Monday, December 29, 2014

Flannel Friday-Build a Snowman

We have a flannelboard in our Activity Room that is really popular.  The glitch is that you need a lot of easy to create pieces as pieces tend to disappear over the month.  I like things that are open-ended so the kiddos can take the pieces and make their own design, which is how this month's board came about.  I cut out a bunch of white circles in various sizes, orange triangles for noses, brown rectangles for arms, different colored boots, different colored little circles for eyes, various colored scarves, and a few mouths.  All of the pieces sit in a bin so kids can design their own snowmen like so.

I always put up a sign near the flannelboard for parents that I think of it as a conversation starter.  After all, we know why flannelboards are awesome and not just toys.  Parents do sometimes read the sign and talk about this stuff with their kids.

Flannel Friday this week will be hosted by Anne at So Tomorrow.

If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Year's Resolutions 2015

It's that time of year again!  I am a big fan of resolutions or goals as they allow you to see where you have been and plot where you are going.  Last year I posted my list of goals here and I am happy to say that I have completed everything on my In the Library list.  Highlights of my past year include:
  • We redid our Activity Room in January with new toys and targeted signage highlighting early literacy skills.
  • Our YS team decided to start work this fall on early literacy calendars.  These will go live on January 1.
  • We got a grant to start a circulating early literacy kit collection.  Our first kits went live in April and we can't keep them on the shelf.
  • We began incorporating STEAM into our programming plans.  We now run a Little Scientists program for ages 3-6 and a Mad Scientists program for ages 7-12.  This is in addition to our Tablet Tales program, Bedtime Math, and Block Parties.
  • I worked to become a better manager.  This one is ongoing and will be on my list for this year too.
  • I survived my first library millage.

Now onto my 2015 plans/goals:
  • We got another grant to expand our early literacy kit collection.  This means that more kits will be created and the contents will eventually be posted on this blog.
  • We will be doing a nonfiction reorganization this winter and will be adding BISAC subject headings.
  • In my mind, this is the year of the school.  We are working hard on connecting with local schools and building relationships.  This is the year where we will be pushing outside of our walls and getting out into the community.
  • Keep working on becoming a better manager. 

I will be taking a year off from presenting at conferences, but will still be working with two great librarians to put on Michigan's second unconference-MiKidLib15.  If you are within traveling distance of Kalamazoo, Michigan, plan on attending on Friday, April 24.

What are your plans for 2015?

New Year 2015 by animatedheaven - Vector Image of 3d Cubes with text 2015.

Monday, December 22, 2014

DIY Ornaments

It's the holiday week and some of our kids are already out of school.  Our goal was to put together some larger programs that required little prep where we could give kids activities to do at the library on their school break.  This is one such program.

We put together three crafting stations for kids.  As they finished their craft, they moved onto the next station.  Our crafts were:
The highlight was definitely the Christmas trees made out of muffin cups as the kids could design their own style. Parents liked them because many of them had muffin cups at home so they could duplicate the craft there.  To make your own, you will need muffin cups in a variety of colors, a small piece of yarn to hang, and stickers to decorate.  I have included directions here and below are a picture of my examples.

The program definitely was a hit as it was easy and had good results.  It is definitely one that we will be pulling out again next year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Toddler Holiday Crafts

This morning we ran our Toddler Crafts program for ages 2-4.  At my library this type of program is station-based so kids and their adults work on the projects together.  I always have a sample on the table for them to follow.  When choosing projects for this age group, I tend to focus on one skill, whether it be coloring, gluing, or something else.  To tie this type of program back into early literacy, most of these projects work on fine motor coordination, which strengthens hand muscles so kids can begin to write.  Here are today's projects.

