Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2012

Trouble at the North Pole: A Christmas Draw and Tell Story

Here's another original Draw and Tell by yours truly! Today my fellow Flannel Friday-ers are all sharing holiday stories and I've decided to join them with "Trouble at the North Pole!" 
Trouble at the North Pole By Anne Clark
It was Christmas Eve and all of Santa’s toys were ready to be packed up in the sleigh. They were in big piles like this.

The elves put all the piles into one big bag like this.
It was too heavy for the elves to carry, so Mrs. Claus and Santa each grabbed a side of the bag like this.

The bag was so heavy, the two of them struggled to carry it!  To make things worse, the snow was falling so thick at the North Pole that they kept getting lost! The Clauses kept taking the wrong path, so their tracks in the snow looked like this.

Finally they found the sleigh! “Good luck, Santa!” said Mrs. Claus and she gave him a kiss! 

Santa threw the bag in the sleigh, buckled his seatbelt, and yelled “Merry Christmas!” as he and his team took off …

Thinking Outside the Picture Book Stacks: Poetry at Storytime

I'd like to thank the person who suggested today's topic on my reader survey! It reminded me that I've been meaning to incorporate more poetry into storytimes I'm planning for our next session. I'm going to do a series of posts on using material from outside your picture book collection in storytime. This is the first one!

I love using poetry with this audience for a few reasons:
Richer language is used in poems as compared with some other genresPreschoolers haven't learned to "hate" or be intimidated by poetry like many older kids (and adults) havePoetry can make a quick transition between longer stories to regain the kids' attention or change the atmosphere of the storytimeA lot of parents don't read poetry to/with their kidsI've made some Flannel Friday posts about poems (and some of these are upcoming as well) 
Fifteen Animals by Sandra Boynton Moose in Love by Diane Briggs Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich by Shel Silverstein upcoming Shad…

2012 So Tomorrow Reader Survey

It's time for my annual blog reader survey! Last year your feedback was so helpful to me that I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say now. I'd love to hear what you have to say this year! While I try to do a survey about every year, I'm always open to constructive comments here on the blog or you can email me anytime.


A favorite game at my old elementary school was Tic-Tac-Toe. Like many libraries, mine has a chess/checkers/backgammon(!) table. I thought it would be fun to make a reusable Tic-Tac-Toe game for the kids to play.

You could also play a group game of Tic-Tac-Toe at Storytime! Play everyone versus you or kids versus grownups. Or whatever combination your little heart desires. These would also make a cute gift for a kid (or kid at heart) in your life. I can imagine an adorable little stuffed and sewn version. 
To make, cut 4 thick lines out of felt. Cut (at least) 9 rectangles. Mark both sides of them with Xs and Os. I used puffy paint because it's much, much faster, but you could lovingly cut them out of felt or you could print some off in whatever font you want and hot glue them on.  I also hot-glued a piece of scrap felt in the bottom right corner to use as storage for the pieces. 
Here's a printable version you can laminate. Don't forget to make extra pieces!

Quick Tip: Use poster tubes to keep items on the shelf neatly

If there's one thing that drives me crazy, it's a messy DVD shelf. I can forgive unruly fiction and nonfiction shelves because the books are all different shapes and sizes. BUT there is NO EXCUSE (and yes, I am yelling at you) for anything but the straightest line of DVDs. I am a laid-back person in general but militant about this.  So, how can busy librarians keep their DVD shelves nice and tidy? A little recycling of poster tubes is how. We are constantly getting promotional posters from publishers via our book distributor. Like any children's librarian, I am a hoarder of things that may be useful in the future. The big tubes I use individually behind the DVD cases and the smaller ones I tape together in a bundle. Anyone else out there do this? It saves us so much time! 

The Making of a Flannel Friday Post

I get tons of emails asking for help getting involved with Flannel Friday (YAY! Keep them coming!), but since I'm a visual learner, I thought I'd show you step-by-step what goes into one of my Flannel Friday posts. This is my process, but I'm sure the other bloggers involved have (probably better) other ways of doing theirs.  This is the behind-the-scenes version of today's Flannel Friday post "Nobody Likes Me."

Let's get started! First we need an idea. Ideas can come from anywhere, but I was reminded of this summer camp singalong classic from the 2013 summer reading manual when I received it months ago. Instantly I knew I had to flannelize it. I had a vision of a black silhouette face and fun colored worms. 
Step 1: Create a pattern. Some patterns I can draw (on paper or in Microsoft Paint). Human faces are beyond my drawing skills. So the first place I turned to was Open Clip Art. I searched "silhouette" and Score! Someone had posted a plain m…

"Nobody Likes Me" Flannel Song

Getting way ahead of myself again, today I'm sharing a song that will be just perfect for those of you using the collaborative summer reading program's theme of "Dig Into Reading." It's "Nobody Likes Me," also known as "Guess I'll Go Eat Worms." This is a summer camp classic perfect for acting out at silly storytimes.

Nobody Likes Me (Traditional)  Nobody likes me, Everybody hates me,
Guess I'll go eat worms,
Long, thin, slimy ones, Short, fat, juicy ones, Itsy, bitsy, fuzzy wuzzy worms.
Down goes the first one,  Down goes the second one, Oh how they wiggle and squirm.
Up comes the first one, Up comes the second one, Oh how they wiggle and squirm.
Download my pattern (adapted from Open Clip Art images).

