Friday, May 27, 2011

Flannel Friday - Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Happy Flannel Friday! I was going to submit today's entry on a later date, but I was too excited to share. I'll be using this for my Library themed storytime coming up in two weeks. It was fairly labor intensive, but fun, and I'm very proud of it!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

I traced the actual tree in the book using tissue paper, cut out the individual pieces, and then traced the pieces on the felt. The letters were cut out using a die cut machine (whoever invented the Ellison machine deserves a Nobel prize!).

I cut out both uppercase and lowercase letters. My plan is to tell the story and then give the preschoolers an uppercase letter and have them help their lowercase friends when they fall out of the tree.

As I was making this, children (and some parents) were coming up to my desk exclaiming, "Chicka Chicka! I love that book!" A circulation page and I were singing the song all day long!

Don't forget to check out the other Flannel Friday entries!Check Mel's Desk Flannel Friday page for updates or find us on Twitter using #FlannelFriday. This week is hosted by @ReadingChick at Rain Makes Applesauce. Entries from previous weeks are available at So Tomorrow's blog.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flannel Friday - What Will I Wear?

Happy Flannel Friday! Today's entry comes to us from my Back to School theme: What Will I Wear? The poem (by Jean Warren) and pictures came from The Best of Totline Flannelboards by Kathleen Cubley (Totline Publications, 2000).

 "What Will I Wear?"
What will I wear to school today,
Something old or something new?
What will I wear to school today,
Perhaps the color blue!

I printed the pictures out on card stock, colored them in with marker, laminated them, then hot glued Velcro onto the back. Voila! Instant flannel board!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Storytime - April Showers Bring May Flowers

April 29th was our last meeting of storytime for the Winter/Spring 2011 session. We'll start up again on June 10th. Can't wait! Here's what we did on our last day:


Little Cloud by Eric Carle

 One Little Seed by Elaine Greenstein


Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems


Zinnia's Flower Garden by Monica Wellington



Special Songs/Rhymes
Rain is Falling Down
Rain is falling down, splash!
(wiggle finger down in front of child, making splashing motion at end of line)
Rain is falling down, splash!
Pitter patter pitter patter
Rain is falling down, SPLASH!
          (big splash at end – fun in bath or pool)
--from Lapsit Services for the Very Young by Linda L. Ernst. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc, 2001.

The Great Big Spider
Sung to: "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"
The great big spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the great big spider went up the spout again.
--from Lapsit Services for the Very Young by Linda L. Ernst. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc, 2001.

I Hear Thunder
Sung to: “Frere Jacques”
I hear thunder, I hear thunder
          (pound hands on floor or lap)
Yes, don’t you?
          (cup on hand by ear to listen)
Yes, don’t you?
          (cup other hand to other ear)
Pitter, patter raindrops, pitter, patter raindrops
(wiggle fingers in falling motion in front of face)
 I’m wet through,
(shake body)
So are you!  
--from Lapsit Services for the Very Young by Linda L. Ernst. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc, 2001. 
Make Your Own Thunderstorm
Instruct the children to watch you and repeat what you do. Start by rubbing your hands together. Move on to tapping your hands on your legs, then gently clapping your hands. Clap your hands a little bit louder each time, then start to stomp your feet. It helps if you ask a parent ahead of time to flick the lights on and off while the thunder is happening. Gradually begin to do the steps in the opposite order (stomping feet, loud clap, soft clap, etc). You've just made your own thunderstorm!

Felt Board
Five Little Flowers
One little flower had nothing much to do,
Out popped another one, then there were two.
Two little flowers were smiling at the bee,
Out popped another one, then there were three.
Three little flowers were growing by the door,
Out popped another one, then there were four.
Four little flowers were glad to be alive,
Out popped another one, then there were five.

Toddler: I copied a coloring sheet of a stem with leaves. The children colored the picture in and pasted a muffin cup to the top of the stem. Thanks to Miss Sara for the idea and the coloring sheet!

Preschool: The children pasted yarn, muffin cup halves, cotton balls, and raindrop die cuts onto blue construction paper to make their own rainy day picture.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flannel Friday - Five Little Flowers

Happy Friday, everyone! Today's Flannel Friday is brought to you by April Showers, the best supplier of May flowers in the country.