Reindeer Food
For this station, I left all of the ingredients separate so kids could add what they wanted to for their reindeer food.  We have a lot of allergies (and parents who won't play with glitter).  While I do my best to make sure everything is peanut-free, the parents really do know best.  To make your own reindeer food, you will need:
  • 1 large canister of oats (Quaker is peanut-free)
  • Glitter
  • Sprinkles
  • Label with directions

To make your own holiday wreaths, you will need paper plates with the centers cut out, yarn to hang your wreath, and wrapping paper strips in a variety of colors.  I precut the strips and the paper plates so kids just had to glue the strips onto their plates.

Snow Globes
For this station, I precut the snowglobe pieces and had the kids glue their snowglobes together.  I also put out blue and purple glitter glue, snowmen and penguin mini stickers, and crayons for them to decorate their globes.  Glitter glue, as always, was a huge hit.  My station was set up like this:

My final project looked like this:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preschool Crafts

This morning I held a Preschool Craft program for ages 3-6.  This is an important age group to remember because many of these kids do not fit into our baby and toddler story times and are too young for our school age programs.  You wouldn't think so, but it is one of our hardest age groups to schedule here.  We registered 20 kids to come in and do an assortment of fall crafts.  Fall in Michigan means mild temperatures and colorful leaves.  On the morning of the program, we woke up to this:

I guess that fall now means snow.  We had three crafts set up at three different stations.  Supplies and examples were set out at each table so kids could work on these projects with little adult "assistance".

"Before" picture

Craft 1: Colorful Trees
This station required stamp pads in red, yellow, orange, and brown, a paper with a tree trunk drawn on it, and baby wipes.  Kids use their fingers to make the leaves by putting them in ink, then on the paper.  If you do something similar, look for inexpensive washable ink as kids like to mix the colors and the stamp pads may not be reusable.

I put brown craft paper down on the table as there were a lot of ink prints that ended up on the craft paper.  This makes it much easier to clean up!

Craft 2: Leaf Wreathes
For this station, we used paper plates with the middles cut out, glue sticks, die cut leaves, and a piece of yarn to hang the wreath.

Craft 3: Turkeys
This station was my favorite as it was neat to see what the kids' designs.  We used colored tissue paper squares and glued them onto half of a paper plate.  If you do this, it helps if you put the glue on the plate, not on the tissue paper.  When they finished their "feathers", they took a plastic baggie that included all of their turkey parts.  They glued these onto the turkey to create their finished product.

While the snow made some people cancel for today's program, we still ended up with a good sized group.  Almost all of them left the program asking when we could do this again!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Flannel Friday Round-Up

Welcome to this week's Flannel Friday Round-up!  There are some great ideas here, so stop by these blogs to check them out.

Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime shows off her 5 Little Mice.  They look very Lionni-esque and would work well for any mouse story time. 

This next flannelboard is awesome as it uses technology!  Jesse created Four Li'l Aliens using LilyPad LEDs to give the pieces flair.  This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for flannelboards.

Sharon at Rain Makes Applesauce shows off a flannelboard that her coworker, Suzanne, made.  Her Make-a-Jedi flannel would be a great addition to a Star Wars Reads Day or an activity room flannelboard where kids could play with the pieces.

Katie at Storytime Katie has recreated a flannelboard turkey from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Check out her neat way of matching the feathers to buttons!

Not flannel, but still fun, Lisa at Thrive After Three shows off her Preschool Dance Party.  She includes her playlist so you could recreate the whole program or just pull out 1 or 2 new songs for story time.

Last, but not least, Jane from Piper Loves the Library has given Olaf some friends in her Do You Want to Build a Snowman? flannelboard.  This would be a great addition to any winter story time or Activity Room board.

Just a reminder that there will be no round-up next Friday as many libraries in the U.S. are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The next round-up will be our Holiday Extavaganza at Mel's Desk on December 5.

If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

School and Public Library Collaboration

This past summer I took part in ALSC's Mentoring program.  I was looking for ways to get involved in ALSC and this was a great way where I could give some of my experience while learning something.  I was paired with a LIS student and we were both interested in different aspects of school and public library collaboration.  After some discussion and pointing her to  great resources, we decided to run a survey so she would have a larger pool of information.

