Tag Archives: music

Ukulele in Storytime: “You’ll Sing a Song”

27 Jan

It’s time for another edition of Ukulele in Storytime! This Ella Jenkins’ classic has become my new closing song and I’m loving it. It contains the G, Am, F and G7 chords. It’s pretty simple, though – you can learn it! I think it’s a nice quiet song to share with families and you can do any kind of action you want. In Ella’s version she has the kids pick the actions, which would be a nice option!

Shoutout to Storytime Ukulele for including the chords (two options!) so I could learn to play this!

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

7 Feb

Like most of the country, it’s been really freakin’ cold here in Colorado this week. What that means for me, the preschool outreach librarian, is that the kids I see in storytime have not been able to play outside. THIS IS A BAD THING. Kids need recess. They need to run around. Young children, especially, get super squirrelly when they have to be inside too long.

So, when I was planning my rabbit-themed storytime (centered primarily around Bob Shea’s Don’t Play With Your Food, because he sent me a copy!), I knew I had to include some movement. Now, I know, I’m a big fan of the Sleeping Bunnies song that involves some wild and crazy hopping. But we did that last month. So.

This is a very long way of saying I stole Mollie Kay’s B-U-N-N-Y song and added hopping.


We talk about each letter and its sound, and then we sound out the word. BUNNY!

(Sung to the tune of B-I-N-G-O)

There was a rabbit I once knew

And Bunny was his name-o




And bunny was his name-o

Next, we turn over the first letter. What’s on the back? A bunny! And the word HOP.


So, we sing again, this time substituting a hop for the letter B.

Continue turning each letter and singing, until you’re left with nothing but hops. HOP! HOP! HOPHOPHOP!

bunny3This was a great movement activity that incorporated letter knowledge, letter sounds, phonological awareness, and just plain FUN.  It’s also very similar to the version of B-I-N-G-O that I use!

Thanks, Mollie, for the idea!

The Roundup today will be hosted by Christine. Go check out all the awesomeness later! To see all past flannels, click the “flannel friday” icon to the right.

Happy flanneling!

Ukulele in Storytime: BINGO!

5 Feb

Hi all! Because I love you, I decided to make a fool of myself share what I’ve learned about playing ukulele in storytime in a series of videos. I know lots of folks who are seasoned uke-ists (not a word) and some who are new to the instrument.  I’m somewhere in between, and I hope this will help those newbies gain some confidence in their skills and ROCK OUT in storytime – the kids love it and we all know how important singing is to early literacy skills development!

Here’s the first installment: BINGO! Kids, librarians and teachers alike all know and love this song, and it’s pretty easy to play on the ukulele. In the video I’ll share the chord fingering**, demonstrate playing the song, and show you my fun flannelboard.  I learned which chords to use at this awesome site.

Please excuse the poor lighting and the video quality. I’m no videographer – remember, I did this because I LOVE YOU and want your storytime to be the best it can be!

**What I call an A major chord in the video is actually an A MINOR. Whoops!


Bingo was his name-o.

Look for Flip Flap Jack (Aiken Drum) next – the chords I found on the site above were strange, so I figured out my own!

Flannel Friday! If You Should Meet an Elephant

28 Oct

It all started when I found this song while hunting for flannelboard resources. I knew RIGHT AWAY I wanted to make it into a flannelboard!:

If you should meet an elephant on a summer’s day

What would you do? What would you say?

I’d say “Good Morning Elephant, how do you do?”

I’m glad to meet you elephant, I’d like to dance with you.”

The song continues with different animals for each of the 4 seasons. So I created this (not the same animals as on the original song, but I don’t think the kind of animal is that important):

The patterns of the animals came from OpenClipArt.  I then created these backgrounds for the seasons (which I freehanded and am EXTREMELY proud of) with some iconic images to help the kids figure out which season it is if they can’t yet read the words:

Put them together, and you have this!:

DTLK has also included SHEET MUSIC, which means I can probably learn this for the ukulele. Also there are activities and craft suggestions! This flannel would be great for an animals or seasons storytime, obviously. Or a music storytime?

