Virtual Storytime: Houses & Homes

For information on how virtual storytimes work at my library, please visit this post.

Materials

Books

[A collage of the five book covers listed below: Grandma’s Tiny House; My House; Noisy Night; This is Our House; & Windows.]

Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood*
My House by Byron Barton*
Noisy Night by Mac Barnett*
This is Our House by Hyewon Yum
Windows by Julia Denos

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: A House for Birdie*

Flannelboard: Little Mouse, Little Mouse

Props: Song Cube

Puppets: I Have a Little Turtle*
I have a little turtle (put hands on top of one another)
He lives in a box (make box)
He swims in a puddle (swimming motion)
He climbs on the rocks (climbing motion)
He snapped at a mosquito (clap)
He snapped at a flea (clap)
He snapped at a minnow (clap)
And he snapped at me (clap)
He caught the mosquito (cup hands together)
He caught the flea (cup hands together)
He caught the minnow (cup hands together)
But he didn’t catch me! (shake finger “no”)
Credit: Childhood

Planning

This was a storytime that I had planned for in-person spring 2020 and converted to a virtual storytime. I had a lot of diversity featured in the books that I chose: Grandma’s Tiny House features a diverse extended family coming to gather; Noisy Night takes place in an apartment building; This is Our House showcases an intergenerational family living in the same house; and Windows show a brown-skinned child walking through their neighborhood.

As for converting to Zoom, I planned specifically to have the kids count along to Grandma’s Tiny House using their hands and their caregivers’ hands (since the book counts up until 15!), or to type numbers along in the chat.

And I knew that I wanted to try a thumbs up/thumbs down interaction for “A House for Birdie” on the flannelboard. I would purposefully put a bird in a house that didn’t fit and pretend like I had solved the problem, waiting for the kids to tell me whether or not the bird fit with their thumbs up/thumbs down.

How It Went

Even though the theme was planned pre-pandemic, it wound up being a very topical theme during the pandemic! Illinois had just come off of a stay-at-home order for the months of April and May, so the kids were very familiar with their homes.

The guessing game aspect of Noisy Night didn’t quite translate to Zoom like I had hoped it would. I wound up doing a lot of talking to call attention to the clues hidden in each page spread. And it was hard for me to understand what the kids were guessing. I did a lot of “Oh, I think I heard the answer — let’s turn the page to check!”

Prior to storytime starting, I tested my “Little Mouse, Little Mouse” flannelboard with my co-worker, and it turns out that my instinct was right — the contrast between blue/purple and red/orange were REALLY hard to tell via webcam. After this incident, I did try to preview flannelboards to make sure that they were still viewable via Zoom.


2 comments on “Virtual Storytime: Houses & Homes

  1. Jessica @ Storytime in the Stacks
    October 10, 2021 at 9:03 am #

    Oh webcam woes! I also found that every webcam I used (tablet, my laptop, my work’s laptop, an external plug in webcam) seemed to have different color settings and did weird stuff to my flannels.

    Love the way you planned for facilitating audience interaction at home!

    -Jessica

    • Katie
      October 11, 2021 at 2:38 pm #

      Webcams, get it together! (No, I know they are trying their best and working under extreme circumstances.)

      Thank you! It took a lot of thought in the early days!

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