The survey ran in July 2014 and we pushed the link out through Twitter, various Facebook groups, and people we knew.  Here are some of our results:
  • 98% of those surveyed work with their local schools.
  • 76% of those surveyed have collaborations that take place at both the school and the public library. 15% take place only at the schools and 6% take place only at the public library.
  • 63% of those surveyed have 2 or less people who work with their local schools.
  • When asked how often they work with local schools, 23% said once a week, 39% said once a month, 7% said once every 6 months, 9% said once a year, and 22% said whenever they could fit it in.
  • Ideas for working with local schools include booktalks (46%), story times (60%), field trips (60%), summer reading visits (80%), library instruction (33%), and other (41%).
The two of us each had a favorite question asked.  My favorite question was “What is your most successful program run with local schools?”  For me, it was an opportunity to see unique ideas that work.  In addition to some more common ideas, such as booktalks, story times, and summer reading visits, there are some great things being done in libraryland.  My favorites that I would like to try and incorporate in my library system include a kindergarten kick-off, a “We sign you up” program for school employees for new library cards, a school bag service, and school literacy nights.

My mentee's favorite question was “Have you incorporated technology into any programs run with your local schools?  If so, what types of technology have you used and how have you used it?”  She was very impressed with the types of technology incorporated into collaborative programs.  Many of the responses included working with tablets (iPads), eReaders (Kindles), and Web 2.0 tools such as Skype or Prezi.  Fun ideas included having a Techmobile visit local schools, using Prezi with school tours, and a virtual tour of Overdrive.  Plus, one library is giving all of their local high school students e-access cards so they will have access to all of the library’s databases.

So what next?  It is 3 months after our project and I was able to use this information in creating this year's goals for our department.  As a young library system, we tended to have a hit-or-miss relationship with our schools.  This year we are doing more targeting and the relationship has become a higher priority.  Here are some things we have or will be accomplishing:
  • We will have a position created and this person will be responsible for coordinating all school collaborations.  With 47 schools, it is easy to get bogged down or lose track of what we did and where.
  • We started a teacher enewsletter that is sent out bimonthly.
  • We have spoken to local PTO's and have gotten on the agenda for teacher development days to talk about the library and what we can offer.
  • We will be visiting local middle schools during conferences to sign kids/teens up for library cards.
While we're not there yet, we have definitely gotten a good start this year.  I am looking forward to seeing the results!

School Bus

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Flannel Friday Round-Up-The Spooky Edition

Since the round-up is actually on Halloween, welcome to the spooky edition of the Flannel Friday round-up!  Hopefully you all got more treats than tricks in your Halloween buckets.  We've got some great flannel treats for you in this week's round-up!

Instead of felt, Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime shows us how to use Beanie Babies as props for some forest rhymes.

I love it when people give me patterns!  Kim at Literary Commentary created a gorgeous Owl Babies set, complete with a pattern.  

Maggie is contributing to her first Flannel Friday!!!  Check out how she made I Broke My Trunk! into a prop story at Playing the Hits.

Tess at Inclusive Literacy shows us how to make a monster felt board.  This would be a great addition for anyone who leaves a flannelboard out for kids in your department to play with.

Anne at itsybitsymom shows us how to give your old lady puppet a costume.  The kids will love this version of There Was an Old Monster.

That's a wrap!  Start getting your Thanksgiving flannelboards ready as next week is the Thanksgiving Extravaganza at What Happens in Storytime.

If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter. 


Trick-or-Treat at the Library, Year 2

Last year I came into my new position and this was one of the first programs that I ran.  With a little more experience under my belt, I changed things up this year.

Last year's program was so popular that we filled up really quick.  While I like that programs are popular, I wanted to give more people a chance to attend this year.  This year we registered 100 kids, ages 2-5.

The Program
By having more attendees, I needed to rethink how I was going to run a program with no more staff.  This year we cut out the story portion and had three craft stations.  As kids came into the room, I directed them to our three craft stations and told them to stop by me again when they finished to pick up their trick-or-treat bag.  The crafts had to be relatively easy to do in a short time period.  We had two volunteers who kept replacing crafts on the tables as kids finished.

