Preschoolers: Manners

For more information on how I plan and prepare my preschool storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one class.

The Plan

Books

manners

Blocks by Irene Dickson*
Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman
Please Mr. Panda by Steve Antony*
One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck & Yasmeen Ismail*
That’s Not Mine by Anna Kang

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Juice Box Heroes*

Featured Track: #6 Please and Thank You

Flannelboard: All the Little Germs*

Flannelboard: Thanks a Lot

Letter of the Day: M*

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum*
  • Movement Cube

How It Went

Monday morning
I didn’t get to do a Monday class because I was at ALA Midwinter. But my fabulous co-worker covered for me and the kids had a good time!

Tuesday morning
We had a great time at storytime today. This storytime included a visitor from our administration department to take pictures and they caught an EPIC grumpy face from me on film as we were talking about how some of the animals might be feeling in Please Mr. Panda. I really loved using Blocks in a preschool setting because it wasn’t just a story; it became a conversation starter about how using manners and being kind can make us all feel better. SOCIAL JUSTICE IN STORYTIME.

Shake, Shimmy, & Dance: 1/17

shakeshimmyanddance

The Plan

flyblankyfly
Book
Fly Blanky Fly by Anne Margaret Lewis
This is a very easy read for Shake, Shimmy. The longest page spread is the first and it sets up the story. Then, I lead the kids and caregivers in following along with the motions that Blanky does. This morning, I decided not to demonstrate what a “whoosh” or “choo-choo” looked like and instead I asked the kids first to show me. This led to a lot of great movement and really encouraged their creativity. After a little bit, I did demonstrate a motion for the friends who needed some guidance.

Props
Activity Scarves!

The Playlist

Hello & How Are You? — Old Town School of Folk Music
Take the Sun — Caspar Babypants
Get Up and Go Go — The Fresh Beat Band
Rocketship Run — Laurie Berkner Band
Jump Up (It’s a Good Day) — Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could
Colors of You — Miss Nina and the Jumping Jacks
Popcorn — Mr. Jon and Friends
Shake Hands With Friends — Ella Jenkins

How It Went

I kicked this dreary January day off with “Take the Sun” which I used as a stretching song. We stretched up and down along with the lyrics and then I let the kids stretch however they wanted during the instrumental part and end of the song. This was a good choice to start with as everyone seemed pretty sleepy this morning.

We then went straight into a free-dance song with “Get Up and Go Go”. This didn’t work as well as I wanted. My regulars were ready to go, but I could see that some of the newer friends needed more direction. I just worked with it and shouted out some suggestions and followed through with keeping up the energy.

Then came “Rocketship Run” and “Jump Up (It’s a Good Day)”, both of which have actions in the lyrics. Both of which are classic Shake, Shimmy songs and beloved by my patrons.

It was time for the activity scarves to come out with “Colors of You” and “Popcorn”. During “Colors of You”, I asked the kids to wave their scarves. I really love how that song can work two ways: with colored scarves and also in a social justice way. And for “Popcorn”, we bunched up our scarves and tossed them into the air. I saw lots and lots of giggles during this activity and will definitely repeat it, though I typically do popcorn themed songs with the parachute!

(For an example of the Powerpoint and handouts that I made for each Shake, Shimmy please visit the original post.)

Shake, Shimmy, & Dance: 12/16

shakeshimmyanddance

The Plan

igottherhythm
Book
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
This book is a favorite of mine for Shake, Shimmy, & Dance. It starts off slow, warming up the smaller body movements (eye blinking, nose sniffing, etc.) and then builds to moving a lot. Because of this, it’s a great book to get my patrons warmed up and ready to dance!

Props
Shaker Eggs!

The Playlist

Hello & How Are You? — Old Town School of Folk Music
Clap Your Hands, Clap Your Hands — Kathy Reid-Naiman
Jumping and Counting — Jim Gill
Spin Around — The Fresh Beat Band
Heartbeat — Laura Doherty
Milkshake Song — Old Town School of Folk Music
The Shimmie Shake — The Wiggles
Shake Hands With Friends — Ella Jenkins

How It Went

I used a new song to kick-off today’s Shake, Shimmy program. “Clap Your Hands, Clap Your Hands” is a quieter song, but a great one for even the youngest of patrons to follow along with. During the school year, I see a majority of toddlers at Shake, Shimmy and I do adjust my playlists to best serve them.

