Pete the Cat Preschool Library Tour and Storytime

In my current position I work mainly with school-age kids, so when I get to do anything related to the 0-5 age range I get SO EXCITED.

This is my excited face

This is my excited face

Last week we had a preschool class come in for a tour and storytime focusing on how to use the library.  I had a really short time frame to plan this program, so the first thing I did was look through Dana’s library tours post to collect ideas. From there, I found Bryce Don’t Play’s Pete The Cat and His Groovy Field Trip Adventure!  I was completely sold. A huge shout out to Bryce for thinking up this amazing idea and sharing it with us all!

Here’s how I took that idea and adapted it for my group. The first half of the program is a modified storytime with a focus on how to use the library. In the second half, we toured the library using Pete the Cat as our guide.  The total program was 1 hour.  I tried to integrate my discussion of the library into the storytime itself.

1. Welcome Song: If You’re Ready for a Story


With new groups I always choose a song they will be familiar with to open the storytime. We did clap your hands, stomp your feet, jump up high, shout hooray, and sit back down.

2. Little Bunny in a Hat Rhyme

I introduced this puppet as the library bunny. When he popped out of the hat he was holding a piece of paper (which they all thought was a book!). We opened the piece of paper and it had the letter “L” on it. We brainstormed different words that start with the letter “L,” ending with library. Then I explained how we would be learning all about the library today.

3. Read Maisy Goes to the Library by Lucy Cousins

maisy

After we read this book, we talked about the different things you can do at the library. I held up things like DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs, magazines, plus some of our puzzles and puppets from the children’s area. I stressed that the library is a place to read and have fun. Having concrete materials to show the kids is really important for this age group, especially if they have never visited before.

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We’ll Link to That: Fall 2014

We are excited to finally share our column in YAACING Fall 2014! YAACING is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association and if you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

While this represents only a snapshot of the amazing work being done by Youth Services professionals, we hope you stumble across new ideas and connect to new blogs. Here we go!

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

Our Storytimer of the Season comes from slightly farther afield than the Pacific Northwest but we’d do just about anything for Abby Johnson because she does just about everything for our profession. Her recent post on the ALSC blog is a prime example of the everyday advocacy and awesomeness she is about. But she doesn’t stop there and neither should you, read up on her storytime ideas, her adventures in reading wildly and just everything else under the library sun at her blog Abby the Librarian.

Continuing on, we’ll start with awesome people making awesome things! Check out Mrs Todd’s newest storytime pals Lowly Worm and Huckle Cat both made from Richard Scarry patterns from the 1970’s. Her blog A Librarian Less Ordinary has (among so many other things) awesome craft ideas like Monster Bags! Another blog with wickedly fun crafts, especially for the school age crowd is Pop Goes the Page like these spooky shadow play puppets. And speaking of puppets Miss Mary Liberry recently posted a rallying cry for puppets as an early literacy tool including some really simple ideas for those of us less craftily inclined.

There are some new and very exciting things happening in the online world like our two new favourite blogs erinisinire by librarian Erin Davison and Hands On As We Grow by non-librarian Jamie Reimer. When it comes to quick catch-ups Beth Saxton has started to write weekly round ups on Noted, With Thanks that are perfect for staying current and Storytime Katie writes seasonal In Case You Missed It posts which are broken down into neat categories. The folks at Storytime Underground continue to rock and roll with the launch of Storytime University where you can enroll and start earning badges for professional development. And finally we love Flannel Friday and sharks in equal parts so when they held a special Shark Week themed round up and Anne used Scratch to create a video for Shark Week we could not have been more thrilled!

When it comes to advocacy we’ve got some heavy hitters in our Personal Learning Network. To start off with, Angie in response to the violence in Ferguson harnessed the power of twitter and in particular the hashtag #KidLit4Justice to curate a wishlist of books for the Ferguson Municipal Public Library District which was purchased within a day. Check out her post, the booklists and the amazing conversation taking place. This summer a very poignant conversation also took place at Storytime Underground about what it means to be an anti-racist library professional and is well worth a read. Finally, our pal Ingrid The Magpie Librarian put together a survey to gather  and document violations of the ALA Code of Conduct at ALA Conferences and events.  Read about her findings here. Continue reading

Family Dance Party!

This fall I started a monthly program called Family Dance Party. Inspired by the success of my Silly Songs Dance Party over the summer, this program is all about movement and music. Here’s my rationale behind the program:

  • Music programs promote our audio collection – both online streaming and Audio CDs – a part of our collection that is underused.
  • Dancing is a great form of physical activity and appeals to the kids who struggle with being still for long amounts of time. It’s important to offer programs that target multiple different ways of learning.
  • It’s intergenerational – little kids, big kids, aunts, uncles, grandparents – everyone is welcome!
  • And pretty much every single reason listed in this article: The Importance of Music for Children (I never thought I’d link to a Barnes and Noble article but they really hit the nail on the head).

The program lasts for one hour and is a combination of free dance, guided dancing, and musical games. I hold the program in our meeting room and clear everything out except for a table with books and CDs and some chairs in case an adult needs to take a rest. Here’s what we got up to – some of it is the same as my Silly Songs Dance Party, but I’ve added lots of new stuff after listening to over 50 children’s music CDs.

lets all dancelauriecaspar

Body Talk by Greg and Steve on Kids in Motion
This is a great song to begin with because it is slow paced and has the kids go through each of their body parts and warm them up.

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi on More Singable Songs

Let’s All Dance by Will Stroet on Let’s All Dance
If you have never listened to Will Stroet’s music, stop everything and go listen. A fellow Vancouverite, he is an award-winning bilingual musician who is so flipping awesome. I love using this song because it has simple directions and it includes English, French, and Spanish.

Dance Break: Play Simon Says with Dance Moves
Be as ridiculous as possible. For example, I say things like, “Simon says do the worm” or “Simon says do the sprinkler.” I ask for a few kid volunteers to be Simon and their dance moves are usually LOL worthy.

I’m Gonna Catch You by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
What kid doesn’t like being chased?  This can get kind of crazy with a large group, but so far it’s been a huge hit as has everything by Laurie Berkner.

I Wanna Dance by Will Stroet on Let’s All Dance
This song goes through a series of children’s names, giving them the chance to show off their dance moves. I just shout the names of the kids at my program and give them a chance to bust a move.

Jump Up! by The Imagination Movers on For Those About to Hop
A high energy, quick song with lots of jumping and turning around.

All the Fish by Caspar Babypants on I Found You
I like this song because each animal swims a different way and we pretend to be each one. We also make the bubbles pop over our heads, though I could definitely see using this song with a bubble wand or bubble gun.

IMG_0984[1]dance

Dance Break: Musical Chairs
I always have extra songs on my playlist that I use for this game. I love playing music from the 1950s and 1960s. Some of my favourites are “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Rock Around the Clock,” and “Rockin’ Robbin.”

The Freeze by Greg and Steve on Kids in Motion
There are lots of freeze-type songs out there but this is the one I like the best. A huge shout out to Angie for exposing me to Greg and Steve!

Jump Up, Turn Around by Jim Gill on Jim Gill Sings Moving Rhymes for Modern Times
At this point it’s nice to offer a more mellow song that lets you catch your breath. This tune has simple actions so all the kids have to do is follow along.

Shaker Songs:
Time for some egg shakers! After passing out them out we do these three songs:

Shake it to the East by Kathy Reid-Naiman on Reaching for the Stars
Let’s Shake by Dan Zanes on Catch That Train!
Let’s Shake by Will Stroet on My Backyard

Free Dance:
After we have sufficiently shaked, I play a series of free dance songs. People are free to take a break if they need to or grab one of the music themed books on display. I keep dancing with the kids who are still full of energy. Here are some of my go-to songs:

I Really Love to Dance by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
I Love It by Eric Litwin
and Michael Levine on Rockin’ Red
Happy by Pharrell Williams on Girl
Horns to Toes by Adam Bryant and Sandra Boynton on Rhinoceros Tap
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by The Wiggles on Hot Potatoes: The Best of the Wiggles

And that’s it! Right now the only prop I have is egg shakers, but as soon as I get scarves and rhythm sticks I will definitely be adding those into the mix.

Have you ever held a dance party at your library?  Let me know your favourite songs to play!

