Tag: bookgarteners

Bookgarteners: Lois Ehlert

For an overview of the Bookgarteners program, please visit this post.

Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite author/illustrators of all time. Her book Color Zoo is the first book I remember my school librarian reading to my kindergarten class.

Group Program

To begin our program, I explained what an author was and what an illustrator was. I talked about how each book has one of each. Sometimes they are the same person and sometimes they are not. I had both options to show the kids — Color Zoo and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Then, we looked at her biography title The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life to learn how she makes her pictures. We didn’t read the whole title, but I shared some parts with the group.

Afterwards, it was time to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom together.

Retelling Tree for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
2.B.ECb: With teacher assistance, retell familiar stories with three or more key events

I bought the Chicka Chicka Activity Tree from Lakeshore Learning. (I had this at my previous library and really missed having one.) This was perfect for this retelling activity. I gave each kid a letter and they waited for their turn to come up and put their letter on the tree, just like in the story.


Activity Stations

Four activity stations were spread out around the room. I had one teen volunteer in the room with me to help control the flow of kiddos.

Sensory Bin with Growing Vegetable Soup
19.A.ECa: Engage in active play using gross-motor and fine-motor skills.

This sensory bin was inspired by Mom Envy, via Pinterest. This activity was very easy for me to put together. I already had purchased the vegetables & garden supplies back when I did the Garden Shop play center. I did buy the colored rice instead of making it, but I have already used the rice a couple of times since…so an excellent purchase. My rice did accidentally transfer dye to hands though, so be aware. (It wiped clean with a sani-hands wipe.)


Pattern Matching with A Pair of Socks
8.A.ECa: Sort, order, compare, and describe objects according to characteristics or attributes.

This pattern matching activity came from Laugh, Paint, Create!, via Pinterest. The kids matched up the socks that I cut out of cardstock. This was a quick station, but they really enjoyed it.


Shape Art with Color Zoo & Color Farm
9.A.ECa: Recognize and name common two- and three- dimensional shapes and describe some of their attributes.
25.A.ECd: Visual Arts. Investigate and participate in activities using visual arts materials.

This art project came from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, via Pinterest. This station took them a really long time to complete since I did not precut anything, but their creations were AMAZING. I did have to spend some time with one particular kiddo who had a hard time with their shapes not being perfect. It was a chance to talk about how even my shapes aren’t perfect and that’s okay.


Tangram Flowers for Planting a Rainbow
9.A.ECd: Combine two-dimensional shapes to create new shapes.
9.A.Ede: Think about/imagine how altering the spatial orientation of a shape will change how it looks.

This math activity came from Waddlee-ah-chaa, via Pinterest. This took a fair bit of time to set up. I had to purchase a tangram set and then build my flowers from there. I created the tangrams in Publisher, and they don’t 100% line-up with the pieces, but it was close enough for the kids to use the sheets as a guide to build and that was the whole goal to begin with.


Wrap-Up

I think the only adjustment I would have made with this program was to make the socks matching more difficult by making more socks. They zipped through the activity quickly…but that was because my hand got tired of cutting out socks during program prep, haha. Another successful edition of Bookgarteners.

Bookgarteners: Eric Carle

For an overview of the Bookgarteners program, please visit this post.

I started with Eric Carle because it was an easy marketing approach to get families interested in attending the program. Carle is recognizable and universally adored.

Group Program

To begin our program, I explained what an author was and what an illustrator was. I talked about how each book has one of each. Sometimes they are the same person and sometimes they are not. I had both options to show the kids — The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Then, we watched this YouTube video featuring an interview with Eric Carle. It was important to me that the kids “see” the author/illustrator we were talking about.

Then, we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar together. And that led us into our retelling activity afterwards:


Sequencing with The Very Hungry Caterpillar
2.B.ECb: With teacher assistance, retell familiar stories with three or more key events.

This retelling activity came from School Time Snippets, via Pinterest. The templates and instructions are available at the original blog post. I prepped each of these paint sticks and attached all of the paper cut outs to clothespins using hot glue. This was an UNDERTAKING. But it was a big payoff. Patrons walked around the library showing other patrons and signups definitely increased. On the other hand, I have not done such a project since.


Activity Stations

Four activity stations were spread out around the room. I had one teen volunteer in the room with me to help control the flow of kiddos.


Pompom Matching with Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
12.C.ECa: Identify, describe, and compare the physical properties of objects.

