Monday, June 30, 2014

Imagination Station! Let's Play "Library"!

Back in the spring, Miss Kristie and I attended a workshop about pretend play in the library, and we were inspired to create an Imagination Station in our own branch!

We worked hard to get it set up for the beginning of the summer reading program, and our theme for the month of June was "Let's play 'Library'!"  Miss Kristie made some super cute and eye-catching sign out of felt!

We commandeered a table in the children's area for our library "desk" and made a pretend computer out of a cardboard box. Our IT guys were kind enough to send us a box of old tech equipment, such as a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard, and we had a broken scanner that I cut the wire off of and covered the end in duct tape.
Every librarian needs a pair of glasses, obviously.

I made a sign for the kids, with ideas of what they could do at the 'library,' such as sort and check out books, make a library card, and recommend books for others.  I also made a sign for the parents, discussing why pretend play is so critical for developing young minds, and how it helps their emotional and social development.

Miss Kristie found these great pretend book spines from Deceptively Educational, which we printed off, laminated, and added call numbers and author's names. Our idea was that children could practice putting them in order, but these are often the books that they 'scan' and 'check out'!

Kristie also made some pretend library cards. They are just printed on cardstock so kids can take them or leave them.  We have some crayons and pencils sitting out so they can practice writing their names.

These are slips for book recommendations that children can leave in their favorite books.  Mostly, they just like to write their names on them. :o)

Here is our supervisor, Miss Ann, having some fun playing with some kids :o)

And this sweet girl is working hard on the computer!

People were a little hesitant at first, but the Imagination Station has really taken off! It has been wonderful to see children playing and pretending, especially when the adults join in! This is something we are eager to keep doing, and we're just about ready to change it out for the month of July.  Next month's play station will be a Veterinarian's office! Check back for details!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Story Time Outreach is Awesome!

Are you hiding from outreach in your community because of time or extra effort?  Perhaps you just don't know where to start, or you don't see the value in it.  Outreach however, in the form of visits to care centers, preschools, or even nursing homes, can be really valuable to the library and to you as a librarian.

I love to do outreach.  I really enjoy taking my show on the road and giving the community a taste of what I do every week in the library.

  • make connections in the community.  I love getting 'hellos' from teachers and aides, and being recognized by the kids.
  • Teachers get to know you and what other services you can provide.  By offering teacher collections and the library calendar, you may see an increase in your attendance and circulation numbers.
  • Speaking of attendance, my program attendance is up! I invite care centers over to attend some programs, and even help them out by having a program or two during school breaks, when they are busier.
  • Instant field trip.  One care center didn't want me to go to them, so why not come over before the library is open for a private story time?
  • Monthly reports - it looks great on your report that you have been out in the community - so why not?
  • Minimal planning, maximum impact. I'm doing story times anyway!
  • The kids LOVE it!  

  • Scheduling - I am not always available on the third Wednesday of the month, for example. 
  • Time - ?  Less than an hour, once a month, isn't too taxing is it?
  • Mindset change - tell us WHY we can't just come to your regular story times again?

Here are some tips for outreach success:
  1. Find out your contact person by checking out the website of the care center and give the director a call.  They will probably be too busy to talk, but at least they have heard your name and you have planted the seed.
  2. Send a followup email with some (SHORT) information.  "I would love to come once a month!  These dates, times are good for me, but we can work out other times too."
  3. If they are slow to respond, talk to the teachers when they come in to the library.  Really sell it. You are providing a personalized service to the teachers, and promoting early literacy with their kids. If they like it, try the director again. "I talked to your teachers, Jack and Ashley, and it sounds like we could really make this work."
  4. Ask questions!  Then really listen.  If they want 15 minute story times, stick to it.  Usually they are on a schedule themselves.  Everyone gets squirrelley when you run into snack or free-play time!
  5. Have a plan.  15 minute story time is 2 books and a flannel board for me. I pull these items from my weekly story time so there is no additional prep.  
  6. Be ready if your plan falls flat.  I bring an extra book, flannel, or puppet. Just-in-case!
  7. If you want a flannel board, CD player, or whatever else you may need, bring it.  You don't know what you will find or what kind of room you will be in. I made my own travel flannel board using a donated canvas, a 1/2 yard of plain flannel on sale, and a staple gun.
  8. Be on time and be patient.
  9. Let the teachers teach.  If there something happening with one of the students, the teacher should be able to take care of it.
  10. Be the reason they are excited for the librarian to come that day.  Have fun and do stories you love to tell.  Sometimes I bring my own 'show and tell' to them.  They can't wait to see what is in my bag.
I have done outreach where I did 7 classrooms in one center visit, or where I visit a preschool in the morning, then back for a multi-generational story time with the preschool and the elders.  I have also encouraged in-house visits.   Really almost all of the work is up front in scoring that regular time.  There is no planning involved outside of my normal story times, and I get a chance to practice my books and flannels one more time.  If you have a rough start, or the outreach isn't working, try something else (another time or day?  What about an in-house visit or off hours?).

