Pirates Story Time

For National Talk Like A Pirate Day I held a Pirate themed story time.  :)

To begin with we sang our usual morning songs (our two welcome songs, the months song, the days of the week song, what's the weather) and did our usual routine (welcome, calendar, weather) before I brought out the pirate stories.  Only one child knew that it was National Talk Like A Pirate Day, but that's one more than I thought would know!

Our first story was "How I Became A Pirate" by Melinda Long.  I love the pictures in this one, David Shannon does a fabulous job.

Our first rhyme was One-Eyed Jake
One-Eyed Jake
I'm One-Eyed Jake, the pirate chief
(cover one eye with hand)
A terrible, fearsome ocean thief
(make a mean face)
I have a peg upon my leg
Stand on  one leg)
I have a hook and a dirty look
(make a mean face)
I'm One-Eyed Jake, the pirate chief
(cover one eye with hand)
A terrible, fearsome ocean thief
(make a mean face)
(all yell together) Aargh!

The kids really liked making mean faces for One-Eyed Jake.

Our second story of the day was On a Pirate Ship by Sarah Courtauld.  This one was new to me, but I liked it.  It was a simplistic telling of what pirates do on their ship (cleaned up of course).  It was bright and cheerful and the pictures were engaging.

Our second rhyme was Pirates, Pirates.
Pirates, pirates everywhere,
 (Motion around room)
Pirates climbing stairs,
(Climb stairs)
Pirates giving stares,
(Hand above eyes)
Pirates sitting on chairs.
(Sit down)
Pirates, pirates everywhere!
 (Motion around room)

Then was what everyone was waiting for.  Our flannel.  I used a story I had on my hard drive.  I have no idea where it came from, so if you know please tell me and I can credit.  The story is originally called "The Treasure" and is by Alice Rozario.  To go with our pirate theme I renamed it to "The Tale of Pirate Joe."

The Tale of Pirate Joe
Pirate Joe loved to sail the open seas in his pirate ship.  He liked to climb up the mast, sit in the crow's nest and look over the sea.  One day he dragged his great big treasure chest onto the deck of the pirate ship.  He opened it.  He wanted to look at all his treasures.  But then a great big wave came and swamped his ship and tossed his treasures overboard.
"Oh no!" he said. "I have lost all my treasures." and he was very, very sad.
A big blue whale swam up to the pirate ship and said "Pirate Joe, what's the matter?"
Pirate Joe said: "A great big wave swamped my ship and dragged all my treasures to the bottom of the sea."
The big blue whale said, "Don't cry, I will help you find your treasures." And the whale dove deep, deep down to the bottom of the sea and scooped up a mouthful of treasures from the seabed and brought it up to Pirate Joe.
The blue whale opened his mouth and one by one the treasures from the bottom of the sea plunked onto the deck of teh pirate ship.  Pirate Joe's eyes opened wide and he saw: a jellyfish, a crab, a clam, a star fish, a shrimp, a snail, a seaweed, a scallop, an oyster, a mussel, and a great big OCTOPUS with his legs going all over the place.  The octopus swished his legs and flung them from left to right as he yelled "Oh, No!  What are you doing? We do NOT belong here!" and with a swoosh and a moosh the octopus pushed everything back into teh sea and glided in after them.
Pirate Joe turned to the blue whale and said, "Blue whale, those were not treasures!"
Blue whale blew water through his spout and said, "What do you mean not treasures! Those were the best treasures!  Sea treasures from the deep deep sea.  Have you ever seen such fantastic colors?"
Pirate Joe was quiet.  He thought and thought.  Then he said, "Blue whale you are right.  Those were the most beautiful colors, but I cannot keep those treasures in my treasure chest.  They are alive and belong in the sea."
Blue whale looked at Pirate Joe and grinned.  Then he splashed his tale very hard in the water and caused a big wave to wash over the ship again.  But this time the wave did not take anything away, instead it rained gold coins into the treasure chest. 
Pirate Joe opened his mouth and said "Blue whale, blue whale, what are you doing?"
Blue whale said "Since you cannot keep those treasures from the sea in your chest, I thought that maybe you could keep these shiny things instead.  They are taking up too much space on the seabed."
Pirate Joe smiled and said "Thank you blue whale.  Yes, I can keep them."