Don’t Be Shy: Using Puppets in Storytime!

We recently attended a Puppetry Workshop with one of our most beloved instructors from our MLIS, Allison Taylor McBryde, and what a lovely evening it was! Both Lindsey and I have been looking to dust off our puppets and use them in new and different ways and Allison’s workshop was just what we needed.  I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some of her puppet whispering ways, point out some of our favourite puppet songs, rhymes and resources, and see if anyone else has other puppety things to add.

First up if you’d like to experience the awesome that is Allison in (almost) real life check out this one hour video tutorial on Using Puppets in the Library. Some of things we took away from her workshop:

  • Puppets can be used to break down barriers between us and parents/kids, especially when working with vulnerable families. Whereas we can be viewed as a stranger, puppets are inviting and friendly.
  • Always use a story you love, a story you have heard many times and enjoy hearing again. Then find puppets to fit the story. When creating a voice for the puppet it’s not necessary to change your voice dramatically – you won’t be able to sustain and remember it in the long term. Try just going a shade softer or louder or grumpier. The puppet will draw their attention, not necessarily your voice.
  • When using an animal puppet really think about the animal – a turtle will speak slow while a wide mouthed frog will be loud and boisterous. Watch video clips of the animals on YouTube and observe the way they move.
  • Try using puppets with rhymes and poems. “Cheat” by having the puppet read the poem right from the book. You are modeling reading and making it easier on yourself.  Have a “poet puppet” that reads a poem at the beginning of every storytime or seek out poems with dialogue so the poem becomes a conversation between you and the puppet.
  • A couple unusual ways to use puppets in storytime: as cues or guides, like Sleeping Bunnies by showing them with the puppet what you’d like them to do. Or use puppets for readers’ advisory by interviewing a puppet from a story or having them share their favourite book!

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Summer Reading Club iPad Programs

I know, I know, it’s the beginning of October and I’m just now writing about one of our most popular series of Summer Reading Club programs. This summer was the first time we offered iPad programs for kids ages 8-12 years old. I was fortunate to be able to run each of these programs at least once at one of our 20 participating branches. When I was looking for app recommendations, I took advantage of Little eLit and super genius Emily Lloyd.  I also worked closely with two of my colleagues, Saara and Nicole, to select the apps for each program. I thought it’s only fair to give back to the community by sharing the apps we used and how they worked.

For each of these programs we registered 18 kids as we were limited by the physical number of iPads we own. We also provided bookmarks with the list of apps used and challenges the kids could complete. For the first 15-20 minutes we split the kids into groups and briefly modeled how to use each app. Then we let them play, while we answered questions, interacted with the kids, and encouraged them to complete the challenges.

Funny App Hourchatter

Our SRC theme was Funny Business, so we tried to find apps with a high LOL factor. All of these apps are free.

Verdict: ChatterPix Kids stole the show (see my demo below!).  Kids can create talking pictures and there were many a talking poop creations. Runner up was Sock Puppets – kids loved changing the sound of the voices and working with others to create their show. SparkleFish and Mad Libs only appealed to a small crowd, and I could have probably just gone with Mad Libs. The only added feature in SparkleFish is it lets kids record the missing word, rather than choosing or typing it in. Singing Fingers was kind of a dud – cool concept but it was a bit finicky. Many of the kids loved BeBop Kids which allows you to mix your own beat. It was just a cacophony having 18 kids in one room all playing different types of music.

Here’s me having some fun with ChatterPix!

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Celebrating International Games Day: A Games Bonanza!

Ever since I discovered Bink and Gollie I cannot get enough of the word BONANZA and I am finally working on a program which I believe deserves this title. In preparation for the upcoming International Games Day I am putting together what I hope will be a bouquet of literacy infused fun and delight! Though don’t let on to the too-school-for-cool tweens I am hoping to impress…

Cool Cat Strolling

 

First off, inspired by Lindsey’s song cube (which was inspired by Mel’s storytime cube) I thought I’d make a die to help us choose which game to play next. On each side will be an image representing each of these six games.

Book Characters 20 Questions: Sort of like a literary Guess Who, draw a name from a hat and the kids get 20 chances to narrow it down. Depending on your group the last guesser could draw the next name!

