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Monday, February 1, 2016

Abstract Painting

For my homeschool program, Field Trip Friday, we studied Vasily Kandinsky and abstract painting.
We started by discussing his life and I showed the Guggenheim online collection of his, here.  As we went through his collection I pointed out that he didn't start out a painter, or with abstracts.  I presented The noisy paint box : the colors and sounds of Kandinsky's abstract art by Barb Rosenstock.  The students, aged K to roughly 7th grade, were intrigued with the information about his neurological condition, synesthesia.  
Understanding that while Kandinsky was alive no one knew about the condition makes you more thoughtful about what we know now about other conditions about how the brain works and interacts with other parts of the body and the world.  Kids especially accept this information at face value and it helps them accept and help each other better.

Another book I've been using this year for Field Trip Friday and I used this week was Get into art: place by Susie Brooks.  It takes several different artists, Kandinsky being one, and opens up an avenue of study for that artist. The painting we used was Winter Landscape, 1909.  We talked about how although this was a winter scene, there was no white used.  

The final product we worked on was abstract, and focused on trying a cruxiform on paper and then adding color and paper as we wanted.  I showed a couple of my abstracts and how to make a cruxiform. And then I let the kids go to town. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Night Animals

Storytime today was all about nocturnal animals and nightime.
We started off with our favorite "Happy" with Pharrell Williams and went right into The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes. I have quite a young group coming to Storytime so I have the children act out being the bird, singing, flying, and moving around during the story, because they have to move anyway.
Then we sang The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner,
We talked and tied into background knowledge with these questions:
Do you know what they call animals that are active at night?  Yes! Nocturnal. Can you name some of them?  Opossums, cats, bats, and more, we’ll read about some in this book:                        
Night Animals by Gianna Marino

After reading we did the Diurnal/Nocturnal Sorting Game, I found it on Pinterest, here.  I put the categories on paper and have the children come up and add it to the right category.  Of course, help them as needed.

I found a nice classic book tie in with Goodnight, Goodnight by Eve Rice; it's very similar to The House in the Night.

The ‘Dewey’ classification for nocturnal animals is 591.518, there are tons of great books in the children’s section about animals that are active at night.  Browse and pick one that’s best for your family.  I shared with the caregivers about finding books about nocturnal animals, I showed Daylight Starlight Wildlife by Wendell Minor and how to look on the side of the book for it's 'address'.    I showed two or three pages of animals that we hadn't covered with our Sorting game.

We didn't get to The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein, which is one of the major reasons why I wanted to pick this 'Nighttime' topic.  So I will be sure to add that to another day. 

We handed out shakers and played Shake & Stop, Up So High from Kids Make Music & Buzz Buzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner.  

They kids brought their shakers up and when they handed in a shaker, they took a board book from one of these sets:
Time for Bed by Mem Fox 
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star As told and illustrated by Iza Trapani

I read aloud both books, and the littler ones wandered off and played some, but I always let the caregivers know that that is perfectly OK at their age.  I let one or two kids sit with from time to time and read together.  One of the other daycare teachers read the books aloud with me, which had a nice impromptu chant like feel to it.

I had these papers  read for caregivers to take with them:
·        Diurnal/Nocturnal Sort
·        Letter N writing sheet
·        Storytime agenda

Another cool idea I found on Pinterest was found, here.  I'll keep this idea for when we can go outside. Today was not that day. Happy Reading!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Shh! Bears Sleeping

So far, for Northeast Indiana, it's the coldest day of the season, so I'm ready for a spring book!  Although this book is full circle seasons, it begins with spring and that's good enough for today.
Shh! Bears Sleeping by David Martin, pictures by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher is a rhyming text with wonderous illustrations.  With the first page we see a bright, brilliant burst of blue and begin the journey of following the bears through the year.  
The artwork for this book was rendered with oil on paper prepared with gesso. The lustrous art draws you into the forest.  The colors are true, deep, and vibrant.  
I'll use this story with Preschoolers to 2nd graders.  But I would keep it in mind to recommend to a parent or teacher for older students too.  I'm a strong believer in picture books for all ages, so don't discount this for intermediate or middle school students. Students would learn so much about bears, forests, forest animals, or hibernation from reading this book.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Another Zoo Storytime

I began Storytime with Pharrell William's "Happy" song.  We use scarves to sing and dance.
Our first book was Wild About Us! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Janet Stevens.

