Monday, June 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

This week I wanted to read Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. I was initially at a loss for what to pair with it, until I decided to focus on the theme of transformation. 

Outline:

Opening Song

Opening Rhyme

Story: Beauty and the Beast adapted by J. Elizabeth Mills





Game: Memory Match

Story: Beauty and the Beast retold by H. Chuku Lee




Activity:  Magic Changing Juice

Final Story: No Lie, I Acted Like a Beast by Nancy Loewen




Craft: Stained Glass CD cases

Goodbye song

How it actually went: 

We wound up reading the books slightly out of order. I usually prefer to read a traditional version first, but one of my regulars thought he would have to leave early, and he really wanted to hear No Lie, I Acted Like a Beast, so I changed things up a bit. Most of these versions had the Beast near death without Beauty, and this seemed to confuse the children. I'm guessing this is because they are used to the Disney version where the villain is responsible for the Beast's condition. 

The Magic Changing Juice was a fun experiment. It takes some time, so I started it after the first story and we checked on it periodically throughout storytime. I explained to the children that grape juice acts as an indicator about whether something is an acid or a base. We started with two jars full of grape juice. I added lemon juice to one, and baking soda to the other. An acid will make the juice turn red, while a base will make it turn green. It doesn't happen immediately, and it's not always easy to see, so from time to time we would spoon out a bit of juice and drip it on a paper towel to check the color change. One unexpected reaction to this experiment: one of the children asked, "Who dares me to drink it?" I had to quickly jump in and inform them that no one would be drinking anything. 

Experiment with grape juice as an indicator. Acid makes it turn red, a base will make it turn green.


The stained glass cd cases went over pretty well too. I was a little nervous about letting the kids use permanent markers, but thankfully there were no issues. I printed out some stained glass designs that the kids could trace if they didn't want to freehand something. 



My biggest issue with trying to plan this one, was looking for ideas that did not directly tie in with the new Disney live-action film. I have nothing against it, but I wanted to go beyond that and look more at the original story. 

What about you? Have you used Beauty and the Beast with your kids? How did it go?

*Disclaimer* As always, even though I post links to Amazon, I am not an Amazon Affiliate and receive no compensation for any sales which may result. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Apologies and an Announcement

Hello all! I am so sorry for the unexpected absence from the blog. You see, I have some news for all of you, and well, I'll just let my dog Baldur make the announcement for me. 

Baldur is reading up on What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby. 

Surprise! So yes, those first trimester symptoms are pretty much a nightmare and between the nausea and the exhaustion, it was all I could do to focus on the regular day to day. Fun stuff like my blog moved to the bottom of the priority list. 

I'm into the start of my second trimester now, and feeling a little better everyday. I'm going to do my best to get the back log of storytimes posted in the coming weeks. 

Thanks for your patience and understanding. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Anansi the Spider

In honor of April Fool's Day I wanted to read some trickster tales, so we read Anansi stories and learned about spiders. 



Outline:

Opening Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme: Hands Go Up

Story: Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel




Movement activity: Spider yoga pose

Story: Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric A. Kimmel




Activity: Label a spider

Final Story: Anansi and the Magic Stick by Eric A. Kimmel



Activity: Spiderweb game

Craft: Resistance painting

Goodbye song

How it actually went: 

I had drawn a giant spider diagram on the whiteboard, so that was the first thing the kids saw when they entered the room. Some of the kids were a little freaked out to see a giant spider, but they quickly noticed the books on the table and made the connection. One of my kids had read all of the books at school, and was well familiar with the stories. 

When we read Anansi Goes Fishing, the children all felt bad for Anansi when he gets tricked into doing all of the work, but gets none of the fish.



The children did a really good job with the label a spider activity. After the first story, I showed them a pre-labeled picture because some of the vocabulary was unfamiliar even to me. I wanted them to have a chance to learn the names for the various body parts first. After the second story, we turned to the larger spider that I had drawn on the board and filled in the blanks. 



After our third story, I tried playing a spider web game with the kids before turning to our craft. It was an idea I found on Pinterest that looked like a lot of fun, but it didn't quite work like I thought it would. The idea is that you use sticky tape (like masking tape) to create a spider web in a door frame, sticky side out. Then the kids get newspaper that they can ball up and throw at the spider web. I don't know if my tape wasn't sticky enough or what, but the newspaper kept bouncing off the web. I think only one or two pieces of paper wound up sticking. 



Next we made some resistance paintings using crayons and watercolors. The kids used a white crayon to draw a spiderweb, and then painted over it with various colors and watched the web appear under the paint. 



Have you used Anansi stories with your kids? What did they think?





