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!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Collection Development 101: A Year Later

About a year ago, I wrote a series of posts called Collection Development 101. The first one was about selection (complete with what is probably a record number of spreadsheet screen gabs for a storytime blog) and the other on weeding. I wrote a little about how I had decided to try and proportion my youth collection budget on the basis of circulation for each division. Then I divided my annual budget into monthly amounts for book orders. Now we've got just about one month left in our fiscal year (ours ends November 30th) and I'm back with an update post!

I suppose I should point out that this was an unusual year in that I took a 3-month leave in the middle of it, so the organized system of monthly orders fell apart when I came back to 4 months' worth of review journals to go through. So I blame any discrepancies on that. It's convenient I think. Please note that I dropped tracking the graphic novels category midway through the year and decided just to include them in the YA or J Fiction categories as appropriate.

Actual Numbers Ahead!

Here's what the number break down looked like last year:

Here's what I wound up purchasing in our 2011-2012 fiscal year:

I was incredibly close to what was budgeted in nonfiction as far as number of titles purchased (I predicted 135 and purchased 134). YA was fairly close as well; I purchased 38 more titles than anticipated. Fiction and Easies were off by about 100 titles each. 

A few thoughts
I keep buying fewer picture books than I can justify based off circ stats (remember picture books account for more then 40% of the circulation here!). It is really the only section where I have a huge space problem. We have over 5,000 picture books and that appears to be what we have room for. I'll be working on weeding them more aggressively next year. 

I also wonder if I should adjust the average book prices down. I've been basing them off retail price but not accounting for the fact that we don't pay retail, and are somewhere between wholesale and retail prices. My only concern with dropping each book cost a few dollars is that I don't want to overspend. So this is where I ask my audience: How do you account for discount prices when budgeting? Or when putting in your monthly order? Our vendor doesn't tell us how big the discount is on a certain book until we've received it and are billed, but I know other vendors disclose upfront. 

And SURPRISE! Here's what I had left in my budget as of 10/25/12: 
My budget was $16,000 for this fiscal year. Items received by 10/25 totaled $14,367.91. Items ordered but not received totaled $297.13, and the remainder was $1,335.96! I came in well under budget and get to go on the end of the fiscal year book binge at our local warehouse store! YES! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Five Little Pumpkins" with Craft Stick Puppets

I made this far too late for the Halloween Extravaganza, but here is a fun craft stick  puppet version of "5 Little Pumpkins." You may know this rhyme already or have seen Kendra's flannel on glove version.

Five Little Pumpkins
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate. 
The first one said, "Oh my, it's getting late!"
The second one said, "Let's have some fun!"
The third one said "Let's run, run, run."
the fourth one said, "Let's dance, let's prance!"
The fifth one said, "Now's our chance!" 
Then "Whooo," went the wind and out went the light. 
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight. 

Puppet inspired by Nancy Renfro's Storytelling with Puppets

I used a old box we had lying around. It's a wee smaller than desirable, but a tissue box would be perfect. I'm trying to pretend that the overlapping pumpkins was a desired effect and not from making the clip-art too big. The craft sticks are hot-glued to the box. The pumpkins are laminated and taped to the same size craft stick. They are also taped to the inside of the box. Stay tuned for more craft stick puppets in the future! 

This week's roundup is hosted by Miss Lisa

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tina's Tasty Treat Draw and Tell

I have posted draw-and-tell stories before, but this is the first time I've ever written one! It's not terribly original, but I hope you like it anyway. I had fun experimenting with this form, and I hope to come up with more in the future! 
Tina’s Tasty Treat
By Anne Clark

Tina loved to eat treats! For her birthday, her grandfather gave her a silver dollar to buy any treat she wanted. It looked like this. Tina walked down to the store to pick out a treat.

At the store, she walked around and around looking at all the things she wanted. Finally she saw a long counter full of her favorite treat! It looked like this. Tina walked back and forth looking at all of the choices. Then she picked one!

After she paid, with her silver dollar, she headed back home, eating her treat the whole walk. Do you know what Tina’s favorite treat is?

Ice cream? Very good!

The End.

You can download Tina's Tasty Treat complete with drawing instructions(PDF). Please share this widely if you wish, but don't edit it to remove my name or blog address. Let me know what you think! 
Mollie is hosting the roundup today! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gingerbread House Program

Image Courtesy
It's almost time for one of my favorite kids' library programs: gingerbread house making! Lots of libraries have this program, here's the simple way we do ours: 

Registration is required for crowd control and supply purchasing needs. Due to demand, this year we are offering two sessions on the Saturday before Christmas. One at 11 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. For space reasons, we are limiting the sessions to 20 kids, generally that will give us another 10 parents we have to squeeze in as well. We do not have a separate program room at my library, so there will be random patrons about as well. 

The kids put a layer of frosting on the carton, then the graham cracker, then more frosting for the sprinkles, etc. They can use as much candy as they want. We play holiday music at the same time.

Supply List: 
  • Frosting (I recommend 1 can for every 3-4 kids, some kids are very conservative and others are less judicious about their frosting application.)
  • Graham Crackers (1 box for every table averages out about right. By more then you think you'll need to account for broken pieces.) 
  • Assorted Candy
  • Pretzels in various shapes (rods for the roof, different shapes for windows and doors)
  • Sprinkles
  • Plastic knives
  • Plates (used as a base) or sub paper towels. 
  • Milk cartons (obtained from the local school district, who sends them through the industrial dishwasher for us. Then I staple them closed.) 
You can also read some Gingerbread stories before the kids get to work but I don't bother because we don't have enough room and I can't compete with candy for their attention. 

This is probably the most expensive program we do all year (except maybe our Carnival), but the most fun too. And very little work for us (besides cleaning up afterward, which is a disaster)! We also do a puppet show over winter break, so most of my programming energies go into that.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Flannel Friday: The Ninjas!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is so much fun to celebrate Halloween at storytime (whether you do a dedicated Halloween storytime or allude to the holiday with stories on apples, pumpkins, ghosts, monsters, etc.) In case you were wondering, dressing as a ninja is a great costume idea and that is how this post is related to Halloween.
I was inspired to do a ninja storytime by a review in School Library Journal. I thought it would be fun to do a flannel version of "The Ninjas" by Barenaked Ladies (lyrics here).
I used Open Clip Art to find a ninja and copied it into Publisher. Then I adjusted it to be the size I wanted and printed it. All the pieces are felt, except the ninja sword which is paper glued to felt for sturdiness. I also made a little Irish flag for the ninja as a souvenir from his trip to Ireland. At the last verse, I swing the bottom of mask piece open to reveal the ninja's smile. 
We read The Boy Who Cried Ninja (far and away the favorite) and Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear. The kids made ninja masks for their craft.
Mary will have the round-up this week. 

Here are more Halloween-ish stories I've shared in the past: