Flannel Friday: Dog’s Colorful Day

Last week I wrote about how I plan a storytime session.  This week, I want to show in more detail how I retold the book Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.

The first way was through a felt story. We already had the dog and the bathtub in my library’s felt story collection, but I wanted to make it a more complete retelling.  If you’ve never made the dog before, here is a great printable pattern.  Now ya’ll know I’m not the craftiest of children’s librarians.  When charged with making my own felt story, I opt for the super simple.  This one was super easy to make, I promise! I free-handed all of these pieces. They aren’t perfect, but kids don’t care and a little imagination never hurt anyone.  I made new spots to match the colours of the felt pieces.  I was inspired a lot by this version I found on Etsy.

dogs colorful day 2dogs colorful day

The items are:  a chocolate bar, grass, orange juice, a beach ball and a puddle, a marker, a bee, a can of paint, a jar of jam, and an ice cream cone. I’m particularly proud of the bee.

When I did this felt story in storytime I used this AMAZING script to invite the children to participate by name.  First I passed out the spots to the kids who volunteered.  Amazingly, there were no tears, no complaints from anyone who didn’t get a spot.  As I told the story, each child would come up and place the spot on Dog and we’d all clap for them.  It took longer than the usual felt story, but it was so wonderful.  The kids were quite pleased with themselves, even the toddlers.  Not only did it celebrate turn taking, it also got the kids involved in the storytelling.  The script has some great ideas for adapting this story to smaller or larger groups too.

The second way we retold the story was through the use of a puppet.  I found a big, shaggy, mostly white dog puppet.  Then I cut out and stuck on velcro stickers.  To the other half of the velcro sticker I attached coloured pieces of felt.


During storytime, I passed out the velcro felt pieces before starting the story with the kids.  This time, I wanted to adapt it even further so I had the kids tell me what dog might have stepped on or rolled in or walked underneath in order to get each colour.  Some of them remembered the items from the original story, but others came up with things like green apples, blueberries, leaves, and the sun.  We also waited until the very end of the story to count all of dog’s spots since it was hard to see them all at the same time.  For his bath, I decorated a shipping tote with some bubbles.

dog in bath

I loved challenging myself to tell a story in three ways over the course of three storytimes.  I highly recommend trying this out with your storytime groups.

Thanks to Shawn at Read, Rhyme and Sing for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!  Check out her blog for the full round-up this Friday, and check out the Flannel Friday website for information on how you can participate.

Planning a Storytime Session

I’ve been doing storytimes for about three years now.  In some ways I still consider myself a storytime newbie.  My process for planning is constantly changing and adapting based on articles I’ve read or ideas I see others trying. I’ve written before about how I plan a toddler storytime and how I plan a baby storytime.  Recently though I’ve started to think more intentionally about my storytimes in the context of a 9-10 week session.

We know repetition is important for learning.  And I’ve always made it a point to repeat many of the songs and rhymes we sing each week.  But I recently read an article by friend and colleague Tess Prendergast that’s published in the book Library Services from Birth to Five: Delivering the Best Start that got me thinking about repetition of stories.  Tess’s article lists repetition of stories as one way storytimes can become more inclusive to families with children with disabilities.   I knew this was something I needed to give more thought to.  Simply put, I needed to start planning.

My storytimes run about 9-10 weeks depending on the season.  It’s a mixed age group, but I mostly get toddlers and early preschoolers. For this winter session, I decided on three stories that I could adapt as both felt stories and puppet stories. They are:

  • Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
  • Jump! by Scott Fischer
  • Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won

Each story will get three weeks of sharing – once as the book, once as a felt, and once as a puppet version.  To take it a step further, I couched these stories within three larger themes.  Concepts related to the themes will be showcased in other books, songs, and flannel stories.  Here’s what my planning document looks like:

Colours and CountingJanuary 6Dog’s Colorful DayBrown Bear, Brown BearOld MacDonald
January 13Maisy’s Rainbow DreamDog’s Colorful DayLittle Bunny in a Hat
January 20Bear CountsOne Red Mitten SongDog’s Colorful Day
Rhyme TimeJanuary 27Jump!Anna MariaWhen Cows Get Up in the Morning
February 3I Know a RhinoJump!Little Bunny in a Hat
February 10Rhyming Dust BunniesThe Bus for UsJump!
Feelings and EmotionsFebruary 17Hooray for Hat!Go Away, Big Green MonsterMmm Ahh Went the Little Green Frog
February 24Hug MachineHooray for Hat!Little Bunny in a Hat
March 2Grumpy BirdThe Very Busy SpiderHooray for Hat!

