Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Week at the Library

We had another very fun time on Wednesday afternoon at the "Creative Writing Experience." We took turns adding on to "Ah-Choo!" with our poor main character transporting all over the world every time he sneezed. Actually, it started off well when he went to Paris, the Great Wall of China and Tokyo. But then he ended up on another planet, and I think he died an untimely death.

Then we read "Flower Power," and each group wrote one sentence on a piece of paper, passed it to the left, added another sentence to the paper they received, and so on until we ended the stories. Finally, everyone got to write their own ending to "Cookie UFO." We ran out of time, so unfortunately I didn't get to hear many of the endings.

More next week!

Preschool Storytime

We learned a few of the differences between alligators and crocodiles. We sang "Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree." I also told the story "The Monkey and the Crocodile" on the flannelboard. Sometimes the monkey is the smart one, sometimes the crocodile.

Our books were:

Clarabella's Teeth, by An Vrombaut. Poor Clarabella misses out on all the fun because she has so many teeth to brush.

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile, by Won-Ldy Paye. A wonderful African folktale in which Mrs. Chicken "proves" to the crocodile that they are sisters.

There's an Alligator Under My Bed, by Mercer Mayer. Big brave boy solves the problem!

Toddler Time

On Thursday we had to have Toddler Time in the children's area of the library, but I thought it worked out fine. It's actually a very nice space. We couldn't use the CD's, but the parent "choir" was lovely!

How Do I Put It On?, by Shigeo Watanabe. The children think it's hysterical when the bear puts shoes on his ears.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, by Jane Yolen. I love the dinosaur lips when he kisses goodnight.

Baby Time

We had a set of triplets and twins today! Actually, we had SIX sets of twins attend the various Storytimes this week. Very fun. It's so great that parents get to share their trials and successes and find sympathetic ears at places like this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Week at the Library

So many new faces this week! And back to big crowds, too. We had 34 children at the 10:15 Toddler Time today. Just children, mind you, with adults in addition to that. However, the record was 54, I think. That was a crazy day!

Toddler Time

With so many new parents and children, I thought it was important this week to remind parents that they are their children's first teachers. Toddler Time is very likely the child's first experience in a group setting, so the child is watching Mom or Dad for clues about how to behave. "Should I watch the teacher? Should I do what the teacher says? Is it okay to go play with another child instead?" Seeing the caregiver participate in the songs and fingerplays lets the child know that paying attention and engaging in the program are good and important.

Our books this week were:

Cookie's Week, by Cindy Ward. The first page is such a great hook! "On Monday, Cookie fell in the toilet."

Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails, by Nancy Tafuri. This is a good first guessing-game book.

Preschool Storytime

I just love doing "Folktales!" They're such fun to tell because there is no one right way as long as the major elements are there. We acted out "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and the actors were superb. That's such a simple and fun folktale to do at home. A couple of chairs and a couple of kids and you're good to go. One is the troll, one is all three goats, and the chairs are the bridge. The only lines to remember are:

"Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?"
"The little billy goat gruff." (or middle-size, or biggest)
"I'm coming up to eat you."
"Wait for my big brother." (or "I'd like to see you try.")
"Very well. Be off with you."

I used a three-way puppet to tell "Little Red Riding Hood."

I used a story prop to sing "This Old Man," and an ancient tape recording of "The Gingerbread Man" to use with the book. Finally, I read Who Is It? by Sally Grindley, a guessing-game book about folktales.

Baby Time

Sometimes I wish the room were surrounded with mirrors so parents could see their babies' faces when we do the lap-bouncy rhymes. The babies usually like to face out to see the action, but then the parents don't get to see their expressions. Their grins are so adorable, wide-eyed and wide-mouthed. I love it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That Was So Much Fun!

I conducted my first Creative Writing "Experience" today and had such a blast. I think the kids did too, since they went straight to the front desk afterwards and signed up for the next three sessions.

