Friday, September 28, 2012

Flannel Friday-Babies

This week's Flannel Friday is all about babies.  I don't know about you, but our toddlers here are fascinated by babies.  Sometimes I joke that I don't need to read stories if I prop a baby in the front of the room and all of the kids would be happy.  Since babies are an object of fascination for the kids, this makes an ideal story time theme.

This week we read the following books about babies:
Ten Little Babies by Karen Katz
I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy

Then we did the following rhymes/games:

Five little babies were playing one day.
One saw a ball, and so she crawled away.
Four little babies were playing one day.
One saw a rattle, and she crawled away.
Three little babies were playing one day.
One saw a kitty cat, and she crawled away.
Two little babies were playing one day.
One saw a teddy bear, and she crawled away.
One litte baby was playing by herself.
She saw her mommy, and she crawled away.
No more babies are playing today.

To make your own version of this rhyme, you will need five pictures of babies.  I used baby pictures of 5 of my nieces and laminated them.  The kids really liked the real pictures of babies.  I used magnet tape on the back and made ours into a magnetboard.

The second flannelboard is a game called Poor LIttle Baby.  While I suspect that it originally came from The Mailbox, I can't guarantee it.  It requires a little set up.  You will need five round circles to be baby faces.  On 4 of them, draw a frown.  On the fifth, draw a smile.  Then you will need 5 colored squares (green, yellow, blue, pink, and red) that will cover the baby faces.  I actually used fun foam and added a strip of velcro to the top to hold it on.  (Disclaimer-I actually lost one of the baby faces and haven't made another yet.  You will see this without the pink one.)

Step 1
Step 2
The rhyme goes:
Poor little baby, are you still sad?
Let's lift the green blanket and see if you're glad!
(Pull off the green square and ask the kids if the baby looks happy.)
Poor little baby, are you still sad?
Let's lift the yellow blanket and see if you're glad!
(Pull off the yellow square and ask the kids if the baby looks happy.)
Continue the rhyme until you get to the last square.  When you pull the last square off, have the kids notice that this baby is happy.
Katie is hosting this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up at Storytime Katie.  Check out all of the great submissions in the round-up or on the Flannel Friday Pinterest page.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ways to Add Early Literacy to Your Story Time (Without Saying a Word)

Early literacy is a big part of what we do in story times.  We use it in every story, every song, every activity, etc.  Having early literacy components in and around your story time room is also important, because the children will see them before and after story time.  It will also give the parents ideas to take home.  Below are some of the things that we do:

We use nametags for all of our programs.  We make ours ahead of time and use them for an entire story time session (4-6 weeks).  Since we register for all of our programs, we have that list of names.  If you are a drop in story time, use peel-and-stick labels, such as Avery address labels. 

Nametags are important because children's names are one of the first words that they know.  With a nametag, they can see their name spelled out and will learn that letters have meaning.  It is also important for you to have a nametag because your name will most likely look different than their name.  This way they can see that different names have different sounds.  It is fun to compare nametags.  You can ask them what their nametag says.

Where do your kids sit?  Our story time is in a large meeting room so a smaller carpet helps to give the children visual boundaries.  We found this great carpet through Demco and asked our Friends of the Library to purchase it for us.  I like it because with each letter, there is a picture, such as C and cat.  This reinforces the letter sound.  We have the matching carpet squares so kids can play a game, kind of like Memory, where they match the carpet square to the carpet.  You can have the kids follow the alphabet (find the "a" square, then find the "b" square).  You can also have them pick out the letters in their name.

What in your room is labeled?  While you don't have to label everything, why not label the things that you use?  All of our props are in labeled boxes.  While the kids who attend our story times don't read yet, the labels show that words have meaning.

Can the kids see your books ahead of time?  Do you have a sign that gives your theme?  When we are ready to start I like to ask the kids what they think that the theme is, especially if I have a book with a really good picture on the front.  Today I held up Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz.  Can you guess the theme?  It was babies.  Once again, the pictures on the book give meaning to the words.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flannel Friday-Repurposing Your Flannelboard

I wanted to add a few new flannelboard colors to our collection this week and mentioned it to a colleague.  She came up with the great idea of making a flannel background and attaching it to the current one with velcro.  So this Flannel Friday post is dedicated to Miss Kara's brilliant idea.

