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Showing posts from 2008

Don't be a Halloweenie!

I've said in the past that one of my favorite parts of my job is doing a "Family Reading Night" at the local elementary school. Tonight was the first one of the year and had a Halloween theme. About 60 people attended the dinner portion (hot dogs and chips! yummy!) and the parents and kids split up for the remainder. The parents were treated to a presentation on elementary students and reading, while I entertained the kids (and the elementary and high school librarians) with the following stories:

1) Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly
I did this story at last year's Halloween Family Reading Night as a felt board story, but this year I decided to tell it using the world's most awesome monster puppet. I just had to tell the kids we were pretending that puppet was green and not purple. It helped that they knew the story and they really seemed to love watching me velcro on the various pieces of the monster and it made the most satisfying riiiiiippppppppppiiiiingg…

All the world's a stage...

Some books are meant to be read independently and others are perfect for bedtime, but my absolute favorites are those that are meant to not just be read-aloud, but are perfect for performing!
Some of these have been mentioned in other blogs, but I hope a few of them will be new to you, or at least remind you of an old favorite. I especially have to give credit to Adrienne (of What Adrienne Thinks About That) and her readers for giving me some new ideas/inspiration for how to use books differently with kids.

Almost any of Mo Willems' Pigeon books could work, but Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus and Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late have been the most sucessful for me. Who doesn't love to yell "No, pigeon!"? Probably someone who I wouldn't like very much.

If you have another staff member handy (or parents who are game--in my case, it was a teen volunteer to torture) and an extra copy of the book, some of the entries in the Elephant and Piggie beginning re…

How to Make Fireworks in a Glass

Fill a tall, clear drinking glass with room-temperature water, leaving about an inch of space at the top.

Pour 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a smaller glass and add 1 to 2 drops each of red and blue food coloring.

Gently stir the mixture once or twice with a fork to barely break up the beads.

Pour the shorter glass into the water glass and watch.

It takes about 30 seconds for the beads to burst through the oil, releasing miniature fireworks.

This is an idea from the July/August 2007 issue of Family Fun magazine (last page).

First Grade Library Visits

I did a first-grade library orientation program today and I just wanted to share what we did (and record it for this time next year). I need to point out that I had help from my wonderful co-worker Denise, so this is really designed for 2 people from the library to present, which we needed today because we had four 1st grades in attendance at once! That's about 100 kids!

And it worked well to have two "performers" because we could play off each other and one of us could prep the next part while the other kept the kids occupied. So, thanks Denise! I put the things we said in bold and the "stage directions" in regular font and in parantheses.

The section on library cards is taken mostly verbatim from the library's system "how to do" orientation, but I just shortened it so I could look through it as we went easier.

Hi! Today we’re going to talk about the library and all the things we can do for you there, but first we want to make sure you’re all rea…

Whither Weather Storytime

No storytime this morning as the library system opened at noon, instead of normally scheduled hours due to a huge winter storm that rolled in last night. Funnily enough, the scheduled theme was to be "weather," so I guess we all got a little lesson in that today.

We also did not have the normal TAB meeting yesterday as the school was closed yesterday. They have had 3 snow days so far in January. That means I will do no programming this week. It is a little weird to say the least.

I did however play a game of Zombie Fluxx with a regular teen who stopped in after finishing his duties as Official Library Snow Remover.

Playful Penguin Storytime

I lost my notes for this week, so this is from memory of what we did at penguin storytime this week.

sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It"
If you're a penguin and you know it, flap your wings (flap, flap)
If you're a penguin and you know it, flap your wings
If you're a penguin and you know it and you really want to show it
If you're a penguin and you know it, flap your wings

Other verses:
...waddle your feet (waddle, waddle)
...bite a fish (bite, bite)

To the tune of "The Bear Went Over the Mountain"
The penguin went over the iceberg,
The penguin went over the iceberg,
To see what he could see
To see what he could see
The penguin went over the iceberg,
The penguin went over the iceberg,
To see what he could see.

The other side of the iceberg,
The other side of the iceberg,
Was all that he could see
Was all that he could see
The other side of the iceberg,
The other si…

Wake UP, Bear!

Decorations: Make a bear cave with blankets and chairs, tape bear prints on the floor

"Hibernation Song" (to the tune of "Are you Sleeping?"/"Frere Jacques"):

Bear is sleeping, bear is sleeping
In the cave, In the cave,
I wonder when he’ll come out. I wonder when he’ll come out.
In the spring, In the spring.

Birds are flying, birds are flying
In the sky, in the sky
I wonder when they’ll come back, I wonder when they’ll come back,
In the spring, in the spring.

Where is Bear? (Egg-Shaker Song)
(Tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”)
Where is bear? (hide shaker behind your back)
Where is bear?
Here I am! Here I am! (bring shaker out and shake)
How are you this winter? (pretend to talk to the shaker)
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep.
Go to sleep. (hold shaker like sleeping baby)

Teddy Bear (Egg-Shaker Song)
Teddy bears, teddy bears (jump shaker to beat)
Like to sit in teddy chairs. (“sit” shaker in hand)


What happens in storytime, stays in storytime

I found this great list of "10 Tips for Making Story Time Memorable" at and it has solified what is my current pet peeve with my library school education: in my literature classes, all we do is talk about books and not about how to make books come alive for kids. Maybe people who have children do not need this type of education, but reading to kids takes practice and that is something childless library workers like myself do not get much of before being thrown into the job.
Here are a few that I would add:
-It's OK if the attendees like the crafts (or the snack, if you serve one) better than the story
-It's OK if it takes you a few months (or longer) to really get a rhythm going.
-Play games
-Don't be a slave to the theme, although some parents are ALL about the theme. Sometimes I just throw in a phrase like "and now for something completely different!," which I think is a trick I picked up at
If you have any tips, I would love to hear th…