And who doesn’t love jumping and spinning? This led to my next two songs: “Jumping and Counting” and “Spin Around”. “Spin Around” is a new Shake, Shimmy song and I loved it. The kids had a great time spinning and dancing to it. (We danced during the verses and spun during the chorus.) But I think what made it the most fun was seeing the kids holding hands and spinning together or the grown-ups picking up their kids to spin them in the air. And as always, “Jumping and Counting” provided great interaction as we counted until we could jump again.

My cool-down song was “Heartbeat” by Laura Doherty. Yes, this song has some large movements (dance, swim, jump), it also has quieter opportunities for kids to pause and listen to their heartbeats. It also incorporates science principles! And during the “when you love someone” chorus, I ask the kids to either hug themselves or to find a friend to hug. Some kids just choose to dance through it and that’s okay too!

This month, I just used two shaker egg songs: “Milkshake” and “The Shimmie Shake”. The “Milkshake” song has instructions in the lyrics and I try to lead the kids into following them. This is a storytime favorite here, so many of the patrons know it well. And I love the music of “The Shimmie Shake”. I know that some people dislike the television music like The Wiggles or The Fresh Beat Band, but I think it’s great engaging music for kids.

(For an example of the Powerpoint and handouts that I made for each Shake, Shimmy please visit the original post.)

Toddlers: Colors

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan

Books

colors

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.***
Edible Colors by Jennifer Vogel Bass
Little Green Peas by Keith Baker*
Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin**

Early Literacy Tip
When you enjoy a book, let your child know that you like it and why. Sharing your enjoyment gives them a positive attitude towards books which will influence them when they get to school and learn to read.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Rock and Roll Garden***

Featured Track: #6 Colors

Flannelboard: “Lunch”***

Repeating Extension Activities

  • The Elevator Song***
  • Everyone Can March*
  • Popcorn Kernels***
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***
  • We Wave Our Scarves Together***

How It Went

Monday morning (9:30)
Today was Week Seven of Seven for our fall session. In other words, I was a very sad panda because all of my storytime classes are done this week until JANUARY. I know that this it a good thing and will allow me to work on other projects (like my new Baby Bundles — Book Bundles for infants/early toddlers), but I will miss the kids. This storytime was wonderful. I got to see so many great journeys: a child who has struggled to engage sitting next to the flannelboard waiting for the next piece to be placed, another friend who stayed close to their caregiver for most of the weeks jumped into the bubble group this morning, and so many caregivers left the room with confidence in their own teachings. I loved ending today on Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? because everyone read it chorally, cementing our group one last time.

Thursday morning (9:30)
This morning’s group had several guests with it — grandparents, other caregivers, and a brand new two-week old baby! We had a full house for our last session. Their favorite book was definitely Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. I will remember the wonderful smiles that the kids gave me this week. So many of my friends have opened up and become comfortable in our space. I am very much looking forward to the next session.

Thursday morning (10:30)
My most active storytime group loved Monsters Love Colors and acting out the mixing of colors. I had quite a few friends come right up to the book to wiggle and dance with me. This group has really mastered the scarves! When I said it was time to pull out the scarves, I had a whole crew of little ones waiting to get their own scarf. Afterwards, they gleefully participated and absolutely loved throwing their scarves into the air! We finished up in record time and I was actually able to pull out the Song Cube for them, so we sang “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.

Outreach Storytime: 8/9

During the summer, I visit several area preschools to do storytime. They all request specific themes, relevant to their curriculum. At this school, I visit a total of six classrooms. Each classroom doubles up with another group creating three storytimes at the visit. I’ll star the materials each time I use it. This week’s theme was the ocean.

The Plan

Books

ocean2

Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash! by Suse MacDonald**
Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins**
I’m a Shark by Bob Shea**
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry**
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett J. Krosoczka*
Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies*
Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau*

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Five Little Ocean Friends”***

Flannelboard: “Five Big Whales”*

Flannelboard: “The Three Little Fishes & the Silly Shark”*

Stick Puppets: “Slippery Fish”**

Puppet: “Did You Ever See a Shark?”**

How It Went

This was a fun set of storytimes. All three groups really enjoyed the theme, particularly the extension activities. The older group got to hear Surprising Sharks because their teacher requested some easy non-fiction, preferrably about sharks. I was happy to oblige with this Monarch nominee from a couple of years ago. I think the kids enjoyed I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean the most out of any of the books.

