Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Week

I just had such a fun evening watching the neighborhood go by and handing out candy to scads of kids. This is the first year I haven't had a child go trick-or-treating, but we enjoyed handing out the goodies together. I wore the cow costume and moo-ed at the little ones who either laughed or stared at my udder. Only one child was brave enough to squeeze a teat.

With holiday season upon us - Halloween to Easter, nothing but candy! - you may wonder why I don't do holiday stories at the library, but I was asked long ago not to. They don't want to have to worry about offending the non-celebrators or making sure EVERY holiday gets equal time, so we just don't do holiday stories. I usually do "Monsters" or "Scary Things" right around Halloween, mostly to help the kids learn to deal with the scary thoughts, but they aren't actually Halloween stories. So speaking of monsters, here are the books we did last week:

Preschool Storytime

Go Away Big Green Monster, by Emberly. No one cried this year! Sometimes we get so loud at shouting "Go away!" that someone cries.
Little Monsters, by Pienkowski. This is the pop-up book. Cute!
There's a Nightmare in My Closet, by Mayer. A good one for those afraid of the dark.
No Such Thing, by Koller. One of my all time favorites! Kids identify with the children whose parents don't believe them. And I love how the monster and boy become friends, then play a trick on their mothers.

We acted out "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and the performers did an outstanding job of trip-trapping over the bridge.

Toddler Time

I didn't introduce any new rhymes this week.

Baby Time

We sang a new song this week:

I Had a Little Mousie

I had a little mousie
Who wouldn't eat his cheese.
All he ever wanted to do
Was bounce upon my knees.

Bounce upon my knees,
Bounce upon my knees,
All he ever wanted to do
Was bounce upon my knees.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

They're Listening

You know how your kids sometimes repeat things you really wish they wouldn't? I had a perfect example of that recently. I was just introducing a new fingerplay to the toddlers and I told them all to put their hands on their heads, or reach their arms up, and one little cutie obeyed, but then gave a quizzical look and said, "What the hell?" Luckily I don't think anyone else caught it, or Mom probably would have been embarrassed.

Yes folks, we are role models in everything we do, say, and think. They watch every move, and imitate, listen to every word, and imitate, observe every attitude, and imitate. The darn little critters are so smart! I still see it in my teenagers, and I can even pinpoint which behavior or attitude came from me, and which from my husband. I'll see my daughter do or say something (good or bad) and think "I didn't teach you that. Oh yeah, your dad did."

This is why I love it when I see parents at Storytime fully participating with their kids. Their children are learning so much from seeing you sing the songs, do the motions to the fingerplays, and praising and encouraging their efforts. Even at Preschool Storytime, when you listen to the stories so you can talk about them afterward, they get a definite message - actually several messages: storytime is important, listening is important, books are fun, stories are interesting, we can share this together.

There's so much to Storytime than just something for your child to do. That's one reason I love my job so much. And I love your kids, too!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This Week at the Library

Baby Time

Boy, those babies do a mean Hokey Pokey! You moms can't always see your baby's face while you're dancing around, but they're adorable! Some are smiling and laughing (or squealing) and some just look amazed by the commotion.

We also did:

Bounce You Here

I bounce you here
I bounce you there
I bounce you, bounce you everywhere!

I tickle you here...
I hug you here...

Icky Bicky Soda Cracker

Icky bicky soda cracker
Icky bicky boo.
Icky bicky soda cracker
Up goes you!

Just Like Me

(To the tune of "London Bridge")
Make your hands go clap, clap, clap,
Clap, clap, clap. Clap, clap, clap.
Make your hands go clap, clap, clap.
Just like me.

Make your arms go up and down...
Make your feet go tap, tap, tap...

Toddler Time

I introduced a fall rhyme today that they seemed to like.

Little Leaves

Little leaves fall gently down,
Red and yellow, orange and brown,
Swirling, swirling round and round,
Quietly, without a sound.

Preschool Storytime

This week our theme was "Clothing." We had fun looking at the colors on our clothing and singing the "Color Song" from Wee Sing Games. Our books were:

Whose Shoe, by Miller
Thomas' Snowsuit, by Munsch
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, by Barrett

The flannelboard story was Bit by Bit, by Sanfield, available at the library as a picture book.

I also used book props to tell the story The Mitten, which is an old Ukrainian folktale told many different ways and in many different picture book formats. One of my favorites is by Jan Brett, also available at the library - even at our branch!

Monday, October 19, 2009

If Anyone's Interested...

I've updated my profile. It was kind of boring, so I put some more stuff in there. One of these days I'll put a picture in there too. If I can figure out how....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh, Those Naughty Kids!

Preschool Storytime was about "Naughtiness" this week, and I wish you could have seen the kids' faces from my perspective. While I read stories about the awful things the main character did, some kids had big grins on their faces and laughed occasionally, while others listened quite seriously, looking very thoughtful. (How I wish I could have read their minds!) Here are the books I read:

Dinofours: It's Time-Out Time, by Steve Metzger - I got this book from a Scholastic book order over ten years ago. The library doesn't have it, and I was surprised that Amazon has only one new copy (for $90.55!) but many used copies starting at $.01. Every time I read this book at Storytime the kids get absolutely silent and motionless. I think they really identify with the character, the setting, and the situation. It's a very realistic book to them. Brendan gets in trouble the way they do, has feelings like they do, gets spoken to the way they do, and struggles with self-control just like them. It has a satisfying ending too.

The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds, by Marisabina Russo - This got a vote for favorite book on Wednesday.

The Day Jake Vacuumed, by Simon James - This was the first time I've read this. It was recommended by a friend who said it was her son's all-time favorite picture book. I was a little concerned that someone would be frightened that the vacuum sucked everyone up, but that didn't appear to happen.

