Food Creations

Do you ever want to see your kiddos’ artist side come out? Just show them the work of Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers and set them to work!
 
Tropical Island
Map of Israel
Loch Ness Monster 
Winter Wonderland
Mermaid
Tips for a successful food creation display:
  • Encourage students to use biodegradable, vegetarian or vegan food products (something that grows)
  • Ask students to create displays on biodegradable plates or platters so the whole thing can be thrown away (you can’t imagine having to scrap it off in the compost and then wash those glass platters, yuck!)
  • If you are making it a competition, have the school vote on their favorite
  • Set up a long table outside of your library, cover it with a tablecloth, and encourage classes (and parents) to come check out the work
  • Do this in the colder months so it doesn’t get smelly so fast
  • Do this as part of an all-school celebration or library-themed week (Homecoming, School Library Month, ect)
  • Have creations be depictions of favorite books

Ahoy, Matey! Pirate Day

I missed the boat (ahem, I mean, pirate ship) in September for International Talk Like a Pirate Day and after helping several students locate swashbuckling books in the library, I was inspired to have an impromptu Pirate Day with first grade. Saying they “loved it” would be the overstatement of the century.
How does one host an impromptu Pirate Day, you ask? Well, it’s simple…
 
First, gather together the following:
-Black, long-sleeved shirt
-Black pants or skirt
-Plain white t-shirt that has been “distressed” to look pirate-y
-Several red scraps of fabric to use as a belt (aka-sword holder) and headband
-An eye patch (what librarian DOESN’T have an eye patch?)
-Gold chains
-A menacing look
I also happened to have a pirate chest and gold coins in my office (oh, the things you can find in my office. Seriously).
The choices for pirate-themed books are endless (as are the options for fun accents when reading said books):
Pirates by John Matthews
Pirate: a DK Eyewitness Book by Richard Platt (I love to include non-fiction books for these thematic lessons. I pick small sections of text and the kiddos are always fascinated by what they learn)
Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
No Pirates Allowed Said Library Lou by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Brian Ajhar
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon
 
We finished up by creating these too-cute pirate decorations using paper plates, black construction paper scraps and red fabric. They were displayed in the hall and were a big hit.
Well, matey, might it be time for your own impromptu Pirate Day? Me thinks so!

Preschool Storytime: Owls

I. Love. Owl. Storytime. Between the plethora of resources, the adorable owl crafts and the way that even my youngest kiddos enthusiastically say, “Hooooooot,” it’s easily one of my favorites.

The owl books are so popular that when I shot the photo for this post, a number of the books that had been included in the Owl Storytime had already been checked out by excited little readers.
 
My top picks for owl books are:
 
Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace
Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton
Good Night, Owl by Pat Hutchins
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenheer (for older audiences)
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear and Jan Brett
 
Today’s felt board rhyme came from Leah and Mollie over at Sunflower Storytime, their “What a HOOT” storytime post is adorable.
 
Five Little Owls
Five little owls sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?
One, two, three, four.
 
Four little owls sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?
One, two, three.
 
Three little owls sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?
One, two.
 
Two little owls sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?
One.
 
One little owl sitting in a tree
 She flew away! How many do you see?
 Zero!
 This was a big hit!
 
Before the kiddos left, they made these adorable (and very easy) owl handprints. Once the handprints dried, my lovely library assistant and I added the darling details. I am in love with these! I was also thrilled to discover that I could feed construction paper through the printer and would be able to add the titles of the books for our parents to reference.

Preschool Storytime: Thanksgiving

This week’s storytime post comes as both a sharing to fellow librarians and an instructional tutorial to families. Never have I sent a craft home as an extension activity, but this week the craft was too cute and the amount of time was too short.