Rock, Paper, Scissors: We played this at ALA 2014 (as adults at conferences do) and it was a blast! Adults *cough* sorry, kids get up and battle each other and once they’re out kids keep cheering the winners on until the final battle. If you’ve got book savvy kids you could come up with trios of characters and establish the who-beats-who like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl, complete with actions of course!

Book Bingo: This was a program our library did as part of Summer Reading Club this year and it was wildly successful. In order to be the caller you must booktalk one book and then you can go on to call out the letter (B, I, N, G, O) and pick a book character out of the pile which of course adorn the awesome BINGO cards you made. Keep track of what’s called and use pennies or other chips, not dabbers. Trust us.

Would You Rather: It’s not what you’re thinking, it’s more of a choose your own adventure with characters and scenarios that kids know. C’mon! Again pull questions out of the hat like would you rather let the pigeon drive the bus or stay up late? Or if you could live in a graphic world would you rather live in Amulet or Bone? When you ask each question point to a different side of the room for each choice. Let the kids vote with their feet and then prepare for some hilarious discussions.

Eye Spy (on the cover of that book): Using either a powerpoint slide with several familiar (or new!) cover images or a real-deal book display you’ve put together play a quick game of eye spy. Super sly opportunity to booktalk while you’re playing!

Book Jenga: Last but definitely not least and quite possible the one I am most excited about.  We’re going to stack REAL BOOKS (I haven’t decided yet between paperbacks or clunky discarded coffee table books) like Jenga blocks! I will add challenges to each book (like the themed Jenga sets) with challenges like which book or movie character would you like to be friends with and as the kidlets successfully pull them out they have to answer/complete the challenge. For more awesome Jenga ideas check out Lupine Librarian‘s book themed jenga, Another Library Blog’s icebreaker jenga, or library themed Jenga from this amazing Library Games and Fun Activities board.

Because this program is still in the planning stage I cannot report on how it all went.  But I promise to update you all real soon on how it goes! In the meantime if you have any lit based kickass games for school agers please drop us a line below!

 

Favourite Hello Songs for Storytime

After a long summer off, I’m back in the storytime saddle! My family storytime just started up and it’s got a great mix of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. I’ve learned so many new tunes since I last wrote about my favourite storytime songs, so I wanted to put together a list of the ones I’ve been loving lately, especially at the beginning of storytime.  For even more hello and goodbye songs, check out our playlist. I’ve broken these ones into age categories, but there are no hard and fast rules about when to use them.

Do you have a favourite welcome or hello song for storytime? Let me know in the comments!

Babies

Wake Up Feet

You can wake up babies’ eyes, ears, hair, nose, etc. I also love adding the verse “Wake up Tummy” and we say “tickle, tickle, tickle” instead of wiggle. I encourage parents to use this song when their baby is waking up in the morning or from a nap.

Well Hello Everybody, Can You Touch Your Nose?

I love this song! I even sing it with toddlers if they are on the younger end. You can get creative with it too – can you pat your head, rub your tummy, touch your toes, etc.

Gilly Gilly Gilly Good Morning

It’s a bit of a tongue twister and you definitely have to teach it to caregivers over the course of the storytime session, but once they learn it it’s gold.  This song was made for an early literacy tip about phonological awareness.

Toddlers

Hello Friends with Sign Language

We do this one every week at my family storytime and it’s so exciting when the toddlers start to sign! It’s also got a matching goodbye song.  I also use it with my preschoolers.

If You’re Ready for a Story

I use this one a lot when I do outreach storytimes because everyone knows the tune already and it’s not intimidating.  I’ll also use it with a particularly rambunctious group of toddlers because it gets them up and moving. You can add lots of action verses such as jump up high, shake your hips, touch your toes, etc.

Let’s All Clap

I do this one with babies or toddlers as long as it’s a small group. We sing it once for every child, inserting his or her name into the song. The parents really like to hold up their baby or toddler when it’s their turn. A great choice for a smaller, more personalized storytime.

