Step Into Storytime, December 10

Stack of books for storytime, spines out

Storytime this morning was incident-free! We had about twelve kids in the target age range to start, with a few more joining throughout, and some younger siblings, for maybe 17 kids altogether.

  • Hello friends song with ASL
  • Name song (“___ is here today, ___ is here today, let’s all clap our hands, ___ is here today”)
  • Want to Play Trucks? by Ann Stott, illustrated by Bob Graham: A librarian friend of mine read this in her storytime for 3- to 5-year-olds, and I thought it could work as a lead-off book for 2- and 3-year olds too – and it did! It’s the perfect example of “find a way to play together”; the kids resolve their differences simply and easily, without much fuss, and it ends with ice cream, which everyone can agree on.
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to warm up for…
  • …yoga cube! (3 poses)
  • My Heart Is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall, with flannel board animals. I asked the kids to raise their hands (or wave, or point) when one of the animals in the book matched one of the ones on the flannel board (I have the crab, clam, penguin, owl, and frog).
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex: This one is always fun to read aloud because of the sneezes. This time I stretched the “Achoooo” all the way into the “Oops” (there are two wordless pages in between).
  • Yoga cube (three poses)Blue, yellow, red, and green felt elephants on felt board
  • A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes, with flannel elephants. I had five volunteers to put the elephants on the board (and one to take them down). We also did some marching, parading, stretching, and a related activity later.
  • Song cube: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (ending with “If you’re happy and you know it, sit back down…”)
  • Where, Bear? by Sophy Henn: I encouraged them to say the repeated line “Where, Bear?” along with me.
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • The Steves by Morag Hood: This one is so funny.
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • Poems by Shel Silverstein (“Hug-O-War,” “Early Bird,” and “Pancake?”): These didn’t seem to go over as well as I remember from the last time I did them, but at least they’re short.
  • Back to elephants! I passed out die-cut paper elephants in red, yellow, green, and blue, and sang “If you’re holding [color] today, [color] today, [color] today, if you’re holding [color] today, jump up and shout hooray!” The kids seemed into the song but not the jumping up; could be that if we repeated it for a few weeks, they’d become more familiar with it and more enthusiastic. The paper elephants aren’t even necessary, as we sit on colored mats, and I made sure we only had red, yellow, green, and blue ones today. I gave the kids the choice to keep their paper elephants or return them, and most of the kids returned them; one tried to stick hers to the flannel board.
  • Goodbye friends song with ASL
  • Asked them to come put mats away in piles according to color. Not totally successful, but they did all bring their mats up front, which is something!

Kirkus has been doing its “best of 2018” lists; here is the list for picture books. Not all of these are right for storytime, or right for two- or three-year-olds, but plenty are. Have a look – and, if you’re like me, you’ll feel the need to place about a dozen requests to the library. Happy reading!

Advertisements

Step Into Storytime, November 30 and December 3

IMG_20181130_103047

11/30/18: I covered an extra storytime this week, for the same age group (2-3 years) and some of the same kids. Because I wasn’t sure who would show up, I chose some of my favorite books that have been successful at storytime before, as well as a craft that has been popular in the past (and that is quick and easy to prepare, especially if you happen to have an extra-large “squeeze punch,” which is a giant hole punch that cuts out circles; ours is made by Fiskars).

  • Welcome, introduction, announcements, putting up early literacy tipsIMG_20181130_093841
  • Hello Friends song with ASL
  • Name song (“____ is here today”)
  • The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
  • Song cube: “Zoom zoom zoom, we’re going to the moon”
  • Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zacahriah Ohora (I meant to hand out scarves before this book, but forgot until a few pages in, so I paused and handed them out in the middle, so the kids could wave them on the word “wrecks”)
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • There’s A Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
  • Song cube: “I’m a Little Teapot”
  • Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood (foreshadowing: asked the kids what shape the peas were)
  • Song cube: “Itsy-bitsy Spider”
  • Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier (“We’ll be doing something with lots of dots later…”) When we looked around the room for dots, one observant kid noticed the round magnets holding up the early literacy tips! One grandpa also had dots on his socks.
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats, set up craft (gluing colored paper dots to butcher paper)

IMG_20181130_103122

 

12/3/18: Monday the weather was beautiful (sunny, spring-like, felt like 50 degrees!) and we had a HUGE group of about 20 kids plus all their grown-ups. There is some overlap between the two groups – plenty of kids come to the Monday and Friday storytimes – so I only repeated one book, There’s A Bear on My Chair. Again we skipped the name song as there were at least twelve kids at the beginning of storytime, and more showed up throughout.