This morning a parent came in to look for a particular non-fiction book and left saying, “I’m just so impressed. It’s a relatively small library and I’m leaving with three books on this very particular topic.” It was a proud librarian moment. The pride then continued when I went to look through the Thanksgiving bin and found more fun titles than I expected. I did pick up a few new(er) titles and ended up with the following for storytime:
 
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson and Judy Schachner
10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston and Rich Deas
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
The Amazing Turkey Rescue by Steve Metzger and Jim Paillot

 

The Almost Unschooling Mom posted a fun brown paper bag puppet to accompany I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie and I was hooked. Like the Almost Unschooling Mom, I used Marcia’s Lesson Links for the body, Utah Education Network‘s Old Lady Puppet for the head (I like that the mouth is bigger and the kiddos can fit the cards in easily), and Make Learning Fun for the pieces of food.

We finished our storytime with I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie and as I was reading, the kiddos brought up the different pieces of food and dropped them in the old lady’s mouth. Too much fun. They loved being part of the story.

To make your own Old Lady puppet at home, follow these steps:

Step One: Color the Old Lady and the pieces of food.

Step Two: Cut the Old Lady (including inside her mouth, big people help will be required here) and the pieces of food. I cut the rectangle outline of the food so they were all the same size and shape.

Step Three: Lay the paper bag on the table with the seam of the bottom of the bag, face up. Glue the Old Lady’s face to the bottom of the bag. I suggest using a glue stick for this part, anything else will soften your brown paper bag.

Step Four: Glue the Old Lady’s body to the bag, make sure your hand can still fit inside the bag and the seams all move.

Step Five: Here comes the tricky part… Use a scissors to cut out the mouth of the Old Lady, I used tape to reinforce her mouth to the bag.

Step Six: This step is option, you can tape the plastic sandwich bag inside of the brown paper bag to catch the pieces of food.

Step Seven: Retell the story and enjoy!

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!

Lois Ehlert’s “Color Zoo” Flannel Set

This project has been a long time coming. And, boy, I’m glad I finally did it. First, I love Lois Ehlert. Reading is Fundamental has a wonderful (very kid-friendly) interview with Ms. Ehlert, if you’re interested in doing an author study. She has so many amazing, classic books and many of them can be incorporated into a ton of units. Her books are particularly great for science themes: seasons, winter, summer, fall, spring, life cycles, animals, insects, plants, trees, fruits and vegetables.
 
If you are looking for project and activity ideas to use with Lois Ehlert’s books, check out the collection of possibilities The Educators’ Spin On It has compiled, it’s great!
 
Or, how about an author interview? Check out the Reading Rockets video.
 
And now, on to the fun stuff…
I made copies of the pages from Color Zoo and then used the pages as cutting patterns.
 Like the book, each panel turns into the next panel. The ox becomes the monkey, the monkey becomes the deer, ect.
 And last, but not least, this interview through BookPage is beautiful and a must read.

Author Study Brainstorming

After passing my very last math exam needed for licensing (yaaaaay!) today, I am now thinking I better get started on planning for the year. Now, one might ask why I feel the need to do curriculum planning at 11:30 at night on the 23 of July? Ummm, well… Your guess is as good as mine. Like I said to a teacher friend the other day, “And to think, people say we have summers ‘off.’ Ha!”

In my late night crazy brain, I have decided to organize my primary lessons a little differently this year. Last year I tried to plan my lessons thematically, based on what was happening in the school, as a whole, and what was being taught in the classroom. While I still plan to continue on that path, I would also like to attempt to incorporate regular author studies into my kindergarten, first and second grade library lessons. There are various authors and illustrators that I think all young readers should be exposed to and I thought this would be a great opportunity to create that exposure. But, therein lies my conundrum… There are too, too, too many to choose from.