In a pinch, you could cut strands of thick yarn to give the kids if you wanted to act the story out. Make a bunch and get the audience to play along. I'd do the felt board version once to teach it to people as it's not as commonl…

Perks of the Job

One of the perks of my job is that my LEGO mini-fig collection is coming along swimmingly. We don't circulate the little dudes (and yes, they are always dudes--no girls with the LEGO books, I observe) so I keep them in my desk. I left Han Solo in the carbonite plastic he came in. It just seemed appropriate. I'm not sure why Harry Potter is bald, maybe Voldemort was feeling petty. Or I just lost his toupee. No way of knowing, really.

Jane's Garden Draw and Tell Story

Here's another draw-and-tell story! This one, "Jane's Garden," I wrote for summer reading 2013. The theme will be "Dig Into Reading." I hope you like it! 
Jane loved to plant seeds in the spring. She would walk all around her garden gently placing them in the ground. When she was finished, she went back into her house. 
Three times, she watered the ground where she had planted in the seeds. 
Then all she could do was wait. But that didn’t stop her from walking back and forth, up and down the garden, to check on the seeds.
One day Jane’s patience paid off! She saw that a flower had begun to bloom where she had planted the seeds.
Do you know what kind of flower it was?
A rose! Good job!

A Succinct Argument for Ditching Dewey?

It's just a little excessive for a nearly-wordless book about drawing, don't you think?

How to Draw (A Giraffe) in Microsoft Paint

A reader requested a tutorial on drawing in Microsoft Paint. I'm going to confess that I am far, far from a talented artist. Like seriously far. I took drawing as an art elective in high school and it was so awful. I am still traumatized by trying to draw still portraits in perspective. And it was a bottle tableau, not anything with crazy lines. So I do not even bother trying to draw with paper or pencil because it is incredibly frustrating to me.

BUT it turns out that I may be semi-decent at illustration in the simplest of software programs: Microsoft Paint. I like Paint because every PC has it. And I am extremely overwhelmed by PhotoShop. So Paint it is! No worries, because it has all the function I need for clip-art type projects.

I start all my drawings by having something to copy. That's right! When it comes to artwork, I am a straight-up plagarist. I cannot draw anything from memory. So I'll pull up a Google Image* search on penguins (or whatever) and study the shap…

"Dig Into Reading" Ideas

Truth: When you're a childen's librarian, summer is always on your mind. Alas, not the many hours you'll be logging at the beach, but the dread of summer reading program approaching. I've already started writing Flannel Friday posts to fit the "Dig Into Reading" collaborative summer reading program theme and I thought I would link them into one place for easy sharing. To make it easier on myself, I linked upcoming posts so if you try to go to one marked with an upcoming date, you will be disappointed! The Flannel Friday crew will be having a SRP Extravaganza roundup sometime in March, so watch for that (exact date TBD). Eating (as in Dig Into That Pizza)Five Little Apples Flannel Board RhymeLunch by Denise Fleming Flannel Board StoryRecipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich by Shel Silverstein Prop StoryComing 2/8/13A Soup Opera by Jim Gill Puppet StoryComing 2/15/13Tina's Tasty Treat Draw and Tell StoryYummy WatermelonsGardeningFive Little FlowersThe Field of …

Six Silly Sharks

An embarrassingly long time ago, I was the lucky recipent of an email from the great Judy Sierra. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I was delighted to read it. Apparently Ms. Sierra (I cannot bring myself to call her Judy although I am sure she would not mind, benevolent soul that she is) stumbled upon my lowly blog and offered to share a preview of the new, third edition of her classic The Flannel Board Storytelling Book.

All youth librarians should be familiar with this book. I first heard of it in a children's literature class in library school and I have been turning to it ever since. The third edition is available as a PDF download on Etsy for $9.95. I think it's wonderful to be able to see her work in color and love that the price is so affordable, unlike many professional reference books. I love the fabric collage technique Sierra recommends, so that's what I've chosen to share with you in this week's Flannel Friday post. 
I already have made flannel …

Turkey Tale: A Thanksgiving Draw and Tell

Soon it will be Thanksgiving in the U.S. of A! The Flannel Friday crew is having one of our famous Extravaganzas today (hosted by Amanda) and I'm sharing a favorite draw-and-tell story called "Turkey Tale." You can find it in Twenty Tellable Tales by Margaret Read McDonald.
The story begins:  Once there was an old man and an old woman who lived in a round sod house by the side of a large round lake...
It ends with you having drawn a turkey! I promise that all the shapes in this are very simple.

Last year I shared my Turkey Feathers magnet board. If you're looking for Thanksgiving fingerplays, there are some really cute ones in Creative Resources for the Early Childhood Classroom

Article Published

I'm thrilled to announce that an article I wrote was published in the November/December 2012 issue of Library Media Connection which hit the streets officially today. The article is called "Pinterest for Librarians," and I'd love to hear your feedback if you read it. I had a great time working with the LMC editors on this and want to thank them for giving me the opportunity! I hope I can write for print again in the future.

Thanksgiving Display

I forgot to snap a picture of my Halloween display. Maybe next year I'll get to it. Anyway, since we just put up my Thanksgiving display, I'm able to share that one at least.

I don't do anything elaborate for holiday displays because they just get torn through almost immediately anyway. It is a feeding frenzy to rival actual Thankgiving parties. I'm able to share my sign because I used OpenClipArt, as always. The sign looks pixelated on my screen but it printed just fine, so I think you'll be OK.