  • Welcome and announcements
  • Hello song with ASL
  • Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • A Greyhound, A Groundhog by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Cub’s Big World by Sarah L. Thomson, illustrated by Joe Cepeda: I wasn’t sure how this one would go over as it is a fair amount of text and not a lot of humor, but it went fairly well.
  • “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer – always a favorite
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle”
  • There’s A Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes: I cut out five elephants so we could put them up on the whiteboard with magnets on the counting page, and the kids helped tell me which color elephant came next. Then we marched in place, then marched “round” in a “parade.” There is so much to do with this book! I’m working on felt elephants so kids can put them on the flannel board.
  • Meant to read three Shel Silverstein poems, but forgot
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats, put on music (“The Wheels on the Bus” was specifically requested”) and dance with bubbles!

Colored paper elephants

Toddlers dancing to music with bubbles closely resemble a mosh pit, so it was a small miracle that when one of the littler kids vomited, no one was hit or splattered – the kid found the only clear patch of floor and aimed there. Hurrah! (If you ever want to clear out a storytime room rapidly, this is a surefire way.) The kid had good timing, too, waiting until the very end of the storytime/dance party. Well done, kiddo, and feel better.

So that was an exciting end to the program, but even throughout, it was pretty boisterous. I used as many calming and quieting techniques as I could think of, from singing “Twinkle Twinkle” to doing resting pose from the yoga cube, to anything we could all do together, like stomping our feet during Grumpy Pants; then it’s not exactly quiet, but everyone is making the same kind of noise, so it’s less chaotic. What are your favorite techniques to settle a big group?

Picture books face-out on a chair
Nanette’s Baguette, A Greyhound A Groundhog, Cub’s Big World, Grumpy Pants, There’s A Bear On My Chair, A Parade of Elephants

 

Step Into Storytime, November 26

Post-Thanksgiving, we had a big group again, with more than ten kids (plus baby siblings) at the beginning of our Step Into Storytime program for 2- and 3-year-olds. Given these numbers, we skipped the name song that we often sing after the hello song if there are fewer than ten kids.

I started off with a long-ish book, Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins, because it’s one of my favorites and because we did have snow recently (and our craft was to do with snowflakes). It went okay, but may be better for a preschool group. The favorites today were (I think) Oh No, George! and Monkey and Me.

Picture books piled up for storytime

  • Hello song with ASL
  • Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle”
  • Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • People Don’t Bite People by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Molly Idle
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Matilda’s Cat by Emily Gravett
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Still Stuck by Shinsuke Yoshitake
  • Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Snowflake craft: White butcher paper taped to the floor, die-cut snowflakes in light blue and dark blue, glue sticks, blue/purple/white/silver crayons, blue and gray markers. Nine kids stayed for the craft and a few stayed for a long time!

I had thought about reading Cub’s Big World after Toys Meet Snow, but I think I’ll save that for next week’s lead-off book, especially if we have snow between now and then. They All Saw A Cat and A Greyhound, A Groundhog are on deck too. Often the most successful books are the ones with some humor in them (like The Wonky Donkey and Grumpy Pants from last week). Do you have any favorite funny books for this age group? Please share!

Step Into Storytime, November 19

It was a cold rainy Monday the week of Thanksgiving, so attendance was a little sparse, but we had five kids in our target age range, plus two baby siblings, and we had a great time! I introduced my new creation this week: a yoga cube, made from the illustrations in the endpapers of Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo. I showed the book but didn’t read it, explaining that it’s a little long for two-year-olds. We tried out the yoga cube and it went really well – I brought it out three times during storytime and we did about three poses each time.

Song cube, yoga cube, Carrot and Pea

Storytime books on chair, with donkey puppet and coloring sheets

I also lucked out and found a big donkey puppet in the closet, so I used that to accompany my lead-off book, The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith. Hee haw!