Preschoolers

The More Get Together and Read Together

There are two ways to freshen up this traditional welcome song. First, try singing it with sign language. Second, try adding this second verse we learned from Katie at Storytime Secrets. Preschoolers are ready for these added challenges. I also use this when I visit Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes and they enjoy it too.

When Cows Wake Up in the Morning

There are so many different tunes and lyrics to this song – this is just the one we learned first. If I want to bust out the puppets early on, I’ll sing this song and ask the kids to help me identify the sounds. Preschoolers pretty much know the basic animal sounds so I always throw in a few that make them think, like a dragon or a cricket or a porcupine. We have fun just thinking up different sounds.

School Age Kids

Bread and Butter

You can use this one with preschoolers too, but my K-2 kids love it! We talk about opposites and brainstorm some before we sing. It’s more of a rhyme than a song which oddly enough gives it a cool factor that school age kids dig.

Clap Everybody and Say Hello/Ni Hao

Again, you can use this with any age, but when I use it with K-2 students I ask them all the languages they know how to say hello in. I like doing this because it gives them a chance to teach me something, and I can model how to be a learner. We usually sing it 2-3 times depending on the languages of the group.  I also encourage different actions besides clapping, such as stomping, blinking, shaking, and other silly things like cha chaing.

Happy singing!

Young Conservationist Storytime Resources

A couple months ago now in a staff meeting a colleague shared one of those books that gives your shivers. You all know of what I speak. This time around it was A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz. In this beautifully illustrated book Rabinowitz tells the story of a boy who stutters except in the company of animals and goes on to give voice to wildlife conservation and in particular wild cats, like the jaguar he met at the Bronx Zoo many, many years ago. Oh yes, and that boy is him! This book got me thinking about all the fabulous narrative non-fiction out there, particularly the books which focus on connecting children to the planet around them, and of course incorporating all this into storytime! (Because honestly, what else do we think about!?)

A Boy and a Jaguar

So after putting the call out to our fabulous Tweeps, I got lots of lovely ideas and wanted to throw them all together to create a list of literacy resources for Young Conservationists! Because there is a range in age I’ll break them down as such, though some are great right across the board.

Toddler- Kindergarten Crowd

First off a couple of my favourite read-aloudable (shhh!) environmental books include 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh and One Child, One Planet by Bridget McGovern Llewwllyn.  Our tweeps had the following book ideas to share: Angela likes Junkyard by Mike Austin,  Heather suggested Rose’s Garden by Reynolds, Angie had a whole bunch like The Curious Garden by Brown, The Gardener by Stewart, Plant a Little Seed by Christensen, And the Good Brown Earth by Henderson and finally Brandy mentioned the lovely All the World by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon.

Now that your books are chosen how about crafts and activities? I stumbled upon the gold mine that is the Earth Day and Environmental Awareness for Kids Board by Carolyn Hart of Storytime Standouts. And then a couple storytime outlines to round us out: Earth Day Storytime by Mollie Kay, Preschool Storytime: Earth Day by LibrErin and with great music and puppet suggestions another Preschool Storytime: Earth Day by Carol Simon Levin.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My WorldOne Child, One Planet

School Agers

Because I truly think A Boy and A Jaguar is best suited for kiddies 5 and up I wanted to include some other resources for putting together a school age Young Conservationist program (or club, oh how 10 year old Dana would have swooned!) A couple other books which would be fun to read throughout a program, while throwing some songs and games in there include The Tree Lady by Hopkins, Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Roth, selections from the movement known as The One and Only Ivan or alternatively beautiful panels from Ottaviani’s graphic novel Primates.

Rabinowitz, Alan
Rabinowitz, Alan
Rabinowitz, Alan
Rabinowitz, Alan

Rabinowitz, Alan

I found one really neat school age storytime on a new-to-me blog called Librarianism Chronicles all about Garbage, Garbage, Garbage! Finally our twitter-pal Brytani came up big with some music recommendations which could also be used with a crowd of any age. She likes Jack Johnson’s 3 R’s, Raffi’s This Land is Your Land (about Canada!) and Water in the Well.

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While Earth Day is plenty far away, this gives you enough time to check out some new books and more importantly post your brilliant ideas below. Thanks to all who shared thus far, after all it’s sharing which makes our beautiful planet go around (SCIENCE!)