This is our current standup flannelboard.
I started with these supplies in the picture above.  Felt was 40% off at JoAnn's this week so I got two colors for under $5.  We buy our velcro in bulk from Discount School Supply as we go through a lot of velcro.  I laid each piece of felt on top of the feltboard (I had collapsed the feltboard and laid it on a table for easier access) and cut around the edge. 
To make the panel a little more sturdy, I added a long strip of velcro across the top of the back and the bottom of the back.  I added some along the sides too, but you will want to figure out how you will want to fold your panel for storage before you add the velcro.
The final product
Honestly, I don't know why we didn't think of this years ago.  For less than $5 and some velcro (which we had in stock), we now have 2 new flannelboard backgrounds.
Sharon is hosting this week's round-up at Rain Makes Applesauce.  For more Flannel Friday fun, check out the Flannel Friday Facebook page, the Flannel Friday blog, or the Flannel Friday Pinterest page.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sensory Story Times

Last year I decided that I needed to try something new so my plan was to run a series of sensory programs in spring 2011.  Working in a public library, I often see people with special needs using the building, but they don't have programming that is geared towards their needs.

Before You Start Planning
Think of this like school-before you start, do your homework.  I started by looking around the web to see what other libraries are doing and came across this excellent blog post on the ALSC blog.  It is a five-part post called Programming for Children with Special Needs by Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski.  Around the same time, ALSC offered a webinar by Barbara Klipper at The Ferguson Library called Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming that Makes Sense for Kids with Autism

Next, look around your area to see if there are any libraries doing any special needs programming.  We noticed that there was no special needs programming in our county, which prompted this program.  I remembered seeing a colleague present on autism at a conference that I attended so I started asking her questions as they came up.

The Program
Let me start by saying that you will need a plan with this group and you will want to practice.  This is not a programming group to go into blindly.  This group needs to see what is going to happen in which order, whether you hang the plan at the front of the room or pass out a schedule to each child (or both).

Since I had never did this before, I borrowed the plan from Tricia's blog for her color story time.  We had 3 kids attend with their parents so it was a nice audience for my first sensory story time.

Tips & Tricks
We used a program called Boardmaker to set up our schedule.  This is a great program, but is expensive.  I was able to download a trial of the program to see if it would fit my needs, then found the program through our Intermediate School District.  I am still pushing for my library to pick up the program as it would be useful in any children's story time, but that is a work in progress.

While the kids are coloring at the end of the program, talk with the parents to see if the program fit their needs.  Is there anything that they could suggest?  They live with special needs children every day and maybe they have a tip or suggestion of something to make the program better.

What I Would Do Next Time
The biggest thing that I would correct next time is the marketing of the program.  I made an assumption (wrong, of course) that if we advertised the program in our newsletter and in the library, that people would see it.  Why would they look for it if they aren't used to having special needs programming at the library?  If you want to run a sensory story time, you have to go to the people to advertise.  In our county, I would need to go through our Intermediate School District's special eductaion programs. 

You may also get a lot of inquiries from your regular customers to see if they can attend.  I probably could have had a room of 60 2 and 3 year olds if I wanted.  They thought that the idea of a sensory story time sounded cool, but they totally missed that this was not for their child.  It is a good idea to know ahead of time who you are going to let into the program-is it just for special needs children, for special needs children and their families, or can anyone attend?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Flannel Friday-We're Going on a Leaf Hunt

Fall is definitely on its way up here in Michigan so this is a great time to pull out your favorite fall stories and flannelboards.  This week I flannelized We're Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger.  This works well for a wide variety of ages as there is one-line cumulative text on each page.  While the story is similar to We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, the children stop and pick up different colored and kinds of leaves at each place (such as red maple leaves).

A pattern to make your own version can be found here.  I cut all of my pieces out of felt and used puffy paint and glitter glue to add the details.

This week Kay is hosting the Flannel Friday Round-Up at Storytime ABC's.  Flannel Friday is also on Pinterest.  Make sure you check out the "This Week" board for more fun!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Flannel Friday-The Goldfish Song

I am excited by this Flannel Friday as this prop has been 1 year in the making.  Last fall, I presented at the MLA Annual Conference with 2 colleagues and 1 of them showed me these cool felt goldfish that she used for The Goldfish Song by Laurie Berkner on the cd Victor Vito.  I got the pattern from them and started cutting.

The goldfish are all cut from felt.  I made a front and a back for each one to make them stiff enough for stick puppets.  I used orange, light orange and yellow felt.  Each fish has 2 colors-the outside fish part and the inside fish part.  I used giant googly eyes to make them fun.
If you haven't used The Goldfish Song before, it is definitely worth a listen.  It works especially well with preschool and kindergarten audiences as they will "get" the silliness of the actions.  If you don't use fish puppets, you can still mimic the actions in the song and have a great time.
Many thanks to Lisa and Alicia at our South Branch for showing me the goldfish puppets and sharing the pattern.  The original pattern can be found at  I shrunk it down so two fish would fit on a page (somewhere between 50 and 60%).
This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Loons & Quines at Librarytime.  For more Flannel Friday fun, check out the Flannel Friday blog and the Flannel Friday Pinterest page.

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