Parachute ideas for all kinds of programs!

Stumped for ideas for using the parachute at storytime?

Think outside the picture books stacks!

Here are some great ideas for incorporating material from other areas of your collection.

Want to make your own clip art?

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started!

Some easy ways to spice up your site!

Be sure to suggest your favorites in the comments!

Ideas for incorporating factual materials into storytime

There is lots of great nonfiction for kids out there. If I missed your favorite, leave a comment!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fall Program Ideas

A survey submitter asked me to post more of my program ideas so here is what we will be offering at my library for the months of September, October, and November. I will try to post more details of the events as they are being planned and also write about how they went (the good, the bad, and the ugly) after I've recovered from them.

First up is our biggest program of the year, our fall Carnival. Instead of operating a reading program prize booth all summer, we do an annual Carnival on the Saturday after Labor Day. We hold this event outside in our parking lot. (There is plenty of street parking and we are also able to "borrow" the parking lot from the funeral home next door, assuming there are no visitations scheduled that day.) From noon to three, kids can exchange their "library dollars" they've been earning in our SRP for carnival game tickets. Then they earn prize tickets and get to pick out their own prize. We've been doing this for a long time (this year is the 40th annual Carnival) and it generally runs pretty smoothly. Last year, it poured rain all day, but usually the weather is beautiful. We get several hundred attendees at this event. I promise to post more nitty-gritty details about how this program later. Until that happens, here is my Pinterest board with ideas. (Many of the links below will also be to Pinterest boards--such an amazing place to find and save programming ideas!)

After Carnival, the youth staff generally takes a couple weeks off to decompress and focus on some other projects that never seem to get done during a hard-core programming period like summer reading. So I usually start my storytimes the first week of October. We offer two storytimes: one for kids under 2 and one for preschoolers. They are pretty standard (but based on this philosophy) and I have written storytime outlines as well as an overview of my storytimes before.

When we did our patron survey this summer, the most frequent request was for us to offer more programs for school age kids. To fill that gap, I'm going to be trying out some new programs: a one-day superhero camp and a one-day sewing camp that I am hoping to eventually turn into a monthly sewing club-type program. I am trying them out on a Saturday afternoon. We will also be continuing our very popular monthly Lego programming

We will also start preparing for our annual winter break puppet show, so I am excited about that. I love doing our puppet shows. We get huge numbers and it is a really fun chance to stretch some different creative muscles. You can read more about our puppet programming by browsing the puppet ideas tag. Also coming up in the winter, will be a spy training camp, Jedi training camp, more storytimes (including a storytime campout!), and some other ideas I haven't thought up yet! Suggestions and comments welcome!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Percy Jackson Party!


I realized that I forgot to post about the Percy Jackson party we threw months (years?) ago when the movie was coming out! Oops! I am posting it anyway because we had a lot of fun, even though I was the only girl there.

Prep for this was pretty simple, the only thing I made was the lovely hydra archery target (we used a Nerf bow and arrow set so the kids could practice their archery--huge hit!). True story: I was drawing the tongues on the heads when this middle school boy walks over and says "Nice hydra" all nonchalantly! He did that whole appreciative head lift too. If I remember correctly, I looked at some hydra coloring pages on Google Images and then used that as the basis for mine. If I had to do it all over again, I think I'd have cut the snake hydra out and glued it on to a different color of posterboard for more contrast, especially with the scales.

If you're more comfortable tracing, you could print a coloring page onto transparency film (I just put ours through my regular printer to make a mermaid for the 2010 summer reading program). Then you can use an artist's projector or overhead projector and project the image to the wall. Then you tape up some posterboard and trace.

We did several ideas from the Percy Jackson event planning kit. I also put together a PowerPoint Monsters game, where I put an image up of a mythological creature and the kids raced to name him/her/it. Unfortunately, I can't find the file for that. We also did Percy Jackson madlib game (download). I think the idea for that came from PUBYAC.

To promote the party, I put a book display out with our flyers (sorry, no file for that anymore either!). You can download the sign I made to go with it though.

Ready for Bed? Sequencing Early Literacy Activity

Here is an easy and simple discussion-generating activity designed to be left out in the children's department. But, since this a Flannel Friday submission, of course you can also do this as a flannel story at storytime! Print out the pieces and laminate them. Then attach magnets to the back of the pieces and set out a magnetic cookie sheet or oil drip pan. Nearby, put up a sign explaining that the idea is for the parents and kid to discuss the sequencing of their bedtime routine.


If you want to use this idea as a felt board, download patterns from Storytime Magic (where I found the inspiration for this idea). I used clipart from Microsoft instead.

This week's Flannel Friday roundup will be hosted by Mollie. Previous roundups are here. Don't forget to check out Flannel Friday on pinterest!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why So Tomorrow?

A reader asked me why I named my blog "So Tomorrow" and I realized I'd never really shared this story with anyone, so here it is!