We heard about the giant time bomb shaped like a hamburger, the smurfs in the hole in the ground, and the squirrels that turned into chocolate covered sprinkles. The kids wrote about the wish the genie granted, and we shared a few of them out loud. So much fun! New stories and new activities to come!

Please spread the word so more can join us next week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Creative Writing (Workshops) Experiences

I'm very excited to start my series of creative writing "experiences" tomorrow. "Workshops" sounds to school-ish, so I used a different word, hoping I don't turn off any kids who might be interested. 3:30 on Wednesday the 21st, and the next three Wednesdays after that. We'll be in the Community Room at the library. Spread the word to all the 3rd-6th graders!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Week at the Library

First of all - a reminder that I'll be at MudPuddles Toys and Books in Sherwood this coming Saturday at 2:00. I'll be sharing stories from my book Cliffhanger Writing Prompts and leading the children in creating some fun endings to the stories.

Next Wednesday I start my creative writing "experiences" with elementary age students after school at 3:30 at the library. We'll spend about an hour coming up with endings to the cliffhanger stories in lots of creative ways. The sessions are free, but you need to sign up at the front desk in the library. I'm really looking forward to it! Please spread the word!

Check out my new page, "And Then..." I've posted one of my cliffhanger stories and three endings some students came up with in class.

Toddler Time

Welcome to the many new children! If you're new to my blog, take a look at the labels to the right. You can find the rhymes, songs and fingerplays we do there, along with postings about my favorite picture books, my opinions on various subjects related to children ("opinionated postings"), and information on my book.

The stories we read this week were:

I Love Bugs, by Philemon Sturges. I seemed to have a lot of rug-rolling with this book. I'm not sure if it was the book, or the atmosphere this week with lots of new children. I'll try it again in a while.

The Chick and the Duckling,by Mirra Ginsburg. This could be called "My First Book of Peer Pressure."

Preschool Storytime

Our stories were about "Pockets and Kangaroos." We learned that a baby kangaroo is called a "joey" and is about the size of a bumblebee when it's born. Did you know that? We read:

Peter's Pocket, by Judi Barrett. "Portable pin-on pockets." Say that five times fast! We learned what "portable" means.

The Pocket Dogs, by Margaret Wild. We were SO worried about Biff!

Joey, by Jack Kent. I love the mom saying, "THAT WILL DO!!" I also love the antenna for the TV and the records for the record player.

I told the story, The Pocket Book, by Josephine Aldridge. I have a velcro "dress" that I stick the ten pockets on, and fill the pockets with the various objects.

Baby Time

We had an adorable five-week old baby today. He slept through most of it, but that's okay. He woke up when we all shook the maracas.

Monday, September 12, 2011

MudPuddles on Saturday

This Saturday I'll be at MudPuddles Toys and Books in Sherwood at Langer Plaza. I love this toy store. They have a wonderful well-though-out collection of toys and a marvelous book section. At 2:00 Saturday, I'll be hosting some imaginative storytelling with elementary-aged kids using stories from my book "Cliffhanger Writing Prompts." My book is a collection of 30 cliffhanger stories, each ending with "And then..." It's up to the children (and adults with good imaginations) to supply the endings. We'll do some out loud together, in groups and individually. It will be a blast. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Week at the Library

This is always an interesting week - the first week back after school starts. First of all, I miss the five-year-olds who have gone on to kindergarten. I also see lots of new children, plus kids who haven't attended much over the summer. We had big groups again, especially Thursday's Toddler Time. It all makes for some great energy!

Preschool Storytime

 Our theme was "Bears" this week. We went on a "bear hunt" and swished through grass, swam a river, squelched through mud, stumble-tripped through a forest and tiptoed into a cave. So exciting!

Our books were:

Where's My Teddy?, by Jez Alborough. Two identical, though different sized, teddy bears get swapped and the corresponding bear and boy have a frightful time getting their own teds back.

Big Black Bear, by Wong Herbert Yee. Big Black Bear turns out to be Little Black Bear, who's only three.

Bear's Picture, by Daniel Pinkwater. This is an odd story, but the illustrations are luscious and the final surprise is fun.

Bear's Shadow, by Frank Asch. Children love it when they know more than the main character in a book. This book demonstrates what happens to your shadow through the day, and the kids have a laugh over Bear trying to nail his down.

Toddler Time

Lots of little toddlers starting to come! I'm fine with 13-15 month old children coming. Even though they can't jump up and down or follow the fingerplays, they're learning so much! Just this week I watched a little guy trying very hard to get both feet off the ground when we were jumping. He almost made it!

Our books were:

Pete's a Pizza, by William Steig. The kids love saying the title, and laugh when I ask if they ever tickle their pizzas.

Dinosaur Roar, by Paul Stickland. This is one of those magical books that holds toddlers' attention so well.

Baby Time

We had a sweet four-week-old baby join us. I love having the tiny ones come. It illustrates so amazingly how much the children grow and change in one year. We see the almost-newborn next to the 7-month-old next to the one-year-old and marvel at how fast they develop.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Upcoming Creative Writing "Experiences"

I'm very excited to be leading "And Then..." creative writing sessions for 3rd to 6th graders this fall. (I'm not calling them "workshops" in the hopes that I don't scare any kids away.) I'll be using the cliffhanger stories from my book to lead the students in some fun storytelling and writing activities. This will be very interactive and hands-on. There are four weekly sessions starting Wednesday, September 21, from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Community Room at the library. This is free, but you have to sign up at the front desk in the library. Come to one or all four sessions. Many thanks to the Friends of the Library for making this possible!

Please spread the word!

Friday, September 2, 2011

This Week at the Library

I hope this summer weather lasts a while longer. I love sitting out here in my lounge chair with my computer in my lap, an iced tea beside me, birdsong in my ears. So nice.

This week I said a temporary good-bye to many children going off to Kindergarten and first grade. I probably won't see them until Christmas break or maybe longer. I tried to tell them they weren't allowed to go to school because they had to stay home and keep coming to Storytime, but they didn't buy it. I got lots of hugs, though.

Baby Time

This week we had two moms with babies and three-year-olds in tow. The great thing about it was that the big brothers came to baby time when they were itty bitty. It's very fun to see the families grow through the years.

Toddler Time

Different children "participate" in such different ways. One mom told me this week that her daughter had been asking to go to the library since 8 am. She couldn't wait to get there. Then she spent the whole time just watching. She stayed in Mom's lap and barely took part in anything we did. Yet I'm sure that in her mind, everything was exactly the way she wanted it. "Participation," to some children, means getting to watch the excitement and listen to the music, rhymes and stories. "Participation" to other children means running around, saying hi to other kids, jumping up and down, and singing at the top of their lungs. Both are perfectly okay.

Our books this week were:

Fire Truck, by Peter Sis. One little boy was so excited because he was wearing his fire truck T-shirt and had played Fire Truck on his walk to the library.

Clip-Clop, by Nicola Smee. Such a cute story told in about 150 words. Amazing!

Preschool Storytime

We "biggled our bingers" to get ready for our stories about bugs this week. This is a new storytime theme, and lots of fun.

Aaaarrgghh! Spider!, by Lydia Monks. The poor spider just wants to be a pet. So misunderstood!

Yuck!, by Mick Manning. Baby animals eat all sorts of disgusting things - like bugs.

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, by Jacky Davis. I LOVE this book! The two children get mad when they can't figure out what to play, then discover how to be a Bug Squad.

The Big Book of Bugs,by Teresa Greenaway. This has wonderful photos of real bugs from every category.

Ant. Ant. Ant! (An Insect Chant), by April Pulley Sayre. This is such fun to read aloud. Great rhythm.

I did a guessing game with pictures, and we sang "The Eensy Weensy Spider" and "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee."