Monday, December 31, 2012

week 14: in between days

Happy New Year, everyone. I haven't been purposefully dragging my feet on this final entry of 2012, but it happened. And so. But the year wraps up, I would be remiss if I didn't note that changes are definitely on the horizon. So as far as anyone reading this might care, my job situation will be changing in the upcoming months. I don't know the exact impact this will have on my Head Start storytimes, but I think "more than none, maybe a whole lot" is a reasonable expectation.** I am already thinking about new, hopefully interesting things to do with this blog as circumstances change. But on to storytime!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"l" is for lollipop

Happy holidays, folks. I've been sitting on this entry for a while now; the holidays have been hecka busy and I'm only getting around to writing about last week's storytime. Everybody's busy, right? Right.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

week 13: forget-me-not

So. I have meant to write about last week's storytime for a few days now (since Thursday, really) but keep forgetting. OK, not forgetting. Being too busy. So much is going on! But that doesn't abrogate blogging responsibilities, so let's get to it.

food,households,peppers,Photographs,salt and pepper,salts,seasonings,shakers

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

three cheers for mr. horse!

Ugh. Last week got really derailed with work stuff, so no storytime. What a drag. But I'm back and raring to go. I've been thinking long and hard about Christmas-slash-holiday storytime for next week, and the jury is still out. I have a few books on hold that I will pick up and look over in the next few days, just to see how I think they will work. For now, though, this week's storytime will what it will be.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

week 11: sick city sometimes

Of course I talked about being in that "in-between" feeling-sick-but-not-quite-sick state last week. Of course I did. Well, I got for real sick the day after storytime and of course it was crummy. But that is a hazard of working in a public library, particularly at this time of year. No big deal jeans. I am still feeling it a bit, though I think things have migrated over to allergies maybe? Who knows. That's not the point. The point is: storytime!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

sick to move

Oh boy. I am in this weird fugue state where I feel like I am getting sick but not exactly sick (knock on wood), which is kind of miserable. If I were sick sick, I could just call it a day, crawl into bed, and watch TV on my computer. Instead, I am just feeling crummy and doing what I have to do (sort of) anyway.

But enough about all that. I was sad to miss storytime last week, though it was nice to have a Thanksgiving break. I am excited (initial griping notwithstanding) to get back into the flow. I have a bunch of books cued up for the next several storytimes, which is also exciting.

Monday, November 19, 2012

week 9: you're gonna need a bigger boat

Brief aside: I saw this place on my way to storytime, and thought it was some sort of (weird) charming East Oakland boutique that sold Mudhoney t-shirts, flannels, and beat-up Chuck Taylors:

Turns out no, it's just sort of sells... clothes. Well, that's what the internet says anyway. I was in a bit of a hurry and didn't actually stop in. But we're here to talk storytime, right? Right!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water

Thanksgiving does not exist, at least not for this week's storytime. I have moaned about my themed storytime misadventures elsewhere, but this is not about that. Honestly I sort of forgot about it until yesterday (though some incredibly racist Thanksgiving-themed window art in my neighborhood makes it a little hard to overlook) so whatever. I had been thinking about books I wanted to for a while already and Thanksgiving just got lost in the shuffle. Chalk it up to being a little busy with other stuff.

Writing about how I forgot to think about Thanksgiving books for storytime did remind me to order pumpkin pie, so that's a bonus. But that's not the point. On to what we are going to do:

Monday, November 12, 2012

week 8: shake, rattle, and roll

Hello there. It was good to get back on the horse, storytime-wise, after a week off. No traffic nightmares this time, just a nice gray autumn day with a little bit of rain here and there. Let's get to it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

shaken, not stirred

The winds of change are a-blowin'. Well, a little bit anyway. I have been planning this for a while now, and I think this is the week to move forward. "This" being the introduction of shakers to my Head Start storytimes. Yay! We're gonna sing "Can You Shake Your Egg With Me?" after our last story and hopefully be able to round all the shakers up for our goodbye song with Gareth the turtle.

