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!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Speaking Announcement

I am so excited to announce that Travis from 100 Scope Notes and I will be speaking at this year's Spring Institute! SI is an annual conference for youth librarians put on by our very own Michigan Library Association. This year it's in Ann Arbor, so I am looking forward to exploring Michigan's eastern side more.

Thursday, March 22, 2012
11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.  Blogs, Blogs, Blogs: Think it, Write it, Use it

Blogs are everywhere and they can do a lot more than just tell you what John Smith had for lunch on his day off. Find out how you can use blogs to help you plan programs, keep up with reading trends, collect marketing ideas, and more. Plus, learn how, you too, can enter the Blogosphere and start a blog of your own and why you may want to.

 I will be at S.I. both days, so I hope to meet some new friends and see some old ones. If you are going to be there, please say Hi. I promise to out-awkward you. I will try to remain somewhat dignified.
If you can't make it, just know that Eric Litwin will be there. Jealous, right? I plan to be really obnoxious and geek out all over the place about Pete the Cat. Maybe I can get my stuffed Pete signed? It's probably better if you won't be there to see me embarass myself.

We are still working on our presentation so if you have an idea for something we should make sure to cover, please leave a comment.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Crowdsourcing Storytime: Dream Big, READ!

Last year I had such a blast "crowd-sourcing" my summer reading storytimes (and especially appreciated the help thinking of fun crafts to go with them) that I wanted to try it again this year too. Sadly, I will be on maternity leave during our summer reading program, so I won't be around to enjoy some of the fun stuff I'm planning, but I still want the kids to enjoy their storytimes. 

The majority of our storytimes in the summer are outside and off-site, so that is a consideration as we don't want to have to lug too much stuff out to cars and back. All the same, I couldn't resist sneaking The Game of Light in for the sky storytime (would also work for camping or PJ themes) even though we can only do that one indoors. 

Another consideration is the huge age range and number of attendees vary constantly. Some weeks we will have 10 people at storytime, others 60 or more. The only way to manage is to plan way more than you think you will need and be flexible about your choices once you see who has come for storytime that day. 

Below are the lists I've brainstormed so far. Some of them need more ideas and some have way too many. I've decided to over-plan them and let the staff members who will doing storytime in my present pick the stories they are most comfortable with sharing. This is just to give them an outline of guidance. 

Beachy Keen

What If by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
A Beach Tail by Karen Williams
Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Soman
All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle
Craft: ???

Duck Tents by Lynne Berry
Into the Outdoors by Susan Gal
Scare a Bear by Kathy-Jo Wargin
"Mosquito Song" (p. 21) and "Two Voices in a Tent at Night" (p. 24) from Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O'Connell George.
Craft: ??
Thanks to Mollie for the idea for this storytime! 

Good Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins
Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton
Who Hoots by Katie Davis
"Round-faced Owl" draw and tell story from the summer reading manual (p. 167)
I was also thinking of reading some of Odd Owls and Stout Pigs by Arnold Lobel (maybe a flannelboard?)
Craft: Probably either the owl puppet (p. 191) or mask (p. 189) from the SRP manual

Jungle Safari
Elephants Can Paint, Too! by Katya Arnold
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
If I Were a Jungle Animal by Amanda Ellery
The Lion's Share by Matthew McElligot
If You're Happy and You Know It: Jungle Edition by James Warhol
Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen
Craft: ??
This one was inspired by Katie! 

How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen and play "Dinosaur Doesn't" (p. 125 in manual, basically "Simon Says" for actions you shouldn't do!)
Otto Goes to Bed by Todd Parr
Bedtime Bunnies by Wendy Watson
Ten in the Bed by Jane Cabrera
Creak, Said the Bed by Phyllis Root
Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Goodnight, Sweet Pig by Linda Bailey
Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea
There's An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
I'm thinking of adapting the "Pretty Pillow" prop story (p. 130 in the SRP manual) into a flannelboard story, if I have time.
"Maybe I'll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight" poem (p. 13) from Maybe I'll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight and Other Funny Bedtime Poems by Debbie Levy
Craft: ??

Sky, Stars, and Moon
Books: It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw (Scroll story or flannel
The Game of Light by Herve Tullet Don't forget the flashlight (and test it first)
Craft: Man in the moon painting (pattern on p. 218, instructions on p. 205-206 of the SRP manual)

Have a suggestion for a great book, craft, game, or other activity not listed here? Leave it in the comments, so everyone can see it. 

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Alice the Camel

One of my favorite interactive songs to perform with kids is "Alice the Camel," also known as "Sally the Camel," but, Alice is the correct name. I like to check YouTube to see if songs I am unfamiliar with have a video there, so if you haven't heard this one before, give that a try.  I have everyone shake their hips on the last line of the verse.

Alice the Camel
Alice the camel has five humps.
Alice the camel has five humps.
Alice the camel has five humps.
So go, Alice, go!
Boom, boom, boom, boom! 

(Remove a hump. Repeat the song as you count 4, 3, 2, and 1 humps) and then:

Alice the camel has no humps.
Alice the camel has no humps.
Alice the camel has no humps.
Cause Alice is a horse!

