A Bump in the Night

Summer Reading ended a month ago now (boy this summer has flown) and I am finally getting around to posting about the last week of story times.  This is due to the fact that I had some out of town visitors (my sisters, one of whom traveled all the way from England!) so I was busy with that, plus the Olympics were on and I love the Olympics so I was rather consumed by gold medals and world records. 

So, finally I am catching up on my posting with our final story time theme, Things that go Bump in the Night.  This was a fun theme to throw into summer, though it may make this year's Halloween week a bit more difficult to plan.  My bump in the night theme went the route of monsters, though I try not to let them get too scary as I do have some young and impressionable children in story time.

Our first book was Jumpy Jack and Googily by Meg Rosoff.  I have used this book in the past with older kids and normally would not do it with just 2's and 3's, but my crowd seemed to be trending more along the 4's age range so I figured they could sit long enough for it.  This is a cute story about two goofy looking monster friends.  One friend, Jumpy Jack, is continually afraid that he will encounter a scary monster - but, look who he is friends with!  This is fun for the kids as you can ask them if they see a monster while Googily is checking to make sure that there are NO monsters.  When they determine they are cleared of all 'monsters' you learn that Googily has a fear of his own...Socks!  The kids seemed to enjoy this one even if they didn't catch all of the nuance (like the monsters Jumpy Jack was afraid of were the exact description of Googily).

The second book was Jon Stone's The monster at the end of this book.  This is a classic story and the kids of course loved it.  I do feel my reading of it was heavily influenced by the book ap (which is awesome!  If you have an i-something look into it.  It costs a few dollars but such a well done book ap, my own kids love it).  Anyway, I could tell that my emphasis and tone was mimicking Grover from the ap, but I guess that made it more animated, right?  If you do not know this story, poor Grover reads the title and becomes terrified of turning pages and encountering the monster at the end of the book.  He begs and pleads with the reader NOT to turn the pages and becomes increasingly agitated (that is, if you read it properly).  The fun part is asking kids if we should turn the page and having them all shout YES!  This book also has a surprise ending, guess who the monster at the end is?  Well, if you don't know you will just have to read the book to find out!

I made a monster flannel board to Bedtime little monsters by Emma Harris.  I found the idea on the blog Storytiming.  I did a post about it a few weeks ago here that you can read for full details.  Basically, we looked for the different colored monsters who were hiding behind things.  As we found each one we tucked it into bed.  Once all the monsters were in bed we sang them a lullaby song and put them to sleep.

Surprisingly, there were some decent, storytime appropriate monster songs out there.  My new favorite artist Eric Litwin has one called Stomp around the room.  In this song the monsters stomp, run, jump, and do various other things around the room.  We have a storytime rug where the kids sit, so we went around that rug as we sang.

Laurie Berkner has a song called the Monster boogie that is fun to do.  You act like a big scary monster and then dance around crazy.

Another song that we did was Carole Peterson's Singing in the rain.  This song has nothing to do with monsters, but I picked it because here in the midwest we had very little rain all summer.  I decided that we could end storytime with a 'rain dance' and guess what, it worked!  As the kids filtered out of storytime we discovered that it was POURING rain.  The kids were SO excited and I was feeling very magical.

Our video for the week was Maurice Sendak's Where the wild things are.  It is hard to do a monster storytime and not use this classic book.  I like the video because it adds some great music as Max and the monsters are having their rumpus.  I always worry about scaring the kids with this one (no idea why, they can handle much more than we give them credit for) but I do announce the title of the film so that anyone can make a quick escape if wanted.  Of course, they all enjoyed the film.


Flannel Friday: Flannel Organization and Preservation

That title sounds like it could be a class in library school and no, I do not have a flannel story about organization and preservation (though it would make that class a LOT more interesting!).  We are currently on a story time break and I have no new flannels to share.  We tend to get the month of August off to wind down from summer and gear up for the fall season, so I will be making more soon.  Plus, for the last two weeks I was for too distracted by the Olympics to be posting.  Therefore, this week I am sharing my flannel storing tips.

Fist off, flannel organization:
Each person in our department has a file drawer to do what we please with.  Mine is currently being used for storing my flannel / foamie stories, though I am quickly running out of space.  I suppose I could move into boxes, but I like having the whole collection together.  I have a large envelope for each story and the envelopes are shoved in there alphabetically.  I do have a decent sized section at the beginning with those that have a number in the title, such as 5... or 10..., first by number then subject.  Fairly straight forward.
I keep a template in a Word document so that I can have uniform labels on all of my envelopes (very anal librarian of me, I know).  Each label has first the title, larger and bolded, and then additional information, such as 'based on the book...'  Sometimes I share pieces among stories, so if that is the case I will note that under the title, i.e. 'use cow and pig pieces from 5 Red Apples.'  Often I will type out the entire rhyme or story if it is not from a book.  If the rhyme is particularly long I will leave a printed copy in the envelope to pull out and use during story time.  If I save any paper templates I will also keep those in the envelope in case of future emergency.
 In addition to my Word document I also keep an Excel spreadsheet with the titles of all my flannels.  Each entry has a spot for four possible themes.  For example, the entry 5 Red Apple has the themes: counting, animals, food, and Based on the book 10 red apples by Pat Hutchins.  Obviously not every entry has something in all four categories.  And, in many cases I could add more but I pick the four that are most obvious or are more useable for story time.
I try to update my spreadsheet at the end of each story time session.  We have four a year and that seems to work well for me.  During the sessions I stack any new flannels at the front of my drawer until they have a labeled envelope and are added to the spreadsheet.  I e-mail the spreadsheet to my co-workers every so often, just so they know what we've got (there are 4 of us doing story times).  I used to have a column for the last time I used a flannel story, but I also keep a story time theme spreadsheet with the books and songs I used each week, so I note the flannel story there.