There are definitely some potential issues with this, but they are just that. Potential issues. And frankly the pros outweigh the cons so heavily this at this point so that I just don't think I can justify not doing it. I do it with library storytimes: toddlers, preschoolers, and up! Movement, play, and music should be an integral part of storytime. I know it. You know it. So let's throw caution to the wind. The worst thing that could happen is a little bit of fun storytime chaos. OK, actually that is not the worst thing that could happen but I am thinking positive.

1.  Opening:  Hello Song [with Gareth]
2.  Song/Activity:  Open Them, Shut Them

3.  STORY: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! / Mo Willems
4.  Song: You Are My Sunshine [with Gareth]
5.  Stretch: Way Up High in the Apple Tree
6.  FP: Two Little Red Birds

Sunday, October 28, 2012

week 6: monster mash

An abbreviated entry this week because I have some mega-deadlines bearing down on me (and they are not fun either, so I am likely to take any excuse I can find to procrastinate). Plus no storytime next week, so there's that bad news out of the way as well. On to business.

Maybe you've heard about Bay Area traffic, maybe you haven't. I'll tell you this: bridges suck. I have to cross a particular bridge to get to storytime on Thursday, and this Thursday the bridge was insane. Public transportation is not a realistic logistic option of the particular location I do storytime at (at least from my point of departure), so I drive. Or, on Thursday, drive a little, sit for a while, drive a little, sit for a while longer, drive a couple feet, etc., etc. Unusual for that time of day, and the fifty (usually 25) minute trip made me a few minutes late for storytime. Ugh.

Class 1 and 2

I was a little flustered for this first storytime, what with being late and all. We persevered. Ghosts in the House! received a surprisingly mediocre reception, and that was a slight bummer. I then proceeded to slaughter "The Ghosts Go Gliding By," but I am pretty sure no one really noticed. We skipped There Was an Old Monster due to time constraints, and Pumpkin Trouble was well-received. Not a lot of LOLing, but the kids seemed really interested in the story. I definitely will consider using it again.

Class 3 and 4

What a great storytime! I think I took a lot of things I wrote-slash-thought about over the course of last week to heart, and got some really good results. Also, having more time to settle in really helped as well, which makes me feel crummy about the first storytime.

I don't think I wrote about this (I meant to) but I decided to go with two books and a felt board story to accomodate Class 3 and 4's shorter attention spans. This worked wonders. We did There Was an Old Monster! (which they loved, and which I will use again for sure) and Pumpkin Trouble, which (again) didn't get a lot of laughs but really seemed to capture the kid's interest. They seemed to particularly like the concept of the Pumpkin Monster, and someone (Aroyal, maybe?) yelled out to me, "You're the Pumpkin Monster!" Highlight of the day, no doubt.

We did The Three Billygoats Gruff for our flannelboard story. Or my version, anyway. They loved it! We'll be doing another flannel story next storytime, and probably for the foreseeable future. I also used the flannel board with singing BINGO, with less successful results. I mean, it was fine but whatever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

brought to you by silver shamrock novelties

Halloween and storytime: truly, the greatest team-up since some comic book thing I can't remember right now. Halloween is the greatest, particularly if you are in preschool. Sadly I am not, but doing Head Start storytimes is a pretty decent consolation prize. Here's this week's Class 1 and 2 storytime plan; I plan on updating in a day or with the (oh-so-slightly) tweaked version I will use with Class 3 and 4. 

1.  Opening:  Hello Song [with Gareth]
2.  Song/Activity:  Open Them, Shut Them
3.  STORY: Ghosts in the House!Kazuno Kohara
I am so excited to read this book in storytime; it is one of my all-time favorites, especially at this time of year! I think it is amazing on a couple of levels, and like to use it year-round. Phooey on me for waiting until Halloween to read it with this group! But bully for us that we're going to read it on Thursday, and I think it will be a great way to kick off Halloween storytime, plus a nice transition into...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

week 5: hot in the shade

Jeez, Thursday was hot. Not crazy hot, but certainly spoiled-by-the-traditionally-great-Bay-Area-weather hot. Record-breaking for Oakland, actually. That's just setting the scene, I guess, because I was expecting things to be a little muggy in the Head Start where I do storytime. The whole place is basically a big windowless room with no A/C and (duh) not much ventilation, so warm afternoons with lots of action songs and stretches, etc., tend to take a little out of everyone. Not to mention the kids are already on a short(ish) fuse to start with, since it's later in the afternoon and whatnot.

