Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cookies & Canvas: Lots of Dots like Seurat!

For this month's "Cookies & Canvas" program on Saturday, March 22nd, I focused on the paintings of French artist Georges Seurat and the style of pointillism.  It was another really successful program--every child who attended asked me when the next "Cookies & Canvas" will be so they could sign up!  I am still hashing out my summer programming, but I think it is safe to say that I will be doing a few "Cookies & Canvas" programs because the turnout and response has been so positive.  Especially in a community where so much of the arts in our public schools have been cut due to funding, being able to plan and provide a program like this at no cost to our patrons (and little cost to the library) is pretty amazing. 

I changed up the format of the program a bit after seeing what worked well and didn't work well back in January.  Instead of having our cookies first while I talked about the artist, I saved the cookies for the last 5 minutes of the program.  This worked out much better--not one child left the room during the program to get a drink or go to the bathroom!  Last time nearly every child was so thirsty after the cookies that they all left to go get a drink which was, of course, a bit chaotic.  If you're planning on doing an event like this, definitely learn from my mistake and save the cookies for last :-)

I started by discussing the handout that I made and had attached to the back of their matted paint paper. We worked with acrylic paints again (because I have so much from previous egg and pumpkin painting events in years past) and used q-tips as our brushes because they make such good dots! I gave everyone paints on a paper plate and enough q-tips to have one per color. I decribed the technique and how Seurat studied optics to create this unique style of painting that he called divisionism and was later called pointillism.

I would definitely recommend doing a "Cookies & Canvas" program at your library.  It only requires one staff member, little planning in advance, and the materials are relatively inexpensive.  For this program I used:
7 different colors of acrylic paint (that we already had)
20 paper plates (from previous crafts)
q-tips (7 per child)
Oreo cookies (Benton's brand from Aldi)
Acrylic painting paper ($2.97 per 15 sheets at Walmart)
Construction paper for mouting the acrylic paper

Here are some pictures of the program! (as a side note, I do make sure to always obtain signed Photo Release Forms from all the parents while the children are in the program! I leave them on the reference desk and ask the parents to please fill them out if they would agree to have their child's picture sent to the paper or shared via Facebook or blog post.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winter Storytime Attendance

As a record for myself of the attendance for my personal storytimes, I am going to record weekly attendance following each session.  As I said before, this session was pretty dismal due to the weather and low temperatures, in particular my Monday evening storytime had record low attendance.  I am really hoping to see an increase in the spring session! Numbers below reflect total attendees (children + caregivers). 

Week 1: Monday (6), Wed 10AM (31) 11AM (12)
Week 2: Monday--holiday, closed, Wed 10AM (22) 11AM (17)
Week 3: Monday (2), Wed 10AM (15) 11AM (16)
Week 4: Monday (7), Wed 10AM (0--school closed, very bad driving conditions) 11AM (15)
Week 5: Monday (0), Wed 10AM (23) 11AM (20)
Week 6: Monday--holiday, closed, Wed 10AM (24) 11AM (16)
Week 7: Monday (0), Wed 10AM (21) 11AM (16)
Week 8: Monday (8), Wed 10AM (16) 11AM (14)

Total Monday: 23 (like I said, dismal!)
Total Wednesday: 278

Spring usually means increased program attendance for us--I'm looking forward to it!

Spring Storytime Planning

Well, we made it through the winter storytime session!  Phew!  It was a lot of fun but I have to admit I am beyond ready for spring to be here and for nicer weather. Our winter storytime attendance really suffered with all of the below zero temperatures and school closings. It was 57 degrees here today but wouldn't you know it, a winter storm is rolling in and they are calling for up to a foot of the white stuff tomorrow.  Fun, fun, fun :-/

We have a fairly short break in between the winter and spring storytime sessions: just 2 weeks to plan for spring.  My Monday evening Young Family storytime at 6:30 PM and my Wednesday morning Young Family storytimes at 10 AM and 11 AM are all the same, so I just need to plan one storytime per week for 8 weeks and prepare my crafts for approximately 25 children between the three storytimes.  Typically I end up needing to make more crafts, but I don't want to waste resources by preparing too many in advance so I wait until a day or two before the first week to re-evaluate my numbers based on registration.  Since our Story Room is on the smaller side, we have a limit for our Young Family story times of 15 families maximum per storytime.  Monday nights tend to only be a few familes, but my Wednesday at 10 AM is always full and then Wednesday at 11 AM is hit or miss!  Last session I switched it to a pre-school/kindergarten storytime where a 3-6 year-old attended without a caregiver, but it still didn't garner the attendance I was hoping for and some of my regular 11 AM families requested that I switch it back, so I did.  I may go back to a pre-school/Kindergarten storytime in the summer and see if it works better then. 