  • Hello song with ASL
  • Name song (including the grown-ups, as we only had six total bodies in the room at the beginning)
  • The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith, with puppet. Definitely made at least one parent giggle.
  • Introduced the yoga cube and did three poses together
  • Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer: this one is a hit every time. It is just the right length for a group of 2-3-year-olds, and just the right concept too – sometimes you can be grumpy for no reason and just need a bath to cheer you up. (A nice cold bath, in Penguin’s case.)
  • Song cube: “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands”
  • Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood: Another perfect book for this group, and a nice friendship story that emphasizes how difference can be good.
  • Yoga cube
  • I Feel Teal by Lauren Rille: I love this book, and it seemed to go over okay, but it may be that this age group doesn’t quite get linking colors and moods, they are still too literal (“I’m wearing green!”)
  • Song cube: ABC songMy Heart Is Like A Zoo flannelboard
  • 88 Instruments by Chris Barton: I hadn’t planned to include this one, it was one of my backup books, but the kids in I Feel Teal play musical instruments on one page of that story so my storytime kids got excited about that too. I pulled the jingly things out of the closet and we made some noise! The jinglers aren’t especially loud, which is good, because there aren’t good prompts built into the book to tell you when to make noise (you could jingle at every page turn, though).
  • Song cube: “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”
  • My Heart Is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall, with flannel board. I pointed to the flannel animals before starting the book and asked the kids to point or raise their hands when one of our flannel friends showed up in the book. It worked – with help from grown-ups.
  • Yoga cubepangolin coloring sheet
  • Roly Poly Pangolin by Anna Dewdney: This is a cute story about an unusual animal overcoming his shyness and making friends, plus it comes with a coloring sheet, so that’s what we did for our activity.
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats, pass out coloring sheets, set out bowls of crayons

And that’s it for this week. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Step Into Storytime, November 5

It was a rather dreary 50-degree morning and storytime was packed! There were at least 15 kids in the 2-3-year range, plus several younger siblings, including babies. We skipped the name song, but along with announcements, I pointed out the five early literacy practices that I always put up on the board – Read, Talk, Sing, Play, Write – and reminded caregivers and parents that doing those five things every day build the skills that will help kids learn to read.

IMG_20181105_094505
Song cube atop today’s stack of books
  • Hello song with ASL
  • Sam and Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen: This went over okay, but I think it’s a better one-on-one book, or maybe a better read-aloud for the preschool group. The illustrations are a bit subtle from a distance.
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle” – We had a lot of littler ones this time, and grown-ups were great about chiming in and singing.IMG_20181105_102722
  • Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough: This was a bit better, and I had a prop, thanks to a toddler who dragged in one of our larger stuffed bears.
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” – Very good! Every kid knew the song and did the motions as best they could.
  • Handed out scarves for Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow, which has a hide-and-seek element. Again, this one might have been better for a slightly older group; it’s very good one-on-one, as the elephant is usually pretty obvious and the kids have fun pointing it out in each picture. Collected scarves.
  • Song cube: “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon” – at least one kid was super excited about this song. I do it twice, in case it’s unfamiliar to anyone and they miss the countdown/blastoff bit at the end the first time through.
  • Thank You Bear by Greg Foley: Simple, sweet, and just right for this group today. Bear finds a box that he wants to give to his friend Mouse, which makes it a great segue into…
  • Not A Box by Antoinette Portis: Also just right for this group! Someone checked it out after storytime. (I always put all the books I read to the side so people can check them out afterward.)
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • One Pup’s Up by Marsha Wilson Chall and Henry Cole
  • Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood: This one is short and lends itself to being read with plenty of expression; it was pretty well received and a good one to end on.
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats, put on music, dance in bubbles!
IMG_20181105_102718
Sam and Dave, Where’s My Teddy?, Have You Seen Elephant?, Thank You Bear, Not A Box, One Pup’s Up, Wow! Said the Owl

Next week we’re closed on Monday for Veterans’ Day, and I’m hoping that by the week after that I’ll have my yoga cube ready to go so we can do some yoga poses in storytime. I also want to make sure I have a more diverse batch of books next time; I try to keep a 50/50 gender balance but today’s books were more by male authors.

 

 

Step Into Storytime, October 29

Last week I was at the NELA annual conference and missed storytime, so I was happy to be back to it this morning, and we had a full house even on a very rainy day!

I’ve had Mem Fox’s Where Is The Green Sheep? as an alternate for a few weeks now, and this morning I quickly made a few flannel sheep to go with it. I also found a big stuffed sheep in one of our storage closets, and that generated a lot of excitement right away, so even before we sang the hello song I let any kid who wanted to come up and pet the sheep.

Book spines
Hello Hello, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, A Parade of Elephants, Wow! Said the Owl, Monkey and Me, One Little Blueberry (not pictured: Where is the Green Sheep?)

Stuffed sheep and Where is the Green Sheep? book

Flannel sheep
Felt sheep for the flannel board. I just put the pink, yellow, and blue ones out first, and stuck the green one on at the end of the book.

