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, March 31, 2014

Tween Book Club: The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

The March selection for my tween book club was The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen, one of my favorite adventure stories. These book club meetings are really starting to be fun to plan and I really enjoy spending time with all the kids in the group. They all loved this book!

Icebreaker: Word Search from Scholastic UK

Discussion Questions: I printed off questions from Scholastic's Mother-Daughter Book Club and this blog post. Honestly, this month I barely needed to glance at them since the kids loved this book and talked forever about it. They compared it to The Hunger Games and some other books they have read (or want to read). It was a wonderful, organic discussion.

Activity: At the last meeting, the girls requested that we play Don't Blow the Joker and Book Scramble again (both from or inspired by our Minute to Win It program), so we did. Next month I will try some other games, but they really want to master Don't Blow the Joker. I think they will be practicing at home.

The kids also enjoyed seeing the UK covers which I printed off Amazon's UK site and we compared them to the American book covers. One of the boys said the UK covers looked more "YA" and action-orientated, which I agree with. I think the American covers look more middle grade than the others. They also were interested in the subtle differences between the paperback and hardcover edition covers.

When I was looking for ideas, Rebecca sent me her plan for her Knights and Castles program. Some of the activities would be a great way to extend the Medieval theme of this book.

In April we will be reading No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman, one of my favorite middle grade authors. I couldn't find a book trailer for this story that I liked, unfortunately. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thrive Thursday Placeholder for April 2014

Do you all know about Thrive Thursday? It's the genius idea of Lisa Shaia to take the Flannel Friday model (of weekly story time ideas) and expand it into programs for school-age children. So every month we round up submitted ideas from bloggers for crafts and activities for elementary aged kids and this month I'll be your host!

As with Flannel Friday, please leave a link to your blog post, and I'll compile them in a new post. You've got until Thursday, April 3rd so rack your brains, scour your files, and share some awesome programs! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Official Flannel Friday Third Anniversary Roundup!


It's Pie Day! Let's eat cake instead to celebrate the 3rd birthday of Flannel Friday! To kick this party off, I asked our friends to share some favorite posts from our archives. To keep this post from getting ridiculously long, I won't copy and paste all the favorites, but will link to those who participated and then you can click and read.

Birthday Love Link Posts
Thanks to Mollie, Anne, Lisa, Linda, Jenna, Lisa, Katie, Kathryn, Jane, Tracey, Melissa, Katie, Amy, Andrea, Amy, and Bridget for indulging me and sharing your list of favorite storytime projects from the past. 

Traditional Flannel Friday Posts
We also had a couple people post non-birthday Flannel Friday ideas, so go check out Bridget's adorable mice finger puppets and please welcome Library Quine back to Flannel Friday for the first time since July! This time she's sharing Bunny Gets Dressed, a version of Froggy Gets Dressed for younger kids. Also check out Katie's Ten Umbrellas and Raindrops.

Next week's roundup will be hosted by Katie at Storytime Secrets!

All About Flannel Friday
Learn more about our Flannel Friday project by visiting our official webpage. You can also admire the prettiness at our Pinterest page, and join our Facebook group for storytime discussion 24/7/365.We just hit 1,000 members tonight! :)

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Flannel Friday's 3rd Anniversary Round-Up!

This week, Flannel Friday celebrates its third anniversary of rounding up great felt boards, props, movement activities, and other story time goodies! The team behind Flannel Friday wishes to thank all of our readers and participants for joining us for this wild ride.

For the third anniversary, we'd like to issue our readers a challenge to share your favorite Flannel Friday project(s), as many as you'd like.  These can be your own, if you have participated, but we'd love to see posts that have inspired you to try a new mode of storytelling, stretched your artistic skills to make, or otherwise enhanced your professional development. You can also post new activities and I will round those up as well. 

Now's a great time to check out the map of our community and see where our bloggers and readers live. If you'd like to be represented, there is a survey to fill out and then our team will add you.

Last year many of our group wrote posts about What Flannel Friday Means to them. They are a great read! Head over to Sharon's round-up and enjoy.

If you'd like to participate in this week's round-up, please leave a comment below with a link to your post and/or links to your favorite posts from the past. And please join me in raising a glass or coffee mug to Flannel Friday! Happy birthday! Here's to many, many more.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Tween Book Club: The 100-Year Old Secret

Last week, my tween book club met to discuss The 100-Year Old Secret by Tracy Barrett. This is a short, sweet, clean mystery featuring siblings who, after moving from the U.S. to London, discover that Sherlock Holmes is their ancestor. They decide to team up and solve some of his old cases. This is the first book in the series. We discussed the book using discussion questions I found on Ms. Barrett's official site. (That link downloads a Word document.) The kids liked this book and it wound up being the most successful book club I've done since starting here last April.

For an icebreaker, we played "Don't Blow the Joker" from our previous Minute to Win It program. Playing these Minute to Win It games is something I've been experimenting with and so far it seems to be working really well. The kids get really into it! Since I was only expecting a handful of tweens (only 4 came), I only used one bottle and one deck of cards, all stuff we had lying around the library. None of us were able to complete this challenge (yes, they made me try it too!). The girls wanted to try this game again next month and they also wanted to repeat the Book Scramble from last month. So I guess I have some homework to do sourcing a bottle with a flatter top, older cards that don't stick to each other as much, and cutting up book covers.

Our last activity was a creative writing exercise, inspired by a people-watching game the main characters in the book (Xena and Xander) play where they people watch and try to guess the occupations of strangers. Before our meeting, I printed off about a dozen images of people of all ages from the Internet and hung the photos around our program room. During the meeting, I gave each kid a sheet I whipped up to guide them in making observations about one of the people in the photos. I asked them to do this silently. At the bottom of the sheet was a space for them to write a paragraph about the people answering the question "What happens to this person immediately after the photo was taken?" The kids took this really seriously and made great observations. Most of them were willing to share what they wrote and I really enjoyed hearing what they had to say. One of the girls asked if she could take all the photographs home with her so she did. Feel free to use or adapt my sheet for your purposes.

One activity I wish I had down would be to show the kids how to use our microfilm readers as one of the places Xena and Xander go to research the missing painting in this book is the library. They do some microfilm research and I thought today's kids might get a kick out of seeing how microfilm works and doing some of their own research.

Next month's book club is The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen, one of my favorite books from the past few years. I like to end book club by showing a book trailer for the next book. I showed the official video from Scholastic's False Prince site. Thanks for making this available, Scholastic!