Gotta share. We spent an entire afternoon filming this and the behind-the-scenes people worked even longer to create and organize the whole thing. It was so fun! Hoping we will do it again, because we are obviously all pros at it now.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I scheduled these past few months of my life. I bought a house, moved into the house, got married on top of working AND then decided I should do an Angry Birds program, Star Wars Reads Day, and My Little Pony Party on top of all the other things. So, needless to say, I didn’t do as much for these events as I wanted to but the attendees didn’t know that and they had a blast so yay for that!
Today was the My Little Pony Party. I scheduled it for a day our schools had an early dismissal because of a teacher in-service so it wasn’t connected to a holiday or anything, the kids just got out early and needed someplace to go. I made sure to REMIND parents of this anytime they mentioned the program’s 2pm start time.
I advertised the program for ages 5 and up and made sure to mention that it was for both bronies and pegasisters so everyone felt welcome.
It worked! We had a great turn out, around 50 kids, and the age range was a lot of early elementary. They all loved it!
Make yourself as a pony (blank pony coloring sheet with crayons)
Make a pony bookmark (corner bookmarks + one of these ponies glued on top)
Make a “cupcake” (accu-cut cupcakes with some tissue paper for “extra frosting”)
Make a unicorn horn (found here)
(I have a Pinterest board full of brainstorming, if you’re curious)
And, of course, a Scavenger Hunt because I love sending the kids into the library and they seem to love it too. I gave them a gem at the end because they were searching for Spike.
Here are a few photos of the cuteness. BRACE YOURSELF:
Wherein I should be reading books for a conference but get distracted by a bunch of comics for teens and kids that I just happened to see on the shelf:
Not quite as good as the first collection, but still adorable and fun. I love this series!!!
I really enjoyed this book. I think a lot of us have a “one summer” that we can remember. Maybe not quite as dramatic as this one, but I do remember having those crushes, the mystery of what being “older” was all about, and straddling that line between wanting to be a kid and wanting to be a teen. Tamaki and Tamaki capture it all perfectly.
View original post 571 more words
This is a rant I go on every year, so nice to have someone else do it for me. She captures all of the pain and suffering inflicted upon librarians and students as they struggle over the summer to figure out what the heck the people making these “assigned lists” were thinking!!
Summer Reading depresses the bejeezos out of me. While my school librarian friends are looking 10 years younger and more carefree than should be permitted by law, I’ve got the Summer Reading blues real hard. The reference desk lines are non-stop, everyone needs everything right now (stress levels of parents seem to go up to 11 during July and August), we’re running out of titles and our will to live, and the Summer Reading assignment lists from the schools don’t seem to have been written by actual people:
Often, parents hand me lists so outlandish I’ve considered whether I was being featured on a really bad hidden-video reality show. They’re either really poorly organized or they contain titles that I know just by looking at them that we just don’t have. I’ve tried contacting schools and teachers, either by phone, email, or in person, and have had absolutely no luck. We…
View original post 1,211 more words
We had a “Science of Harry Potter” program this afternoon. I wasn’t in charge of it, my co-worker (who is far more hardcore into HP) was the planner. My involvement was today during the set-up and actual event.
The program was 2 hours long, though most people were there right at the start. We’re guessing we had over 150 people attend, maybe even 200. It was mass chaos when we opened the doors to the meeting room at 2pm because EVERYONE came right at 2pm and flooded the meeting room.
I ended up at the “sorting hat” table, which had a very short questionnaire for the kids to fill out and then I tallied the answers and told them what house they were sorted in to. This was so simple, something I know we have all done online many times, but OMG THEY LOVED IT! I guess because they are too young to hang out online and take these quizzes? I sorted entire families – kids dragged their parents over because they wanted to know which house they would be in. It was adorable.
We even had a few kids in Slytherin, which was hilarious. Usually it was little kids because, as we know, toddlers are evil.
Other tables included:
- Herbology lessons — make a anti-nightmare sleep aid from a collection of herbs
- Astronomy — make a star wheel
- Enchanting — levitating tinsel on a balloon (which didn’t work well because the room was too humid and we couldn’t build up enough static)
- Potions — invisible ink with lemon juice
- Divination — tea leaves, palm reading, and tarot cards
- Fantastic beasts — Owl origami
- Hogwarts Library — scavenger hunt starting point, quizzes, and BOOKS!
HUGE HUGE hit, as anything with Harry Potter’s name attached to it usually is.
(I will poke my friend and see if she can post a proper blog about the program since it was her brainchild)
These kinds of family programs with brand names are always insane but so worth it.