Five Little Flowers
One little flower had nothing much to do,
Out popped another one, then there were two.
Two little flowers were smiling at the bee,
Out popped another one, then there were three.
Three little flowers were growing by the door,
Out popped another one, then there were four.
Four little flowers were glad to be alive,
Out popped another one, then there were five.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Storytime - Rabbits

April 22nd was Bunny Day at the library in honor of Easter and Spring!

Flora’s Blanket by Debi Gliori

Scrubba Dub by Vancy Van Laan

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

A Boy and His Bunny by Sean Bryan


Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming

Special Songs/Rhymes
Funny Bunny Hop
Funny, little bunny goes hop, hop, hop!
Funny little bunny, please stop,stop,stop!
Wiggle your ears and crinkle your nose.
Then wiggle, wiggle, wiggle right down to your toes.

Here’s a Little Bunny
Here’s a little bunny with ears so funny,
(make fist with two fingers up)
And here’s his hole in the ground.
          (put hand on waist, elbow out)
When a noise he hears,
          (cup hand to ear)
He picks up his ears,
And jumps in his hole in the ground!
          (hop rabbit into hole)
-- from Lapsit Services for the Very Young by Linda L. Ernst. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc, 2001.

Did you Ever see a Bunny?
Sung to: "Did You Ever See a Lassie?"
Did you ever see a bunny, a bunny, a bunny,
Did you ever see a bunny, that hops -- like this?
He hops, and hops, and hops, and hops,
Did you ever see a bunny, that hops like this?
Change to hops slow, fast, backwards, etc.

Felt Boards
Tired Bunnies
“Come my bunnies, it’s time for bed.”
That’s what the mother bunny said.
“But first I’ll count you just to see,
If you have all come back to me.
Bunny 1, Bunny 2, Bunny 3, oh dear,
Bunny 4, Bunny 5, yes, you’re all here.
You’re the sweetest things alive,
My bunnies 1,2,3,4,5.”
-- I’m a Little Teapot!: Presenting Preschool Storytime by Jane Cobb. Point Roberts, WA: Black Sheep Press, 1996.

Sung to: "Bingo"
I know a rabbit with big long ears
and BUNNY is its name -o
B U N N Y, B U N N Y, B U N N Y
and BUNNY is its name-o


Bunny Headbands
Such an easy craft to make and the kids look absolutely adorable wearing it. I wanted to sing "The Bunny Pokey" after class (you put your ears in, tail in, etc.), but there wasn't enough time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Toddler/Preschool Storytime Overview

One of my first posts on this blog was a copy of my format for toddler and preschool storytimes, but I'd like to explore my methods a bit more.

We have three storytimes a week at my branch. Wednesdays are for Wee Read, for ages birth to 18 months. Our toddlers (18 months to 3 years) and preschoolers (3 to 5 years) meet on Friday, at 10:00 and 11:00 respectively.

My library system does not require registration for storytime, something I am personally torn over. I admit that I can be a tad bit of a control freak, and knowing who is coming and how many to expect is something that I have had a hard time relinquishing. The system I previously worked for fostered that feeling with required sign-ups every session. I can, however, appreciate that family schedules change, and a mom might not be able to bring her child one month, but can the next, and vice-versa for other families.

Every child receives his own name tag when he comes to storytime, and he will keep his same name tag for the whole session. The name tags are made out of a die cut shape from construction paper, a different shape each session. Each tag is prepped by covering a section of the top with scotch tape, then punching a hole through the tape. Last but not least, comes the yarn to make it a necklace.

Summer Name Tag Example
As the children arrive, I greet them, and allow them time to look over the books I have displayed on the side of the room. The preschoolers are allowed to use the crayons and scrap paper I have set out for them. There are usually quite a few stragglers, so I don't start storytime until five minutes after the posted time.

We start with several welcoming songs, ones that they know by heart now. They're always cute when I ask them why they're here, and their answer is always, "For storytime!" I sing "Hello, How Are You?" and wave hello to each child, saying their name.

Next come stretches to get their wiggles out, and the obligatory "Open, Shut Them". The preschoolers laugh riotously when I drag out the last line of the second verse and surprise them with it. Now it's time for the first book of the program. With the toddlers, I jump right in, but the preschoolers are learning the difference between the jobs of the author and illustrator.