Visit Tracey’s blog later today for the full Flannel Friday compilation, and click on the FF icon to the right to go to our Pinterest page, where you can see a visual organization of all the flannels from this week and past weeks! Follow the hashtag #flannelfriday on twitter so catch all the flannelly goodness (although twitter can be occasionally wonky, so be sure to check the compilation to make sure you’ve seen them all).

Flannel Friday: Mortimer by Robert Munsch

23 Sep

As I promised Tuesday, here’s a flannelboard version of Robert Munsch’s story Mortimer. All of the images are from microsoft clipart, and the stairs are felt.

Here’s Mortimer, ready for bed:

After Mortimer “makes his noise” (CLANG! CLANG! RATTLE-BING-BANG!), his mom, and then his dad, come up the stairs (STOMP STOMP STOMP) and tell him to GO TO SLEEP!* (I added the word bubble for extra print awareness and to cue the kids to say it with me):

After promising to quiet down, Mortimer continues to make noise, even after his sisters, and then the neighbors, come up and tell him to GO TO SLEEP!:

Finally, the police show up and also try to get Mortimer to GO TO SLEEP!:

But of course, Mortimer finally has to tell THEM to be quiet so he can GO TO SLEEP!

*When I made the flannelboard I remembered the story saying “GO TO SLEEP!”; it actually says “BE QUIET!”. I didn’t have time to make that piece. I’ll probably change it, but I think “go to sleep” works fine too. Also, Munsch’s story ends with Mortimer falling asleep, but a former colleague of mine ended it with Mortimer telling everyone to BE QUIET which I think is funnier.

Here’s the video of Robert Munsch reading the book so that you can learn the REAL story:


Check back HERE later today for the full Flannel Friday roundup!

Pete the Cat dances!

23 Jul

Like most children’s librarians, I am super excited for the new Pete the Cat book, Rocking in my School Shoes, which comes out next week. In anticipation, I give you: Pete, dancing, to creator Eric Litwin’s music.

Miss Mary Liberry: ukuleleist

16 Aug

Tomorrow I make my storytime debut with a new trick up my sleeve: I am learning to play the ukulele.  I’ve always been musical; I grew up taking piano lessons, voice lessons, and a brief stint with a guitar. My skills were never that great, but I can still read music and I sing with a local choir. I bought my ukulele about a year-and-a-half ago but never managed to get my act together and start learning it. A month or so ago, though, I saw Jake Shimabukuro in concert and was inspired. I MUST try this, I thought! And so, with the help of youtube, a book from the library, and this handy storytime song website that lists guitar chords I have achieved:

  • 5 chords: C, G, G7, F, and Am
  • 4 storytime songs I can play reasonably well without too long a pause between chord changes: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (I can really rock out on this one), “Twinkle, Twinkle”, and “BINGO”.
  • Some decent callouses on 3 fingers so that chords are not horribly painful anymore.

I think it’s time to try this out on the kids. We’re going to do an all-singing (but not all-dancing) storytime, with Pete the Cat, Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Down By the Station, among others.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Meanwhile, check out Jake doing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” below.

P.S. Yes, ukuleleist is a word. I checked.

UPDATE: And…just like that, my debut is quashed. Went to practice, and the uke broke. Darn. New one on order. Don’t worry – it wasn’t very expensive. I’m not going to REALLY invest until I stick with this a bit.

Do Re Read Mi a story! Music and Movement Storytime

26 Jul

I have been terribly remiss about posting lately.  I have many storytime plans that I used over the past few months to share.  One of my favorites every year is always this one; I love to sing, and accompanying our singing with a little dancing and movement is super fun.  Plus, singing songs reinforces phonological awareness in young children – they become better able to hear and manipulate the smaller sounds that make up each word.  I have a ukulele but have yet to learn to play it, but I look forward to bringing that into the mix!  As one of my fellow librarian twitter pals said, I only have to learn 3 chords and I’ll probably be good to go for most kids’ songs.

