Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Archive for November, 2014

Magnet Science Storytime

preschool-magnet-testI had some requests after last summer to continue the Preschool Explorers science storytime series.  We don’t do storytimes the week of Thanksgiving, so this seemed like a good time to add one in.  (I have another one coming up over winter break.)  The only thing I’d change is that next time I wouldn’t do a registered storytime on the same day/time when we usually have a drop-in storytime.  It was hard to turn away the 2-year-olds who are used to coming on Monday mornings at 10:30, but the activities weren’t really appropriate for them, and I didn’t want people to be fighting over materials.  In the end, between the no-shows and the age-appropriate drop-ins, I somehow ended up with exactly the 18 kids I had planned for.

I did some magnet programs for elementary school kids in September and October, and it was fun to gear it down for the preschoolers.  Some activities were identical to the ones the older kids did, and others I created just for the younger set.  I was happy with the overall balance – there was enough to keep them busy, and the activities seemed appropriate for the target age group.

Want to know more?  Read on!

Brown Storytime

ugly-pieWe intentionally planned Brown storytime to be the week before Thanksgiving.  There are so many great holiday tie-ins.  The food!  The turkey!  I didn’t really do any explicitly Thanksgiving-y stories, but I did do a pie story, if that counts.

One thing this week really had me thinking about is repetition.  I played the “Little Mouse” flannel game for the third time this fall.  In discussion with other librarians, while many of us recognize the need for repetition with babies and toddlers, it sounds like we always feel the need to pull out new things every week for the preschoolers.  In some ways, I feel like preschoolers are more savvy/mature these days, but they’re still very little people with developing brains, and, like their younger brothers and sisters, they really enjoy the repetition.  Honestly, it’s not being lazy – it’s just good practice to repeat, especially something this fun!

Want to know more?  Read on!

Pink Storytime

pink-printWe had another tandem storytime last week.  I did Monday-Tuesday with one partner and Thursday with another partner, so I really got to know the stories well.  There are all kinds of fun pink things – cupcakes, worms, bubble gum, pigs…

Amazingly, we didn’t get any complaints about pink being a “girl color,” even when they were doing prints with pink paint at the end, so I didn’t have to stand on my soapbox at all.  However, I was able to rope in one little girl, probably 4, who was playing on the game computers before storytime.  I asked her if she was coming, and she said no.  She was dressed in pink from head to toe, and when I told her that we would be doing stories about pink things, she said, “I love pink!  It’s my favorite color!”  And, sure enough, she did show up.

This week definitely reinforced my feeling that tandem storytimes are fundamentally different from solo storytimes.  There were two books that I think would have worked well as a solo reader.  One of them we tried as a tandem on Monday-Tuesday and it was ok, but not stellar.  I found an awesome replacement, but didn’t think it would work well as a tandem either.  I ended up putting in a book I didn’t like quite as much as a solo read, and it ended up making a great tandem read.  All that to say, choose books with good content, but also ones that fit your format.

Want to know more?  Read on!

Boys and Books: The Twits

the-twitsIt is nice to see this parent-child book group expanding.  We started last January with just a few families, mostly of 3rd graders.  Through the spring and summer it continued with a core group of friends in 3rd grade who attended together.  Some of those kids are still coming as 4th graders, and we’ve added some new families as well.  I love seeing a boys’ book discussion group expand.  It’s relatively easy to get elementary aged boys into the library for Lego Club or magic shows, but a book discussion group?  Awesome!

This month, we read The Twits by Roald Dahl.  This led to some discussion of pranks the kids have pulled (or want to pull) and the creation of some prank items.  I also got to pull a prank on the kids, which was fun.

Want to know more?  Read on!

Gray Storytime

tap tap boom boomThere was a lot of storytime switching this week, and I ended up doing storytime on a different day than usual.  There was very little overlap with my usually storytime crowd, which got me thinking about how, even in a drop-in storytime like ours where attendance varies, there’s still a character to each group as the year goes on and you get comfortable with each other.  There were some things I didn’t quite get away with this week – like using shakers during a story – that probably would have worked with “my” kids.

I have also seen a lot of discussion this week on various library discussion groups about evaluating storytime performance.  In general, I think evaluation is good, but sometimes things are just out of your control.  And it’s not because you didn’t prep, or because you didn’t choose good material, or because you’re not good at storytime; some days just aren’t as great as others.  That’s not to say there isn’t something to learn from the days that didn’t go well – there definitely is.  I’d just hate to have been evaluated on this week’s storytime.

Anyway, things that are gray: storm clouds, elephants, mice, sharks….

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Fun with Science 2014 Edition

05-Play-007-cropWell, we managed it again – our second annual Fun with Science event based on ECRR2.  We thought the actual ECRR2 workshops were not fun enough, not hands-on enough, and didn’t have enough science content.  We created a model last year that was pretty successful, and have now done Science events in November of 2013 and 2014, plus a Math event in March of 2014.  We run these events as family drop-ins with one table for each of the five ECRR2 practices, plus a table for handouts.  The handouts give info about the ECRR2 practices plus extension activities that build on the table activities at the event.  It was pretty awesome to see 127 people – kids, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas – talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing science together this weekend.  If you want more info, let me know.  I linked most of the materials here, but I’m happy to give any additional information.

Want to know more?  Read on!

Black Storytime

spider-craftThis was the end of the Halloween trifecta of storytimes that included Orange and – you know, Halloween.  I kept one song in common, but otherwise, it was different content at each one.  (It’s amazing how holidays differ in selection; there are tons of good Halloween books, but I’m always hard-pressed to come up with even one good Thanksgiving storytime.)  We covered spiders, flies, witches, and other black and creepy things.  There weren’t a ton of costumes – I swear, some years I get kids in costume every storytime in October – but they were all into the spirit of the thing, so we had a good time.

Want to know more?  Read on!

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