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Showing posts from March, 2013

Roll a Storytime!

Here's an idea that lots of librarians already do and that I know at least one person has posted for Flannel Friday before (sorry, can't remember who!). I've heard it called "Roll-a-Rhyme" most frequently. Basically, you make a big die (singular of dice!) and roll it. Whatever comes up, is the nursery rhyme that you sing/say.You can build a box out of cardboard. I actually bought mine from Discount School Supply. I'm pretty sure I didn't pay $36, and I don't think I got number cards with them, but it was a few years ago. I made the nursery rhyme cards in Publisher. The dice have vinyl pockets so you can change the contents really easily.

Another idea is to put different movements on there. You can use animal movements. DSS's come with kids pretending to be different letters of the alphabet like this:
Other ideas for these dice: Put different colors and whoever is wearing that color has to stand up. Or touch their nose or lick their elbow. Whatev…

Tweaking the Children's Department

One of the things I love to do is make small little tweaks in my kids' department. It's amazing to me how moving even a small collection can have a big impact. It shakes the patrons out of their comfort zones and let's them see the department with new eyes. Here's an example of one we did earlier this month: moving the J Kits from the back wall of the picture book area to front and center right, where we used to have the BIG books.
Before, the kits were sort of fading into the wall, which you can kind of see in this extremely grainy photo (sorry, I forgot to take a before photo and had to crop some kids out of an older one).

After switching the Kits with the Big Books, we're looking like this:

The wall behind the big books is looking pretty empty, so I ordered a Pete the Cat poster from ALA. It's here and framed, just waiting for my boss to hang it. 

And here's a close up of the new-to-us (our other branch is now interfiling picture books with CDs in with …

Bringing Your Blog to the Next Level

Over in the Flannel Friday Facebook group, we've been discussing how to spruce up a blog in Blogger. I've been using Blogger for about 6.5 years (started as a student in library school), so I feel pretty confident in it. I've considered moving my blog over to Wordpress but everything is already set up using Google products and at this point I'm not interested in switching things up.

Anyway, a member was looking for some ideas to improve to function and appearance of her blog, so I thought I would share my suggestions to her (and some more for when she feels comfortable) with everyone. A lot of people have started blogs because of Flannel Friday, so I'm hoping some of these ideas will be helpful for anyone who is interested in upgrading their blog. Lisa wrote a really great post about some of the more beginning things you can do to enhance your blog, but I want to talk about some of the more advanced options.

If you're just getting started...
The most important …

Go Away, Big Green Monster! Draw and Tell

Kristine's Flannel Friday post last week reminded me that I'd been meaning to see if I could figure out how to do a Go Away, Big Green Monster! draw and tell story. I'm a big fan of Ed Emberley's work so this is my attempt at a tribute to his work (don't laugh).

I won't be sharing the text with this book, but the drawing instructions couldn't be easier. I mostly followed the order of the book except one thing that has always bothered me about this book is that the eyes come before the face which makes absolutely no sense, right? RIGHT?

1) Face. I've used a green background for my face. I drew this on the computer instead of lugging out a white board from storage, but you could get away with just drawing a circle with a green marker. Don't color it in, just draw the outline.

2) Eyes. With a yellow marker, draw two circles. Fill them in. You can put a another black circle in the middle for the pupil, as I have. Or not. I do think it adds something of …

Storytime Inspiration: Alphabet Blocks

Recently my lovely sister gave my family a huge tote of hand me down toys for our daughter. Since Nora already has lots of toys, I've been going through them to see what could be used at work now or when she outgrows them. The first one I want to share is a set of Fisher Price's Peek a Blocks. These are alphabet blocks that appear to have been discontinued, which is too bad because they have a lot of potential for library use.

The blocks could be used to inspire new storytime themes (throw them all in a bag and pick one out randomly) or to introduce your Letter of the Day, especially if you use an alphabet storytime model. Also some of the blocks have actions to manipulate or make a noise when you push a button.  They each have different textures on the outsides as well.

Here's the letters I have:

Airplane
Bananas
Car
Duck
Elephant
Fish
Guitar
Horse
Ice Cream
Jacks
Keys
Lion
Monkey
Nest of birds
Octopus
Penguin
Queen
Rabbit
Strawberry
Train (you can actually turn the train…

" The Dog and His Bone" Shadow Puppet Story

The quickest story we performed at our shadow puppet show over winter break was Aesop's "The Dog and His Bone." This is the first one I made and I thought it was great for getting comfortable with the process of making and using shadow puppets for an overhead projector. You could also easily do this show behind a screen. For our purposes, we wanted to perform all the stories using the same methods for simplicity and space reasons.