We start the storytime with my pink-haired friend Zoe, sister of Zeke, who talks about her favorite things to do with her brother. She loves to read (of course), play outside, and most of all, make music.  She pretends to play the drums (bam! bam!), the guitar (plink, plink!) and asks the kids to help her sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  Zoe settles down to listen and we begin our stories!

  • Krosozcka, Jarrett J.  Punk Farm.  This, for me, is a storytime
    Rock On!

    highlight.  Don’t read it aloud unless you’re fully prepared to give the band’s version of “Old MacDonald” it’s full punk treatment. That means growly voice, head-banging, exaggerated singing. And a possible sore throat and an accusation of reading “a lot of shouting books”. But the giggles you’ll get, from both kids and teachers/parents, is worth it!  If they’ve really enjoyed the story, treat them to Punk Farm on Tour.

  • Waddell, Martin.  Happy Hedgehog Band.  An oldie (and out of print now, I think), but a goodie, as everyone can help make the different drum sounds.  And when the other animals join in with their noises, I ask everyone to choose a noise and make it. We sound like quite the symphony! Who needs instruments to make music?
  • Flannelboard/Song: “Mary Wore Her Red Dress”.  I’ve made little felt versions of clothing: yellow hat, red dress (of course), green shoes, blue pants, pink socks, etc. and we sing the verse with each item (in the song link, everything is red. But why can’t we practice our colors too?). If the group is small enough (so that it won’t take the rest of storytime to do this), have each child choose one item of clothing they are wearing and tell you what color it is. Then everyone sings the verse, inserting that child’s name and the item they’re wearing.
  • Cronin, Doreen.  Wiggle.  Wiggles are fun!
  • More wiggling, this time with everyone participating: “It’s A Simple Dance to Do”  This came from The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, and Fingerplays by Pam Schiller, et. al.  Have everyone stand up, and do the actions as indicated:

Come on and do a dance with me, it’s just a little step or two.

I’ll teach you how. We’ll start right now.

It’s a simple dance to do.

First you clap your hands, then you stomp your feet

It’s a simple dance to do.

Wait! I forgot to tell you! There’s another little step or two.

Turn around, And touch your toes.

Put it together! 

Clap your hands, stomp your feet

Turn around, and touch your toes

It’s a simple dance to do!

Wait! I forgot to tell you! There’s another little step or two.

Pull your ears, and flap your arms

It’s a simple dance to do!

Clap your hands, and stomp your feet.

Turn around, and touch your toes.

Pull your ears, and flap your arms

It’s a simple dance to do!

Wait! I forgot to tell you

There’s another step and then we’re through.

Stretch up high, all fall down.


Clap your hands, stomp your feet

Turn around, and touch your toes

Pull your ears, and flap your arms

Now stretch up high, and all fall down.

It’s a simple dance to do!

  • Phew! Let’s take a break and sing a story! Hort, Lenny. Seals on the Bus. Every kid knows the tune, and every kid will get into the silliness of having this random combination of animals on the bus. At the end, if you’d like, you can ask the kids to suggest other animals that might be on the bus, and make their noises!
  • Calmenson, Stephanie.  Jazzmatazz! I like this one for the beat. The kids pat their legs and help out on the “Doo dat, diddy dat, diddy dat doo!” refrains.  It’s baby’s first scat singing!

Other book options I sometimes use:

  • Anderson, Peggy Perry.  Chuck’s Band. A rhyming story that’s not really a rhyming story.
  • Diaz, David.  De Colores. I work with a large number of Spanish-speaking kids who may know the song already. If you know the tune, it’s a lovely song to sing.  I sing the Spanish and speak the English.

Other new books that I haven’t yet tried with the kids, but think would fit in nicely:

Go forth and make some music!


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