You can make a felt/flannel board story for this song by using these body and hump patterns, courtesy of the Texas State Library. Since the pieces don't overlap, a magnet board would work too. Originally I made this out of camel-colored felt, but that version appears to have gone on safari somewhere without telling me, so I remade it quickly by printing the patterns directly on milk filters.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Milk Filters Source List

Looking for a unique and wonderful gift for the Children's Librarian in your life? Try tracking down some milk filters! Judging from some of the Google search results that bring visitors here, milk filters are harder to find than Sasquatch! Below I've compiled a source list for milk filters. Please note that I have not bought anything from the stores below and cannot vouch for them. I did not receive anything from the stores below for mentioning them. If you know of additional sources, please clue us in with a comment below! 

Wondering what on Earth children's librarians use milk filters for? Try reading Andrea's post and an old one of mine for some background. 

Online Sources: 
Blain's Farm and Fleet  sells a box of 100 15 inch milk filters (by KenAg) for $13.49 + shipping. You can input your zip code to get a shipping total. My zip code was $4.95 for economy shipping via the post office (within 5-10 business days). 

Shane's Tack also sells a 100 quantity of the same milk filters for $20.97 + $9.08 shipping to the continental U.S. However, they do offer a volume discount (2 or more @ $20.34, 5 or more @ $19.71, 10 or more @ $19.08) that could be useful for those of you who work in a multi-branch library system or know other people who might want to "go in on" a bunch of filters together.  For comparison shoppers, 10 boxes is a case of milk filters, sold for $204 at Giles Dairy Service. I was not able to get a shipping quote without creating an account. 

If you are looking for a smaller sized milk filter, try True Harvest. You can get 100 of the 6.5 inch filters for $11.29 + shipping. A box was quoted to me as shipping for $6.93 via the post office. 

If you live in Illinois, Wisconsin, or Iowa: there may be a Blain's Farm and Fleet near you. I believe the box I have came from the Woodstock, IL location (we have family in IL and my husband picked some up on a visit. Yes, he gets sent on weird errands sometimes). 

As I live in an area of Michigan with plenty of farmers, you would think there would be a store nearby that sells milk filters. There is not. Apparently the farms around here use some sort of polyester "sock" to filter the milk. You learn something new everyday. 

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

This Is a Library, Not a Playground

Do you have a phrase that you overuse in your library? I definitely do and it's "This is a library, not a playground." I've been thinking for a long time that I need to come up with a better way of expressing what behaviors are expected of the kids in our department. I want kids to enjoy their visits, but sometimes what they are doing makes it less enjoyable for other people using their small space. And, yes, sometimes making it less enjoyable for other people is code for "you are driving the librarian crazy." 

So, I was thrilled to discover Sara's post about child management. It is full of really practical ideas for communicating your expectations that she learned through her training and experience in education. Those of you who are former teachers or are school librarians probably already know those, but for those of us who come from other backgrounds, I think it is tremendously helpful to read this whole post. And I am so grateful my library doesn't have a toy boat! 

Thanks Marge for linking to your very wise coworker's blog. I'm glad to have another to add to my Reader! 

I'm curious to know what everyone thinks about this topic. How do you handle mischief in your school or public library? Do you have a phrase that you overuse? My other one is "The elevator is not a toy!" 
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Friday, February 03, 2012

"This is Big, Big, Big" Picture Book

Did you know that you are now reading the blog of a picture book illustrator? Inspired by Melissa's post about making her own big book of "Twinkle Twinkle," I decided to try illustrating her fingerplay "This is Big." And, yes, I did get her permission to adapt her rhyme before I started. Today, I am thrilled to unveil This is Big by Melissa Depper and Anne Clark! We hope anyone reading this who may be on the Newbery or Caldecott committees remembers us in January 2013. ;) 

I started by sketching the words and images to see how I could lay it out. Here's what that looked like: 

Next, I hooked up the Cricut machine and got to cutting and gluing! Details are below if anyone is interested in making their own version. 

Here it is: 

The last "l" is on the finished version. 


Cricut cartridges used: 
Doodle Charms
Everyday Paper Dolls
Create a Critter
Font of your choice (I used Sesame Street's Sunny Day cut at 1.5 inches)

Other supplies: 
Elmer's spray adhesive for the letters
Glue stick for the images (which somehow didn't dry clear---arrrghh!)
Assortment of scrapbook paper (12 inch squares)

Cut details: 
This is big big big 
Doodle Charms snowflake (shadow) at 10 inches
This is small small small 
Doodle Charms snowflake (shadow) at 4 inches
This is short short short 
Everyday Paper Dolls body (blackout) at 4 inches
This is tall tall tall
Everyday Paper Dolls body (blackout) at fit to page (11.5 inches)
This is fast fast fast
Create a Critter rabbit (shadow) at 6 inches
This is slow slow slow
Create a Critter turtle (shadow) at fit to page (5.5 inches)
This is yes yes yes 
Doodle Charms baby face (shadow) at fit to page (6.25 inches)
This is no no no 
Doodle Charms baby face (shadow) at fit to page (6.25 inches)

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