At our closing we sang our goodbye song and I collected name tags.  I also left the Pirate Joe flannel out so the kids could play with the set.  Which they really enjoyed. 


This past week I did a Ducks theme with my toddler story time.  It was fun, but I was suprised to learn that none of my parents knew either of my songs.  We sang "5 Little Ducks" and "Little White Duck."  It was our first Toddler Tuesday after a two week break (where we changed the entire children's area and created a space for middle schoolers!), and I had completely revamped the program, but I think it went pretty well.

We had a decent sized group, around 8 kids I think.  I'm encouraging parents to join in with their babies and play with us, but not all do yet.  The kids seem to enjoy watching all that we do, so it's a start.  :)  I've started including some Early Literacy Activities at the end of the Toddler Tuesday handout (which includes all our activities), which is something I've never tried before.

Onto the Ducks theme! 
Clap and Sing Hello
Wiggle Rhyme
Open Them, Shut Them
5 Little Ducks (we will sing for 3 weeks in a row)
Our first story of the day was Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, which is about a duck who arrives at his pond a bit too early and finds everything frozen.  It is definitely a cute story.
Normally after our first story we'd sing "Shake My Sillies Out," but I'm still waiting for my Raffi CD to arrive, so we did a few rounds of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes instead.  The music and dancing offer a nice break in the sitting and listening part of our program.  It gives the kids an opportunity to move and stretch.  (I'm also thinking of incorporating scarves somehow, but don't really have any ideas there yet.)
After our movement we did a new rhyme/fingerplay called The Duck Song.  It has minimal actions, but some repetition and we sung it twice.

The Duck Song
I see a duck.
The duck sees me.
I like the ducks.
The ducks like me.
Big green ducks.
One, two, three.
I like the ducks
and the ducks like me

Our second story of the day followed our rhyme and was I Kissed The Baby.  Not my favorite, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

Our flannel board activity followed our story, and I was really disappointed to find that no one knew Little White Duck.  I do love Little White Duck.
I made all the pieces out of layered felt based on clip art images.  I even cut out a little piece of the lily pad so the duck could have his bite. :)

After the flannel board we sang our rotating fingerplay (one of four we will cycle through).  This week's was Eensy Weensy Spider, which we sung twice.  I love Eensy Weensy Spider.
This was our last song of the morning, so we sang our closing song (Clap and Wave Goodbye) and had free-play.  Our program was a bit longer than last session, but this incorporates more into a similarly timed program.  I think this format will work well.

Early Literacy Activities included:
  • Talk about the word “Duckling” sound out the different parts of the word “duck-ling”  -  say them separately and then together again, first slowly and then faster.   Clap once for each syllable of the word.   Do the same thing with words like “gosling, chicken, rooster.”
  • Help your child think of words that start with the “D”- “Duh” sound as in duck  (dog, dinner, daddy, doll, dig, dinosaur, dish, dime, door, dump)
  • Help your child think of other names for baby animals (colt, calf, kitten, puppy, piglet, fawn, eaglet, owlet, kid, tadpole, kit, joey, cub, pinkie, lamb, spiderling). Learning these names is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary!  
  • Try this website for a wonderful list of animal parents and babies.

We won't be having any story times next week due to a week of meetings for me.  One of them is a story time workshop, so I'm hoping to get some good tips.

(All featured books, songs, rhymes, and flannels will be collected on their respective pages)

Toddler Time format

I'm working on a new format for my Toddler story times.  This is the first time I've done a toddler program, my previous library only offered programs for 3+ when I did programming.  When it was finally allowed I had been moved out of children's programming.  So as I go along I am learning and experimenting.

