The One and Only Ivan Bulletin Board

My second graders are currently reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate with their classroom teacher and I wanted to amp up excitement about the book.
Initially, I had intended to simply put up the cover of the book and add some interesting facts about the real Ivan. Wait, Ivan was real? He sure was. Check out the Katherine Applegate’s webite, she has a great deal of information about the real Ivan. She also has a new book coming out in October 2014 – Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla.
In true librarian form, the more research I did, the more excited I got about the One and Only Ivan bulletin board. I ended up with a slew of facts about not only the real Ivan, but about the gorilla population, as a whole. I also added an (almost) life-size cut out of a gorilla. The paper gorilla ended up being 5’4″ with an arm span of 8 feet.
I used an overhead projector to trace the gorilla and then free-hand cut his face out of a piece of gray construction paper. 
The board has been up for two days now and people have constantly been coming in to share their excitement! I love watching the kiddos stand there and reading all the interesting facts, it has been far more engaging than I ever anticipated. The facts include:
 
  • The average male gorilla stands between 5 and 7 feet.
  • The arm span of an average male gorilla is almost 9 feet!
  • The average male gorilla eats over 40 pounds of food per day, the average American person eats 5-6 pounds of food per day.
  • Gorillas are herbivores – they eat leaves, shoots, roots, vines and fruits.
  • The lifespan of an average male gorilla is 35 years. Ivan lived to be 50 years old.
  • There are 4 subspecies of gorillas: Eastern lowland, Mountain, Western lowland, Cross River.
  • Gorillas are an endangered species, there are less than 300 Cross River gorillas left in the world.
  • The One and Only Ivan is fictional, but was inspired by a true story.
  • Ivan was a male Western lowland gorilla.
  • Ivan was captured in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Ivan and (what is believed to be) his sister were captured as infants and brought to the United States. Ivan’s sister died shortly after arriving.
  • Ivan was raised in a home until he became too big and unmanageable. He was moved to the B&I Circus Store in Tacoma, Washington.
  • Ivan’s cage in Tacoma was only 40 feet by 40 feet!
  • Ivan spent 27 years alone in his cage without seeing another of his kind.
  • When the mall where Ivan lived went bankrupt (they didn’t have any money), he was moved to the Zoo Atlanta. Before his move to Atlanta, Georgia, Ivan spent a short time at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.
I did include a citation sheet on my bulletin board so I could model that behavior for students. I found my information on the following sites:
 

Library Menagerie

The library menagerie is constantly growing…

They brighten our spirits, make wonderful reading buddies, create perfect opportunities to connect with hesitant little ones, and bring already fun stories to life.
  
Oh, the possibilities of storytime fun…
 
If you don’t have a fluffy zoo in your library yet, I would highly suggest it. It opens opportunities and creates connections I would never have dreamt possible.

The Awesomeness of Powell’s Books’ Shirts

I love Powell’s Books. Seriously. If I lived in Portland, I would be in HUGE trouble.If you haven’t been there and you’re a major bibliophile like me, it’s a must on your bucket list. Plan to literally get lost among books. It’s a beautiful thing.

Another beautiful thing? They sell the best book-themed apparel. It’s not a huge selection, but what they have rocks. And they generally print on super high quality fabric that is gloriously soft. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
 
When my latest Powell’s shirt arrived, I needed to celebrate it’s cuteness by dressing like a fire-breathing dragon for our lower school assembly. Now, a normal person would have a topic in mind for assembly announcements and then plan a costume based on that topic. Nope, not me. I wanted to dress like a dragon. Soooo… I pulled all of my favorite dragon-themed books and told the kiddos how awesome they all were. They were chomping at the bit to check the books out and I got to wear my dragon outfit. Win, win. Thanks, Powell’s Books! Want your own shirt? Find them here.

You, too, can pull off this adorable outfit by putting together the following:

  • Shirt from Powell’s Books
  • Felt hat from Joann Fabrics (I bought this in-store during late summer 2014)
  • Fire-breathing apparatus: Cut a hole in the bottom of a paper cup, tape red crepe or tissue paper strips to the lip of the cup. Blow through the hole to get the flames to dance… Much to the astonishment of all.

