FREE Webinar! Growing Executive Function Skills in Storytime

10 May

Guess what! I’m presenting! A webinar! And it’s FREE! It’s not only for library staff who present storytimes but also ECE providers. It’s provided via the excellent Early Childhood Investigations, who, if you’re not familiar with them already, you should GET familiar with because not only do they provide outstanding webinars, they’re always FREE. Getcha some professional development, y’all!

What you’ll get out of it: you will learn:

mary

My totes profesh picture. Do we still say “totes”?

  • What executive function is
  • Why executive function is important to success in learning and life
  • Specific activities and books they can share in order to help the children in their care develop executive function

Studies are showing that “soft”, or executive function, skills, are better predictors of success in life than cognitive skills – the “hard” knowledge we have. Soft skills include being able to put information together creatively, self-regulate, and take on other perspectives. We grow these skills regularly in storytime and our webinar will tell you how and give you more ideas about how to help your children develop.

I hope you’ll join us!

 

 

Stories and More: We <3 Reading!

2 May

I’m a million years behind (slight exaggeration) in posting but here’s what we did for Stories and More in November!

FOCUS: PRINT MOTIVATION – LOVING BOOKS AND READING!

Children who have positive experiences with books – like being read to by someone who loves and cares for them – are motivated to become readers. So this month I tried to focus on loving books and reading! We shared stories and rhymes I love, and we made our own books!

Storytime plan:

Opening song: Hello and How Are You?

Hello, hello, hello and how are you?

I’m fine, I’m fine, I hope that you are too!

Introductions and Early Literacy ReminderChildren who love books and reading want to become readers! The best way to do that is to make reading FUN.  Today we’re going to share some of my FAVORITE stories. They don’t have to be your favorites, too, but I hope that you like them!

Rhyme: Wake Up Toes

Wake Up Toes, wake up toes, wake up toes and wiggle, wiggle wiggle.

Wake up toes, wake up toes, wake up and wiggle in the morning!

Ask for suggestions for more body parts to wake up!

Early Literacy Reminder: This is one of my favorite books and it demonstrates so well the power books can have to grow a child’s imagination. Listen to the story and considerlola what you and your child might play after reading a story.

Book: Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn

 

Active song: Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck

Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck (pretend to steer)

Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck

Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! (pretend to ring bell)

Continue with: Hurry, hurry turn the corner (lean to the side), climb the ladder (pretend to climb), squirt the water (pretend to hold hose and spray water), back to the station (pretend to steer)

 

FingerplayHere Are My Glasses

Here are my glasses (hold up hands with index fingers and thumbs in a circle like glasses),

Here is my book (hold hands together like a book),

I put on my glasses (hold finger circles up to eyes)

And I open up my book (open hands)

I read, read, read (move hands)

And I look, look, look (move head with finger circles over eyes)

I take off my glasses (move finger circles)

And I [clap] close up my book!

Flannelboard: Hooray for Hat!

Settling Rhyme: One Little Fish

One little fish is swimming in the water (put palms together and zig zag like a fish swimming)

Swimming in the water,

Swimming in the water,

One little fish is swimming in the water,

Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, POP! (raise hands and clap together on POP!)moo

Book: Moo! by David LaRochelle

Song: Skinnamarink

Here’s the Sharon, Lois and Bram original. I found the ukulele chords here – although there are other versions; this one worked best for my voice. I also taught everyone the ASL signs for “I love you” before we sang.

Goodbye Rhyme: Our Hands Say Thank You

Our hands say thank you with a clap, clap, clap

And our feet say thank you with a tap, tap, tap.

Clap clap clap,

Tap, tap, tap,

Turn around and take a bow.

Early Literacy Play Activities:

One of our activities was to make our own books! What better way to love books than to make one of your own that you’re sure to love because YOU made it? I found blank board books at Bare Books for the babies and we got these paper books from Office Depot. Kids had markers, stickers, and stamps of various kinds to use to create their own stories. I encouraged parents to ask their kids about what they were creating and to write words for them if desired.

Our second activity was pretend play – and making up stories – using plastic dinosasurs, animals, and bugs. The kids loved talking about the animals and what they were doing.

 

Take-homes:

grumpyBooks: Everyone took home a book I love. I hope they love them too – but it’s alright if they don’t. Babies took home a copy of Sandra Boynton’s Going to Bed Book (who DOESN’T love Sandra Boynton?). Toddlers got Lola Loves Stories and Preschoolers got a copy of Grumpy Bird, a book I love so much I have a Grumpy Bird tattoo.