This is only after one session of brainstorming:

Ezra Jack Keats
Audrey & Don Wood
Mercer Mayer
Mo Willems
Lois Ehlert
Jan Thomas
Tedd Arnold
Frank Asch
Marc Brown
Don Freeman
Tomie dePaola
Helen Lester
Rosemary Wells
Maurice Sendak
Margaret Wise Brown
Jonathan London
Laura Numeroff
Cynthia Rylant
Eric Hill
Jan & Stan Berenstain
Jan Brett
Joanna Cole
Barbara Cooney

Leo Lionni
Arnold Lobel
James Marshall
Robert McCloskey
Dr. Seuss
Chris Van Allsburg
Vera B. Williams
Jane Yolen
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jack Prelutsky
Jon Scieszka
William Steig
Sandra Boynton
Kevin Henkes
Beatrix Potter
Shel Silverstein
Alan Katz
Robert Munsch
E.B. White
Eric Carle
Mary Pope Osborne
Barbara Park
Steven Kellogg

Sigh. Too many books, too little time.

And just because they’re too wonderful not to share:

 
 

Summer of Reading

Summer of Reading
With school ending, many parents ask, “What can I do to keep my kids reading this summer?”
 Below you’ll find resources, both locally and nationwide, to encourage reading over the long summer break. Check out local libraries, bookstores, recommended summer reading lists and information just for parents!

Seattle Public Library: Kiddos of all ages can keep up with their reading, earn prizes and attend free programs throughout the Seattle area.
King County Library: Earn badges online and keep track of the books you’ve read with this cool chart! Stop by any King County Library location to get started!
Everett Public Library: The Everett Public Library offers summer reading programs for both children and teens, with a suggested reading goal of 24 hours.
Sno-Isle Library: Enter to win a new bicycle by participating in the summer reading program at Sno-Isle Libraries.
Pierce County Library: Kids win prizes for every five hours they read, including a free pass to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek and a Round Table Pizza coupon.

Do you need book suggestions for summer? Check out UW Bookstore’s site. Earn cool prizes and get your All Access Pass!
The Elliott Bay Book Company is hosting its summer reading program. All kids between the ages of 6 and 14 are invited to help recommend some great books for other children.

The Feed Your Brain Summer Reading program at Half Price Books, for kids ages 14 and younger, includes reading at least 15 minutes a day (or getting read to, if your kids are still learning).
Earn a free book AND find all the latest book recommendations at your local Barnes and Noble!
Do you want to help break a reading world record? Visit the Scholastic Summer Reading site, log your minutes and help to make history!

American Library Association
    
Grades K – 2
    
Grades 3 – 5
    
Grades 6 – 8
New York Public Library
    
Grades K – 1
    
Grades 2 – 3
    
Grades 4 – 5
    
Grades 6 – 8

San Francisco Public Library
    Children
    Teens
    Adults

The Horn Book
    
Overview List
    
Picture Books
    
Middle School Fiction & Non-fiction

Education World
    
Kindergarten
    
1st Grade
    
2nd Grade
    
3rd Grade
    
4th Grade
    
5th Grade
    
6th Grade
    
7th Grade
    
8th Grade

Scholastic
    Overview List


Seattle Public Library
    
Coming soon!

Preschool Storytime: Go Away, Big Green Monster

Who doesn’t love adorably cute but supposedly scary monsters? This girl sure does! And the classic Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley does not disappoint. If you’re not familiar, well… You should be. You might remember me talking about Ed Emberley in my Choo! Choo! storytime post, he is the guru of fingerprint art and he inspired our thumbprint trains. Check out some of his other (incredibly cool) books.

 
 I read the original version of the story while using a felt manipulative
I created. All of the pieces are removable so as the monster is appearing and disappearing, the little felt monster can follow along.
Next, we read Nighty Night, Little Green Monster, how cute is he!!! The kids love the contrast between the scary monster and the cute baby monster.
For our project, I was so in love with Ms. Jessi’s “squash painting” monsters, that I knew I had to try and re-create them. We used white card stock and then squeezed a small amount of each color on one side, “squashed” it closed, “smooshed” it around and when we opened it back up, we had monsters! I ended up adding the eyes, nose, mouth and teeth with construction paper after they dried. I would have loved to have the kids do this, but there just simply wasn’t enough time.
These are a few of my favorites… check out the chins on those guys!
 
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