David Gets in Trouble, by David Shannon - Yes, David is at it again.

My flannel board story was The Cake That Mack Ate, by Rose Robart - It's available as a picture book at the library.

Then we had fun with the naughty Little Bunny Foo Foo and the naughty Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

Toddler Time

The only toddler rhyme not listed in the labels is:

I'm Stretching Very Tall

I'm stretching very tall
And now I'm very small
Now tall, now small
Now I'm a tiny ball.

Baby Time

We don't do as many different rhymes at Baby Time as at Toddler Time, but that's on purpose. Studies show that babies are drawn to rhythm, rhyme and repetition, so having a more limited number of rhymes that the babies hear over and over is more beneficial to them than if they heard something different every time they came. Those little brains are soaking it all up incredibly fast, and they get more pleasure from hearing familiar tunes and rhymes than from new ones. So know that even if you're bored with the same old stuff, your baby isn't!

Parents of toddlers or preschoolers and babies - don't be afraid to try Baby Time with your older one. We have toys set aside for them so they can be occupied while you bounce the baby on your lap.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boys and Girls Really Are Different

Although my disclaimer is that I have two daughters, no sons. But still, I see such contrasts between boys and girls so often, both at the library and in my years as a schoolteacher. I once had a class of second graders with fourteen girls and six or seven boys. It was an absolute dream. Quiet, peaceful, obedient. Another year I had the opposite - twice as many boys as girls. I found another job that June. Truthfully, I had been toying with idea of trying a different career for a while, but that year probably pushed me over the edge. I went back to teaching a couple of years later, and obviously I still love kids of both genders.

When my oldest daughter was a toddler in a high chair I gave her a banana to eat. She pulled off the peel, laid the banana down on the high chair tray and covered it gently with the peel, saying "Night, night." Can any of you moms of sons imagine your boy doing that? Most likely you would have been shot at by the banana-gun. Pow! Pow!

Such stereotyping! you say. Stereotypes become stereotypes for a reason. Of course there are exceptions, but testosterone really does make a difference. Studies have shown that when boys and girls play, they vocalize at the same rate, but girls are using words and boys are making sound effects. I noticed too, when I was teaching school, that every spring while the boys were out kicking the ball around, the girls started bickering and picking on each other. After recess a girl would be crying or complaining about hurt feelings and needing help solving relationship problems. I called it our version of spring fever.

So while we don't need to feed stereotypes, I think it's great that we aren't "monosexed," to coin a term. I think we're better parents if we recognize the real differences and help teach our kids how to deal with the opposite sex in the real world. If your daughter is a total tomboy, or your son loves his doll, no problem. But I've also found value in telling my teenage daughters not to expect boys to sit and talk endlessly about their feelings. "Boys will be boys." (And cliches become cliches for a reason!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This Week at Storytime

Preschool Storytime

We had so much fun with our "Pigs" theme. What awesome actors in our "The Three Little Pigs" drama! What a scary Big Bad Wolf! Houses fell down, pigs ran, and the wolf met his demise. Everyone played his/her part to the hilt and the audience loved it!

The stories we read were:

Crispin, the Pig Who Had It All, by Dewan
Piggies, by Wood
If You Give a Pig a Pancake, by Numeroff

We listened to a tape recording of If You Give a Pig a Pancake read by David Hyde Pierce along with a delightful song "Flippin' the Flapjacks". The tape also has a dance called "The Piggy Polka" to learn, which we didn't get to. I looked on Amazon and the book and CD apparently were on the market, but it's no longer available. I got mine through those wonderful Scholastic book order clubs about ten years ago.

Toddler Time

This week we did:

Fingers Wiggle

Fingers wiggle, fingers stop
Fingers wiggle, fingers stop
Now my hands are quiet
See them flop, flop, flop.

Whoops Johnny

Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny
Whoops, Johnny!
Whoops, Johnny!
Johnny, Johnny, Johnny

Hold your child in your lap and have him stretch his fingers out in front. Starting on the pinky, touch each finger as you say "Johnny". The "whoops" part is when you slide you finger down the curve between the pointer and thumb. Believe it or not, you can find lots of demonstrations on youtube: Seems silly, but when your child can do it on your fingers, it's a great tool for eye/hand coordination.

We read:

Rosie's Walk, by Hutchins
Two Bear Cubs, by Jonas

Baby Time

Cheek Chin

Cheek, chin, cheek, chin, cheek, chin nose.
Cheek, chin, cheek, chin, cheek, chin toes.
Cheek, chin, cheek, chin, cheek, chin up baby goes!

Criss Cross Applesauce

Criss cross applesauce,
Spider climbing up my spine.
Tight squeeze, cool breeze,
Makes me get the giggles!

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Pigs" This Week

Our Preschool Storytime theme this week is "Pigs." Come and watch us dramatize "The Three Little Pigs" complete with the wolf huffing and puffing and the straw and stick houses falling to pieces. It's a blast!

Friday, October 2, 2009

This Week at the Library

Preschool Storytime

Our theme this week was "The Farm". We read:

Book! Book! Book! - by Bruss (Love that chicken!)
Who Took the Farmer's Hat? - by Nodset
Spot Goes to the Farm - by Hill

The flannel board story was Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens (a Caldecott Honor book).

The fingerplay we did was "Way Up High", which you can find in the labels at the right. We did "Animal Action" from the Greg and Steve: Kids in Motion CD.

Toddler Time

I brought back a song we hadn't done for quite a while - "Brush Your Teeth" by Raffi, on his Singable Songs set.

Baby Time

It looks like "Heave Ho" is the only one I don't have in the labels on the right.

Heave Ho

Heave ho, heave ho,
Hold me tight, don't let me go
One two, one two,
You love me and I love you!