Pirate Pals

When one of your students realizes their school librarian loves pirates *almost* as much as they do… And you have matching costumes. Best day of kindergarten. Ever.

As soon as this picture was taken, we talked pirate-y to one another and then I pulled a pile of pirate books from the library. Some of my favorites are:
 

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!

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!!!

 

Happy Birthday to You, Dr. Seuss

My dear librarian friend and Dr. Seuss happen to share birthdays (well, almost) and I was digging deep into the recesses of my brain to come up with something worthy of both extraordinary librarian friend and the one-and-only Dr. Seuss. Well, this is what I came up with…

My Head of School once made the comment, “I thought I was crazy, then I met Becky” is now documented as justifiable. But, I love my job (and my friends) and if that makes me a little bit crazy, then so be it.

 
I did, in fact, do a live version of the birthday song for the entire lower school (to honor Dr. Seuss, of course) and it was a bit hit. Well, except for the kid that came up to me afterwards and said, “Oh my gosh. I’m so embarrassed for you.”
 

Why I Have the Best Job E-V-E-R

Not only are costumes accepted, they’re encouraged!
Reading books are not enough for me, I like to wear them, as well
I’ve been known to dress like my students (yep, those are both teachers)
… Or act like them
I take behavioral management seriously, as do my peers
Why yes, librarians do have super powers
And a keen sense of fashion
 I take my literary passion to heart
And I’m not afraid to embarrass myself
Seriously…
Or get a little edgy
 
Or walk like an Egyptian
Or a pirate
Like I said, best job E-V-E-R
Last but not least, who else has a LEGO mini action figure of themselves?
 
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