Once upon a time (2006), there was a 22-year old grad student in her first semester. One of her class assignments was to start a blog and write a few posts about technology (since deleted--they were really bad, trust me her). But to create a blog, it has to have a name! At the time, she was reading (and loving) this book:


So she decided that, as a future librarian, it wasn't half-bad (or half-good) naming inspiration. A few (5) years have gone by, and now the name doesn't quite work, but that's ok. And the blogger lived happily ever after (so far).

The reader asked me if the name meant something like "so tomorrow, I have a storytime what should I do?" and I actually think that is way more awesome than how my blog came to be named. I want to change the tagline (the part under my blog's title) to imply that because it appeals to my procrastinator nature, so if anyone has a suggestion on how to word that, I'd love to hear it.

Ch-ch-changes!

I am so excited to share the news that So Tomorrow is getting its own URL. I finally bit the bullet and paid $10 to get my own custom domain. So now you can find this blog at www.sotomorrowblog.com.

Google promised me that automatic forwarding should start within the next 3 days, so hopefully if your library firewall decided to block my site or something, that will be resolved. I do apologize for any weirdness over the next few days. Crossing my fingers that everything goes OK. As far as I know, there shouldn't be any problems with the RSS feed changing or emails being sent out, but please let me know if there is and I will investigate.

Thank you everyone who has filled out the survey so far. I am really learning a lot from your feedback. It is making me feel better as I stress myself out over migration stuff. :)

For fun, here's a map (handy for my world domination plans) with where my readers are:



New Look for the Blog & Reader Survey!

I am in the process of updating this blog's appearance, so I would love some feedback on it. Please take a look and leave a comment on this post or send me an email. I do know that I need to fix the Pinterest icon so that it is the same size as the Twitter and Facebook ones, and I'm working on that, so bear with me!

I am looking to add more blogs to to the sidebar on my own blog, so if you have a library-related blog that is not listed, let me know and I will add it.

Also, I'd love to know more about my readers, so if you could take a few minutes and fill out a quick survey for me, I'd really appreciate it. My goal is to constantly improve my blog! Thanks for reading this here little blog.

I'm still taking entries for my giveaway for a few more days, so you've still got time to enter. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Storytime Giveaway!

Thick envelopes are good news!
I am going to attempt my first giveaway! I have 5  storytime kits courtesy of Random House.

They were on my desk when I got back from vacation (envelope was already tossed even), so I'm not sure if they came from RH directly or were given to me by our book distributor. Oops. But they are both great companies!

Inside is a (orange!) portable felt board--could be great for traveling librarians, teachers, and parents--and a pamphlet with ideas for zoo and back to school-themed storytimes. You could even use it to model your Flannel Friday creations!
Gotta love an orange flannelboard
EDIT: CONTEST CLOSED 8/31 at midnight. Winners have been emailed. Thank you for entering! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

5 Little Apples

Here is a quick 'n easy flannelboard for you. I actually found these apple shapes at the dollar store so I didn't even have to cut them myself. Score!



 I use them with a Five Little Apples rhyme (see below) and change the types of animals mentioned to match puppets I have on hand. Then I have the puppets eat the apples, similar to what I do with this previous Flannel Friday post.

5 Little Apples

Five little apples hung on a tree
The farmer didn't care
So guess who came to eat?
A CATERPILLAR.......MUNCH, MUNCH


Four little apples hung on a tree
The farmer didn't care
So guess who came to eat?
A BIRD.........MUNCH, MUNCH



Three little apples hung on a tree
The farmer didn't care
So guess who came to eat?
A PIG..........MUNCH,MUNCH



Two little apples hung on a tree
The farmer didn't care
So guess who came to eat?
A HORSE.......MUNCH,MUNCH

One little apple hung on a tree
The farmer didn't care
So guess who came to eat?
A SCARECROW......MUNCH,MUNCH



Now the tree is bare
There are no more apples there
But when next fall comes around
Guess who'll be there?

THE CATERPILLAR
THE BIRD
THE PIG
THE HORSE
and the SCARECROW

YUM! YUM!


I'm not super crazy about "the farmer didn't care" part. Anyone want to suggest a revision? 


This week Flannel Friday is being hosted by Tracey. Previous roundups are here. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Featured in the Cricut Newsletter!

I am so excited that one of my projects, my version of 15 Animals by Sandra Boynton, was featured in the Cricut newsletter, the Chirp (in the Message Board highlights section)! I actually only found out because I noticed that my blog was getting lots more traffic than usual, and looking at the stats led me to discover my first bit of "press!" So thanks to the Chirp and welcome to all my new followers. Thanks for reading!

