Storytimes That Grow

STORYTIME FOR: Berwyn Public Library (Outreach)

Hello/Goodbye Song

We Say Hello/Goodbye Like This (with ukulele)
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
D                                                          A7
We wave hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we wave hello like this.
D                                                         A7
We clap hello like this…with our friends in storytime, we clap hello like this.
D                                                           A7
We stomp hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we stomp hello like this.

Why These Books?

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea.  I heard another storytime librarian at Skokie Public Library read this book and instantly fell in love with it.  This books rhymes, it involves call and response, and it easily helps kids understands the things that grow and the things that don’t.  It’s a great book to start a storytime, because the call and response really gets kids warmed up.  I would suggest it for any age.  It’s easy enough for two-year-olds, but humor of the things that grow really engages the general preschool crowd.

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson.  I love this book for Kadir Nelson’s art alone–his oil on canvas paintings are absolutely life-like, stunning, and vibrantly colored.The book begins by showing how a seed will grow, and then transition into a message about what happens when you plant seeds of selfishness and kindness.  When I read this book, I paused and asked the preschoolers to identify different food that grew in the garden.  Though the language–or poetry–is sparse for a preschool book, it definitely succeeded in capturing the preschoolers’ attention.

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  This book is less designed to teach about growing, but rather offers a hilarious, imaginative perspective.  When an alligator who loves watermelon swallows a seed, he begins to panic that it will grow in his stomach until he becomes a watermelon.  When he spits out the seed, the drama begins all over again.  It’s a short book, but a great story to end on.  A lot of the kids I read to told me the liked this one a lot.

Extensions

Green Leaf (fingerplay, scarves)
Here is a green leaf (hold out one palm)
And here is a green leaf (hold out other palm)
That, you see, makes two (hold up two fingers)
Here is a bud (cup hand together)
That makes it a flower (slowly open hands)
Watch it bloom for you (slowly open hands)

*Credit: Jbrary video

Not a Garden
Have kids identify different types of fruit and vegatables that grow in the garden, and have each student put a food item on the felt board.

In My Garden (action song)
Digging, digging, his is how we dig the ground
In our garden, in our garden …
Digging, digging, this is how we dig the ground
early in the morning.
Repeat: hoe the weeds, plant the seeds, peas will grow, pick the peas, eat the peas.

*Credit: Raffi
 

How It Went

This has, rather unexpectedly, been one of my favorite storytime themes.  The idea of growing is so tactile and interactive that all the extensions worked really well.  The kids (and teachers) liked the Green Leaf scarf rhyme the best.  For some classes, I ended up repeating it more more than three times.  It took a for some classes to get through the felt activity, just because there were so many students, but completely worth it.  They loved being able to come up and put something on the board.  For the Raffi garden song, I got into a habit of asking the kids what we should do next (many classes came up with a new verse: water the seeds).  They loved the books too!  Personally, I loved how this ended up being both fun and educational.

 

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Seasons are the Times for Stories

STORYTIME FOR: Berwyn Public Library (Outreach)

Hello/Goodbye Song

We Say Hello/Goodbye Like This (with ukulele)
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
D                                                          A7
We wave hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we wave hello like this.
D                                                         A7
We clap hello like this…with our friends in storytime, we clap hello like this.
D                                                           A7
We stomp hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we stomp hello like this.

Why These Books?

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson.  I like to use this story for both preschool and sensory storytimes.  It works well because it’s excited and interactive ( a lot like Press Here).  The book gives directions like “tap this page to see…” and I ask the kids at the beginning of the story to help me out by tapping on their hands.  But this books goes beyond simply being interactive.  It’s a great book to start off a seasons storytime because of the way it focuses on how a tree changes with each season.  Kids love to see the tree change and comment on details (i.e. the squirrel who eats the apple.

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara.  This is another book that seems to be multipurpose!  I had used this for winter storytime, but I go to enough classrooms that there were plenty of classes that I hadn’t read it to yet.  Although the bulk of this book is about what the boy and Jack Frost do in winter, the book is really framed by the seasons changing: it begins when frost appears on the window, introducing Jack Frost, and ends when the boy finds a snowdrop flower, introducing spring.

The Little Tree by Loren Long.  At first glance from an adult perspective, this is such a slow and sweet story that I wondered how well it would go in a storytime (since its not as active as the books above).  But I was told by a co-worker that it works surprisingly well, so I tried it…and found out that she was right.  The classes I read to loved this book.  It begins with a little tree, not yet full grown, who loves his leaves.  As the seasons change, the trees around him lose their leaves, but the little tree holds on to his tight.  The trees around him start to grow, but he stubbornly holds onto his leaves until they turn brown. The moment that the little tree finally lets go of his leaves is a powerful one, and then the tree starts to grow.  My kids couldn’t get enough!  I’m also going to use this story as a backup for my growing storytime.

Stretchers

Where’s the Snowball? (flannel)

Hide a flannel snowball under different colored flannel mittens and have the kids guess where it is.  A great activity to talk about colors!

mittens

 Winter Hokey Pokey (motion song)

You put your mittens in you put your mittens out,
You put your mittens in, and you shake them all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about.
Repeat: boots, hat, etc.

Winter Animal Bag (puppets)

Show puppets of winter animals and talk about what each one sounds like, where it lives, and what it does during the winter.  For younger and sensory kids, I simply asked, what sound does this animal make.  I saved the bear puppet for last and told the kids, “In the winter, the bear likes to snore.”

Seasons of a Tree (action rhyme)

In the springtime I have flowers,
And I like to show my colors.
In summer I have leaves
That are all big and green.
In fall my leaves fall down,
And my arms droop like a frown.
In winter my arms hang low,
Piled up with glistening snow.
Next springtime comes and then
The seasons start again!

How It Went

I actually started doing by seasons storytime with Tap the Magic Tree, Mouse’s First Snow by Lauren Thompson, and Old Bear by Kevin Henkes.  I think my classes were still interested, but I just got the feeling that the books were too easy for them.  I soon realized that these books worked a lot better for sensory storytime, because they are more concept based.  I was much happier after I switched them out. I also wanted a stretcher about the seasons of a tree, so I made up the rhyme (above) with arm motions. It worked really well; the kids loved pretending to be trees!