Next up, flannel preservation:
Well, I am not sure how much preservation this really is, a little, but the envelopes are part of that too.  Basically, this part is my new glitter preservation trick.  I like to really like to amp up my foam pieces with glitter whenever possible (I think this stems from my dad's ban of all things glitter when I was a child).  Usually this means spreading a decent amount of glue around and shaking LOTS of glitter over top of it.  You can use the glitter glue, but I just don't think it has the same sparkle.  The upside is that my pieces stand out, are memorable, and often get an audible crowd reaction.  The downside: glitter EVERYWHERE.  My lovely co-workers do not complain about the trail I leave from the work room to the story time room, or the puddle that is left on our shared story time cart, or the chairs, or the desk...  But, they are rather polite, and, at the very least, it drives me nuts (partly because that means there is less glitter on the piece).

Recently I realized that if I spread a coat of Mod Podge over the glitter it will stop it from coming off everywhere and still allow the sparkle (I'm sure regular old glue could work too, but I have not tested that theory).  So, I coated all of my glittery pieces with one coat of Mod Podge and no more glitter trail!  Now, I can glitter to my heart's content and not worry that in a few years I will have to re-glitter my flannel boards.  **Be advised that the Mod Podge does leave a shiny sheen.  This does not matter when coating glitter, but if you goof and get it somewhere else that part will shine a bit when dried.  Though that could come in handy if you want something to look wet!**
Freshly Mod Podged piece
Dried piece; white goo turns to a clear and shiny top coat
Lots of glitter-ized at various stages of dry-ness

Now that you know how to organize and preserve your flannels, you need to go make some!  You can find this week's ideas with Mollie at What Happens in Storytime...  All things Flannel Friday related can be located at the Flannel Friday Blog and all posts are pinned to the boards on Pinterest.


Super Heroes

Week five of our summer reading program highlighted Super Heroes.  Since it is always fun to come to work in costume, I dressed up as a generic super hero.  (Alas, I took no pictures.)  The costume made it really easy for the kids to guess the theme, so I also had them name some of the super heroes that they knew of.  The list was rather short.  I even had to point out a few that were on their t-shirts.

We had been opening story time with the song 'If you're happy and you know it,' but, given our theme, we sang 'If you're super and you know it.'  I left all the other words the same to save on confusion, though every time we sang the word super we flexed our muscles.

The first book that we read was Jez Alborough's Super Duck.  This is a cute story about a duck who is playing super hero.  Several times during the story he cries 'Make way for Super Duck!'  Goat is trying to get his kite to fly so Super Duck comes to trouble shoot the problem.  Things go a little haywire when they string the kite to the back of a truck and Frog ends up soaring away.  But, luckily, Super Duck is there to save the day.

Our second book did not really have super heroes per se, but Chickens to the rescue by John Himmelman has chickens stepping up to save the day.  Each day of the week something goes wrong on the farm, but, have no fear 'Chickens to the rescue!'  I love taking a chicken picture and holding it up for the kids to say 'Chickens to the rescue' along with me.  This time I even found a super hero-ish chicken and taped it to a bright yellow burst (think the old Batman t.v. show).  We practice shouting a few times before reading the book, then they can even tell me the title.  This book is always lots of fun.

Because books and flannels featuring super heroes were hard to come by for 2-5 year olds, I wrote my own flannel story.  You can read the full description here, but the gist of the story is a little boy devises his own super hero costume that ensures he will be the BEST super hero ever.  He gets all of the necessary abilities, but the end result is a little bit odd.

We did manage a few super hero songs.  In addition to 'If you're super and you know it' we sang 'Mask, cape, belt and boots' to the tune of 'Head, shoulders, knees, and toes.'  It went:

Mask, cape, belt, and boots
Belt and boots.
Mask, cape, belt, and boots,
Belt and boots.
I'm a super hero,
How about you?
Mask, cape, belt, and boots,
Belt and boots.

Recently I discovered that Eric Litwin (author of Pete the Cat books) also has cds!  One of his songs is called the Super Silly Tango, so we used this song.  The kids do various motions to tango music.  This first part is step, and step, and turn around.  The motions are pretty easy to follow and the music is fun.  Mr. Litwin has several albums - one for each color I think- so more of his music will probably be making its way into my future story times.

We also used the song Shakable you by the Imagination Movers.  This is a very fast paced song that I like to use with shaker eggs.  My favorite part is the ending when you shake and jump.  We hold the shakers high in the air and jump up and down.

Our video for the week was Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.  Not much super hero tye-in here, but the story is great and I love this animated adaptation.  The kids really seemed to enjoy this video (so did the parents as they could relate to the story as much as the kids could!)