Monday, December 19, 2016


I acknowledge that this one is a bit of a stretch, but I had just received my new LEGO Education LearnToLearn set from my grant request, and I was really excited to use them. I used the Cinderella story as a chance to challenge the kids to build a new carriage for Cinderella to get to the ball. This could easily qualify as an Engineering storytime also, but I decided that cars are a form of technology, and so used it for my Technology week. 

One of the things I like about STEAM is that there is a lot of cross-over of ideas, so the same program could work for multiple concepts. This means that even though I divide STEAM out into separate rotating weeks, I am always willing to adapt and include multiple concepts in the same week or change up my rotation in a way that makes sense. 


Opening Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme: Hands Go Up

Story: Cinderella illustrated by John Kurtz

Song: The Mouse ran
Tune: "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" 

The mouse ran around the room, 
(make circling motions with arms) 
The mouse ran around the room, 
The mouse ran around the room, 
And what do you think he saw? 
He saw a great big cat. 
(Raise arms and make a large circle) 
He saw a great big cat, 
He saw a great big cat, 
So what do you think he did?
The mouse ran into his hole, 
(squat down) 
The mouse ran into his hole, 
The mouse ran into his hole, 
Safe and sound at last. 
(cover head with arms.)

Source: Preschool Education

Rhyme: Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground, (touch the ground)

How'd you get so big and round? (make a big circle)
Once you were a seed so small, (pinch fingers together)
Now you are a great big ball! (make a big circle)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground,
How'd you get so big and round?

Source: DLTK

Story: Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

Activity: Lego carriages

Goodbye song

How it actually went: 

I had four kids attend this storytime, two regular boys and two new girls. I hid the LEGO kits in the back throughout storytime because I knew that the minute the kids saw them, I would lose their attention. 

We started out with a traditional telling of Cinderella (well, a traditional adaptation for children, this version did not include the stepsisters cutting of their toes and heels or having their eyes pecked out by birds). The only difference is that the illustrations feature black characters. Since I feel that representation is important, and these characters better reflect my patrons, I felt like this was a good version to use. 

Since mice and pumpkins are pretty central to the traditional Cinderella tale, we sang about mice and pumpkins. 

Next we read Interstellar Cinderella by Debora Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt. This is by far my absolute favorite version of Cinderella, and pretty much the whole reason that Cinderella became the fairy tale for Technology week. The kids were intrigued to see a Cinderella story take place in space, and to see a version where she opts not to marry the prince in the end. I did have to explain to them what a socket wrench was, though. 

Normally at this point I would sing some more or have some kind of game before moving on to our craft/art project, however, because I knew the LEGO carriages would take a while I opted to dive right in to those. I told the children that Cinderella's carriage had broken down, and it was up to them to make a new one so that she could still get to the ball. Because we read Interstellar Cinderella, I gave them the option of making her a new rocket ship also. 

Cinderella with her new jet pack.

Back view of Cinderella's jet pack.

Some of the children had no problem with the idea of an open-ended challenge and dove right in. Other children were very intimidated by the idea, so I tried my best to work with them and prompt them with questions and encourage them to give it a try. When we start on an open-ended activity, I always emphasize that my storytimes are about experimenting and learning, and their projects do not have to be perfect. When something does not work out, that is when we learn. 

This was the first carriage to be completed.

This child frequently played with LEGOs, and was able to quickly determine the best way to make a carriage with wheels.

In the end, everyone was able to come up with something, and I think they had fun. They were disappointed that they couldn't take the LEGO kits home with them, but they understood. I am incredibly grateful to our amazing Friends of the Library group for funding my request for a LearnToLearn Core Set, and I can't wait to use them again. 

This was the final carriage to be completed, though I suppose it could qualify as a cross-section of a space ship, since it does not actually roll. 

Another angle of the final carriage/space ship. 

A row of Mr Learnie creations. Mr Learnie is the character that children build when they are finished with their projects. He requires every single piece from an individual LearnToLearn kit, so by building Mr. Learnie you know that all of the pieces are going back in the bag.
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