*Disclaimer* I include links to Amazon, but am not an Amazon affiliate, and receive no compensation for any sales which may result. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tortoise and the Hare

I remembered making inclined plane wheelers when I was a kid. We used old records and a pencil with some rubber bands or clay to hold them in place. They were a lot of fun, so this week I decided on that for the activity, and planned a Tortoise and the Hare storytime around it. 

Outline: 

Opening Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme: Hands Go Up

Story: The Great Race by Kevin O'Malley




Movement activity: Move like a tortoise, move like a hare

Story: The Tortoise or the Hare by Toni Morrison & Slade Morrison




Activity: Memory Match Game

Final Story: Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray




Craft: Inclined Plane Wheeler races

Goodbye song

How it actually went: 

I wound up going home sick the day of this storytime, so one of my fellow librarians ran it for me. So, unfortunately, I don't have the level of detail for you that I would normally have. 



Only one of my regulars came this week (it was Spring Break week). When it came time to race it was librarian vs. child. She used the inclined plane wheeler that I had made up as a sample, and the child made his own. It turns out that he's better at it than I am. He repeatedly won the races, and made a sign for her that he expected her to wear saying, "I was beaten by A___ 300 times!" I couldn't stop laughing when I saw that the next day. 



Have you tried using Tortoise and the Hare with your kids? How about different racing techniques? Share your experiences in the comments.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bremen Town Musicians

Bremen Town Musicians was one of the tales that I was not at all familiar with until I decided to use it for storytime. I love the comedy of errors that happens, so I decided that the whole cause/effect thing would be a good way to bring up simple machines and have the kids try to build a Rube Goldberg machine. 




Outline: 

Opening Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme: Hands Go Up

Story: The Bremen-town Musicians retold by Ruth Belov Gross


Movement activity: Yoga poses – Rooster (modified), Cat, Downward Dog, and Donkey (3 legged downward dog)

Story: Ol' Bloo's Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble by Jan Huling




Activity: Simple Machines



Craft: Rube Goldberg

Goodbye Song

How it actually went: 

The kids enjoyed the stories, although when we read the New Orleans inspired version, they kept asking me why the donkey was called Ol' Bloo since it was, in fact, not blue. As I had hoped, they seemed to enjoy the comedy of errors that caused the robbers to believe that the house had a monster in it. This was also the scene that I used for the basis of my STEAM concept this week. We talked a little bit about cause and effect and simple machines. 



We tried yoga poses for the first time in storytime. One of our other branches has yoga mats that I was able to borrow. I found some simple poses online to go along with each of the animals. Well, okay, so the rooster pose that I found was not at all simple. I modified that one for this storytime. Some of the kids really liked adding yoga to storytime, some did not. 

Next, I gave a brief introduction to the six simple machines with the Learning Resources set that I ordered from Amazon. This gave the children the chance to see the machines in action, and explore for themselves. 



For our craft time I wanted the children to try their hand at building some simple machines, and if they could, see if they could build more than one machine and have them interact. One of our maintenance guys helped me come up with a simple pulley mechanism using cardboard and wood dowels. This was another craft where I gave the kids everything from the box under my desk and just let them have at it. Many of them started with the pulley, and added to it from there. 



My original vision had been for some cool Rube Goldberg style machines, but I opted to keep it simple and let the kids determine how far they wanted to take it. 




How about you? Have you ever done Rube Goldberg machines with your kids? How did they turn out?

*Disclaimer* I include links to Amazon, but I am not an affiliate so I do not receive any compensation for any sales which may result. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Irish Stories

This storytime was the week of St. Patrick's Day so I decided to look at some Irish stories. 

Outline: 

Opening Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme

Story: Fin M'Coul The Giant of Knockmany Hill by Tomie de Paola




Song: Bog Down in the Valley-O

(Chorus)
O-ro the rattlin' bog, 
The bog down in the valley-o
O-ro the rattlin' bog, 
The bog down in the valley-o

And in that bog there was a tree, 
A rare tree, a rattlin' tree
With the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now on that tree there was a limb, 
A rare limb, a rattlin' limb
With the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now on that limb there was a branch, 
A rare branch, a rattlin' branch
With the branch on the limb 
And the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now on that branch there was a twig, 
A rare twig, a rattlin' twig
With the twig on the branch,
And the branch on the limb 
And the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now on that twig there was a nest, 
A rare nest, a rattlin' nest
With the nest on the twig,
And the twig on the branch,
And the branch on the limb 
And the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now in that nest there was an egg, 
A rare egg, a rattlin' egg,
With the egg in the nest,
And the nest on the twig,
And the twig on the branch,
And the branch on the limb 
And the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now in that egg there was a bird, 
A rare bird, a rattlin' bird
With the bird in the egg,
And the egg in the nest,
And the nest on the twig,
And the twig on the branch,
And the branch on the limb 
And the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now on that bird there was a feather, 
A rare feather, a rattlin' feather,
With the feather on the bird,
And the bird in the egg,
And the egg in the nest,
And the nest on the twig,
And the twig on the branch,
And the branch on the limb 
And the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)

