Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(Not) a Flannel Friday: a clothespin story

Let's play in the forest while the wolf is not around by Claudie Rueda is a fun enough book to read, but let me tell you, turn it into a clothespin story and it might change your storytelling life!  A class of kindergarten and first graders liked this so much, I had them begging to do it again (and we did!)

This can be a "call and response" story, with you saying "Let's play in the forest while the wolf is not around," and the kids saying "Wolf! Are you there?"  The wolf then answers (in your wolfiest voice, of course) by saying he is putting various things on, his underwear, his t-shirt, his pants, his backpack, etc.

I drew the images for his clothes, adding cut paper to enchance them.  I made a color photocopy of the Wolf's head and put it on a long stick so that I could move him easily and have his ears only pop up as he said "I'm putting on my _____."  As the wolf said each thing, I'd clothespin each item to the twine. The whole wolf does not pop out until the final word of the story: "pancakes!"

Since I wanted the wolf to remain hidden, I got a box lid and covered it in brown paper.  With some simple rigging, a box lid will stand up by itself and allow you to sit behind it. (I used a good sized novel to "weight" my box lid down and ensure it didn't do any tipping during the story.)  I hot-glued a piece of twine to go across the box lid and serve as my clothesline.  [Just a tip - the box lid is very handy!  I like it because it provides a very simple "stage" that you can sit behind or even put on your lap, and it can be used for smaller stories where you need to "hide" things.  A larger stage would really overwhelm this little story.]

A slight change that I plan to make before doing this one again: I'm going to make the pancakes larger and put them on a stick.  It makes more sense for the pancakes to appear as the wolf says the word and to not be "pinned" on the clothes line.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Snow Storytime

Since I'm in the south, actual snow is short lived and rare!  It actually snowed here 2 days before I presented this storytime . . . for all of 4 hours.  At least the kids could remember seeing it! Hardly anything original in here - so grateful to the many storytime bloggers for their inspiration!

Bedtime for Bear by Helquist
All you need for a snowman by Shertle

The most popular and fun thing we did was pretend it was snowing - along the lines of "going on a bear hunt."  There is something powerful about 3 and 4 year olds and their capacity to imagine and play! I made it up as I went along, but it was something like this:

Is it snowing outside?  (No!)
It's raining?  Aw, well, let's pretend it's snowing.
Go outside!  Ooooh, burrr! Too cold.
Let's go back inside. What should we put on?
(Let the kids offer suggestions: coats, hats, earmuff, scarves, snowboots, gloves, etc.)
(Act out putting it all on as you go.)
Okay! Now, let's go outside.  Are you cold now?  Nope! You've got your winter clothes on.
What do you see?  (snowflakes! white snow! ask the kids and get responses.)
Let's try to walk in the snow.  Can you walk in the snow?  You have to pick up your legs!
Oooh, this is so fun. Isn't it pretty?
Let's stomp in the snow - can you do that?  Wow!
Okay, let's pick up some snow and make a snowball! 
Can you pack it?
Can you roll it?
Okay, now let's throw it! 1..2...3!
Can you jump in the snow?  Awesome!  Wow! Those are big jumps.
Okay, now, can you make a snow angel?  Does everyone know how to do that?
(Keep going or stop, based on your audience.  I'm pretty sure my kids could have done this for 1 hour! We closed it out by throwing another snowball at their daycare center teachers!)

The above snowman is based both on All you need for a snowman (Schertle) and The lovely Storytiming blog.  I did it as a call and response activity, which turned out really well.  I would say "Hey, Mr. Snowman!" (children repeat) and then "What do you need?" (children repeat). I would then let the kids tell me what he needed.  If I had it to do over, I'd add ear muffs and an actual mouth.  I had some very curious 4 year old troubled about where the mouth was! I picked kids out of the audience to tell me what the snowman needed, and then I let them come up and put it on.

I got this idea from Shawn at Read, Rhyme and Sing.  So cute!  Since these kids are young, we started out pretending to drink hot chocolate and blowing on our "mugs" and adding marshmallows.  Then, I asked them if they could help me see how many marshmallows were in each mug. 

Drink it up, Drink it up! (knee claps)
Yum, Yum, Yum! (hand claps)
(we repeated twice for each mug.)

We closed with 5 little snowmen riding on a sled, which  I got the lovliest .pdf from Sunflower Storytime!  (Sled made by a kind coworker!) It's the 5 little monkeys jumping on a bed with Frosty calling the Doctor instead of Mama.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Day

I'm covered in hearts on this one! There are good Valentine's day books out there, but guess what? Last minute planning = checked out books. This program was heavy on the flannel board and interactive rhymes.

Valentine Song
I've had this for years & I've been using it for years! (Not sure of its original source). I confess to adoring this song & sometimes I sing it to myself in the middle of July.  I picked some kids to line up, hold the objects, and then we sang the song together. It can also be done as a flannel board story.

Valentine Song: to the tune of Love me Tender
You're my rainbow, you're my star, you're my bright red cookie jar.
You're my goldfish, you're my pie, you're the apple of my eye.
You're my daisy, you're my vine, you're my one true Valentine!

Valentine Tree Rhyme from here.  Since my storytime audience is typically 25 or more, after we "shook the tree" together, I gave them each a heart sticker.  If the audience was smaller, it would be super cute to give them actual Valentines off the tree.

I used the colored valentine song from here.  This is a super cute idea and it really can be used in a variety of storytime scenarios.  This was very popular with the kids.

Book: The day it rained hearts by Felicia Bond (so precious!) Love this book.  It is cumbersome for a flannel story, though, so be warned; it has a lot of pieces.  The pictures in the book can be small, so I typically read the book and then use the flannel pieces simulatenously, almost in place of the pictures.

Valentine Match Game.  I believe lots of people do the heart match up game...I have a version I've used for a while and it decided to disappear on me.  I made some quick hearts in Publisher and gave one half to the storytime kids and the other half was on the board.  The kids got to come up and match them.  This was, by far, the most popular thing we did!

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