Thankfully, for all my hand-wringing it was not super-duper hot. Or at least nothing that couldn't be worked through. Like I've done before, I'll go ahead and break storytime down by class groups.

Friday, October 19, 2012

white shoes... after labor day?!?

Back to the Head Start-only schedule this week, which is nice in that I can focus exclusively on those storytimes. It makes my overall schedule a little less hectic, anyway. Without any further ado, here's this week's storytime plan:

1.  Opening:  Hello Song [with Gareth]
2.  Song/Activity:  Open Them, Shut Them

3.  STORY: How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? / Jane Yolen

4.  Activity/song: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
5.  Stretch: Hickory Dickory Dock
We just went up to "The clock struck three" for this one. Choosing it is a part of a plan to include at least one traditional nursery rhyme element into each storytime from this point going forward.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

week 4: in which an alligator makes a guest appearance

I am in danger of falling way behind on things, so let's get to it. Last Thursday's storytimes came fast and furious: a library storytime, then my two Head Start storytimes just half an hour later. For economy's sake I used the same general framework for all three, with the appropriate adjustments discussed elsewhere.

First things first: all these extra (and fun) storytimes did leave me in a bit of tizzy, making sure I had the right books, props, etc., when I left my apartment. Of course I goofed on Thursday, forgetting Gareth the Turtle after rearranging everything in my storytime bag. Ugh! We did OK without him for library storytime, but I wanted to make sure our Head Start storytimes did not happen puppet-less so Miss Amy saved the day by loaning me the hastily-named Al the Alligator (pictured below) beforehand. Head Start storytimes would have a puppet! Day = saved!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

lightning strikes (not once but twice)

Heh. So at like 11:00 the morning of my regular Head Start storytime I got an email that they needed another preschool storytime fill-in that afternoon at the same library I was at the day before. No worries. I had plenty of time to get both done, and decided to pretty much stick with my Head Start plan, slightly tweaked, for that week (which itself used lots of Wednesday's plan) since the library kids would be new and knock on wood it wouldn't be dull or redundant to anyone.

1. Opening: We Wave Hello Like This [library] / The Hello Song [Head Start]
2. Song/Activity: Open Them, Shut Them
3. Stretch: Way Up High In The Apple Tree

I cut this element out for the Head Start storytime.

5.  FP: Balloons
6.  Song/Activity: If You’re Happy and You Know It

The real fun is (of course) is doing about four or five actions and then having everyone run through the whole thing super-fast.

week 3.5: the road warrior

As a preliminary matter, I apologize (I guess) for falling behind on blogging duties. Work and school and A's playoffs games and other stuff besides got things hecka busy last week. But let's get back to the matter at hand.

So, yeah. That storytime went fast. Firstly, it was on short notice. Secondly, I had to bail directly afterward for my internship over at the Main so there was no real time for any warm up or cool down of which to speak. That being said, Wednesday was a really good storytime. I want to say great, but I am try to cool my jets with superlatives. Or least be slightly more economical. Anyway, I had never met the kids before, so I had no concrete expectations. I knew they were gonna be preschoolers and we were going to have storytime and that was about it.

I'll just hit on the high points, especially since I have more stuff to write tonight. OK, so Jan Thomas' Let's Sing a Lullaby With the Brave Cowboy was amazing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

an unexpected pleasure

A surprising email from late yesterday afternoon brings the pleasure of preschool storytime this morning. Hooray! Short notice is just part of the deal when you do fill-in storytimes at my library. It's good to take my basic storytime outline and work in some old and new elements, all with an eye to having fun. I know the kids are not necessarily expecting Mr. Ted, but I strive to make their storytime as awesome as possible.

