says the same thing about Bird. What do you think he means?
5. What did you think about the chapters alternating between Bird, Ethan, and Jay's perspectives? Do you think it added to the story? Did it confuse or bother you?
6. What do you think about Googy taking the fall for stealing Mrs. Pritchard's truck?
7. What kind of a person do you think Cecil is? Good? Bad? Neither? What makes you think so?
8. Ethan talks about how having Derek's heart makes him want to do and eat things he never wanted before, like peanut butter. Do you think this is scientifically possible?
9. Why do you think Bird chose to hide rather than confront Cecil? What was it that made her decide it was time to go back home?
10. Which character did you connect to the most?