Toddlers: Fall

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan

Books

fall

Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington*
Kitten’s Autumn by Eugenie Fernandes
Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson***
Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson and Jennifer Rofe**

Early Literacy Tip
Imagination plays a critical role in problem solving and learning. You can nurture your child’s imagination by playing games. We do this in storytime with the flannelboard and other prop objects.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Whaddaya Think of That?***

Featured Track: #8 What Falls in the Fall?

Flannelboard: Five Little Apples***

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Egg Shakers Up***
  • Put Your Shaker On***
  • Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***
  • Tick, Tock***

How It Went

Monday morning (9:30)
This was a wonky storytime. It was the first morning after the time change and my toddlers had NO IDEA what their bodies were telling them. It’s naptime, it’s snacktime, it’s playtime, why are we still in stories? If I had been smarter, I would have swapped with week’s theme with last week’s. Singing always creates a magical setting in storytime. This week, our biggest winner was rhymes and songs, that’s for sure!

Thursday morning (9:30)
Thankfully by Thursday, the time change had evened out and my kiddos were doing much better. This group really enjoyed looking for Minka in Mouse’s First Fall. I brought the book around the circle and let each of the toddlers take a turn trying to find Minka. This took a bit longer, but was a worthwhile experience. I really love seeing the journeys that each of my toddlers take throughout the seven week session. This group has mastered “Put Your Shaker On” and really enjoys hearing our shakers.

Thursday morning (10:30)
I had our Marketing Director in storytime this morning taking pictures. I thought it might be a distraction to my toddlers, but they were totally involved in storytime. I had two of my toddlers come up and interact with me and the book, I had great shakers and dancers, and tons of good clapping. Hopefully, we got some good pictures!

Outreach Storytime: 9/1

I do a regularly scheduled (sometimes twice monthly and sometimes just monthly) at a local business that we’ve partnered with. For these storytimes geared towards ages 3-6, I’ve thrown out themes! I’m just reading favorites books, new books that strike my fancy, and doing favorite flannels/props/activities. Materials starred are the ones used at the storytime. Other than this difference, I’ll report on these like I do with all of my other storytimes.

The Plan

Books

outreach9-1

The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage*
The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom*
Still a Gorilla! by Kim Norman*
Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tim Hopgood*

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Down Around the Corner”*

Flannelboard: “Ten Fluffy Chickens”*

Finger Puppet Glove: “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”*

Prop: “Movement Cube”*

Prop: “Song Cube”*

How It Went

The kids absolutely loved the new movement cube/game! We roll it several times throughout the storytime which was a great break from our books. The best books for the day were definitely The Mixed-Up Truck which segued great into the “Down Around the Corner” flannelboard, and Still a Gorilla!. We also had very happy kiddos when we were jumping with the monkeys on the bed!

Toddlers: Music

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan

Books

music

If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera***
Music Class Today by David Weinstone*
Sing With Me! by Naoko Stoop**
What a Wonderful World by Tim Hopgood

Early Literacy Tip
If we always place an instrument or a spoon in a child’s right hand, we unconsciously encourage right-handedness. By alternating hands, we give our children a chance to experience use of both hands.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Wiggleworms Love You***

Featured Track: #11 Wheels on the Bus

Flannelboard: “Old MacDonald”***

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • Roly, Poly***
  • These Are the Colors Over You***
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom*

How It Went

Monday morning (9:30)
Today’s storytime was all about incorporating music into our toddlers’ lives. I reminded parents that their voices do not need to be “concert-ready” and that storytime is a great place to add music! We sang a lot in storytime because of this, and I was definitely pushing my voice after my cold. I was grateful for good parent involvement as we sang favorites like “Old MacDonald” with the flannelboard and Jane Cabrera’s book version of If You’re Happy and You Know It!!

Thursday morning (9:30)
What a great day of singing! My voice is back to normal here, and I belted out our songs with gusto. This class had a WONDERFUL time with our wrist ribbons — they’ve really gotten the hang of our songs and rhymes. And they are excellent at doing clean up afterwards. I’m really proud of my kiddos. I also introduced the book Sing With Me! as a great way to share songs throughout the week if caregivers read just a page a night.

