Friday, May 30, 2014

100th Post! Our Top Tips for Story Time Success!

Three Youth Librarians started a blog late last summer.  With trepidation we launched Library Village thinking, "Will people read it?  Will anyone care?"  We are pleased to announce that just a little over 9 months later, we are at our 100th post, with over 38,000 views to our blog!!!  What?  Hold on a minute while we have a Sally Fields moment......

To celebrate, the three of us here at Library Village would like to do something a little different.  We would like to offer our top tips for new youth librarians.  I am sure many of these tips were given to us when we started, but we thought we would put what we learned for any others starting out.

So wave your pompoms and celebrate with us.  Here, in no particular order:

- Always read your longest book first! Small children have a very limited attention span, and they'll be paying the most attention right at the beginning.  As you go along through your program, the books you read should be getting shorter and shorter.  You may want to save something special for last, such as a pop-up book, to really help keep them with you right to the end.

- Don't get too hung up on a theme. As tempting as it is to scour the internet searching for every single rhyme and song you can find about (insert theme here), the truth is your families really don't care if every week is all new.  You'll feel more confident going in using some of your favorite songs and rhymes, rather than trying to memorize a million new ones every week, and your regular parents will also appreciate your using what they know.  I had a professor in college who used to say, "Beware the cute idea."  Just because you stumble upon a website that lists every single song and rhyme ever invented on your chosen weekly theme does not mean that they are all quality rhymes, or that they'll really add anything to your program. Trying new things is great, but don't overdo it - always have those old standbys at the ready to keep your program running smoothly.

- Preschoolers like predictability.  To go along with the above tip, it is totally OK to do some things exactly the same week after week. Starting with the same fingerplay or having a set half-time song goes a long way to getting those shy ones comfortable in story time.  Even if it is something you do once a month, the kids will recognize when a certain puppet or prop appears, that means it's time for that song they love.

- Try before you buy.  An old cliche, it's important to remember that until you actually read a book out loud, try those fingerplays without looking at the paper, or sing the new lyrics to 'If You're Happy and You Know it', you wont know if it will work for you.  Especially if it is a book with rhythm, you'll want to read it once or twice out loud before you do it in story time.

Make it your own.  So you are taking over for a much loved storyteller, and your first reaction is to do EXACTLY what that librarian did because you are afraid to lose your audience.  Every story teller has their own style.  Trying to shoe-horn yourself into someone else's style is like wearing a dress that won't fit.  It is noticeable. Do what you love and the kids will love what you do.  Sure, some families will go away but others will discover you.  Be yourself and that will shine though.

- Spice it up.  After a year or two, you will be well nestled into your groove.  It might be time to try something new.  Everyone has something they do really well in story time, and everyone has an area where they wish they were better.  Observe a story time where someone is great at music, or puppetry, or felt, and ask how to start small.  Or expand on something you already do well.  Do you like to sing?  How about trying to learn an instrument?  Do you like classic tales?  How about retelling them with puppets or felt without the book?  Not only will the kids love it, but you will be adding to your portfolio.

- It's okay to stop and change activities.  Sometimes books or activities just don't go the way we think they will.  Or a group of kids might be extra fidgety one morning.  It is okay to stop reading if no one is listening and move on to another activity.  No one will mind!  Jump into a fun fingerplay or start singing a familiar song to regain the kids' attention.

- Toddlers can listen and run around at the same time.  Toddlers are definitely unique!  They aren't babies that sit in their caregivers' laps and they aren't preschoolers that understand about sitting on your story rug.  They are learning to become independent and where their boundaries are.  This means that some will come to story time and want to explore.  I have learned that these kids are still listening and learning from story time even when they appear to be busy doing other things (like having their mommy chase them!).  So don't get discouraged if some are moving about.  Just keep doing your thing!

-Love what you do! Story times can be cumbersome to plan, but it is so worth it to put your heart into them.  Even if you're busy, try not to just grab any old book or rhyme or song you come across and slap it together.  You'll discover that if you aren't crazy about the book you're reading, the kids won't be either! As children's librarians, it is so important to be passionate about what we do, so let that passion shine through in your story times, and your patrons will love you for it!

Most importantly, learn from each other.  We have a great time bouncing ideas off of each other, but we also spend a great deal of time learning from other bloggers, looking on Pinterest, and following other youth librarians on social networks.  We have gotten so much inspiration from our large network of colleagues, who have inspired us to work hard and improve our skills.  We have LOVED sharing our work with all of you.  So THANK YOU for reading our blog, commenting, and encouraging us.  It has meant so much!

Miss Kristen, Miss Sue, and Miss Kristie.....the Library Village.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Baby Story Time - I Like Bugs!

Spring is the time of year to celebrate all the creepy-crawlies we are starting to see outside! Grab your wiggleworms and get ready for story time!