After our welcome announcements (keep the door clear, feel free to come and go as needed), we sang our hello song with ASL. Then we sang the name song; there were about ten kids at the beginning of our storytime (plus a brand-new baby, sibling to one of the kids), and a few went out but more came in throughout.

  • Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel: I cannot overstate what a great first book this is. The text is so minimal, the pictures so bright and interesting, and so many opportunities for interactivity (e.g. waving arms like an octopus for “Hello bend”)
  • Song cube: “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: I used the flannel board for this one, and had plenty of volunteers to remove the fruit as the caterpillar ate it. It was surprisingly orderly.
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes: Also such a great book for this age, with simple text but lots of opportunities for counting and movement; in the middle of the book we marched around in a circle (well, a circle-ish shape). Tie-in craft at the end!
  • Song cube: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
  • Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek: I used the flannel board again, with four sheep I’d whipped up this morning before storytime started.
  • One Little Blueberry by Tammi Salzano, illustrated by Kat Whelan: I hadn’t set out to do a counting-theme storytime, but lots of today’s books were counting books. Another simple book with a surprise at the end.
  • Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett: This one has been a hit every time. I invite kids to stand up if they want to so they can do the animal imitations (waddle like a penguin, hop like a kangaroo), and when the girl and her monkey fall asleep at the end of the story, that quiets everyone back down again. Perfect.
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Cleaned up sitting mats
  • Taped purple butcher paper to the floor and put out glue sticks and paper elephants (also made this morning – thank you, die-cut machine!). I just let them glue the elephants down wherever they wanted on the paper, but with an older group, we could have made patterns with the colors, or drawn a line and had the elephants “march” along a parade route.
Purple paper with multicolored elephants
Our activity was gluing colored paper elephants onto a big piece of paper taped to the floor.

NELA 2018: The Library is Your Space (Part 2)

See Monday’s recap of NELA 2018 here.

Tuesday, 9am: ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo’s “Big Ideas” Talk: “Libraries = Strong Communities”

ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo’s speech put libraries at the center of their communities, and gave examples of the many different ways libraries serve their communities, from the usual (“When it comes to connecting people to information, librarians do it better than anyone…We promote reading, lifelong learning skills, equal access to information for ALL”) to the unusual (one library has partnered with a hospital so that every time a baby is born there, the mother can push a button and a gong rings in the library to announce the birth).

Garcia-Febo showed a slide of the text of Article 19 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” She said, “Access to information is at the core of what librarians do” – and access to information leads to education, citizen engagement, and empowerment….Libraries play a critical role in leveling the playing field.”

She concluded, “We are all creating the library of the future every day. We need to continue working with community members and local organizations….Libraries are the cornerstones of democracy….Information is a human right.”

Additional resources with links, and tweets below:

ala1ala-because

 

Tuesday, 11am: Free Speech & Libraries, Edward Fitzpatrick

Much of the content of Ed Fitzpatrick’s talk can be found in his October 2017 Providence Journal article, “Nation needs First Amendment refresher course.” The roomful of librarians (unsurprisingly) did much better than the national average at identifying the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment, and after the talk there was some articulate pushback on the pithy idea that “The best answer to hate speech is great speech.”

A particular dilemma faced in libraries centers around our public meeting rooms. If they are open to all, does that mean we must allow hate groups such as the KKK to use them? A July 2018 feature in School Library Journal, updated with comments by Jamie LaRue and a sidebar by Martin Gardnar, “Free Speech Debate Erupts with ALA’s Inclusion of Hate Groups in Revision of Bill of Rights Interpretation,” summarizes the issue neatly. In short, the ALA’s answer is yes. (So is Ed Fitzpatrick’s: ““When you’re a public library, you’re committed to that public experiment…It doesn’t mean the library is supporting or welcoming these groups or advocating for them.”) But there are other things libraries can do to show that we don’t agree with hate speech or hate groups. However, no matter how inclusive our collections, how welcoming our displays, or how diverse our events, patrons who are the target of such hate groups may well feel threatened and unsafe in the library.