Stay positive and enjoy it!  Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Flannel Friday - Rock-A-Bye Animals

So as I was making flannel board sets to some of Matt Novak's other books (My Froggy Valentine and Too Many Bunnies), I decided to search for any others, since I enjoy his story telling.  I found this one called Rock-a-bye Christmas:
His stories lend themselves to story time because they are repetitive and anticipatory. The trouble is, the books themselves are small and better for one-on-one reading.  Flanneling them makes them accessible to a larger crowd.  All of his books are themed around a holiday, but the holiday references are easily removed (or used) in felt too.

The story goes (and is paraphrased for this blog post):
Farmer Ben was finishing up his Christmas preparations and decided it was time for bed.  Suddenly it was too noisy to sleep!  The chicken was up squawking!  "She must be cold," he wondered.
So he brought her inside and soothed her with a lullaby.  The chicken fell asleep.  But then the pig started yelling!! Oh no!  He must be cold too!
So Farmer Ben brought the pig into the house and soothed him with a lullaby.  The pig fell asleep.  Just as Farmer Ben thought there was to be peace, the sheep started hollering!  Oh dear.
So again Farmer Ben brought the sheep into the house and soothed her with a lovely lullaby.  By the time the sheep fell asleep and Farmer Ben thought he was done, the cow started to bellow.  What a night!
So Farmer Ben pushed and pulled the cow into the house and sang his little lullaby.  The animals were finally asleep!  But Farmer Ben could not sleep.  The chicken snored.  The pig's nose whistled.  The sheep's throat gurgled.  The cow's stomach growled.  What's a farmer to do??
Ah perfect!  The barn wasn't so bad.  I wonder why they were complaining?  Farmer Brown fell fast asleep in the soft hay and didn't hear another sound all night long.

Now in the book, the animals all wake up and party in the house, but I thought that would be hard to transition to in felt so I will leave the story like I did.  As you can see, it doesn't need to be a Christmas Story but you can use it that way if you would like.  That makes it more versatile!!!

I also decided it wasn't necessary to have all of the pieces reverse like they do in the book, with the other side having them asleep.  I only did that with the farmer.  I can always go back and make the animals asleep if I decide to later.

Big thanks to Hannah at Lovin' the Library for hosting Flannel Friday this month! Click over to her new blog and catch up.  I had a great time lunching with Hannah at the PLA this year.  She has some great ideas.

If you would like to read more on how you can get involved with Flannel Friday, CLICK HERE!
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Flannel Friday - Five Little Babies

I came across this really cute "Five Little Babies" rhyme last week and was inspired to make some cute little felt babies to go with it! Thanks so much to King County Library System for the rhyme - watch the video to see how the actions are done!

I drew the pieces freehand, but based them off the ones on the cover of this adorable book:
Baby Parade by Rebecca O'Connell

One little baby rocking in a tree.

Two little babies splashing in the sea!

Three little babies crawling on the floor.

Four little babies banging on the door!

Five little babies playing hide-and-seek!

Keep your eyes closed, now,
Until I say, "Peek!"

I was really happy with how these cuties turned out! I even added a tiny bit of blush to give them "rosy" cheeks. Just dabbed it on with my finger.  They were actually really easy to make - I just used the same template for each one's body and head, and then just switched up the colors and clothing patterns, etc.

Voila! Cute babies - just what you need for your next story time, I bet! :o)

Happy Flannel Friday!

Thanks so much to Mollie at What Happens in Storytime for hosting 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.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Baby Story Time - So Big!

We started off summer with a really easy theme - Babies! This was a sweet and simple story time with lots of hugs and kisses. 

There was a big emphasis on the senses today - lots of tickles, touching body parts, and using scarves.  All of these activities help babies to understand their own bodies and how they fit into the world around them.