OPENING SONG: "The Hello Song" *

GREETING SONG: "Hello" (Name Song) *

WAKE-UP RHYME: "Little Spider"
(Not sure where I found this originally, but you can find it here)
See the little spider climbing up the wall.
     (walk fingers up baby's arm)
See the little spider stumble and fall.
     (walk fingers down baby's other arm)
See the little spider tumble down the street.
     (walk fingers down baby's legs)
See the little spider tickle my feet!

1st Book: Caterpillar's Wish by Mary Murphy
It's unfortunate that this sweet book is out of print because it is just perfect for babies and toddlers! All Caterpillar wants to do is fly with her friends. Will she get her wish? 
Action Song: "The Insects and Spiders" (sing to "The Wheels on the Bus")
(borrowed from Miss Carol, our PJ Story Time expert!)
The pretty butterflies fly up and down, up and down, up and down,
The pretty butterflies fly up and down, all through the day!
     (flap arms like wings)
2) The spiders in the tree all spin a web... (roll arms)
3) The crickets in the field hop up and down... (bounce baby)
4) The bees in the hive go buzz, buzz, buzz... (fly with arms out)
Nursery Rhyme: "Little Miss Muffet" (Passing on classic nursery rhymes is so important! Don't forget about the old classics when you're planning your story time!)

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey.
     (sign for "eat" - fingers to mouth)
Along came a spider who sat down beside her,
     (walk fingers up baby's arm)
And frightened Miss Muffet away!
I use this little storytelling kit from Lakeshore Learning:

Action Song: "Open, Shut Them"
Open, shut them, open, shut them,
Give them both a clap, clap, clap.
Open, shut them, open, shut them,
Put them in your lap, lap, lap.
Walk them, walk them, walk them, walk them,
Right up to your chinny, chin, chin.
Circle around your little mouth but...
Do not let them in!
2nd Book: Lenny in the Garden by Ken Wilson-Max
Such a sweet book! Check out the felt set I made to go with it here.
Action Song: "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider"
The itsy-bitsy spider went up the waterspout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out!
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
And the itsy-bitsy spider went up the spout again!
Rhythm Time: Scarves! Shake your scarves to the music!
"Ladybugs' Picnic" (from Sesame Street)
I pulled the music video up on YouTube and played it on my smartphone, just for the music.
"Shake My Sillies Out" (from Raffi's cd Singable Songs for the Very Young)
Love this song :o)
After our songs, we just played with the scarves for a few minutes. The babies really enjoyed putting them over their heads, so we played peekaboo.  It was really nice to just play without a plan.  If you haven't tried scarves with babies, I highly recommend them! Ours are transparent, so they can still see through them when the scarves are on their heads.
Ours are from Lakeshore Learning:

3rd Book: I Like Bugs by Lorena Siminovich
I really love the artwork in this simple counting board book!

CLOSING SONG: "If You're Happy and You Know It" *
GOODBYE SONG: "Babies, Bye-Bye" *

CLOSING RHYME: "Thank You" *

*Check out my Baby Story Time page for the words to all of my weekly songs and rhymes.
Thanks for stopping by! We'll be back in a few weeks - Summer Reading kicks off June 2!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Flannel Friday - Duck! Rabbit!

To go along with my Duck Story Time (Click HERE for that), and my Ugly Duckling Flannel Friday set (Click HERE for that), here is my Flannel Friday submission to go with the book Duck! Rabbit!!  Not exactly creative, but definitely easy and handy for multiple ages.

I was a little worried how this set would fly in my story time.  I wasn't sure the 3-6 year old set would appreciate how this drawing could be seen two ways.  Well, I am sure some of the younger ones didn't quite understand, but most of the group really did get it and were fascinated by it!

Is it a duck?  Or is it a Rabbit?  Let's vote!
I hear duck sounds!  What does a duck say?
Wait - I think I hear Rabbit sounds!  What does a Rabbit say?  Hmmm.  How about 'sniff sniff'?
Well look at that!  The duck is having a piece of bread!  No wait.  The rabbit is eating a carrot!
Now I see a duck in a swamp!  Hmm or is it a rabbit in the tall grass?
The duck is getting a cool drink in the pond.....or is it a rabbit cooling his ears in the stream?
Now I am SURE I see a duck!
Now I am certain I see a rabbit!

Then I showed the last page of the book with the anteater and brontosaurus and said "hmm, I guess we could do this all day!  I better stop now."

Some of the kids really saw one or the other more.  Quite frankly, I see the rabbit more than the duck, but the book really is fascinating and the moms were really into this book too.  It is just fun and something completely different.  I am sure I could use this book for school visits and outreach too.  I have a Duck! Rabbit! poster I used during school visits and there was always ONE student who pointed out the poster saying "HEY - I get it!!!" so I bet the flannel set would work very well with them.  Very fun!

