Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Archive for February, 2014

Community Helpers Storytime

clothesline-cluesThis was one of those weeks when I was really glad for the collaborative storytime planning model we started last year.  There are three of us who do preschool storytimes, and we get together at the beginning of a season and plan what themes we will use each week.  Then we each pull books, music, rhymes, craft ideas, etc. and put them in a common area to share.  Everyone chooses their own material,  but we can take advantage of each other’s expertise to find some new stories and decorate the room a little bit to go with the theme.  This works well as long as everyone plans ahead.  Otherwise the person with the Monday storytime does a lot of work and the person with the Thursday storytime reaps all the benefits.  (I try not to do this too often.  I swear!)

This week, though, it was the theme that I really found useful.  I don’t think I’ve ever done a Community Helpers Storytime, and I probably never would have come up with the idea on my own.  Most of the books and songs I did were things I’d used before, but framing it in the context of Community Helpers let me mix up the books in new ways.  Overall, lots of fun.

Want to know more?  Read on!

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On the Banks of Plum Creek

plum-creekI did my first mother-daughter book club, On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It was much easier to run than my first boys’ book group.  Not sure if it was the topic or that girls and moms just talk more.  We had a great time, and could definitely have gone on longer.

Want to know more?  Read on!

Friends Storytime

valentine-makingI didn’t want do an all-out Valentine’s Day storytime, so I focused on Friends instead.  I didn’t try anything crazy this week – no science experiments or act-out stories.  I’d meant to make a playlist of friend-related songs to play while the kids were working on their crafts, but I didn’t have time.  I did have “Glad to Have a Friend Like You” from the original Free to Be You and Me cued up, but I forgot to play it.  Oops.  The craft was quite Valentine-ish, and the kids planned to give them to a nice range of people – grandparents, parents, siblings.  One even gave hers to a friend she made at storytime!

Want to know more?  Read on!

Lego Simple Machines

simplecatapultI ran a Lego Simple Machines program for 3rd-5th graders in January, and K-2nd graders in February.  There were some interesting differences.  Both groups had 16 kids.  The older group consisted of 14 boys and 2 girls, all avid Lego fans, while the younger group was made up of 9 girls and 7 boys, some of whom were not particularly familiar with – or interested in – Legos.

In the older group, the fact that they were specifically Lego simple machines seemed to be a draw.  Some of our regulars who normally have a tough time staying on task were working hard the whole time, building together.  They didn’t necessarily focus on the simple machines, but they were at least building something that related to their given task of creating an amusement park ride.

In the younger group, especially for one table of first grade girls who had little Lego experience, the actual Legos seemed to be a bit of a turnoff.  We have loads of Lego-specific programs – family drop-ins, Lego clubs, Lego WeDo – and they usually have an enthusiastic response, so it was interesting to see the Legos acting as a barrier in this case.  With a little coaxing, though, they managed to settle in and create some pretty interesting amusement park rides.

Want to know more?  Read on!

Winter Storytime #2

snow-painting3We’ve had a lot of winter this year, so we’re all familiar with snow and ice, and no one minded doing another round of winter stories.  I had a great time — in fact, I probably have enough material for another few Winter-themed storytimes.  Good thing winter will come next year too, and the year after that!

I had a pretty small group – 18 kids – and most of them were actually in the target age range (maybe because of the bitterly cold weather?), so I was able to bring them up front to participate more directly than I usually do.

Want to know more?  Read on!

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