Oh, and bonus, I posted the above photo on my tumblr and Library Journal reblogged it! ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!
And now I’m going to pass out because what a day!!!!
You know, when I first started doing preschool storytimes, I worked like crazy to pull together books that were all themed and a craft that tied into that theme, songs that worked with the theme, and a few rhymes or puppet that fit into the theme.
But you know what I’ve realized? The kids don’t really care.
They are just so thrilled to hear stories and sing songs together. Never once has a child critiqued my storytime choices and told me that a book didn’t fit into the theme.
Storytime “themes” should be approached the same way that an episode of Sesame Street works – you can have a letter or number of the day, but honestly everyone just wants to hear the main theme song, the counting song, and they like to hear a few new stories.
I think some of us, especially librarians who are not Children’s Librarians or who studied early literacy, but have become storytime gurus through happenstance, become obsessed with themes and it makes these weekly programs eat up far too much time and brain power, considering how much other stuff we have to do around the branch. Personally, I do at least one children’s program every week. I also work the desk at least 2 hours a day, though usually 3 hours if staffing is weird. I want to host more programs for teens. I want to weed my collection. I want to create displays!
So instead of sweating over storytime themes, I now just pick out some of my favorite books from the storytime shelf, pick one that I like enough to make it the craft (since most authors have websites now with easy craft ideas) and have a selection of songs I pick from so that the kids can learn the songs with me.
It has made my life far less stressful. I did the Babies program for 2 months and I only switched up a few things the entire time, mostly just going back and forth between the same three sets of rhymes or fingerplays. The babies and parents loved learning the rhymes with me. I’m now doing the Toddler program and going about it the same way, except with a few more books in the mix. But I am going to use the same rhymes and songs and watch as the kids learn them with me.
I had signed myself up for several school visits at the end of the May and start of June so I was really excited to see this idea (I didn’t even know you could use GIFs in PowerPoint – this feature will be abused from now on, whether I’m talking to 5th graders or our library staff). I had my booklists, created from titles my coworkers and I had enjoyed plus ones that were well reviewed in School Library Journal and a few I just knew about from word of mouth from our regular teen readers.
My presentation was about 45 minutes long. The first 20 minutes was my basic Summer Reading Club plug, talking about programs we would have going on all summer long and reminding them that the public library is a place that is totally FREE to get into and also has air conditioning. I didn’t pretend like it was the only place they should want to be this summer. That’s ridiculous. But I pointed out that there were going to be summer days when they would need another activity because of weather or being stuck at home. I kept the presentation light and funny and told them how easy it was to get a library card.
After we got through that, I did booktalks for about 30 minutes. I broke them down into vague genres and did about 3-4 books per genre, with a GIF behind me while talking. The kids were on the edge of their seats when I would change slides, standing up to see what characters were up there.
ANYWAY, I haven’t seen any statistics yet but I have seen a lot of older kids and teens sign up for our program and so many have come in to get the books I talked about. And just as many have said “Hello” to me when they visit, which just makes me feel like a rockstar.
So I can totally vouch for this. If you want your Readers Advisory to be a bit more fun when you visit schools, this is a great way to go, especially when talking to a large audience. My groups about 100 kids each and I was impressed by how closely they listened. I talked to over 1000 kids in about 3 weeks and it was amazing to hear them say they wanted to read something I had suggested!
If you want to see my presentation, you can download it here!
Wow, this is embarrassing. The story here is that I have two adult books I am currently in the middle of. I’m still working on Silence of the Lambs and then a week ago Dead Wake arrived for me so I dropped everything to read that, only to find myself losing interest and going back to Lambs. But not quick enough to finish it before April 30! So my “read” list for April is kind of sad. But at least the two books I did finish were fantastic!
I loved this graphic novel memoir about Cece Bell’s hearing loss as a child. Even if you have perfect hearing, you can relate to Bell’s story, her nervousness about trying to fit in, about not wanting people to treat her differently and managing friendships and relationships in middle school. Her…
View original post 74 more words
I’m a fan of puppets. I grew up watching Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and The Muppet Show.
Oh who am I kidding, I STILL watch Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and The Muppet Show!
So when my friend mentioned World Puppetry Day, I jumped at the idea of having a program at the library to talk about the different kids of puppets.
Our program attendees tend to run on the younger side, so even though we promoted the event for school aged children, we tried to make sure we had enough crafts to work for all ages.
We started off the program with a short talk about the history of puppets and went over from puppet related vocabulary, defining each kind of puppet. We described each puppet and asked the kids if they could guess the name of the puppet based on the description (This puppet uses a rod to control it’s arm, what would you call it? A rod puppet! Correct!). We showed them examples of store bought puppets and then also an example of a simple puppet you could make at home.