OPENING SONG: "The Hello Song" *

GREETING SONG: "Hello" (Name Song) *

WAKE-UP RHYME: "Acka Backa"
(from Linda Ernst's Baby Rhyming Time)
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo!
     (bounce baby gently)
Acka backa soda cracker, I love you!
     (big hug!)
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo!
     (bounce baby gently)
Acka backa soda cracker, up goes you!
     (lift baby into air)
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo!
     (bounce baby gently)
Acka backa soda cracker, I love you!
     (big hug!)

1st Book: Baby Parade by Rebecca O'Connell
These adorable babies parade towards a picnic with their parents, wearing a rainbow of colors.
Action Rhyme: "Five Little Babies"
(from the King County Library System. There is a great video to watch!)
One little baby rocking in a tree.
     (rock baby back and forth)
Two little babies splashing in the sea!
     (clap hands)
Three little babies crawling on the floor.
     (tickle up baby's arm)
Four little babies banging on the door!
     (clap hands)
Five little babies playing hide-and-seek!
     (cover baby's eyes)
Keep your eyes closed, now,
Until I say, "Peek!"
     (uncover baby's eyes)
Check back next week for my Flannel Friday post about these cute babies!

Action Song: "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes"
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes!

Tickle Rhyme: "These are Baby's Fingers"
(from Linda Ernst's Baby Rhyming Time)
These are baby's fingers,
These are baby's toes.
This is baby's bellybutton, 'round and 'round it goes!

2nd Book: So Big! by Anna Hays
This Elmo book encourages a lot of participation - reaching high and low, touching nose, etc. And Elmo pops out on the last page!

Action Song: "I'm Very, Very Tall!"
(Not sure where I learned this originally. You can find it here.)
I'm very, very tall!
     (reach arms up)
I'm very, very small.
     (reach down)
     (reach up)
     (reach down)
I'm very, very TALL!
     (reach up!)

Rhythm Time: Scarves!
Action Song: "This is the Way"
(to the tune: "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush")
This is the way we wash our arms,
Wash our arms, wash our arms,
This is the way we wash our arms,
When we're in the bathtub!
     (gently "scrub" baby with the scarf)

Try other body parts - toes, tummies, heads, noses, etc.

Action Song: "Where is Baby?" (to the tune: "Frere Jacques")
(from Linda Ernst's Baby Rhyming Time)
Where is baby? Where is baby?
There you are! There you are!
We're so glad to see you! We're so glad to see you!
Yes, we are! Yes, we are!
     (cover baby's head with scarf and then pull off - they love peek-a-boo!)

3rd Book: Tickle Time by Sandra Boynton
Her books are so tiny, but you can sing this one! Lots of tickles and giggles!

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.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Flannel Friday - I Took My Frog to the Library

This week's Flannel Friday is inspired by another Flannel Friday post from the blog, Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime.  I loved the finger puppets she used to tell the book I Took My Frog to the Library by Eric A. Kimmel.  I decided immediately that I needed my own flannel version of this super cute story.  I also decided to change up the wording just a little bit to make it more toddler friendly.

I Took My Frog to the Library
By Eric A. Kimmel

I took my frog to the library, but he jumped on the checkout desk and scared the librarian!
I took my chicken to the library, but she laid an egg by the computers.
I took my pelican to the library, but he hid a book in his beak!
I took my snake to the library, but she shed her skin all over the picture books!
I took my giraffe to the library, but he tried to read over everybody's shoulder.
I took my hyena to the library, but he laughed so hard during story time that nobody could hear the story!
I took my elephant to the library.  She was very well behaved.  She stacked her books neatly.  She asked the librarian questions.  She listened to the story and laughed in all the right places.
But my elephant is very big!  SO BIG!
She wrecked the library!  The bookshelves fell over!
The librarian said, "You are always welcome at the library, but please leave your animals at home."

So whenever I go to the library...
my frog stays home,
my chicken stays home,
my pelican stays home,
my snake stays home,
my giraffe stays home,
my hyena stays home,
and my elephant reads to them!

This flannel set was really easy to make.  I traced clip art from the Internet and drew in the faces and other features.  To save time, I used a combination of permanent markers and paint to add details.  I think I may make a library to add to this set at a later date.  I also plan on telling this story not reading it from the book (especially since I made changes to the wording).  I am really excited to use it in story time.  I hope the little ones like it!

Thank you to Storytime Katie for hosting Flannel Friday this week!  Please check out her blog HERE.  If you would like more information on Flannel Friday or how you can participate, click HERE!  Thanks for stopping by!