Last session I did:
Opening rhyme
Play time

As I ran the program I was continually researching, reading blogs, and seeing what others did in their programs.  I also offered a survey asking what parents thought at the end of the program.  Unfortunately, I didn't get as many suggestions as I hoped from that.  But, I do think I've picked up some good ideas from other story timers.  So I'm changing how I do things.  I'll see how it goes and tweak things for the fall.

My new format will be:
Welcome songs & announcements
Intro song
Repeat rhyme (a rhyme we will repeat for 3 weeks)
Shake my sillies out (Raffi)
Rotating nursery action rhyme (we will cycle through 4 different rhymes, 1 a week)
Goodbye song
Play time

I'm hoping that this new format will work out well.

*Songs/rhymes will be on a separate post or page, when I'm not using my tablet and have full blogger functionality.

My First Flip-Flap Book of Fruit by Robert Salanitro

A few weeks ago I was invited to a Literacy Night at our local Early Head Start.  Each month they feature a book and do several activities centered around the book.  March's book was My First Flip-Flap Book of Fruit by Robert Salanitro.  It really isn't a super great story time book since it is a rather small board book, but the story is cute and it has related activities for educational growth on each page (for example on the apple page it shows a person reaching high to pick an apple and asks children to show how they would reach up to pick an apple).  Some are activities and some are open ended questions or questions about the book.  I thought it was a really cute idea, and would love to see it in a regular sized book.

I wanted to do more than just read the book so I created a flannelboard (after asking and finding out no one had made one I could 'borrow') based on the different fruits.  I made two pieces for each type of fruit- one of the outside and one of the inside.  As I read the story I placed the doubled up pieces on the board and the kids "peeled" the fruits showing what they looked like inside.  A couple of pieces had three layers- like the pineapple so I could show a segment and then the wedges that kids are more familiar with.  I think it came out pretty cute and the kids had a lot of fun playing with it.
The collected fruits all put together
The fruits and their inside pieces

And a surprise part to the pumpkin, on the back I added a smiling jack-o-lantern.

Who, What, Why?

I'm Library Danielle.  :)  I've been officially working in libraries since the ripe old age of 14, and volunteered for a few years before that.  Books were my refuge as a kid, so it made sense to me to want to be IN a library.  At that point though there wasn't much going on in my library.  I think there was a story time for preschoolers, but it was just stories and maybe a paper craft.  No songs, no fingerplays, no flannelboards.  Just books.  Which is how I was taught to run my programs when I progressed up the library ladder.  I branched out a bit to include interaction and activities in my story times, but the rest was never encouraged.  As the years went by and I kept moving up I often to wondered about the "more" for story times.  I heard about others using sign language or props in their programs and was interested, but again, it wasn't encouraged.  And when I was moved to a Young Adult position I tabled story time and didn't think to much about it anymore. 

But now I'm in a new library where I have open permission to run story time as I see fit.  Which is super encouraging.  And it means that I can try new things- like songs and flannelboards.  I'm not too keen on the singing, even though I know the kids don't care, after so long I'm still self conscious.  But I'm singing.  And experimenting.  And hoping that I can find a niche for my programs.  Right now I'm running five programs a week- two baby/toddler programs, two preschool programs, and one all ages program.  I may switch the baby/toddler programs into two individual programs so one baby and one toddler, but I'm not really that confidant about my baby program skills yet.  I know it will take some experimenting and I just have to get my feet wet, but it is intimidating. 

I'm starting this blog to help me organize my ideas and plan story times.  I want to be able to share ideas, problems, and issues and get feedback from the wonderful community of libraries and story tellers out there.  I joined a wonderful group called Flannel Fridays and I want to share things that I'm coming up with.  Not that my flannelboard collection is very big, but it's growing and I want more.  My story times have a lot of potential right now and I want to begin to reach it, so I'm taking the first step by putting my ideas out there for comment. I'm really hoping to get feedback from my colleagues on how to reach that level I'm trying to.  :)

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