In addition to the book, felt, and puppets I also do a selection of songs and rhymes.  Little Mouse usually always makes an appearance too.

I really like having this kind of overview because I can also plan out my early literacy messages a bit more based on each theme.  For example, during Colours and Counting I can talk about using spatial relationship words such as “over,” “under,” “next to,” “above” and “below.”  For my Feelings and Emotions unit, I’ll be rereading Mel’s great blog post that includes extension activities and early literacy tips.  I feel so much more organized this way!

There are so many ways to retell a story; I just happened to choose felt and puppet stories for my first go around.  In the future I hope to try draw-and-tells, stick puppets, interactive retellings (like with scarves), or even a dramatic performance.  My goal is to do write separate posts about the felt and puppet versions of each story.  That way you can see how I adapt and change the story each week, as well as get the kids involved with the retellings.

How do you plan out your storytime sessions?  Let me know in the comments!

We’ll Link to That: Winter 2016

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  This winter our column is a collection of the most current resources for digital media and libraries, but make sure to check out the entire Winter 2016 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

Is your library doing advisory or programming around apps or digital media?  Do you want to start?  Research from Common Sense Media in 2013 cites that 75% of households own digital media in some format, with 40% of families with children under age 8 owning at least one device. Here are our Top 10 resources for learning about the research on using digital media with children and for learning about ways public libraries are embracing our role as media mentors.

1. NAEYC/Fred Rogers Joint Position Statement

In 2012, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College released this paper giving their recommendation that “when used intentionally and appropriately, technology and interactive media are effective tools to support learning and development.” They also state that we must pay special attention to media use with infants and toddlers, avoiding passive play in favour of shared technology time with an adult caregiver.

2. American Academy of Pediatrics Growing Up Digital Recommendations

Though widely cited for their 2011 recommendation of no screen time for children under the age of two, the AAP recently came out with updated suggestions that make a distinction between passive and active media. They now recommend that parents engage in digital media with their children, model media behaviours, and investigate the quality of media aimed at children. A more formal policy statement to follow their 2016 national conference.

3. ALSC White Paper on Media Mentorship

This 2015 paper published by the Association for Library Service to Children summarizes the current research on the topic of using digital media with children and makes four core recommendations for all youth services staff. They recommend that every library have staff who act as media mentors, that media mentors support families in their decisions, that library schools provide training to future youth services professionals, and that current staff receive the professional development they need to take on this role. Their website includes many helpful links, including free webinars on this topic to their members.

4. Zero to Three: Screen Sense
Zero to Three is one of the leading organizations advocating for early childhood education.  In 2014 they came out with their “Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under 3 Years Old.”  In these guidelines they advise that caregivers must participate in screen time for young children and that screen time should be interactive. They also highlight the importance of extending learning beyond the screen.

5. Joan Ganz Cooney Centre: Joint Media Engagement
The Cooney Center is an independent research organization that specializes in advancing children’s learning through digital media. They came out in 2011 with a publication that advocates for joint media engagement – using digital media alongside children – which leads to more positive learning outcomes. They were one of the first groups to emphasize the positive effects of caregivers participating in screen time.

6. Little eLit

While no longer being updated Little eLit remains a vital source of information when it comes to digital media. Browse through the archived blog posts, scroll through apps which have been reviewed on Little eLit and locate lists and other trusted review sites. Finally, their home page links to some of the reports mentioned above and other important publications.

7. Anne’s Library Life

If you’re just getting started or curious how to incorporate digital elements into your storytime we love Anne’s no-nonsense eStorytime outlines. She includes descriptions of the apps she uses and lots of images. Her introductory blurb on iPad Apps and Storytime would be great to adapt and share with caregivers as well.

