Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Week at the Library

Good to see more of my old friends back this week, and lots of new ones too! Kids must be getting bored at home and parents are out looking for activities again. We had a good time together!

Preschool Storytime

We were all about ducks this week. We did "Animal Action" and moved like ducks, among other things. And I did the flannelboard story "Duckling Tries His Voice" and we laughed at the idea of duckling trying to sound like a cat or a cow and saying "Mee-ack!" and "Moo-ack!"

We read:

Duckat, by Gaelyn Gordon. Mabel finds a duck at her doorstep that says "Meow" and acts like a cat until it has to get down from a lamppost.
Do Like a Duck Does, by Judy Hindley. The fox tries to do like a duck does, but finally has to give up when he can't swim.
Duck On a Bike, by David Shannon. I read this on Wednesday. A duck rides a bike on a farm, and all the other animals think it's pretty weird, until they get the chance to ride bikes too.
Quacky Duck, by Paul Rogers. Quacky Duck quacks when she's happy, and is happy when she quacks. She meets a handsome drake and they live quackily ever after.
Mucky Duck!, by Sally Grindley. Mucky Duck is clean - sometimes. He just has too much fun to stay that way.

Toddler Time

Great to see so many new faces! Anyone new to Toddler Time and new to this blog, please read my posts about expectations and participation. Basically, if you participate, your child will too, but maybe not right away. You're the best encouragement.

We read:
Spot Goes to School, by Eric Hill. Spot LOVES his new school.
Barnyard Banter, by Denise Fleming. The barnyard animals make their noises in their respective homes, but where's goose?

Baby Time

We had three month old infants, and a few about to turn one, so the variety was so much fun. Isn't it amazing what a huge difference a few months make! Grasping, sitting up, crawling, walking. I love watching it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Something to Do Inside On a Hot Day

I taught kindergarten for three years, and a big part of math and science at that level is "sorting and classifying." It's just a fancy term for separating a group of objects into likenesses and differences - like sorting stuffed animals into dogs, bears, cats, etc. We had a tub of what's called "pattern blocks," colored wooden or plastic triangles, rectangles, squares, etc., and the kids would sort them by color, or by shape, or by three sides, four sides, and six sides. Children in the early childhood years love sorting and classifying.

You can create opportunities for your kids to practice this at home quite easily. Tons of stuff around your house can be sorted. Stuffed animals, as I mentioned. How about a box of pasta that's lots of different shapes mixed together? Or you can save bread wrapper tags - those plastic things that hold the wrapper closed - till you have a good collection. They can be sorted by color, shape of the hole, types of corners. Got a junk drawer? (Who doesn't?) How about all those pens and pencils? They can be sorted into pens and pencils, including mechanical pencils, or ones that write and those that don't, or by color of ink, erasers that work and don't. (Got an idea of what my junk drawer looks like?) I also have a pile of rubber bands that I've collected from the mail and the produce department at the grocery store. There are lots of ways to sort them - size, color, width. Sometimes at the craft store, you can buy a bag of buttons. Those are really fun to sort - by number of holes, color, size, smooth or textured, round or not.

Got the idea? Give it a try! I promise once your kids catch on, they'll love it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

This Week at the Library

I feel like I've been able to learn a few more kids' names lately, which really makes me happy. I have one of those brains that has a very hard time with that. Some kids' names stick, but some just don't. There are a few kids who have come faithfully for over a year, and I know I've been told their names probably several times, yet for the life of me I just can't hold on to those names. I hate that! And I almost never get to learn the moms' names. Right now, I'm remembering that someone introduced herself by name, but is that name coming back to me? Sigh....

Baby Time

We did several "bounce on the knees" rhymes this week, and one little girl just thought that was the most fun ever. Every time Mom started bouncing, she got the biggest grin on her face! Quite adorable. I love watching these little ones grow. One mom comes with three kids - a four year old, two year old and baby. I think she was pregnant when she brought the oldest to Toddler Time, so I've seen two babies born and make their way through our programs, learning to walk, talk, do "The Eentsy Weentsy Spider" and listen to stories. I still think I have the best job in the world.

Toddler Time

One benefit this summer of having small groups is that when I pull out the maracas or pompoms, the kids get two to shake around!

This week we read:

Where's Spot?, by Eric Hill. Oh the suspense! They squeal and clap when we finally find Spot on the last page.
Here Come Poppy and Max, by Lindsy Gardiner. This is another book where we get to stand up and jump around while we read it, which makes it all the more fun.