Now on that feather there was a flea, 
A rare flea, a rattlin' flea 
With the flea on the feather,
And the feather on the bird,
And the bird in the egg,
And the egg in the nest,
And the nest on the twig,
And the twig on the branch,
And the branch on the limb 
And the limb on the tree 
And the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Chorus)


Source: Mama Lisa's World

Story: Fiona's Luck by Teresa Bateman




Activity: Leprechaun rocks

Activity: Walking Rainbow

Craft: Leprechaun trap

Goodbye Song

How it actually went: 

The stories seemed to go over okay. Fin M'Coul is a little on the long side, but I think my kids are used to that by now. I was impressed that they were more observant about hidden imagery in the pictures than I was (there are 3 little men in several of the pictures in the giants' home). 

As you can see, the traditional Irish song that I found is quite long. I taught the kids to sing the chorus and I sung the verses. Even still, their attention spans weren't up to it, so I cut the song short after a couple of verses. 

Fiona's Luck is a really cute and clever story. I don't know if it's based on an actual Irish legend or not, but it's fairy-tale-esque and that was good enough for me. Plus, Fiona's dog looks a lot like my dog, so how could I resist. 

Picture of my dog, Baldur for comparison to the cover above.

I made the leprechaun rocks a day or two in advance. For those who opt not to follow the link above, leprechaun rocks are made with baking soda and water. Make a nice paste, something that you can form into a rock-like shape, and then hide toy gold coins inside. I added some green food coloring also for that St. Patrick's Day flare. Then I gave the kids spray bottles with vinegar so they could hunt for treasure. 

Using a spray bottle takes a while, so most of the kids wound up taking the spray top off and pouring the vinegar on. I had some rocks left over, so I used them again a few days later for another storytime. They definitely get harder the longer they sit, so that's something to keep in mind. 

The walking rainbow is cool, but it takes a really long time to get the full effect. Again, for those who didn't click the link, I'll describe what I did. For the walking rainbow you need 6 glass jars (I used old pasta sauce jars). In 3 of the jars you'll add water and food coloring: a jar of red, one of yellow, and one of blue. In between each of these, put an empty jar. Lastly, roll up some paper towels and connect the jars with them. So you'll have a paper towel half in the red jar and half in an empty one, and a paper towel half in the yellow jar and half in the same empty one, and so on and so forth. So through capillary action the empty jars become full of orange, green, and purple. ( I wish I had pictures, but I left my phone at home.)

I set this up about 4 hours before my program and it still wasn't long enough. A little bit of green had started to appear, so I was able to show that to the kids, but red wasn't doing its job so I didn't have any orange or purple. I think it took about 6.5 hours before I started to see any orange and purple (I had a timer running next to the experiment). This was another one that I used for my next storytime a few days later, and after 3 days it looked beautiful. 

I gave the kids some photo inspiration to get them started, but the leprechaun traps were basically one of those crafts that you do when you have too many scrap supplies sitting under  your desk. Or maybe that's just me. In any case, I hauled out that big box of tp tubes, paper plates, straws, scrap paper, etc. and let them have at it. They came up with some really cute stuff. 

I had some other Fin M'Coul stories ready to go if necessary, but the kids spend most of the time on their projects (as I thought they would). 

So did you try any fun St. Patrick's Day STEAM projects with your kids?

*Disclaimer* I link to Amazon for informational purposes, but I am not an affiliate so I do not receive any compensation for any sales which may result. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Princess and the Pea

This week we looked at different version of The Princess and the Pea. 

Outline:

Opening Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme

Story: The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora




Song: Princess and the Pea
Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb

1. The prince needed to wed a princess
Wed a princess, wed a princess
The prince needed to wed a princess
A real and true princess

2. But how could he find his princess
Find his princess, find his princess
How could he find his princess
A princess real and true?

3. One day a princess got lost in a storm
Lost in a storm, lost in a storm
One day a princess got lost in a storm
And asked for a place to sleep

4. The Queen tested her with a pea
With a pea, with a pea
The Queen tested her with a pea
Under 20 mattresses

5. The princess could not sleep a wink
Sleep a wink, sleep a wink
The princess could not sleep a wink
Because of that hard pea

Source: Me

Flannel Board: Five Comfy Mattresses

Five comfy mattresses under a sleeping princess
But the top one was too knobby, she found a tree
Four comfy mattresses under a sleeping princess
But the top one was too bumpy, she found a key
Three comfy mattresses under a sleeping princess
But the top one was too scratchy, she found a flea
Two comfy mattresses under a sleeping princess
But the top one was too buzzy, she found a bee
One comfy mattress under a sleeping princess
But it was too lumpy, she found a pea
So she ate the pea and fell asleep

Source: The Voices Inside My Headphones

Story: The Real Princess: A Mathemagical Tale by Brenda Williams




Activity: Find the pea under the pillow

Craft: Princess and the pea art project

Story: Princess Pigtoria and the Pea by Pamela Duncan Edwards




Goodbye Song

How it actually went: 

I love the illustrations in Rachel Isadora's version of The Princess and the Pea. Since the text remains true to the traditional tale, I chose this one for my first story of the night. 