Like I said, this one was easy to make. I used the patterns in Judy Sierra's Fantastic Theater. I copied the patterns for this story (the dog and the bone) from page 68 onto plain paper and traced it onto black cardstock. Then I cut them out and taped a flexible drinking straw to them. For the text, I like the version found in Jerry Pinkney's collection.

For the backdrop, I used a copyright-free bridge image from Open Clip Art. I cut and pasted it into Publisher, where I adjusted the size. Then I printed out on a transparency sheet (ma…

Women's History Month

I'm late getting this on my blog, but we put up a display to celebrate Women's History Month (March). To make the sign, I found a list of famous American women and turned it into a wordle. I really like how the Wordle itself turned out. Then I pulled some of our biographies of accomplished women. It's right next to the checkout and catches a lot of eyes. Here's my sign, if you'd like to use it.

P.S. That's my desk in the background (the computer by my red coat), if you were wondering where I write these posts (it's allowed at my work, but I know everyone isn't so lucky).

Guest Post: What Flannel Friday Means to Me by Amanda Murray

The following is a guest post from Amanda Murray about her appreciation for Flannel Friday. Amanda is a stay at home mom and early childhood educator in Canada. 

Hello Everyone!

I'm Amanda Murray and I joined the Flannel Friday community about a month ago.  I am a stay-at-home-mom of a sweet, lively 4 yr. old son and a smart, wonderful 11 yr. old daughter. (seen here reading a book together :-) I am also an ECE with a passion for early literacy (and numeracy), storytime, and learning through play (and an avid reader with a serious addiction to books of all kinds).  I am getting ready to offer nursery school and parent-child Mother Goose / storytime-type programs part time from my home. I found Flannel Friday while browsing Pinterest for ideas to include in my upcoming programs.
When I first stumbled onto FF I was giddy with excitement and became completely obsessed for about a week (in a very healthy, non-stalkery kind of way :-)  It was like finding buried treasure!  I blog-hopped …

What Flannel Friday Means to Me

A while back, Sharon challenged us to write about what Flannel Friday means to us. Next week we'll be celebrating FF's 2nd birthday, so this is a great time to reflect on what an experience it has been for us all. I wrote a novel, so I won't blame anyone for skimming this post!

I've been a Flannel Fridayer since the beginning, and it has had an amazing impact on my professional development and on my career in general. My desire to continue participating in Flannel Friday has led to me continually trying to outdo myself. I always want to step my game up for storytelling. I started doing felt and magnet boards. Now I've tried making my own shadowpuppets and writing my own drawandtell stories. I'm happier because I love being creative and trying new things. My storytime families love seeing something different too.

I have learned a lot about using social media for professional purposes too. Way back in 2011, we started the Flannel Friday Pinterest boards, almost …

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Like many other youth librarians, I'm currently planning a Star Wars party for the kids in my town on May 4th. I thought I'd share what we have planned so far, in the hopes that you will all make suggestions for how to achieve maximum awesomeness. We are planning a station-based program, in the hopes of creating some sort of order, as we have had a lot of kids register already and are still 2 months away from this program!

I have submitted requests from the 501st Legion and the Rebel Alliance  (thanks for the tip on this, Julie!) and am hoping that we will have some live "characters" (read: fans in homemade costumes) from the Star Wars series at our event. I am not promoting that they will be here, in case it doesn't work out. I did print out these masks and we'll let the kids try them on and take pictures either way.

Station 1: Dress a teddy bear like an Ewok (idea also from Julie). If I have time, I hope to get enough props that they can do Princess Leia a…

"The Ant and the Grasshopper" Shadow Puppets

Are you sick of shadow puppets yet? I am definitely not! Here is the last of my shadow puppet posts. You've already seen my versions of Arthur's Nose and Mother Mother I Feel Sick Send for the Doctor Quick Quick Quick, and today I'm sharing "The Ant and the Grasshopper." This is a perfect story for summer reading, if you're doing the "Dig Into Reading" theme.

I was inspired by Nancy Renfro's Storytelling with Puppets.  I drew the two backgrounds (above and below ground) as well as the grasshopper and two different versions of the ant in Paint. The drawings are based on those in Renfro's book.

I printed these on overhead transparency sheets using our laser printer. If you make them, make sure you are using the right kind of transparency sheet for your printer. A laser printer sheet in an ink jet printer will never dry and it will be Smear City.

If you're looking for the text to this story, any volume of Aesop's fables should have it.…