Preschool Storytime

We were all about Cats this week. I got to tell one of my favorite stories with the magnetic board, The Fat Cat, by Jack Kent. The kids go absolutely crazy when I put up each progressively enormous cat on the board. The book is out of print, but you can find used copies on Amazon (and pay up to $79.95 too!).

Wish Come True Cat, by Ragnhild Scamell. A little girl wishes for a cute cuddly kitten, but gets a scruffy tom cat. Turns out he's just perfect.
Katie Loves the Kittens, by John Himmelman. Katie the dog loves the kittens so much she chases them and scares them. Then she feels horribly guilty when she eats their food. But when she's finally quiet, they make friends. Very cute illustrations.
The Cat Barked?, by Lydia Monks. A cat wishes he were a dog, til he finds out dogs have to do un-cat like things, and that cats have a pretty good life after all. Now the dog wishes he were a cat!
Four Fierce Kittens, by Joyce Dunbar. The adorable tiny kittens try to be scary and fierce, but end up being scared by the farm animals instead. Finally they scare a puppy and are quite proud of themselves. This is really fun to read aloud - using big and scary body language, but only saying a tiny kitten "mew".

The two fingerplays we did were "My Kitty," and "Three Little Kittens."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Join Me at the Relay For Life

Sherwood's American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is August 7-8 at the Sherwood High School football field. This year I'll be on the Main Stage from 2:00-2:45. I'll be sharing stories from my upcoming book And Then...Cliffhanger Stories to Ignite the Imagination. We'll do what I'm calling "Interactive Storytelling" with kids and families who are hanging around the field supporting walkers and waiting for their turn. I think it will be a ton of fun, and even more fun if lots of you show up! I'll bring some kids up on stage to help me finish a couple of my stories, and give people in the audience opportunities to use their imaginations too. I've done this lots of times with kids in classrooms and we've laughed ourselves silly, however this is the first time I've done it with a public audience. I'm a little nervous about it, so friendly faces will be appreciated!

You can find out more about the Relay for Life and sign up to walk or donate here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Week at the Library

Hope you all have enjoyed the Robin Hood Festival. I was at the parade this morning and saw bunches of my little friends. It all makes me so happy to live in a small town!

Preschool Storytime

This week was "Song and Dance" week, so we did lots of singing and dancing. Besides the "Freeze Game" and "Colors" songs, we read:

Dance Away, by George Shannon. We all got to do Rabbit's dance with him as he and his friends escaped the fox.
Three Cheers for Tacky, by Helen Lester. I just love Tacky! This time he and his buddies were trying to win the Cheer contest.
Giraffes Can't Dance, by Giles Andreae. Poor Giraffe is laughed at when he tries to dance, until he listens to the right music.

Toddler Time

My goodness, where is everyone? Our groups have gone from 30-40 kids to 8-10! If you've ever stayed away because of the crowds, come this summer!

We read:

Go Away, Big Green Monster, by Ed Emberley. Even a few kids can make a big noise yelling "Go away!"
A Turtle in the Toilet, by Jonathan Emmett. This is a great combination of fun pop-up and silly ideas, like a closet of crocodiles or a skunk under the bed. It always gets good laughs.

Baby Time

We said good-bye to our little twins moving away, but said hello to a couple of new friends. Big grins on adorable little faces!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

LAST Week at the Library

Sorry! I'm late posting about last week's Storytimes. Can I blame it on the weather? Sure, why not!

Preschool Storytime

We learned about Eric Carle last week. He's a perfect author to introduce the idea to kids that certain authors have certain types of books. His books have similar colors, identifiable styles of illustrations, even the same sun shows up in almost every book. His books all teach the children something, and his "Very" books, as I like to call them, each have something unusual about them, like holes in the pages, texture you can feel, lights or sound, as well as a sentence that can be repeated. Most of his books have beautiful end pages too. There are so many wonderful titles to choose from, but the ones I picked were:

'>The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which most of the children were familiar with. "But he was still hungry!" In this book we learn the days of the week, counting to five, and that a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
'>The Very Busy Spider, which gives us the opportunity to make lots of farm animal noises and repeat "The spider didn't answer. She was very busy spinning her web." We learn the names and sounds of farm animals, and how a spider spins a web. Plus we get to feel the web on each page.
'>From Head to Toe. Here we learn the names of cool animals, and we get to name and move our body parts like them. Our repeating sentence is "I can do it."
'>Rooster's Off to See the World. This one again shows counting up to five, and then back down again. It also teaches a simple lesson of planning ahead!
'>The Mixed Up Chameleon. Chameleon thinks he's not as cool as the animals at the zoo. He wishes he could be like them, but finds when his wish comes true that he's all mixed up and can't eat his dinner. I asked the kids "What did this book teach you?" One girl answered, "That you should be the way you are." Perfect!