Updated! Shark Week Storytime

Updated! Shark Week Storytime

A few weeks back I planned to do an ocean-themed storytime to go with my Reader’s Reef genre bulletin board. What started as ocean-themed quickly turned into something attuned to Shark Week in the library. There are just too many adorable shark projects and ideas on Pinterest. I couldn’t help myself!

My book selections were good, but I will definitely make some changes for next time around. I absolutely love Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen, it is a new favorite! The kids loved, loved, loved it!
I think I’m a Shark by Bob Shea is an adorable book for students to read and check out, but it wasn’t great for reading aloud. I think next year I’ll display it, but not use it in the storytime.
Last came Wave by Suzy Lee. This. Book. Is. Wonderful. I actually really enjoy using wordless books for storytime, the kids always impress me with their level of engagement and focus. The pictures are amazing and the “story” is so sweet. Love this one!
 
Between books we sang “Five Little Fishies” and used the shark and fish felts (my husband’s favorite). All credit for this goes to Jane from Piper Loves the Library! I fell in love with her shark so much, that I had to make one of my own. I love his big-toothed smile and semi-grimacing eyebrow furrow. Like Jane, I mounted him on black felt so that his tail and fins wouldn’t be so fragile.
 
“Five Little Fishies”
(Sung to the tune of Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree)
 
Five little fishes, swimming in the sea.
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me.”
Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be … and … Sssnnnnnap!
 
Four little fishes, swimming in the sea.
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me.”
Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be … and … Sssnnnnnap!
 
Three little fishes, swimming in the sea.
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me.”
Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be … and … Sssnnnnnap!
 
Two little fishes, swimming in the sea.
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me.”
Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be … and … Sssnnnnnap!
 
One little fishie, swimming in the sea.
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me.”
Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be … and … Sssnnnnnap!
 
Burp … I’m full.
 

Thank you, Jane, this was a wonderful success!!!Update: Thanks to Shark Week on Discovery Channel, there are a gazillion shark-themed ideas on Pinterest. These are just a few I tried (and loved!):

 Shark Fin Hats, aren’t they fun! Pinned by Raquel Hernandez, I was unable to locate the original source. I simply cut strips of blue construction paper, stapled them together and added a fin (with some CHOMP marks). So easy and so fun!

The idea for this darling clothespin shark comes from Estefi Machado. The blog is in Portuguese and while I was able to translate the post through Google, it was still a challenge to understand. So, I took my best guess.

 I did a sketch on white card stock, outlined it with black marker and added some color.

 The fishy is attached with a small section of wooden toothpick, glued to the back of the clothespin.

 Cute and fun!

 Another fast and fun shark craft? The shark clothespin for developing fine motor skills, from Make, Do and Friend. Just paint, glue and play!

 I painted my sharky with blue acrylic paint, added a construction paper fin, and squiggly eyes.

The white paint was tough… I had to clamp the clothespin open in order for it to dry and even then, the teeth stuck together. Still cute.

 
Up next… I’m debating creating a storytime entirely dedicated to peas. Hmmm, what do you think? You might be asking yourself, “Why peas?” Well, they’re healthy, they’re green (I’m a fan of doing color-themed storytimes) and peas in a pod are absolutely adorable. Think of the craft possibilities! Pinterest, here I come!