This color matching activity came from No Time for Flash Cards, via Pinterest. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money buying several sets of magnets, so I reversed it. I made little discs of each character to insert into a muffin tin and instead provided pompoms and tweezers to match the pompoms to the character. This was probably their favorite station at this event.



Rubber Duck Counting with Ten Little Rubber Ducks
6.A.ECe: Differentiate numerals from letters and recognize some single-digit written numerals.

This activity was inspired by Pre-K Pages, via Pinterest. Instead of rolling a dice, I wrote the numerals for each number (1-5), as well as words (one-five) on the bottom of the ducks and set up a duck pond in the corner using our sand/water table and a water-absorbing activity mat. Kids could pull out a duck and match it to their sheet (shown in the picture; the other side has the words written out). Once they found all ten ducks, they “finished” the station though many of them kept pulling out ducks.



Tissue Paper Stars with Draw Me a Star
25.A.ECd: Visual Arts. Investigate and participate in activities using visual arts materials.

This activity was inspired by Karen & Kim 2 Soul Sisters, via Pinterest. I printed a star out on white cardstock and let the kids glue tissue paper squares down onto the star before cutting it out. I was tickled pink when one of the kiddos made the connection that Eric Carle used tissue paper in the video we watched! I was so hoping they would make that connection and was prepared to point it out to them if I had to.



Paper Plate Lacing with The Very Busy Spider
19.A.ECd: Use eye-hand coordination to perform tasks.

This lacing activity came from Kidz Activities, via Pinterest. I just cut slits into the paper plates since I had both preschoolers and kindergarteners. It worked a lot better for us. This was the station that my volunteer wound up manning for the entire program.


Wrap-Up

I would 100% do this entire program all over again. The few adjustments I would make: find a way to get the water warmer — it was so cold after sitting out for a while, start prepping the caterpillar retelling sticks earlier in the week. Overall, I was really happy with the program and so were patrons.

Bookgarteners: Overview

An illustrated classroom with two adults (one female, one male) reading to children.

The creation of Bookgarteners came from a lot of different factors:

  • Most of the schools are now doing full-day kindergarten. Only one district does half-day. Which means that my preschool storytime is not supporting those K learners.
  • Many of the caregivers had begun requesting preschool/kindergarten programming in the afternoons.
  • I wanted to plan preschool/kindergarten programming to support state early learning standards. Illinois’s early learning standards are available online.
  • I really wanted to make caregivers aware of their ability to support the state early learning standards.
  • And I, personally, needed to do something new and exciting…other than a storytime.

(I think it’s really okay to say that you need to do something other than a storytime. Storytime is GREAT, of course, but early literacy is more than storytime. We are more than storytime.)

So, what IS Bookgarteners?

It’s a forty-five minute author/illustrator study program for ages 3-6. I choose a different author each class and plan different activities around their books. The first fifteen minutes are devoted to learning about the author, reading one of the author’s books, and then re-telling that story as a class. The second fifteen minutes, the kids are invited to go through activity stations on their own direction. The last fifteen minutes, caregivers are invited to join their kids for more activity station time.

Afterwards, everyone gets a take-home brochure and activity packet. The activity packet includes stuff like scissor practice paper, matching games, draw your owns, and more — much of this is taken from pages offered on the author’s website!

Two pieces of paper, one being a take-home packet and the other being a folded brochure.

The aforementioned Take-Home activities and Brochure.

At the end of the brochure, I have this summary available for caregivers:

Bookgarteners was developed to help preschool children and kindergarteners practice the early learning standards for the state of Illinois. This will help prepare preschool children for school and will re-enforce the skills for kindergarteners.

Each activity chosen supports one of the state’s learning standards, but each activity is also designed to be fun and engaging for the children. Their learning really presents best as play at this age.

In addition, in Bookgarteners we are working on other learning standards like interacting with peers, following directions, participating in group activities, and more.

Together, we are growing their minds!

I’ve done six Bookgarteners programs since this spring. I have three more planned for this Winter. The authors I’ve done thus far are: Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, Donald Crews, Karen Beaumont, Mem Fox, and Mo Willems. Up for this winter are Jan Brett, Ezra Jack Keats, and Herve Tullet. (Currently in the planning stages for spring with Kevin Henkes, Christian Robinson, Jan Thomas on the list!)

The program has been very successful for all of the targets I’ve set for myself. Attendance was slow to start, but has picked up and the fall classes’ registrations were all full. I hope it continues for the winter session!