The week before, the children were quite vocal in their objection to singing "The Fairy Tale Song" AGAIN, so I promised them that I would find something different next week. Well, I couldn't find anything that I liked for the Princess and the Pea, so I wrote my own. Feel free to use it if you like it. 

I found the flannel board at the link above. You may notice that I altered mine a bit. I wanted mine to rhyme better than the original text that I found. 

For the most part, the kids seemed to enjoy The Real Princess. They counted along some of the time. One of my girls had an interesting objection. She did not like that the princes in the story were depicted with eyelashes. LOL I invited her to look at the boys in the room and notice that they do, in fact, have eyelashes. 

For the "pea under the pillow" activity I placed several pillows and blankets ("mattresses") on the ground and placed a marble "pea" under a few of them. Then I gave the kids a sheet labeled with mattresses 1-6 and asked them to check yes or no depending on if they thought there was a pea underneath or not. 


The worksheet I created so the kids could record their answers. 


They did fairly well with their guesses, but there were some where they just could not tell. Another problem that I had was that I had 6 kids and 6 mattresses. Well, rather than have them stand in line and have several waiting as the kids made their way down in order, I had them all sit at the same time and rotate. So some of the children were confused about which mattress they were actually sitting on (and yes, they were labeled). 

For our craft project I was inspired by pictures from Pinterest. I gave the kids paper in all different colors and patterns and invited them to paper-collage a bed piled high with mattresses. I also provided a label for each of the kids that read "_____ put ___ mattresses on the bed, but the princess could still feel the pea." This provided a little bit of math, and was also inspired by pictures on Pinterest. 

The children had so much fun with their art projects that we didn't have time for our final story. 

I'm sorry I don't have more pictures this week. I forgot my phone at home that day. 

So what are your thoughts? Comments? Questions?

*Disclaimer* I post links to Amazon, but am not an affiliate. I do not receive any compensation for any sales which may result. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Emperor's New Clothes

My co-worker is the one to thank for suggesting pairing optical illusions with The Emperor's New Clothes. 

Outline:


Opening song: Put your hands up high 

Opening rhyme: Hands go up 

Story: The Emperor's New Clothes by Karen Wallace and Francois Hall 





Song: Fairy Tale Song 
Tune: Jingle Bells 

Once upon a time 
In a land so far away 
A princess kissed a frog, 
Well that just made his day 

Far across the town 
Red Riding Hood took fright 
She found a wolf in Granny's bed 
When she told her good night! 

Oh! 
Fairy Tales! Fairy tales! 
Read them every day! 
Oh what fun it is to hear 
How Goldilocks got away! 

Fairy Tales! Fairy Tales! 
Full of joy and laughter 
Do you know how this one ends? 
Why it's happily ever after! 



Song: Hat Song 

On my head, I wear my hat  
It is such a silly hat  
that my head wiggle waggles to and fro  
Where else can my silly hat go?  

Place hat on other body parts and sing the song again. 

Source: Jbrary




Story: The Emperor's Old Clothes by Kathryn Lasky 




Activity: Optical illusions

Craft time: Thaumatropes and/or Fashion clothes for the emperor 

Final Story: Dinosaur's New Clothes by Diane Goode




Goodbye Song 

How it actually went: 



The stories went over well. Not surprisingly, the kids giggled at the sight of a naked or underwear-clad emperor. In The Emperor's Old Clothes, even though the focus is not on the emperor, he does make an appearance. The children were convinced that the emperor's chubby hip, was his butt and freaked out, cackling hysterically. Nothing I could say would convince them otherwise. 




I talked with the children a little bit about optical illusions. I printed a few examples out, and taped them to the wall. Let me tell you, if you haven't tried using optical illusions with kids, do it. Their minds were blown. I loved watching their reactions to the pictures. One of the pictures was designed to look as though the black dot in the center was growing. I could not get the children to believe me when I told them it wasn't actually growing. 




The thaumatropes were a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing the pictures that the kids came up with. The children also had the option of creating clothes for the emperor. Some kids chose just one of the activities. Others did both. 



Have you used optical illusions in your storytimes? How did the children react?


*Disclaimer* I link to Amazon, but am not an affiliate. I receive no compensation for any sales which may result.