Fitzpatrick cited two books repeatedly, both by Anthony Lewis: Gideon’s Trumpet (1964) and Freedom for the Thought We Hate (2007). Even as he defended free speech, including hate speech, he admitted, “Hate speech does exact a toll. We all pay a price, some more than others….Such freedom carries a real cost.” Fitzpatrick, a white man, may not bear as much of that cost as others in our society.

freespeech1freespeech2freespeech3

Tuesday lunch: Gregory Maguire

The author of Wicked (the book the Broadway show was based on) and many, many other books for children, teens, and adults spoke during Tuesday’s lunch, and he was an amusing and engaging speaker. I hadn’t known much about his childhood, or all the picture books he wrote, and I may dip into one of his more recent novels (After Alice) – it’s been a long time since I read Wicked or tried (but didn’t finish) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Here are some tweets from the talk:

Screenshot of tweets from Gregory Maguire talk

Tuesday, 2:30pm: Ignite!

The “Ignite!” sessions are quick, five-minute presentations on various topics:

“Time Travel Toolkit: Historical Maker Activities for Modern Kids,” Elise Petrarca, Youth Services Librarian, Cranston PL: Attendance at kids’ technology programs (like 3D printing and coding) was dropping off, so Petrarca used her background in history to come up with a new series of programs, branded “Time Travel Toolkit,” featuring stories and crafts related to a particular time period. Open to kids in grades 3-8, the goals of the program were to provide a unique, hands-on experience around an era of history, and to engage kids so they have fun and learn a little bit. It was a success, with the older kids helping the younger ones. The most popular activities were bread baking and butter churning (nor surprising, if they got to eat their creations…).

Sue Sullivan talked about ArtWeek (#ArtWeekMA); many ArtWeek events take place in collaboration with Massachusetts libraries.

“Collapse & Rebirth: Librarians as Architects of a New Humanity,” Madeleine Charney, UMass Amherst: Charney talked about hosting discussions on climate change, using the World Cafe dialogue model. She also recommended the book Emergent Strategy: shaping change, shaping worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown.

screenshot of Johnson & Wales library chat options (Ask a Librarian and Ask a Student)
Johnson & Wales University library chat options

Four presenters from Johnson & Wales University presented “Who’s Got Your Back? Empowering Student Chat Ambassadors”: J&W librarians talked about training student employees to answer chat questions, and the results of their training.

“Touchscreen Digital Displays to Showcase Local History at the Watertown Free Public Library,” Brita Zitin: Zitin spoke about how they had made local history more accessible to library users in Watertown by placing touchscreens throughout the building. Using the software Intuiface, they made an interactive historical map, partnered with their local history society to make biographies of local historical figures, and – always popular – made features from high school yearbooks (such as guessing the decade from the hairstyle).

“From Reference Desk to Genius Bar, Public Libraries of Brookline” Callan Bignoli: Bignoli spoke about rethinking how library staff offers tech help at the (very busy) Brookline Public Library. In addition to one-on-one tech appointments, patrons can now come during drop-in tech help sessions, “Lunch and learn” sessions, and use LibChat reference. Bignoli’s advice if you’re rethinking how you offer tech help at your library:

  • Make sure staff are prepared – not for everything, but for many things.
  • Think about who’s coming in (and when). What are they asking you for help with?
  • Meet people where they are.
  • Try to get them what they came for. Does the format fit the person/topic? (Class, drop-in, 1-on-1)

See: Phil Agre, “How to help someone use a computer” (1996)

Finally, Anna Mickelson from the Springfield City Library and Alene Moroni from the Forbes Library in Northampton presented “Weed This, Not That.” (Aside: I just noticed that the Springfield City Library’s tag line is “All Yours, Just Ask,” which is brilliant.) Their rapid-fire presentation included two case studies with before-and-after pictures (Before: crammed shelves. After: shelves with plenty of space for face-out titles, and no books too high to reach or so low they’re on the ground). When there’s “too much stuff” on the shelf, “people can’t find what they need. Find a reason to keep something not a reason to get rid of it.” Weed in accordance with library mission, space, etc. Different methods include item-by-item, “dusty” lists (low/no circulation in last __ years), and at the shelf (e.g. pulling books that have obvious problems like torn covers, water damage, or appallingly out-of-date information). Use professional discretion; you can do things like keeping series while getting rid of years-old “incandescent debuts,” and keep the inclusive, diverse books (put them on display!) and “get rid of the old white guys.”

Are you excited to weed, but need some talking points to convince others in your library? Weeding makes room for new items, seating areas, welcoming spaces, display opportunities, and it increases circulation. After all, “Do you still have every pair of shoes you’ve ever bought?”

All in all, a fantastic conference experience. Thank you to all the presenters, NELA and RILA, and the staff of the Crown Plaza in Warwick – professional, courteous, and unflustered in the face of fire alarms.