Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Teen Craft: My Origami Valentine

Today I made these origami Valentines with 2 groups of teens! Each piece of the Valentine took between 10-15 minutes to teach at a leisurely pace. The two pieces fit together quite nicely and the teens were proud of the finished product.

I emphasized the importance of clean, crisp folds and precision before starting this craft.

We used a 5" by 5" piece of yellow paper for the envelope and a 4" by 4" piece of paper for the heart shape.  I used regular colored copy paper.

I taught each of these pieces step by step and had them follow along with me. I also had printed instructions for them to take home.

To learn how to make the envelope, use these wonderful instructions for an "Origami Bookmark" provided by Red Ted Art.

To learn how to make the simple origami heart shape, I used this tutorial:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Toddler Storytime: Diggers 'n' Dozers


One Big Building by Michael Dahl

Construction Countdown by K. C. Olson

Giant Pop-out Vehicles Meagan Bennett

Little Dump Truck by Margery Cuyler

I didn't get to use Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney, but it is so cute! Nicely paced and rhythmic text.


I loved this action rhyme from Preschool Powol Packets:

Construction Trucks Action Rhyme 

The tall, tall CRANE reaches up so high
(stretch up tall toward the sky) It looks like it will touch the sky!
(keep stretching up, stand on tippy toes) 

EXCAVATOR digs a hole so low
(use one hand to scoop a "hole" that touches the ground) While LOADER scoops up dirt to go.
(use two hands to scoop an imaginary load) 

The BULLDOZER scrapes a nice flat ground
(place hands at waist height and "smooth" the "ground" in front of you)And CEMENT MIXER spins around and round.
(spin in circles) 

Now very last, and very strong,
(make "strong muscles") DUMP TRUCK lifts things all day long!
(use two hands to lift a "load" like a dump truck) 

This is a classic building rhyme:

Johnnie / Joanie Works With One Hammer 

Johnny works with one hammer,  (Hammer one fist lightly on leg) one hammer, one hammer,Johnny works with one hammer,Then he works with two. 

Johnny works with two hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs) 

Johnny works with three hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs and one foot on the floor)

Johnny works with four hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs and both feet on the floor) 

Johnny works with five hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs, both feet on floor, and nod head down and up) Then he goes to sleep.(Pretend to go to sleep) 

Special Activity:

We played "Hide and Go Seek" with cardstock construction vehicles "hidden" around the room. My class is very young, so I just set them on the floor in easily visible spots. I told them that the trucks had been out working hard fixing up the library all morning, and now we needed to bring them back to rest in the parking lot.

The kids went out searching and brought all the trucks back to this parking lot I made out of masking tape on the carpet. (It's amazing what you can do with tape on carpet!)

We had a special building and construction themed playtime afterwards with plenty of Duplos, cardboard blocks, and transportation themed toys.  

Toddler Homework:

  • Stop by a construction site and talk about what the machines are doing.
  • Read a book about construction and/or big machines.
  • Look at tools with grownups and talk about what they do.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Toddler Storytime: Fall Forest Fun

Letter of the day: F

We talked about all things Fall, Forest-y, and Fun!

Rhymes and Fingerplays:

Scarecrow, Scarecrow (a seasonal version of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear) 
Scarecrow, scarecrow, turn around
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch the ground.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, reach up high!
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch the sky.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, bend down low.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch your toes.

All the Leaves are Falling Down (Tune: London Bridge is Falling Down) 
All the leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down, (Imitate falling leaves)  All the leaves are falling down, Fall is here! 
Take a rake and rake them up, rake them up, rake them up, (Imitate raking leaves)  Take a rake and rake them up, Fall is here!

Make a pile and jump right in, jump right in, jump right in, (Jump!)  Make a pile and jump right in, Fall is here! 
In the Apple Tree
Away up high in an apple tree. (Point up)
Two red apples smiled at me (Make circles with fingers)
I shook that tree as hard as I could. (Shake tree)
Down came the eapples and Mmmmm were they good! (Rub stomach)


The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tarfuri

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Special Activity:

Acorn Hunt!

 (You may want to forewarn parents that this activity will involve tree nuts, although most people with nut allergies report no issues with handling acorns. Let the parents decide. Also, acorns could be a choking hazard. Advise parents to be hands-on with this activity.)

Before storytime, I shredded lots of paper and placed it in shallow totes. Then I mixed in plenty of acorns for our Acorn Hunt.

First I introduced our storytime friends to Simon the Squirrel. "Do you know what Simon eats for breakfast?" "Will you help him find the nuts he hid in these totes to fill his bowl?" Children brought me the acorns as they found them to feed Simon. I pretended that the squirrel "ate" the nuts- they thought this was hilarious!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What can you do with a scarf?

Storytime scarves are a lot of fun. My absolute favorite scarf song is Popcorn Kernels, demonstrated by the fabulous ladies from Jbrary here:

I like to ask some other questions too:
  • Can you wear it like a cape?
  • Can you wave it like a flag?
  • Can you wear it like a hat? 
  • Can you hide it behind your back? Can you wave it behind your back?
  • Can you wear it like a shoe? (This one is just for laughs. As it happens scarves makes terrible shoes.)
  • Can you spin it around your head like a helicopter? 
  • Can you wave it fast/slow or high/low?
What do you like to do with scarves?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Storytime: Feelings

Oh FEELINGS. What preschooler isn't familiar with feelings? Hungry, sad, happy, surprised, sleepy- their feelings run the gamut daily. Let's talk about it! I like this theme quite a bit because it encompasses almost any picture book if you talk about the feelings of the characters.

For an opening song, "Oh hey, oh hi, hello" by Jim Gill works well; the kids get to pretend to feel sad and mad among other affectations. You might also "Shake your Sillies out" with Raffi; kids love feeling silly!