Thanks to my friends Lindsey and Dana at JBrary for hosting this week. Please check out their wonderful blog HERE.   If you would like more information on Flannel Friday and how you can participate, click HERE!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Preschool Story Time - Duck, Duck, Swan!

One thing I have learned is that everyone does story time their own way.  If you can take ideas from our page, we are thrilled to keep blogging our story times.  Someone else might look and say "meh, not for me" and that is cool too.  There isn't a right or a wrong way to do a story time, as long as you love what you are doing.  The kids will see someone who isn't genuine a mile away, so really just go for it and shine on.
Duck story time is always great - because there are so many resources.  Did you know you could really do an entire story time on ducks wearing socks?  True story!  I mixed it up a little and brought in different duck books, but it really was a difficult choice.  Here we go!
Duck is such a great cook, but he wants to create his OWN recipe.  With a dash of mad-cap humor, this soup-opera is sure to please.
Emily is so serious!  What happens when she meets a duck who has a clear answer for every one of his little quirks?  The kids really thought this was silly and fun.
One of the easiest felt sets I created EVER.  You might get only one use with your preschool crowd, but this one can be used with a wider range of kids.  I think I will get use of this with school visits up to second grade.

After HALFTIME, we kept the party going with a sing-along.  This week I feverishly plucked out the 5 Little Ducks song (traditional) the night before.  I was nervous because there was so little practice time, but I had the moms all help me out and it turned out great!

5 little ducks went out one day, over the hill and far away.
Mother duck said, "quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only 4 little ducks came back....

Continue with 4, 3, 2, 1 until
Sad mama duck went out one day, over the hill and far away.
Sad mama said, "quack, quack, quack, quack!"
And all the 5 little ducks came back!

Time for my second flannel story of the day!  Using some of the artwork in this book, I created my version of The Ugly Duckling!  Click HERE to see the full length Flannel Friday post on this set, complete with ALL of the pieces I created for this story.
There is no one way to tell this tale, so you can learn the basics and tell it any way you would like.  My story timers love the felt sets the best, so I like to make sure I have a new set every week.  I just enjoy making them because I know how much the kids appreciate them.

Well, we had a little time left, so I pulled out this interactive book.  Duck dares the kids not to tickle him, but of COURSE you have to!  I took it slowly and made sure everyone had a chance to tickle the duck on every page.  Little meat to the story, but lots of fun.

Today's craft was a duck pond scene!
One of my secrets is owning a circle punch.  I have been able to create so many crafts using my 1 inch and 2 inch punches.  The kids used a ripping technique to create the pond and grass, and created the scene any way they wanted.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Flannel Friday - The Ugly Duckling

I have seen this story written in so many ways.  When I finally decided to create a flannel set, I chose Braun's version of the story.   I did not flannelize all of the characters, however.  Also, due to time constraints and felt on hand, both of my swans are white.  I wanted to make a black swan, but black is also a difficult color to work with in felt because puffy paint doesn't show very well on black.  So there it is.
To paraphrase:  Mother duck was tending to her nest of three eggs when she left for a moment.  A larger egg floated along the stream and landed next to her nest.  Hmm were'nt there three eggs?  No matter, she thought, I will love this one just the same.
Soon the three eggs hatched but the larger one didn't.  No matter, thought mother duck, I will wait for my baby to arrive.  Finally the new baby emerged but it looked very different.  The ducklings were all so mean, telling the new baby that it was ugly.  No matter, said mother duck, You are beautiful to me and I love you just the same. 
The duckings grew, but the gray one always stuck out and was much larger than his siblings.  Other animals teased and taunted the ugly duckling and the baby ducklings joined right in.  Stop that! said Mother Duck, he is MY baby.  He is not ugly.  I love him just the same as the others.
The ugly duckling ran away, and soon he was grown.  He sat by the pond watching birds fly in the sky.  How I wish I could look as beautiful as they are!  But I am just an ugly duckling!
One of the birds in the sky landed next to the ugly duckling.  "Would you like to fly with us?"  "WHAT? I am so ugly!  Why would you want ME to fly with you?"  The other bird said "you are not ugly!  You are a beautiful swan - just like the rest of us!  Look in the pond at your reflection!"  The ugly duckling looked into the pond.  "I am a beautiful swan!  I am!"
The two swans flew away together and joined the rest of the swans, flying high in the sky.  The ugly duckling wasn't an ugly duckling at all!  He was a beautiful swan soaring high with other swans.  And they lived happily ever after!

If I had the time, I might have felted more pieces, but this version is just lovely too.  It was one of my favorites as a child, so fitting that I felt the set.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks to Kathryn from Fun With Friends at Story Time  for hosting this week!  Please stop by the Flannel Friday website to learn more about Flannel Friday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Preschool Story Time - In the Deep Blue Sea

I love shark story times - I really do!  There are so many books for shark story times, it is crazy!  I expanded my shark story time to include other ocean creatures though because, well, I have two felt sets I wanted to use ONE MORE TIME!