Craft #1 was a candy corn face made out of a Behr paint strip.  We precut the candy corn shape and provided sticker eyes and crayons for the kids to make their faces.

Craft #2 was to make a spiderweb.  The black paper plates were prepunched and one end of the yard was tied onto the first hole.  Kids were ask to "sew" their yarn through the holes and to add their spider sticker to the plate.

Craft #3 was a pumpkin windsock.  The pieces were precut and the kids were asked to make their pumpkin face and to attach the crepe paper streamers.

As kids finished their crafts, they stopped by my station by the door where they picked up their trick-or-treat bag.  I gave them directions to our 5 trick-or-treat stations and sent them off.  Since we were not trick-or-treating as a group this year, I added more signage by the elevator and stairs so parents could find their way.  I also added balloons to each station so kids could look for the orange balloons to find their treats.


orange balloons weighed down by milk jug ghosts filled with water

Our treats this year included:

The feedback on this new format was excellent.  Families loved being able to work at their own pace, both at the craft stations and trick-or-treating.  We got a lot of compliments on not passing out candy.  The parents really liked that the treats were activity-oriented and I heard back that kids were using them as soon as they got home.

For next year, I am already playing with the idea of staggering start times so we can allow more kids to participate.  While I don't think that we can handle more than 100 kids at a time, it may be possible to start a second program 45 minutes later, which will give staff and volunteers time to reset the crafts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Story Time Emergency Plan

I am going to approach this topic from a different direction than Anne did.  If I were sick, there is often only 1 other staff member in the department at the time and they need to cover the reference desk.  It is entirely possible for someone from outside the department to cover my programs if I get sick.  That can be really intimidating if you are not used to working with kids on a regular basis.  For this brave soul who is venturing into children's programming, I have prepared an outline for them to follow.  For both of my regular groups (12-24 months and 2 year olds), I do have a note that says, "If at any time you feel uncomfortable, put on my iTunes playlist and they will all leave happy."

Babies (12-24 months)
  • Song-If You're Happy and You Know It
  • Book-Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • Song-Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Shared book-pass out board book set and read together
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star sung with shakers
  • Book-Peek-a-Moo by Marie Cimarusti
  • Blow bubbles with bubble gun for 5 or so minutes
  • Pull out beach balls to play with for 5 or so minutes 
My actual written out plan has the words for Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle, Twinkle, as well as the locations of the props.

Two Year Olds
Depending on how antsy the kids are, I start with a song or a story and alternate.  Normally we start with a song. 

  •  Song-Shake Your Sillies Out 
  •  Book-start with the longest 
  •  Song-Drivin’ in My Car 
  •  Book  
  • Song-I’m a Little Teapot
  • Book 
  • Song-Head and Shoulders 
  • Flannelboard
  • Song-Jump Up, Turn Around
  • Flannelboard 
  • Song-Ring Around the Rosie (with the giant scrunchie in the closet)

  • Use the iPod.  All of the songs are on a playlist called Lisa Little Listeners 
  • Nametags are on Lisa’s desk in a basket.  They get passed out as the kids come in-I sit up front and they come up and tell me their name.  At the end of the program when I pass out stamps, I collect the nametags back.  Every child who attends gets a sticker on their nametag (or just sticker them all if you forget). 
  • The books for the week are on Janet’s desk.  I normally pick the three easiest.  Then I raid my flannelboard files (all of the file cabinets in my office) for 2-3 rhymes.  The files are in alphabetical order by theme.  Yes, there really are 7 drawers of flannelboards.

So how does this work? I have only been sick 1 time in 14 years so it has only had to be used once.  It is easier to have a plan in place, rather than trying to email one in early in the morning while sick.  My boss did have to do my story times and came out of the program with a greater appreciation of what I do.  As long as it isn't the first week, the parents and kids tend to be great about helping out.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...