In between stories, I either do a felt board rhyme or we sing a song. Sometimes I will accompany the song with my keyboard. If the kids are especially wiggly, we might do another get-your-wiggles-out song before starting the next book.

Craft Bag
Craft time! The toddlers are invited up the front of the room to put their name tag on my chair and receive their craft bag. I usually do a simpler craft for this group, with a minimal amount of gluing and coloring. The preschoolers are called to the front of the room one by one to put their name tags on my chair and get their bag. I use gallon-sized Ziploc bags to store eight crayons (one of each color), a glue stick, and scotch tape, along with the materials for the week's craft. Occasionally I'll add in scissors for the preschoolers. I experimented with different methods of distributing craft supplies, and this seemed to work the best, so I've stuck with it. I used to make examples of the craft, but stopped doing so when I realized that the parents were trying to copy the example, instead of letting their child be creative. I only make a sample now when the craft is too hard to explain.

During the craft assembly, I make announcements about future programs, new materials available to parents, etc. When they seem to be almost finished, we sing "The More We Get Together", and the attendees are invited to check out the books from the displays.

And there you have it! To see an outline of my storytimes, complete with songs used, check out my entry here. Also check out the storytime overview round-up at Mel's Desk

My Children's Librarian mentor, Miss Lucy, always told me that there's no one way, no right way to do a storytime. Everyone has their own style, their own way of doing things that work for them. Find your own groove, by picking and choosing from the methods of others and adding your own touch. Different children respond to different styles, and if something doesn't work, keep trying.

And remember: always have fun!

Flannel Friday - B-U-N-N-Y

Hello there and happy Flannel Friday! Today's submission is a continuation of the bunny theme. This one was used with my preschool class. They picked up on identifying the letters fairly quick, but we were stuck on the clapping instead of saying the letters.

Sung to: "B-I-N-G-O"
There was a rabbit that I once knew
And Bunny was her name-o.
And Bunny was her name-o!

Each time you repeat the verse, take out one letter and replace with a flower. The flowers indicate when to clap. Repeat until all of the letters are clapped instead.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Hey there, folks!

This blog has been pretty quiet the past week or two, and I want you all to know that I'm still here. Turns out, being the Acting Branch Manager is harder than it looks! I also got word that I'll be working ten days in a row. Yikes! Hopefully I'll get time to catch up, but in the meantime, here are a few projects I'm working on.

1. Throne of Fire release party - Anytime a new Rick Riordan book comes out is cause for celebration. My branch had a release party for it today, and though it didn't quite turn out the way I thought it would, we had a good time, and I hope I made some new friends out of the kids.

2. Summer storytimes - I have been able to plan four and a half of my Summer storytimes this week and last. I also was lucky enough to get a student volunteer on Saturday, and now all of my name tags for the Summer session are finished. And it's only the first week of May!

3. SRP Prep - From collating reading packets to printing out performer posters to readying my program room, I'm prepping and I'm prepping early. My plan is to make a display in the room called Sea How Much We've Read. It will be an undersea scene, and for every ten books the kids read, I'll add a fish to the scene. Problem is, judging by last year's counts, my kids read over 17,000 books, so I'll need 1700 fish. Good thing we have a die cut machine and plenty of extra circulation and shelving staff this week and next!

4. New Children's book display - I have the books up for my May is for Mythical Creatures display, just no sign. Every time I try to sit down at my desk, I realize I'm not supposed to be at my desk. I'm supposed to sit in the big, awesome office which doesn't have the fonts I need to make the sign. I know, I know, not a good excuse, but I'm slowly getting the sign made.

5. I'll need to be thinking of a new display for the case. I don't think the bunny in the case wants to be in there anymore. He keeps giving me these stares.

6. Trying to keep the middle-schoolers under control - When am I NOT doing this? It's a constant battle, and we're slowly reaching common ground, just in time for school to be over. Next year, I'm hoping to turn our meeting room into a study center two days a week so that they have some place to blow off steam if they need it (and eat their snacks).

That's all I've got for you now. I have a few storytimes to post and a breakdown of how I do my storytimes (a little late to the party, I know, but it's better late than never!).