My themes for Spring Storytime are:

1. Houses & Homes
2. Shoes & Feet
3. Baa, Baa, Sheep
4. Hippity, Hoppity Bunnies
5. Spring Showers & Flowers
6. A Laura Numeroff Storytime
7. Let's Go on a Safari!
8. Zoom! Airplanes!

I have a lot of fun stories, songs, fingerplays, activities and crafts planned so stay tuned to Miss Barbara at the Library!  I look forward to sharing my ideas!

Bok, Bok, Chickens!

Originally, I was planning on doing a Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! storytime for the week following Dr. Seuss' birthday (March 2nd).  But then my program head decided it would be better to make a weekend program out of it, so I changed the week's theme to chickens!  In the end, the Dr. Seuss program didn't happen because we had a county-wide power outage that lasted all of Saturday, so the library was closed.  But it has been rescheduled at part of our summer reading program in June, so I will be posting all about it then!
For my books this week, I shared:

The favorite by far was Blue Chicken.  The children were very concerned about whether the chicken could undo the blue, but then burst into giggles in the end when (spoiler alert!) they accidentally spill the red!  One boy even told me, "I bet the next book is called Red Chicken!"  So smart :-)
Since this was a last-minute storytime I didn't make my traditional felt storyboard.  I did use our chicken glove puppet that has 5 little chickens for a cute fingerplay and I also did a cardstock story board with velcro on the back (to stick to the board).
5 Little Chickens
Said the first little chicken, with a strange little squirm, "I wish I could find a fat little worm."
Said the second little chicken with an odd little shrug, “I wish I could find a fat little bug.”
Said the third little chicken with a sharp little squeal, “I wish I could find some nice yellow meal.”
Said the fourth little chicken with a sigh of grief, “I wish I could find a nice green leaf.”
Said the fifth little chicken with a faint little moan, “I wish I could find a wee gravel stone.”
“Now see here,” said the mother from the green garden patch, “If you want any breakfast just come here and scratch!”

By far the favorite movement activity of the day was using our shakey eggs along with Laurie Berkner's I Know a Chicken.  It is a hilarious song and I had it stuck in my head for days!  It is a bit on the long side so I faded the song out after we shook our eggs in a circle.  Several kids came up afterwards and asked when we could do it again!
Additional fingerplays and songs used:
Fingerplay: Ten Fluffy Chickens
Five eggs and five eggs, and that makes ten (show 5 fingers on each hand)
Sitting on top is mother hen (make a fist and put one hand on top)
Cackle, cackle, cackle, and what do I see? (clap, clap, clap)
Ten fluffy chicks as yellow as can be!
(make 10 chicks pop through and wiggle fingers)
Song: The Hens in the Coop (to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus)
The hens in the coop go cluck, cluck cluck…all around the farm.
The chicks in the yard go peep, peep peep…all around the farm.
The rooster on the fence goes cock-a-doodle-do, cock-a-doodle-do, cock-a-doodle- do…all around the farm. Credit:
Fingerplay with Chick hand Puppet: This Little Chick… (using 5 fingers of the puppet)
This little chick went to the garden, this little chick found a worm, this little chick eyed a berry, this little chick gave a squirm, and this little chick cried “Peep! Peep! Peep!” all around the farm!
The craft this week was simple but really cute!  I found the idea to make paper bag nests from Pinterest, and then just stuck a large pompom, some wiggle eyes, and feet and beaks that I had cut from orange cardstock inside the bags with the glue stick.  The trick to this craft is rolling the sides of the paper bag down gently so that it forms a nest, then securing everything else inside.  It was a big hit!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stop & Go Storytime

This was my first conceptual storytime based on the idea of "stop & go."
It went really well and the kids were very receptive to it!
The books I shared this week were:
For this week's flannel board, I made a simple stop light out of felt and we talked about the colors of a stop light and what the colors mean, what order the colors go, etc.

We played a marching stop & go game using signs that I made
to hold up saying "stop," "slow," and "go." 
Other storytime activities included:
Song:  “Stop & Go” freeze dance with scarves
CD Greg & Steve: Shake, Rattle & Rock, #2
Song:Twinkle, twinkle traffic light”
Twinkle, twinkle traffic light, Shining on the corner bright.
Red means stop, green means go, Yellow means you take it slow.
Twinkle, twinkle traffic light, Shining on the corner bright.
Action Rhyme/Song: I’m a Little Pick Up Truck” Tune: I’m a Little Teapot
I’m a little pickup truck shiny and yellow,
When I go out driving
(Pretend to drive)
I’m a very happy fellow.
When the rain comes down
(Flutter fingers downward)
I turn my wipers on (Move arms back and forth)
I splash through puddles, All around the town.
When I see a red light (Hold up red sheet of paper)
I stop on a dime (Stop pretending to drive)
When I see a green light (Hold up green sheet of paper),
I know it’s driving time (Resume driving)
Vroom! Vroom! Beep! Beep!

For our craft this week, I borrowed this idea from Storytime Katie,
a stoplight necklace.