1. Opening: We Wave Hello Like This
2. Song/Activity: Open Them, Shut Them
3. Stretch: Way Up High In The Apple Tree

This is my standard library storytime opening sequence. I am pretty loathe to deviate from it.
4.  STORY: Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy / Jan Thomas
I picked this up a few weeks ago on (more or less) an impulse; I'm excited to see how it goes. Who doesn't love Jan Thomas? There's a great lullaby to sing with a Texas twang and (hopefully) lotsa laffs.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

week 3: take it, dee dee

Thursday afternoon started kinda bumpy (in a general sense), but a quick chat with Miss Amy before my Head Start storytime helped me get my head into the game. Forty five or fifty kids were expecting to sing "The Hello Song" with a turtle named Gareth, and I had to make that happen. No time for dilly-dallying. Only one choice:

So I'll discuss Thursdays in terms of (a) Class 1 and 2's storytime, and (b) Class 3 and 4's storytime. This is seems like a useful approach, because (kinda duh) every group will be different and (also duh) every storytime group has its own dynamic, and likes, spikes, and feels meh about different things.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

looking forward to thursday

Invigorated by last week's ups and not-quite-as-ups, I have been busy planning out this week's Head Start storytime. And because this is what I do here, here's my plan:

First, we start every storytime (of course) by putting on our magic storytime hats. Doesn't everyone? OK, maybe not.

1.  Opening:  Hello Song [we sing this with Gareth the Turtle, pictured below]

2.  Song/Activity:  Open Them, Shut Them

3.  STORY: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus / Mo Willems
4.  Fingerplay: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider
5.  Stretch: A Sailor Went to Sea

Thanks to Miss Amy for this one. I was looking for a stretch that gets everyone up and having fun, but also keeps the rumpus to a relatively manageable level. This looks to do this trick.

7.  Song: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (quiet)

This is an old favorite we have been singing all year. Thanks again to Miss Amy for suggesting the strategy of repurposing it as a "quiet down" song; we are going to try and sing as absolutely positively quietly as possible. Yay!

8.  Fingerplay: Hot Chocolate

There are a couple of versions of this fingerplay/rhyme, but we're using a shorter one. The original version is called Chocolate, and we are going to work up to alternating the verses in English and original Spanish. For this week and at least one more, we'll just stick with the English version to build up familiarity.

9. STORY: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? / Jane Yolen [almost certainly omitting a few pages]
10. Song/Activity: The Wheels on the Bus 

11.  Closing:  The More We Get Together [Gareth the Turtle comes back out to help us sing]

At the end of storytime, we take off our magic storytime hats, put them in our pockets, and keep them ready for next week.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

hello! (plus a week 2 postmortem)

Oh my. Last week's Head Start storytime did not quite go according to plan. Well, the plan is pretty much just "have an awesome storytime," and last week did not feel so awesome.

Oh wait. Perhaps I should introduce myself. Hello. I am Ted. I will be a children's librarian pretty soon; as in, I graduate in a little over two months. Right now, though, I do a weekly Head Start storytime next door to Miss Amy's library in East Oakland and conduct an occasional library storytime at my work. The Head Start is really big, so I do back-to-back storytimes: one for Classes 1 and 2 and another for Classes 3 and 4.

Last week I also started a Tumblr to document and discuss my storytimes and was never happy with its format. So here we are. Last week was just this year's second storytime, which is important to keep in mind. The first week was tons of fun, mainly because I played the hits: Max & Ruby and Clifford, specifically. I took a week off for the super-great ALSC Institute and came back all fired up to get back in the swing of things with a bird-themed storytime.

But the thing is... I realize themed storytimes are not going to work right now. The kids are just starting preschool, though Class 3 and 4 somehow seems younger to me than Class 1 and 2. Their attention spans need time to develop. At its heart, storytime is supposed be hecka fun. Right? Right.

I made some theme-driven book choices last week that ended up sorta bombing. In a Head Start environment, unfortunately, the books you bring can sink you. You can't go grab something else off the shelf; what's there is there and that's it. Of course I try to bring alternates, but if there aren't enough or if the crowd is squirmy and not into birds (or whatever), you're going to have to deal.

And so I nixed themed storytimes for the time being. We're going to focus on reading as many fun books as possible. I have a stack of 15 choices sitting next to my desk as I write this: Chicken Butt, Pete the Cat, Do Monkeys Tweet?, some Jane Yolen, and so forth. I also bought my own copy of Go Away, Big Green Monster! (at last) so I can have it in my bag at all times: a storytime security blanket.