Thursday morning (10:30)
This class absolutely LOVED If You’re Happy and You Know It!. And I had a slew of caregivers follow me after class to our songs section which features tons of picture books about songs. The grown-ups were thrilled to see some more popular music books like Pharrell’s Happy and Kenny Loggins’s Footloose.

Shake, Shimmy, & Dance: 11/11

shakeshimmyanddance

The Plan

ifyourehappyandyouknowit
Book
If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera
I had pulled another, newer book for Shake, Shimmy today and I just wasn’t feeling it. I will definitely use that book in the future, but reached for a tried and true favorite with If You’re Happy and You Know It. I know that it definitely lifted my spirits and I hope that it did for my families as well.

Props
Parachute!

The Playlist

Hello & How Are You? — Old Town School of Folk Music
When I Woke Up Today — Laurie Berkner
Get Your Move On — Mr. Jon & Friends
Clap Your Hands — They Might Be Giants
Take the Sun — Caspar Babypants
Popcorn — Joanie Leeds
All You Need is Love — Caspar Babypants
Wheels in the City — Laura Doherty
Shake Hands With Friends — Ella Jenkins

How It Went

As long-time readers know, I generally do not use the parachute during the school year because many of my preschool and kindergarten friends are not at Shake, Shimmy to help hold it up for our baby and toddler friends. But when Shaky, Shimmy coincides with a day off of school, it’s time to break out the parachute!

Our first song was “When I Woke Up Today” which is off of Laurie Berkner’s new album. I love the positive energy of this song and I have to admit that I do get excited about Shake, Shimmy mornings and seeing my kiddos. Our next two songs: “Get Your Move On” and “Clap Your Hands” are tried and true Shake, Shimmy hits. Also, the kids stomped so loud that our security monitor came upstairs from the Adult Services department to see what was going on!

On to the parachute songs! During “Take the Sun”, we raised the parachute up and down. I normally save the song for raising the parachute as my last song for the day, but decided to change things up. It definitely got the caregivers involved from the beginning! “Popcorn” included my traditional white crumpled paper as popcorn on the chute, but I asked the kids to go underneath and pop the popcorn up. This worked out so much better than just shaking the chute!

“All You Need is Love” was our third parachute song (if you take the parachute out, make it worthwhile!). I had caregivers place the chute on the ground and passed out foam hearts. The kids walked on top of the chute and passed around hearts to each other. If you ever need a life-affirming moment, I highly recommend this activity. It was a privilege to watch the children sharing representations of love with each other in such an open way.

I should have skipped our last parachute song because we were over time and I could sense that the crowd was nearing its endpoint. It was also a rocky transition to get the kids off of the parachute and to pick it back up to pass around in a circle for “Wheels in the City”. Lesson learned!

(For an example of the Powerpoint and handouts that I made for each Shake, Shimmy please visit the original post.)

Preschoolers: Pumpkins & Apples

For more information on how I plan and prepare my preschool storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one class.

The Plan

Books

pumpkinsapples

Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon*
Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson & Jennifer Rofe*
Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson**

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Ladybug Green Music**

Featured Track: #2 Apples and Bananas

Flannelboard: Five Little Apples**

Flannelboard: Five Little Pumpkins

Letter of the Day: A & P**

Props: The Pumpkins Are Here**

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum*
  • Movement Cube*

How It Went

Monday morning
I had an AMAZING turn-out for my last class. And a wonderful storytime. The kids were shocked when I said that I had two Letters of the Day because we were talking about two things: pumpkins and apples! They really enjoyed guessing what animal might be coming next to eat the apples during our flannelboard and they had a great time talking about how much of the apple the different animals ate. They also really enjoyed having their own foam pumpkins as we did the rhyme “The Pumpkins Are Here”!

Tuesday morning
Another wonderful class comes to a close. I had a great job using two letters — I had enough objects in my Letter buckets to let each kid hold an object or a letter. They were really excited to be helpers for me. I absolutely love using Tap the Magic Tree in storytime because it’s so interactive and really gets everyone involved. This group had a little bit of trouble settling down after our flannelboard and action rhyme, but it eventually happened!