How could a minnow and a shark be best friends?  A wonderful book about friendship in the face of peer pressure.  I just love this book. Fang and Minnow are as different as they could be.  It doesn't matter if everyone thinks they shouldn't be friends, because they know they absolutely should.

I totally forgot I made this for my ocean story time last year.  GAH how CUTE!!!  The finger play is JUST as cute.  I found this on a blog of Story Time Songs, Finger plays and Activities.

Chomp, Chomp, OH NO!!
A Slippery fish, a slippery fish, swimming in the water (make 2 fingers 'swim' like a fish tail)
A slippery fish, a slippery fish CHOMP!!  (make your two hands come together like teeth)

OH NO!!  He's been eaten by 
a jellyfish, a jellyfish, swimming in the water! (hold your hand fingers down and wiggle the fingers)
A jellyfish, a jellyfish...CHOMP!!!   (make your two hands come together like teeth)

OH NO!!  He's been eaten by 
a tuna fish, a tuna fish, swimming in the water! (make one whole hand swim like a fish)
A tuna fish, a tuna fish...CHOMP!!!    (make your two hands come together like teeth)

OH NO!!  He's been eaten by 
a great white shark, a great white shark, swimming in the water! (make a fin on your head and move it side to side)
A great white shark, a great white shark...CHOMP!!!   (make your two hands come together like teeth)

OH NO!!  He's been eaten by 
a big blue whale, a big blue whale, swimming in the water! (put your arms together to make big fish tail motions)
A big blue whale, a big blue whale...CHOMP!!!   (make your two hands come together like teeth)

This felt set was part of FLANNEL FRIDAY just a few weeks ago.  Check it out HERE.  I love all of the "Old Lady who Swallowed" books.  This one is extra special to me.  I love how they stay true to the pattern and rhythm of the original.  It is very singable.  And the artwork gives a nod to our Native Americans of the North West.  Lovely!

You guessed it!!  This one is based on the Three Little Pigs.  You HAVE to go BIG on this one.  I have great voices I use when reading this book.  Spoiler!  No one dies in the end.  But there is definitely the scary factor with the shark.

Now we come to our special song!  I know perhaps five songs on the ukulele.  With three chords, you can do almost anything though!  I love to change the words to my standards.  I probably found this one online somewhere, but it is SO something I would do, so I did it.  This is to the tune of Wheels on the Bus.  Come on everyone, sing along!!

The fish in the sea go swim, swim, swim.  (make your hand like a fin and swim along!)
Swim, swim, swim,
Swim, swim, swim.
The fish in the sea go swim, swim, swim
All day long  

Continue with:
Sharks....chomp (with two hands, make teeth that bite)
Lobsters....pinch (with two hands, make pincers)
Octopus....wiggle (wiggle your body and arms) and shut (two hands to make a clam)

Do you see it?  There's a shark in the park!!   Silly Timothy Pope.  There's no shark in the park.  Or is there?  The kids really enjoyed seeing the telescope effect of the holes cut through the center of the book.

For my craft, I asked my village friends to borrow these great daubers.  I love them for safe, clean(ish) painting.  The kids love working with them, and the mom's appreciate them.  It is an up front investment, but they last a long time.
We made a fish!  The kids could cut the mouth (which becomes the tail) and decorate any way they wanted.  I just did a few spring colored dots for demonstration, but they could paint stripes or whatever they wanted.  We also attached a string so they could hang their craft later.

I never tire of this theme.  I hope it gives you a good preview for some summer story times.  Thanks for stopping by!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Flannel Friday - Lenny in the Garden!

This week in Baby Story Time we read books about bugs, and this adorable picture book by Ken Wilson-Max was just perfect!
(thanks to Mel's Desk for introducing it to me!)

I thought the illustrations were a little small to see from a distance, so I decided to make each insect out of felt!

First, Lenny sees an ant and a spider:

Next, a worm and a butterfly:
(note: worm = easiest felt piece ever!)

A caterpillar and a "ladybird":
(fun fact: Ken lives in London, obviously! He also writes "Mummy" on the first page!)

A snail and a grasshopper:
(I'm in love with this grasshopper, btw!)

And finally, a bumblebee:

And here is little Lenny, himself!:
This was a fun and easy set to make, and I can see using them in many different ways! Keep an eye out for my "Bugs" Baby Story Time, coming soon!  Happy Flannel Friday!
Thanks to Bridget at What is Bridget Reading? for hosting Flannel Friday this week!  Flannel Friday is for anyone interested in finding and sharing great flannelboard ideas!  You can learn more about Flannel Friday and how to participate here.