Dr. Seuss Shirts

Orange Lorax Shirt
Supplies for the Lorax shirt: brown craft fur (I found a panel of the fur in the aisle that has pom-poms and felt sheets), white, black and tan scraps of felt, orange cotton t-shirt and matching colored thread.
Let me just say, this mustache was a huuuuuuuuge pain! The fur was really hard to work with and it took me a few tries. The first time I cut the fur, I was left with a mess and fur everywhere! For the second try, I slid the blade of my scissors under the fur but above the mesh. It worked! It cut the shape, but helped the fur to keep that “scruffy” look. Otherwise, it looks way too manicured. Play with it and you’ll get the look you want. But, prepare to be covered in fur.
I stitched the mustache in place and then added the eyes (I forgot to stop and take pictures). Done! Adorably done. And the best part? I got the shirt at Value Village so the entire project cost less than $4!
Blue Truffula Tree Shirt
Supplies for the Truffula Tree shirt: colored craft fur (I bought 1/8 of a yard of each color), non-shiny yellow ribbon, blue cotton t-shirt and matching colored thread.
This is the messy part of the project, prepare to look like you gave a muppet a haircut.
Here are the completed circles.
I cut varying lengths of ribbon and then sewed them onto the shirt. I used a black permanent marker to make them look more authentic. (I don’t think the tree tops can withstand being washed, so I’m not worried about what would happen to the tree trunks in the laundry. It will be a special occasion-only shirt).
I did a simple overcast stitch to adhere the tree tops to the shirt, it worked quite well!
The final product, I love!!!

 

Richard Scarry’s Huckle Puppet

I posted my precious Lowly Worm plush a few days ago and today I finished up his good buddy, Huckle.

 
As I mentioned in my original post, fellow blogger, Suzy Fairchild shared these 1977 Richard Scarry pattern pieces on i heart fabric:
Huckle actually ended up taking longer than Lowly because I lost interest. He just isn’t as cute. Granted, is there anything as cute as a 14″ felt worm wearing a bowler’s hat? I think not.
I veered from the original pattern a little because, while comparing the pattern to the modern pictures of Huckle, I couldn’t help but notice that he is a different color and always wearing the Oktoberfest-y suspenders:
Even though I’m not entirely in love with my Huckle, I am debating making matching Sally Cat and Goldbug puppets.
Goldbug would be particularly fun because I could hide him in different places around the library, you know, like Richard Scarry does on all the pages of his books? Ahhh, the things school librarians find entertaining.
 
Last, but not least, I need to get my hands on an adult-sized Richard Scarry shirt:
 

It’s The Simple Things

Do you ever have moments when the universe comes together to let you know you’ve chosen the right path and you’re in the right place at the right time? Today, I had one of those days. And it was a beautiful reminder that came at exactly the right moment.
 
I was going through some end-of-the-year notes and came across this little gem…
Dear [Becky], You have reawakened the SHA library! You have planted excitement about books and reading in our children! You have introduced new authors and titles to our family. We are so grateful that you have come to SHA! Thank you for a great year! Have a wonderful summer!
 
Whether you’re a banker or an electrician, a scientist or a… school librarian, my hope for you is that, from time to time, you experience this realization. Sometimes it’s clear as day, but other times it’s a quiet whisper, so be sure to listen closely…

Lowly Worm Plush

Spending my last days of summer freedom checking off more items from my Pinterest bucket list. Richard Scarry is one of my favorite classic authors, I can remember many a trips to the public library, paging through What Do People Do All Day? and Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. A few months back I found that Scarry had published patterns (and lots of other fun projects) in his 1977 Best Make-It Book Ever!
One of the projects is a pattern for Lowly Worm and I’ve been dying to make it ever since I laid eyes on that cute little guy. Unfortunately, the closest library that has a copy is almost 1,000 miles away (according to WorldCat) and used copies are pretty spendy.
 
Fortunately, there are some wonderful bloggers out there and Suzy Fairchild happens to be one of them. She posted the pattern pieces on her i heart fabric blog and so I was able to finally assemble my little worm friend.
 
I printed the pattern and directions on just plain ‘ole printer paper and got to work using cheap crafting felt sheets.
  
I was so excited about assembling Lowly that I forgot to take pictures along the way. I followed the book’s directions pretty closely and he turned out adorably. I did do a lot of hand-sewing. A lot.
I didn’t have a tiny yellow feather on hand, so I trimmed down a small feather and colored it with a yellow permanent marker. Worked like a charm!
The gluing of the eyes didn’t work so good, so I stitched them in place.
Isn’t he adorable!
Have fun making your very own Lowly. I’m in love!
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