Toddler Time

Wow! Small groups lately! Maybe you've been afraid it would be too hot in the Community Room, but actually, when it's hot enough outside for the building's air conditioning to come on it's quite pleasant inside. The problem is when it's cool outside, but sunny. Then it's a greenhouse.

Our books were:

Opposites, by Robert Crowther. I love this book! The moving parts are fascinating, and it manages to hold the kids' attention an amazingly long time.
Slop Goes the Soup, by Pamela Duncan Edwards. Let's see if we can get the kids to say "onomatopoeia." Slop, whoosh, clatter, rattle, swish. Great words!

Baby Time

Our next to the last time with a pair of adorable twin boys who are moving away! And again we're finding connections between relatives and friends. We had fun with finger puppets, a lift-the-flap book, bubbles, Looby Loo, and toys. Bring your friends!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Those Shoes

I ran across this picture book at the library this week. Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts is a wonderful, multiple award-winning book put out by Candlewick Press, a publisher that consistently produces thought-provoking, meaningful books for children.

While Amazon says it's for ages 4-8, I would definitely place it in the elementary-age category. It's one of those that you hope you can get your fourth and fifth grader to read, if they're willing to be seen reading a picture book.

Jeremy is a boy who has noticed that everyone is wearing a particular brand of shoe, but his mother tells him they only have money for needs, not wants. When his shoes fall apart, he is forced to wear embarrassing shoes, and is even more determined to get a pair of those shoes. He finds a too-small pair at a thrift store, and soon discovers the discomfort isn't worth it. He also discovers a classmate with worn out shoes and feet that would fit Jeremy's fancy shoes just fine. While it's hard, he finds giving his shoes to the other boy brings a better kind of joy than fitting in with the crowd. The author brings the lesson home masterfully, without preaching or condescending.

An excellent book for every school-age child, whether fitting in is an issue or not.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wanna Be A Scientist? Stick This in Your Mouth.

Sometimes people wonder why babies always put things in their mouths. That's actually the best way for them to learn about the world around them. Your tongue and lips are the most sensitive parts of your body, far more so than your fingers. Try an experiment. Take an everyday object, maybe a pencil, and feel it very carefully with your fingers. Now feel it with your mouth (don't worry, it won't make you sick). Your lips and tongue can feel where the wood and lead meet, the ridges on the metal band next to the eraser, the difference in texture between the raw wood, painted wood and rubber tip. You can smell it and taste it too, even taste the different parts of the pencil. Look how much more information your senses got! Think how much more a baby learns about his environment when they feel, smell, and taste their world this way! All those distinctions are the building blocks of scientific thinking. So as long as it's safe, don't discourage your baby from exploring his environment instinctively.

And tell me, did you try the pencil experiment?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This Week at the Stinky Library

That was my big smile this week. A little boy wasn't real thrilled to be at Toddler Time. He hid in the chairs, and while we sang, he interjected his opinion, so it came out as:

Head, shoulders, knees and toes...STINKY!
Head, shoulders, knees and toes...STINKY!
Eyes and ears and STINKY! mouth and nose...STINKY!
Head, shoulders, knees and toes. STINKY!

He joined us eventually.

Preschool Storytime

We had stories about mice this week. Of course, we had to start with the beloved classic.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff. We even had the little mouse himself visit. He had a hard time sharing his cookie with me.
Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse, by Lindsay Barrett George. The interesting part of this book is following the inside and outside mice on facing pages.
Mouse Count, by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Ten mice, little, warm and tasty!
Mabela the Clever, by Margaret Read MacDonald. To be clever, look around you, listen, pay attention to what you are saying, and move FAST! Of course, it's also fun to shout Fo FENG!

I told the story "The Turnip" on the flannel board. No one could pull the giant turnip out of the ground until the little mouse helped. A good lesson for our little children.

Toddler Time

I pulled out "Skidamarink-a-dink-a-dink" again. Don't know why that disappeared for a while. If there's ever a rhyme or song I haven't done for a while, or that's your child's favorite, recommend it to me!

We read two all-time favorites this week.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. I used my giant version of this book. The kids are getting pretty good at saying "But he was still hungry" with me.
Freight Train, by Donald Crews. A Caldecott winner for a good reason.

Baby Time

We did "Once There Was a King" with the babies today and they smiled. I had another mom say she wished she had known about Baby Time sooner, since her baby is already almost a year old. Please spread the word!