After that, I played a few clips of famous puppets and puppeteers. I made a quick YouTube playlist with some favorite clips and asked the kids what kind of puppet was being used (I didn’t play any of the clips in their entirety).
Then it was craft and play time! We brought a few puppets down from our Storytime collection and set them up on a table with a sheet, creating a makeshift stage area. We had print outs of knock knock jokes and the kids used them as scripts as they played with the puppets (at least, initially, then they went off into their own little games).
For puppet crafts, we had three different activities ranging in difficulty. If you can get your hands on the awesome book 10-Minute Puppets by Noel MacNeal, it is a great resource with lots of printables and inspiration for a program like this.
For the older children, we had the parts for the Elephant Rod Puppet already cut out and with holes punched sitting on a table. We used a thick cardstock for this. You will also need some straws, tape, and the gromits for the moveable parts.
On another table, we had butterfly shadow puppets. We made lots of butterflies, cut out from many different colored construction paper. Scissors and hole punches were on the table so the kids could create holes in the butterfly and then some colored plastic sheets that they could use to cover the holes. They taped a straw to the back and created their little works of art!
The last table had a craft for very little ones, a frog finger puppet that could be colored in. Two hole were cut into the bottom for “legs” created by the child’s fingers.
We set up the branch projector so the kids could test out their shadow puppets. They loved seeing the shadows on the wall (though don’t ask me why I went with Notepad instead of a blank PowerPoint slide…next time!)
While we only had 9 children show up they were VERY enthusiastic. They did all of the crafts, played with the puppets we brought down and talked to us about the puppets afterwards. One little boy wanted to create his own puppet (he wasn’t into the butterflies) and we gave him some plain white paper. He proceeded to draw a character from the Sonic the Hedgehog series and then he poked holes in him and used the colored plastic to create his own unique shadow puppet!
We’re already discussing next year. Of course, after we started to advertise the program we were approached by two different people asking about helping out with it. We are hoping they are still interested next year because we really didn’t have time to incorporate them into the event this time around. But we hope this can be an annual event, maybe even more elaborate each year with crafts and activities for older children and teens.
Back when I first started doing preschool storytimes, I used to do somewhat complicated crafts. Lots of cutting out pieces and having the kids glue them a certain way. This was back when I worked at a smaller branch and only did storytime for one month and then had a break with lots of free time to plan. Now I work at a much busier branch and our system has adopted a year-round Early Literacy Program calendar, which means every single week I am doing some sort of children’s program. Combine that with working on the desk (programming increased, staff did not, we actually lost one person and we are a very sparsely staffed system anyway) and it leaves very little time to create elaborate crafts.
Our preschool storytime groups average at least 30 kids each week. That is a lot of kids and limits the kind of hands on crafts you can have. You have to keep it simple to make it easy to set up and take down. You have to keep it simple so you can maximize the minimal budget set aside for supplies.
I started taking advantage of our die cut machine. It is very simple to crank out 40 bears, cars, crowns – whatever. At first, I felt very guilty, like I wasn’t putting enough in to the craft. I would look at other storytime blogs for inspiration and see crafts that involved lots of intricate pieces that had to be cut out by hand or purchased at the craft store and I felt like my glue and color crafts made me look like a lazy librarian.
But that is not true.
I really think the kids enjoy the simple crafts more and that they get more out of them. It gives them the freedom to use their imaginations. When I had my more complex crafts, I found that the parents were obsessed with the kids making it “right” instead of the child just having fun. I also found that the more complex the craft, the less time they spent on making it. They would glue the pieces where they had to go and then be done.
My craft today was very simple. We did stories about transportation and I had cars for the kids. They used gluesticks to attach the car to a piece of paper and then colored where the car was going. The kids worked on their projects for a solid 10 minutes, some more elaborate than others. As they colored, I took the time to walk around to each child and ask them about their car, where it was going and the colors they had used on the paper. The children were very eager to talk to me about their cars and would come running up to share their pictures with me an explain everything on the page. One car was going to school, another had a rainbow on the door, and there was even a car parked outside a bakery (that girl was after my own heart).
So when you are sitting there, trying to figure out what craft to do for your preschool group, don’t obsess over whether the 300 little bits of paper you have to cut out will impress the parents. Think about how this craft will expand the child’s mind. Think about the early literacy skills they can pick up just by coloring in a car and telling you about how they have to drive to school. The more you encourage them to talk and share, the more positive experience they will have, and isn’t that what we want to create? A positive experience with reading, books, and the library.