8. Media Smarts

This is a great place to go for Canadian standards, research and policy for digital and media literacy. They also have excellent resources for educators and guides in several different languages.

9. Books by Lisa Guernsey

Lisa Guernsey is one of the leading researchers on digital media and young children today. Her most recent book Tap, Click, Read: Growing readers in a world of screens by Guernsey and Levine (2015) is a complete look at helping children develop strong literacy skills through “the combination of parents, educators, and high-quality media.” The book which started it all Screen time: how electronic media–from baby videos to educational software–affects your young child (2012) explores her journey as a parent and journalist to dispel myths around media use and children. If you’ve ever heard of the 3 C’s, we’ve got Guernsey to thank!

10. West Vancouver’s Youth Department App Reviews

Featuring app reviews for young children, teens and kids in between this is one tumblr you’ll definitely want to follow. Each review is written by a member of the West Vancouver Memorial Library Youth Department and includes helpful tags for searching by operating system, age, price and type.

Do you have a favourite resource for using digital technology with children that we missed? We’d love to hear about it, give us a shout at jbrary@gmail.com.

2015: A Year in Review

It’s our first post of the new year!  We thought it’d be nice to take a look back at all we accomplished in 2015.  I’m of the opinion that we, as children’s library staff, could do with a little more tooting of our own horns. We’re a pretty awesome group and we should take time to celebrate it.

2015 in Review

We had a great year blogging at Jbrary.  We managed to publish a blog post every single week which I’m absurdly proud of, even if some of them were guest posts. Seriously folks, partner blogging is amazing.  Here are the posts that standout to me as highlights of 2015.

Early Literacy Messages in Action Blog Tour

How do you incorporate early literacy “sprinkles” into storytime?  It’s one of the most common and important questions we get asked.   So I wrote up my answer and hosted a blog tour featuring 13 other bloggers sharing their methods of getting those talking points into storytime.  This all developed organically out of conversations on Twitter and Facebook, and it was really cool to see so many people share their wisdom.

Canadian Libraries Spotlight

Dana and I worked really hard in 2015 to connect with children’s library staff across Canada in order to showcase the work being done to serve Canadian children and families. We featured 16 guest posts from libraries in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island.  I loved learning about the services, programs, and communities that make up our country.

Babytime Series

As more libraries introduce baby storytime, we thought it would be helpful to write a series of posts about the key elements that make up storytime for our youngest patrons.  We talked about the songs and rhymes we sing, the books we read, the play activities we incorporate, and the overall organization of a babytime.  I’m really proud of us for completing the series before the end of the year.

2016 Picture Books Preview

This post is probably one of my personal bests. As someone who works in a large library system and is disconnected from the book ordering process, I was so enthused to learn about picture books coming out this year.  The positive response from the authors and illustrators floored me, and it was one of our most-viewed posts in 2015.

Flannel Friday Contributions

We only participated in Flannel Friday three times in 2015, but I am really proud of all three!  First, I shared a mega-round up of all the different variations of Little Mouse, Little Mouse I could find on the internet. I still go back and add to it when I find new ones.  Then we participated in the Guest Post Palooza and featured Julie’s amazing STEAMY Flannel in Outer Space.  Lastly, I added a ladybug version of Little Mouse to my repertoire.

Spring Scavenger Hunt

Cutest bunnies on the interweb if you ask me! One of my colleagues helped me create this super fun, super adorable spring bunnies scavenger hunt.  If you missed it last year, definitely give it a try in a few months!  It’s one of those things people can print and do in 10 minutes which is always appreciated.

We’ll Link to That!

Dana and I continued to write our quarterly column for our province’s Young Adult and Children’s Section (YAACS).  In 2015 we wrote about new blog discoveries, innovative summer reading club ideas, STEAM resources, and collection development websites.  It’s really fun to shine the spotlight on others and this is one of the ways we do it.

2015 Favourite Storytime Books

We ended the year with a round-up of over 50 picture books published in 2015 that work well in storytime.  This post continues our end-of-the-year tradition, and it’s one of my favourite to write. I hope it stands as a resource for those of us looking to refresh our storytime collections.

What a year!  Thank you to our PLN for being awesome and joining us for this ride.