Opening questions for discussion:
-What feelings do you have?
-What is your favorite feeling? (One boy yelled out "SLEEPY!" Okay, sure.)

Here are the feeling-laden books we read today: 

Grumpy Gloria by Anna Dewdney

Fun rhymes and grumpy times with a cantankerous pup. I like asking the kids whether they think Gloria is still grumpy or not throughout the book... spoiler alert: there's a happy ending for our grumpy friend.

 Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

Opening question: ¨Does anyone feel scared sometimes?¨ This book is about feeling scared and about being brave.

If You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera

My favorite feeling of all! End on a happy note with this great rendition of the popular song. You'll need the kids to stand up and help you read/sing the book.

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

We did not have time for this one today, but how cute is this book? This is a great way to talk about ways to make people feel better and would be a good book to end on.

I also love Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony.

Game: Name that feeling!

I made these simple feltboard faces to illustrate different feelings. I revealed them one at a time and asked, "Can anyone guess what feeling this is?" and "¨Can you make a happy/sad/silly/surprised face?" I did not have time to make hair for them, so they all look like bald men for now. Please pardon the dog legs in the photo, my pup did not feel like moving.

Make it - Take it craft: Happy totes
Our library had an excess of white cloth reusable library tote bags perfect for drawing on with markers. I gave each child a bag to take home and told them to draw something that made them feel happy on the bag. If they were too young for drawing, I encouraged them to use their favorite colors. 

Words about feelings from Fred Rogers: “As a caregiver, you’ll know that a child can be happy, sad, angry and excited all in the space of a day. As children grow, they learn that other people have these same feelings, too, and it helps when we can tell them about our feelings. Talking about feelings has a way of making those feelings more acceptable, and children need to know that having a wide range of feelings is part of being human. But adults also need to tell children what they do with those feelings- particularly with strong ones like sadness and anger. When we talk about letting those feelings out in acceptable ways, we can help children learn that all feelings are not only mentionable but manageable, too.” -- Mister Rogers' Plan and Play Book

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Storytime: Birds!

Books we read:

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins

The duckling gets a cookie?! by Mo Willems

I should note that I paperclipped sections of all these books to abridge them a bit.

Action rhymes to use:

Little Bird
There was a little bird who lived up in a tree, 
Chirping at the clouds that floated by. 
Then that little bird flew on down to me, 
Landed on my shoulder and winked his eye. 
He said, "tweet tweet," 
I said, "tweet," back, I didn't know what else to say. 
Then that little bird flapped his wings 
and flew himself away.
See Mr. Mike's version here for the accompanying actions.

Hickory Dickory Dare
Use several bird puppets; ask the kids what kind of bird it is before each repetition. I started with a parrot.

Hickory dickory dare
the parrot flew up in the air! (throw stuffed parrot up in the air)
Farmer Brown brought her back down (make bird puppet fly back to table)
Hickory dickory dare

Repeat with other bird puppets- owl, rooster, flamingo, etc.

Mother Gooney Bird

Extra fun: 
On a whim, I connected our big TV to my laptop and brought up our local Peregrine Falcon webcam on the big screen to be left on during storytime. This was at the side of the room, and it wasn't such a big draw as to be distracting during storytime. I explained the concept of a live webcam and some interesting falcon facts (did you know they can dive for food at speeds up to 200 miles per hour?).  It worked out great- a neat, easy to set up curio for kids to look at as they are putting on their coats and getting ready to go. At one point the parent falcon brought home some food for the fledglings, wowing all the children. In the future I look forward to including more live animal webcams.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Toddler Storytime: Things that Go

This is one of the best storytime themes out there. Kids love so! many! things that go and will respond with enthusiasm that may be hard to contain. (That's my kind of storytime!)

Wise librarians who came before me made cardboard railroad tracks. You can make your own with a stencil, spraypaint, and cardboard. They're awesome! I'll post a photo soon. I let kids play with cardboard railroad tracks for 5-10 minutes while people are still coming in the door. Encouraging them to build together fosters an imaginative and collaborative atmosphere. 

I call everyone to center with a train whistle. These are inexpensive and sound great.
We sing our Hello song and Open Shut Them, and then we get the party started with a great book:

Giant Popout Vehicles by Amelia Powers

This is an excellent read for both toddlers and preschoolers. The visual and written clues are simple enough that some toddlers can guess what the next pop-up will be. If they don't guess from the clues, I ask whenever I reveal each popup "What is this?" and they love to yell out "It's a motorcycle!"  

Then we do a stretching song:

My Ups and Downs by Jim Gill

This song is wonderful at the beginning of storytime. Jim Gill has us stretch way up high on our tippy toes and back down to the floor a few times. Parents like to do this one too!  Don't forget to mention that this is a song about opposites.

Time for our second book!

Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean

Wow! Even though I paper-clipped a few pages together, the toddlers followed along for the entire story/song! 30 pages with toddlers is a new record for me. Be sure to point out how the kids are 'reading' the story with you. Do all the motions and sing your socks off!
Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill

This song is so fun!  Count on your fingers and encourage the toddlers to jump, jump, jump! You won't have to try very hard. 

Our next book came out in 2014 and won my nomination for the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly award.

My Bus by Byron Barton
Byron Barton books work well for toddlers because of their simple text, bold imagery, and easy to follow stories. Ask the kids to help you count how many dogs and cats are getting off and on the bus. Talk about where they might be going. This cute story ends with a sweet twist.

Finally, it is time for the last book in our all-star lineup:

Maisy's Book of Things that Go by Lucy Cousins

This is a crowd-pleasing, pop-up STEM book for toddlers not to be missed. Make sure to keep a copy non-circulating so you can use it again and again.