Family Story Time – July 10, 2015

It’s so good to be back!! After a month+ long break, story times are back for a six-week summer session. It felt so good to be back in the programming room with all my little ones!

I’m trying to venture out of my comfort zone ever-so-slightly, so today I brought out some felts – something I never do! Here’s what we did and how it went:

Hello Song: Hello, Friends!

Book 1: Bark, George! / Jules Feiffer

bark george

Songs:

  • I wake up my hands with a shake, shake, shake
  • When cows wake up in the morning
  • Open/shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Pete the Cat – The Wheels on the Bus / James Dean

wheels

Action songs:

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom / Far, far, far
  • Twinkle twinkle
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • The elevator song

Soothing song:  Orca whale

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

What a fabulous story time! We had an excellent adult/child ratio (no preschools/day cares), and the adults were all really involved and active, which was great. There was a mix of regulars and new patrons, and a lot of families who had been counting down the days until story time started up again!

For my first foray into felts, I combined pieces from “Dear Zoo” and “I went walking” to make a custom “When cows wake up in the morning”. Combining the stories meant I got old standards like “cow” and “horse” as well as fun additions like “elephant”, “snake” and “monkey”! It was a lot of fun, and I cut it down a bit because of time, but I think I could’ve easily gone through all the animals in my bag. It would also be fun to use this customized kit for “Old MacDonald had a farm”, to make a very unique set of farm animals!

All in all a really great way to kick off summer story times!

Welcome to Kindergarten – May 5, 2015

Another day, another school visit! ‘Tis the season, after all.

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It was a lovely day for a short walk down to a local school annex. Once again the faithful folding trolley was put to good use, filled with books and pamphlets (and a water bottle – always bring a full water bottle to school visits!!).

School annexes in my city serve grades K-3 (rather than K-7), and are lovely little neighborhood schools.

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I was invited to share a mini story time with the incoming kindergarteners and their families, but only had about 15 minutes in which to do so. I was originally scheduled for 20 minutes, but as usual, preschoolers don’t quite grasp the importance of sticking to schedules! 🙂

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Given this condensed time frame, it was time to bring out the heavy hitters!

The group had already sat through several speakers by the time I took to the stage, so the kids were getting pretty squirrely. I busted out one of my all-time, never-lets-me-down favourites, Bark, George.

bark george

As usual, it brought the house down. Love, love, love this book!!!! You just can’t go wrong with animal noises. Simple, simple text with a hilarious ending. Love.

I also used “The Elevator Song” and “Here we go a marching”, which is a nice way to introduce a basic ASL sign (for stop). The kids enjoyed the Elevator Song so much that the school’s kindergarten teacher emailed me afterwards to get the words – here are two of my colleagues singing it!

I’m finished with Welcome to Kindergarten visits for this season, so now it’s on to Summer Reading Club promotional visits and summer community events. I’ve been so busy I can hardly keep up with blogging all the events I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of – life is so good!

Preschool Group Visit – March 26, 2015

Oh. My. Goodness.

All respect to preschool teachers – you guys are unsung heroes in our communities!

A local preschool group came to visit today, and this is pretty much how I felt afterwards:

By Umberto Salvagnin (originally posted to Flickr as Sleeping) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I love preschoolers – they are so enthusiastic and curious and energetic, and they can handle more complex stories and activities than my usual demographic of toddlers and babies. Preschoolers will ask questions, and let you know clearly and often volubly if they approve or disapprove of your story time selections.

But the very attributes that make preschoolers so much fun to work with can also make them a bit of a handful, especially in large numbers! Preschool or daycare visits can also be markedly different from in-house story times because of the change in child:adult ratio. In my regular story times, the attendance ratio is typically one child for every adult, while a group visit can have around 7 children for every adult. This can sometimes make wrangling the group feel a bit like herding cats. Adorable, talkative cats who give you big hugs at the end of the program, but still, cats.

"Street cats (1)" by Rodrigo Basaure from Santiago, Chile - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Street_cats_(1).jpg#/media/File:Street_cats_(1).jpg

Here’s what we ended up doing – it’s not really what I’d planned, but it’s what ended up working for this frisky group.

Book 1: Bark, George! / Jules Feiffer

bark george

Songs:

  • I wake up my hands
  • The itsy bitsy spider

Book 2: Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes / Eric Litwin

pete

Action Songs:

  • Head and Shoulders
  • Tick tock tick tock
  • The elevator song

Book 3: The Wheels on the Bus / Jane Cabrera

wheels

Action Songs:

  • Zoom zoom
  • If you’re happy and you know it

If You’re Happy and You Know It is a great transition/instruction song. I used the tune to sing “If you’re happy and you know it wave goodbye”, “If you’re happy and you know it find your partner” and “If you’re happy and you know it line up now” – it was a perfect transition into the next portion of their visit, which was a book exchange.

Preschoolers really aren’t my typically demographic, but they’re a lot of fun! If anyone has any suggestions for great books or song to use with preschoolers, please please share!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a bit of a lie down after all that cat wrangling…. 🙂

Family Story Time – February 26, 2015

While I am still not fully recovered enough to tackle my own story times yet (heart broken), I was able to cover a smaller story time at a neighboring branch while their librarian visited a school.

The branch is quite small, but very sweet, and I enjoyed the experience a lot. It was so nice to be able to do a story time at all, and this was a perfect was to get my feet wet again. The group was very small, only about 24 people, which allowed for an intimate experience that didn’t strain my weakened lungs.

Here’s what we did for this gentle family story time.

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Bark, George!

bark george

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Monkey and Me

monkey

Action Songs

  • Zoom zoom
  • Head and shoulders
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

It made my heart so happy to be doing another story time, after missing over a month of my own story times (six in total, I think, which is just mind-bogglingly upsetting). Still, I am progressing, ever so slowly, and I am hoping (or trying to hope…) that I’ll be able to do my story times again soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me, I’d really appreciate the good vibes!!

Family Story Time – November 1, 2014

Another day, another family story time. This morning I led a family story time in a new-to-me branch that has only recently started offering Saturday morning story times. Because the program is new, and is only offered every other week, we weren’t expecting a big group – which is just as well, as the branch meeting room was unavailable and I set up shop in the children’s area.

The group started out pretty small – only a handful of very young children and their caregivers seated in a semi-circle on the floor. As the program wore on, children were drawn from around the library by my enthusiastic (read : loud) singing, and our numbers soon grew.

Here’s what we did! I don’t typically do three books at a family story time, but this was a small, quiet group and the books were short and interactive, so it worked out really well. The small space wasn’t conducive to too much jumping around, but we did manage to fit in a few jumping songs (mostly because I love doing them so much!). No one in the group has done the elevator song before, so we sang that one a couple of times – it was an all-ages hit, so I think they’ll be requesting it in the future!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Monkey and Me / Emily Gravett

monkey

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • The itsy bitsy spider

Book 2: Little Owl Lost / Chris Haughton

owl

Hand Rhymes

  • Roly poly
  • Open shut them

Book 3: Bark, George / Jules Feiffer

bark george

Action Songs

  • Zoom Zoom
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

Oh, Bark, George. You have served me so well, for so long, and without fail. Apparently my animal impressions need a bit of work, though. My “oink, oink” apparently sounded like a cow.

The most hilarious part of the experience was the tween who walked up behind me while I was reading a story, tapped me on the shoulder, and said “could you be a bit quieter?”. Once the initial shock wore off, my response was something along the lines of a hissed-through-a-smile “no, I cannot. But you are free to move to a quieter part of the library.” Oh tweens….