Activities: Everyone took home their own handmade book. Several parents asked about where I got the blank books as they wanted to make more at home. I told them they could also simply staple several pages of paper together if they wanted.

Here is the handout that went in the bags and includes more information on the books and activities and how to use them, plus additional ideas for home.

I hope this is useful! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

The Alphabet For Us: New Alphabet Song for Storytime!

23 Apr

Hey guys, I wrote a thing! This melody magically formed itself in my head one morning, and soon alphabet lyrics started joining it. I had the good sense to record it on a voice recorder, and later I fleshed out the lyrics. I tried to use words that don’t appear in lots of alphabet songs but might be somewhat familiar (except for the Xantus, of course. I had to google that one).

Here’s the tune and ukulele chords! The lyrics are written below. As I say in the video, the fun part is that you can substitute any words you want for each of the letters – except maybe for the last two verses, as those are the ones that rhyme. Put in silly words, vocabulary words, new words, whatever! (Thanks Julie for the suggestion!)

Alphabet For Us from Mary K on Vimeo.

A is for Airplane, and B is for Bug,

C is for Cupcake, and D is for Dog,

E is for Eggplant, and F is for Fun,

And that’s the way the alphabet’s done.

G is for Gumdrop, and H is for House,

I is for Ice Cube, and J is for Jump,

K is for Kitchen, and L is for Land,

And that’s what makes the alphabet grand.

M is for Mushroom, and N is for Nose,

O is for Octopus, and P is for Pants,

Q is for Quiet, and R is for Run,

And that’s the way the alphabet’s done.

S is for Sandbox, and T is for Toes,

U is for Underwear, and V is for Vine,

W is for Walrus, and X is for Xantus (a kind of hummingbird),

And Y and Z end the alphabet for us.

Flannel Friday Roundup for Jan. 6 2017

7 Jan

Hello Flannel Friends!

We’ve got a plethora of excellent flannelboards today to inspire and delight you!

Let’s start with Fun with Friends at Storytime’s terrifically cute fox and all his many socks! The kids get to learn some color words outside of the usual – turquoise and tan!

Next, The Dilley Dally has a 3D Cold Lady Who Swallowed some Snow. I’ll bet the kids LOVED feeding her!

Look. Just LOOK at these adorable little kitties from One for the Books! And glove puppets are such fun, too!

The Felt Board Magic has given us not one, but TWO awesome flannelboards this week! Thank you Kate! Five Little Birthday Candles and Two Little Black Birds (with excellent feathery tails).

Mr. Keith at Felt-tastic Flannelboard Funtime (BEST. NAME. EVER.) has graced us with some disgustingly cute kawaii bunnies and which is appropriate given that I totally fell down a rabbit-hole of cute going through all his past posts.

On my own blog I shared my new flannel for Emma Garcia’s Toot Toot Beep Beep. I hope y’all like the 60s shout-out with the tie-dyed VW van!

And last but miles from least a special cheer for my glorious friend Julie and her FIRST EVER FLANNEL FRIDAY POST (in fact, it’s her FIRST blog post!)! She’s got Eensy Weensy AND his pals Itzy Bitzy and Big Humongous Spiders (the latter I hope to never ever meet in real life).

Happy Flanneling!

Flannel Friday: Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia

6 Jan

Hello Flannel Friday Friends!

Today I’ve got a flannelboard version of Emma Garcia’s Toot Toot Beep Beep. We’re doing a storytime about colors, and this is a GREAT toddler-appropriate book that talks about colors and vehicles and lets us make great noises like WHOOSH! and CHUGGA and, of course, BEEP. There are a number of excellent vocabulary words that mean “goes” – rushes, glides, trundles, hurtles, and more.

I made the vehicles very much emulating Garcia’s illustration style. Why mess with a great thing?

And here are the vehicles all tucked away for the night in the parking lot:

toot3

Please note my shout-out to the 60s-era camper van with the tie-dyed felt background on the green van.

I’m lucky enough to host the roundup today! So check back here on Saturday to see all the Flannel Friday goodness compiled in one place.

Happy flanneling!

Stories and More: Talk, Talk, Talk

30 Dec

Here’s what we did for Stories and More in October!

FOCUS: TALKING.

Talking and being spoken to is how children learn how language works. They need to hear and understand lots of different words in order to recognize them when they’re reading on their own. While children learn many unique words from hearing stories read aloud, they can also learn so much about language structure, how to make sounds, and, of course, lots of vocabulary words.

Storytime plan:

Opening song: Hello and How Are You?

Hello, hello, hello and how are you?

I’m fine, I’m fine, I hope that you are too!

