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!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” --Benjamin Franklin

If I were to give one piece of advice to a new children's librarian, it would be to learn to plan and prepare. I'm going to show you the system that finally got me organized. Maybe it will work for you too.

All of the librarians at my library have monthly planners with our names on them because we're fancy. (Fun fact: I'll be Anna Clark in 2013 due to a typo on the order sheet.) I write everything in my planner. 

This time of year (fall) is when I start working on the next year's calendar. Here's what goes in: 
A typical month
  • All days the library is closed for holidays
  • All half-days and school vacations (as soon as the public school district releases its calendar) so I know when to plan programs for days off and also so I am not blind-sided wondering why so many kids aren't in school today
  • Library paydays (marked with a $)
  • All meetings (department heads have a standing meeting every other week at my library), conferences, and staff training sessions
  • Vacation and time-off requests for myself and the other librarians
  • Programs in the children's and adult departments (I also write down the number of attendees on the calendar after the program is over so when I fill out the next year's calendar I know whether it should be repeated. This also serves as a backup for my Excel statistics.) I also write a note on a day about 7-10 days before a program to email out a press release to the newspaper. 
  • Monthly reminders to: add up the program attendees for the Board's report, update the New Books section on our Web site. 
  • Quarterly reminders (September, December, March, June) to: change the bulletin boards, create events flyers, post events to the website, etc. 
  • Flannel Friday dates (I write my FF posts in batches of 3-4 at a time and then write in my planner on the day they are scheduled to go up so I can make sure they are added to the roundup.)
  • I also put my personal appointments (doctor, dentist, hair, etc.) on my planner in case one of them runs late. My planner is usually open on my desk and people can check it if I'm MIA. I'm often asked to visit preschools and daycares outside of my normal work schedule so this helps me see instantly whether I am available to go. (My position is exempt so I don't have to worry about going over 40 hours in a week and getting paid overtime.) 
I put all of these in my Google Calendar which syncs to the calendar on my iPhone as well. So all the information is in 3 places, but I only have to put it in 2. My Google calendar has monthly reminders for things like paying my mortgage and giving the dog his heart worm medication. 

“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra

Friday, September 21, 2012

Two Little Bluebirds

It has finally happened! I am running out of flannel fridays to post! In the immortal words of Scooby-Doo, "RUH ROH!" 
Today I am sharing "Two Little Bluebirds" also known as "Two Little Blackbirds," a felt adaption of the well-known fingerplay. If I recall correctly, the patterns are by Judy Sierra. 

Two Little Bluebirds
Two little bluebirds
Sitting on a hill,
One named Jack,
One named Jill. 
Fly away, Jack!
Fly away, Jill!
Come back, Jack!
Come back, Jill!

Look for the roundup from Sharon later. 

P.S. Is it just me or does the photo look like an indie rock album cover? I think it's the font choice. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest: "Call Me Maybe" Bulletin Board

Thanks to this pin on Pinterest, I finally took down our summer reading bulletin board and put up a new one. It has been interesting to see who on the library staff "gets" this bulletin board. It took almost no time to put this board together as I recycled the letters from the texting bulletin board I used last year.
The main change I made was switching from "here's my trailer" to "here's my cover" because the location of our bulletin board isn't really conducive to incorporating QR codes. My apologies for getting this infernal song stuck in your head. 

Shout-out to the Comsewogue Public Library in New York for awesomeness in bulletin boardery

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Quick Tip: Personalize "The Wheels on the Bus"

One of my favorite storytime songs is 'The Wheels on the Bus." There's actions, most people know the song so you get participation, and it just plain works. One thing I like to do with this is song is to use the name of my town instead of "all through the town." The parents and kids always get a kick out of this.

With older kids, you could get out a map and use local street names ("up Washington Street," etc.--don't worry about it fitting the song perfectly) and trace a route from somewhere in the city (a school, park, etc.) to the library. This would be a great activity for parents to do with their kids at home.

What are some other possibilities?