In case you don't remember, this was inspired by a Flannel Friday project posted by Abby the Librarian, so thanks Abby too!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Magnet Board

This isn't quite a Flannel Friday, but I want to share something similar that requires absoutely zero artistic skills: a magnet story of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. All you need to do is find a set of magnetic alphabet letters at your local dollar store and make a tree (mine is actually clipart, laminated, and I stuck a magnetic coin on the back).



I happen to have a portable magnetic whiteboard at work, so that is what I am using to model it, but an even easier (and F-R-E-E that spells FREE) option is to use a cookie sheet (not all of them are magnetic, but you probably have one at home or at a local thrift store waiting for a good home that is.)

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Mouse's Halloween House

I know that Halloween is still quite a long ways away, but this such a fun little flannel that I couldn't resist sharing it early. And I figure this way if anyone wants to make one, they have plenty of lead time! Your source for the words and patterns is Judy Sierra's Mother Goose Playhouse (out of print) and you will find it on page 43.

 

This story is one paragraph of text and one short stanza of rhyme. I think it could be quite easily adapted to a draw and tell story as well. Basically, Mama Mouse nibbles holes into a "big orange house" for doors and windows, and then puts a candle inside to light up the darkness. Voila!

This week, Cate is hosting the roundup. Previous roundups are here. Don't forget to check out Flannel Friday on pinterest!

Friday, August 05, 2011

DIY Library Signage

Yesterday we were without Internet and ILS access for almost all of my shift, so that wiped out my plans for what I wanted to accomplish. Fortunately I had one "analog" project that my boss had asked me to work on so I was able to start that yesterday and finish this morning: making vinyl signs to label the different collections. Check 'em out!:

To make them,I followed instructions on the package and found some general ones on this blog. Definitely applying the vinyl to the wall and attempting to get it straight is much harder than actually cutting it out. As long as the settings are correct (2 for blade depth, 2 for pressure, and a slow speed) the machine will only cut through the vinyl and not the paper backing. Then I just peeled off the unwanted vinyl, applied your transfer paper, removed the vinyl's backing, and stuck it on the wall. I used a level to draw a straight line and then matched it with the transfer paper's gridlines as best I could.

The total cost for this project was about $30 (Vinyl and transfer tape). We still have half the vinyl sheets remaining. I was able to do 7 in about 3 hours. These are just my two favorite ones.  The only thing I would do differently is spend more money for the 12 by 24 vinyl sheets instead of the 12 by 12. Some of the phrases I cut would have been too small to cut on a 12 by 12 so I programmed them twice, but it was difficult to match them up accurately. It would have been worth the extra money to have had them all together.

'Round and Round with the Three Pigs

Today's Flannel Friday is the traditional story of the Three Little Pigs. BUT we have a twist! Jan Irving and Robin Currie made it a circle story (find the patterns in Straw Into Gold: Books and Activities about Folktales or copy the idea with clipart)

Basically, you glue an image of the Big Bad Wolf on the left side and then cover images of the three pigs with a circle cut so that only one pig is visible at the time. The circle is attached with a brass brad so you can turn it as you tell the story.




















I am a Cheaty McCheaterson so the words are on the back: 















I like Irving's version's first line: At a time when pigs could walk and talk and build houses, there lived three little pigs. Don't you want to know what happened to our poor porcine friends that they no longer have these skills? 

Don't miss any of this week's Flannel Friday posts--Anna will be posting a roundup! 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Library Makeover Part 4: Last Two Projects

As I promised earlier today, here are the last two projects I worked on while we were closed for painting:
First I put up sheets of scrapbook paper to give our bulletin board more of a memo board look:

I think it turned out really fun and it seems kind of beachy to me, especially with our lemon walls.  I also used a pocket chart (from the dollar store*) to make a new sign with our youth department hours on it.

*we have the best dollar store here. It's basically my favorite place in town and I can spend hours in there. Whenever a friend comes to visit us here for the first time, I always take them there. It is mesmerizing. 

Library Makeover Part 3

I promised to share more photos of our little youth department makeover and I am back with 'em! These are all projects I made for our space.

Next is a bulletin board inspired by one I discovered on Flickr a long time ago.


Besides my letters not being straight, the only problem with this bulletin board is that I keep thinking the bottom phrase says "Repent!" My co-worker suggested I just have a guilty conscience. What do you think? 

I also made a new Welcome sign for the picture books section. 


 Here's the whole pre-reader section:

 And I whipped up a quick Welcome banner for the entrance to the youth department as well:

More projects coming as soon as I can get Blogger to play nice!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

More Stencil Paintings

I wanted to share two more stencil paintings I've been working on (I started them both Sunday and I'd say they are about 90% done--still need some touching up). I am pretty happy with how they are shaping up. The robot is my favorite.

The stencils I made using SVG files (Doug's Robots for the robot and Good Luck Gnomes for the deer and trees--paid $3 total on sale months ago) I cut on my Cricut. 

Need to clean up the lines a little bit

Still want to add some snow to this one.