Introductions and Early Literacy Reminder: Today we’re talking about talking. Hearing language is how we learn to speak. We learn words and how language works. Children need to know LOTS (tens of thousands) of words in order to become readers. The best ways to give them words? Talk to them and read to them!

Rhyme: Wake Up Toes

Wake Up Toes, wake up toes, wake up toes and wiggle, wiggle wiggle.

Wake up toes, wake up toes, wake up and wiggle in the morning!

Ask for suggestions for more body parts to wake up!

Early Literacy Reminder: Books with questions like this one are a great way to spark conversation! But you can make up your own conversation too – talk about the pictures and ask your own questions like “what do you think will happen next?”grow

Book: Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea

Flannelboard: Make a pig. The kids have to use lots of words for this one! They need to tell me which body part goes where, which parts are missing, and what I get wrong. It’s very much a conversation, and the kids drive it!

Active Rhyme: Can You Hop Like a Bunny?

Can you hop like a bunny? (hop)

Can you jump like a frog? (jump)

Can you waddle like a duck? (waddle)

Can you run like a dog? (run in place)

Can you fly like a bird? (flap arms)

Can you swim like a fish (swim)

Can you sit as still as can be?

As still as this? (sit down quietly)

We usually do this at least a couple of times.

Settling Rhyme: One Little Fish

One little fish is swimming in the water (put palms together and zig zag like a fish swimming)

Swimming in the water,

Swimming in the water,

One little fish is swimming in the water

Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, POP! (raise hands and clap together on POP!)red

Book: Red Sled by Lita Judge

This is a great example of an “almost” wordless book. The story is told through the sounds and images. So we have to use those to figure out what the story is – we can tell our own story!

Fingerplay: Two Little Blackbirds

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill (hold up two fingers)

One named Jack (move one finger) and one named Jill (move other finger)

Fly away Jack! (move finger behind back) Fly away Jill! (move other finger behind back)

Come back Jack! (bring finger back to front) Come back Jill! (move other finger back)

Repeat again using:

Sitting in the snow…fast, slow.

Sitting on a cloud…soft, loud.

Sitting on a gate…wobbly, straight.

Sitting on a lily…serious, silly.

I got some of these from Jbrary. Theirs has NINE verses!

Goodbye Rhyme: Our Hands Say Thank You

Early Literacy Play Activities:

Imaginative play is a great way to have a conversation and build language skills. I brought out a big tub of plastic food and dumped it on the floor. I put out paper plates and crayons, as well as a paper menu with checkboxes I made. The kids created plates of food they wanted to eat, talked to their grownups about what they liked, didn’t like, and hadn’t eaten, and otherwise made up their own play. It was very open-ended.

I also made a bunch of wordless books available for the caregiver and child to sit and look at and use to make up their own stories. I also put out some non-fiction books that had great pictures to talk about. I used titles like Pinkney’s The Lion and The Mouse, Idle’s Flora and the Flamingo, Miyares’ Float, Savage’s Where’s Walrus, and more.

Take-homes:

newsBooks: Babies took home a copy of At the Park, a black-and-white wordless book. Toddlers got a copy of Red Sled, and Preschoolers took home Good News, Bad News! by Jeff Mack. All books that can be talked about!

Activities: Babies took home a Brown Bear, Brown Bear box. At home it can become a mystery box – the caregiver puts and object inside, removes it with the child, and talks about it. A new item can appear in the box periodically.

Toddlers and Preschoolers took home a set of these animal faces that I made in Word and four craft sticks. They could color and cut out the faces at home and then tape or glue them on the sticks for instant puppets! My hope was the kids and caregivers would have a puppet show and make up stories together!

Here is the handout that went in the bags and includes more information on the books and activities and how to use them, plus additional ideas for home.

I hope this is useful! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

 

Stories and More: Movement and Motor Skills

17 Dec

In July I started a new position as an early literacy librarian for a suburban library district. One of the major parts of my job is facilitating a program called “Stories and More: Literacy to Go.” It’s kind of a storytime/literacy workshop hybrid,  for children aged 0 – 5 and their caregivers, and while I do a half hour storytime, I follow it with a half hour of activities targeted to build early literacy skills and do a LOT of modeling for caregivers. Additonally, at the end of the program, each child takes home a new book (often one we read in the storytime) and an activity to do at home to continue learning. I create a handout for the parents that explains the activity, how to share the book at home, and gives other examples of learning activities they can try at home. I also give titles of other similar books they may enjoy borrowing from the library.

Let me tell you: planning these programs is A LOT OF FUN. I do 9 sessions a month at branches throughout the system and many of them are fully attended (we do have registration in order to keep it from getting chaotic). I see close to 200 children each month! I am fortunate, also, that these programs are partially funded by our local Early Childhood Council, which affords me the funds to purchase books, and activities for all the children each month and to purchase materials for the activities.

I thought I’d start sharing my plans with y’all in hopes that you might find something useful! So here’s what we did in September:

FOCUS: MOVEMENT. FINE AND GROSS MOTOR. 

We know that fine motor skills are inextricably linked to learning to write. Children need the finger strength in order to hold a pencil! We also know that gross motor practice can help with things like memory, balance, coordination, and connecting both halves of the brain by “crossing the midline.” So I thought we could do a little of both in this Stories and More.

Storytime Plan:

Opening Song: Hello and How Are You?

Hello, hello, hello and how are you?

I’m fine, I’m fine, I hope that you are too!

Introductions and Early Literacy Reminder: Today we’re going to move our bodies, because movement and learning go together! Children learn with all their senses, and moving helps them recall what they’ve learned, hear the rhythm and rhyme in language, and much more!

Rhyme: Wake Up Toes

Wake Up Toes, wake up toes, wake up toes and wiggle, wiggle wiggle.

Wake up toes, wake up toes, wake up and wiggle in the morning!

We also wake up our hands, and then I ask the kids for suggestions of a couple more body parts to wake up. We’ve woken up our ears, nose, armpits, elbows, and most frequently, heads!

Song: Roly Poly (to the tune of Frere Jacques)

Roly poly, roly poly, (roll hands together)

Out out out! Out out out! (move hands out from each other)

Roly roly poly, roly roly poly (roll hands together)

In in in! In in in! (move hands towards each other)

Continue with up, down and fast, slow

Early Literacy Reminder: Doing the motions with the words up, down, out, in, fast and slow helps to reinforce the meaning of the words.rhythm

Book: I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

Song: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” – regular speed, then faster, then slower, then fastest!

Settling rhyme: One Little Fish

One little fish is swimming in the water (put palms together and zig zag like a fish swimming)

Swimming in the water,

Swimming in the water,

One little fish is swimming in the water,

Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, POP! (raise hands and clap together on POP!)

funBook: Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas (we all get up and participate)

Movement song/Early Literacy Reminder: Sleeping Bunnies

This is a great song to help young people try self-regulation – which means controlling their actions – because they have to pretend to sleep until told it’s time to hop. It’s a tough skill to learn but important for when they start school!

Goodbye Rhyme: Our Hands Say Thank You

Our hand say thank you with a clap clap clap (clap hands)

Our feet say thank you with a tap, tap, tap (tap feet_

Clap clap clap

Tap tap tap

Turn around (turn around)

And take a bow! (take a bow)

Early Literacy Play Activities:

Gross motor: I got a set of these mats from Lakeshore. I put them on the floor and child and caregiver did the motions on each of the mats. If you’re unable to purchase the mats, put squares of different colored paper covered with clear tape. Write an action on each mat (print awareness!): Jump, squat, stand on one foot, run, crawl, etc.

Fine motor: Pompom sort. I taped colored construction paper to the bottoms of clear dip containers. I also taped paper around some old Crystal Lite containers a colleague had. I printed off and laminated some sorting mats like these. I offered a variety of tools to pick up the pompoms to go along with varying developmental levels: spoons, tweezers, “gator grabbers” (easier to open and close than the tweezers) and clothespins. The kids had a BLAST moving the pompoms around. Make sure you get BIGGER pompoms though, and remind parents to keep an eye on the littlest ones as these can be a choking hazard

Gross and fine motor for babies: Since my program reaches children 0 – 5 I didn’t want to leave the babies out! I taped bubble wrap to the wall for the little ones to lie on the floor and kick (gross motor!). I also put scarves in old kleenex boxes for the babies to grip and pull out (fine motor!). I had several parents comment that the would be recreating the kleenex box activity at home!

Take-homes: 

Books: Babies got a board book copy of Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes by Kubler. Toddlers took home the same title, but Mike Wohnoutka’s paperback version. The preschoolers got Thomas’s Is Everyone Ready for Fun? We purchased the board books from All About Books, and the other two through Scholastic’s Literacy Partners.

Activities: Babies and Toddlers got one of these sensory balls to use with movement. Preschoolers got the ingredients to make “animal action dice”: two wooden blocks and six farm animal stickers. I instructed parents to help their children put the stickers on one of the blocks and then write action words like “jump”, “skip”, etc. on the other. They were to roll the dice and do the action like the animal.

Here is the handout I included for parents which includes more information on each of these.

I hope some of this is useful! I will be posting additional months’ plans asap!

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