Preschool Storytime: Alligators and Crocodiles

Since I’ve been working as middle years focused librarian, I only get to do one storytime a week for kids under age 5.  Boy, how I miss it!  I’m just starting to get to know my group of preschoolers, and this storytime theme went over really well.  Alligator and Crocodile books just kept popping up on my radar so I put them to good use.  If you’re looking for even more alligator and crocodile storytime resources, be sure to check out our Pinterest board.  Here’s how my storytime went down.

1. Hello, Friends

2. I Wake Up My Hands

I wanted to give them a chance to get their wiggles out before the first book.  With preschoolers, I ask for suggestions for additional verses to challenge them a bit more than toddlers.

3.  Book #1: Open Very Carefully: A Book With Bite by Nick Bromley; illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne

open very carefullyThe kids think this book is so funny, especially when the duck draws a tutu on the crocodile.  You do need to practice this book beforehand though as a few of the sentences are missing letters and can cause some momentary pauses as you figure out the words.  But it’s a great chance to talk about letters with the kids – ask them which ones the crocodile is eating.

4.  Row, Row, Row Your Boat

We sang this a couple of times the usual way and then we did the alligator verse:

Row, row, row, your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see an alligator don’t forget to scream

5.  Walking, Walking

One of my go-to movement songs when I want the kids up and moving.

6. Song Cube

7. Book #2: The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino

The Crocodile Who Didn't Like WaterI love how the front and back inside covers have pictures of a basket of eggs with one egg that doesn’t quite match.  We spent a few minutes talking about what this might mean and I snuck in an early literacy tip for caregivers about making predictions and discussing covers before you start to read.

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Evaluating Storytime

It has been a couple weeks since I wrote Goodbye Friends, a post all about goodbyeing with style and Lindsey and I have settled into new locations and programs. As it is want to do, time has smoothed the transition and I am able to look back now with a clear eye and a less fiery heart. The result of this new found maturity? A quick look at evaluating storytime and incorporating this feedback. Because while goodbyeing sucks, getting solid feedback on your programs and knowing they’re improving is the silver lining.

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With Lindsey’s help I created a small feedback form and distributed it to families after the three regular programs I was running. I’m not going to lie, the results were definitely underwhelming, with check marks in mostly the right places and little comments about wanting more storytimes. Here are my Sample Evaluation Forms. Feel free to use and adapt as you find useful! At one program I talked about the feedback form and at the end everyone fled and I chickened out on chasing them down. There you have it, full disclosure!  But, things I learned from this process:

  • Because of varying levels of English in my community it would have been helpful to go over the feedback form before asking families to fill it out. It might also work to do “verbal version” if you have a relationship with the family and fill out a form based on the conversation that takes place. One of my personal goals is definitely to get better at gathering evidence (especially anecdotal) of library success.
  • When I waited until the last session to ask for feedback I got a mix of new families, families that needed to go or Grandpas who were filling in. Next time I will ask for feedback across a couple sessions to catch as many people as possible.

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2013 Favourite Storytime Picture Books

Last week I was on an internet mission to find a list of picture books published in 2013 that work well in storytime.   To my great joy, I stumbled upon this wonderful series of blog posts by Erin at Falling Flannelboards called “Perfect for Storytime.”  Since January 2014, Erin has been sharing her picks for new picture books that have storytime potential.  You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be placing holds on every single book she recommends.

So I took my cue from Erin and decided to compile a list of my favourite storytime books published in 2013 (okay, a few of them are from 2014 so please no death glares!)  I know this kind of list usually comes out at the beginning of the year, but I figured it couldn’t hurt coming a few months late. Here are my posts from following years too:

Did I miss a book you love? Please let me know in the comments!

My 2013 Favourite Storytime Picture Books

1. Ping and Pong are Best Friends (mostly) by Tim Hopgood

16000776This book made me laugh out loud. A funny friendship story that will especially ring true for parents dealing with sibling rivalry.

2. The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

fish and snailAnother story of about troubled friendship, but this one focuses on Snail’s ability to overcome his fears. I love the idea of traveling between books and the illustrations are dramatic and gorgeous.

3. Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier, illustrated by Suzy Lee

openOpen this book to find another and another and another!  A cute story about colours that celebrates books and the early literacy skill reading.

4. Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

dinoNew dinosaur books are always appreciated! I have the kids CHOMP and STOMP along with Dinah, making this a delightfully interactive choice.

5. Brief Thief by Michaël Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

brief theifLeon the Lizard gets more than he planned for when he uses a pair of underwear as a toilet paper substitute. This works great with the K-2 crowd who have a better understanding of a conscience.

Guerrilla Storytime: British Columbia Library Conference 2014

At the British Columbia Library Conference this week Lindsey and I hosted Canada’s second ever (Go Nova Scotia!) Guerrilla Storytime. We had an awesome and dare I say brilliant group of 40 Youth Services library folk all ready to take on the Challenge Cup.


Here is what went down…

1. Share your favourite welcome or hello song.

Hello Friends with sign language
Hello, friends. (x3)
It’s time to say hello.

Goodbye, friends (x3)
It’s time to say goodbye.

The More We Get Together with sign language
The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together the happier we’ll be.
Cause your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends
The more we get together the happier we’ll be.

The More We Read Together
The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
Cause your books are my books and my books are your books.
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.

The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
Read big books and small books, read short books and tall books
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.

Come Along and Sing With Me
Come along and sing with, sing with me, sing with me
Come along and sing with me
On this storytime morning
(clap with me, roll with me, stomp, shake…)

Hello Everybody and How Are You?
Hello everybody and how are you, how are you, how are you?
Hello everybody and how are you, how are you today?
Hello everybody and clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands
Hello everybody and clap your hands, clap your hands today.
(stomp your feet, roll your arms…)

Gilly Gilly Gilly Good Morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning, good morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning to you.
Mini mack mini mack mini mini mini mack
Mini mack mini mack mini morning
Mini mack mini mack mini mini mini mack
Mini mack mini mack mini morning.
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning, good morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning to you.

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