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.