This title is a great self-esteem builder.  Each animal brags about something. The warthog loves his warts, the crocodile has a wonderful smile.  It's simply fantastic when a title celebrates all the differences.  We have entirely too many put downs in this world.

Next I found a print out sheet that I had my original 5 kids in storytime match the front half of the animal to the back half.  In the middle of doing that I had a daycare come in, so while they were taking off their coats and getting comfortable, we finished up the matching sheet, which I printed off and was able to send home with all the kids.  I found it on the totschooling website, here.

Next we sang Laurie Berkner's Goldfish song.  The kids in my daycare ask for this song, if I don't play it, so I better play it.  If you haven't heard it, it starts off with all the little fishies are asleep on the bottom of the ocean, then they wake up.  They take a nap and do something like take a shower, then take a nap, and so on.  The kids love the up down, up, down, up, down activity of it.

Then, because we have such a young group, I ask for board book sets from our Main library Children's Services and we read Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.
I told the group that if the younger ones needed to 'play' with our toddler stuff that was OK, but if anyone else wanted to, we were going to read the other two book sets:
1, 2, 3, to the Zoo a counting book by Eric Carle
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Some Questions for Discussion
Have you been to a zoo?  What did you see?  What did you do?  Have you been to our zoo here in Fort Wayne?  (we have a children's zoo, it's wonderful!)

After Storytime I hand out stickers to the kids that say "I visited the library today". 

More Zoo Books - I had these on display
Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo by Ayun Halliday
Animal Beauty by Kristin Roskifte
Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow
The Perfect Job for an Elephant by Jodie Parachini
Quiet Koala, Noisy Monkey: a book of jungle opposites by Liesbet Slegers
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
You and Me: We’re Opposites
 By Harriet Zeifert
The Zoo I Drew by Todd H. Doodler

Take Home Connection
·        Write – Z letter page

·        Animal Matching sheets

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Who Eats First?

For the first Storytime in January our featured 'new' book was Who Eats First By Ae-hae Yoon.

Other books in the line-up were:
Elephants can't jump! / Willis, Jeanne
The very cranky bear / Bland, Nick
I'm the scariest thing in the jungle! / Derrick, David G
Trosclair and the alligator / Huggins, Peter
Crocodile beat by Gail Jorgensen
Mama don't allow : starring Miles and the Swamp Band / Hurd, Thacher

Who Eats First? was first published in Korea.  Six animal friends find a scrumptious peach and each wants to be the first to take a bite.  They start giving their reasons like: "I'm the tallest!" "I'm the heaviest!" and so on. This book also has a section in the back about using the Math concepts of placing in order and comparing.  
The artwork looks like watercolor with some mixed media of cloth stamping or pieces.  The illustrations are delightful. The math concepts come naturally.  I will suggest to parents and teachers using this with their preschoolers to 2nd grade students. 

More Storytime
Science & Talk
What kind of animals live in the jungle?  How are they different than the kind of animals that live in the desert or polar regions? Talking to our children about where different animals live helps them have a bigger understanding of their world.

Math & Rhyme
Five Little Monkeys Teasing Mr. Alligator –using the tree and puppet
Five little monkeys swinging in the tree,
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me, can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Alligator quiet as can be…
SNAP!  Right out of the tree.
4 3 2 1

Read – book set
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

I also love the song "Five Frogs" from the Anna Moo Crackers CD
Instead of monkeys, the alligator eats the frogs!

I also had a paper finger puppet of an alligator printed out for the children to color and cut out.  Using a finger puppet to retell a story or sing a song using the PLAY portion of early literacy actions.

The motion, the bigger the body movements, the more brain involvement children have in an activity.

For the WRITING part of our Storytime I included a /j/ letter page for children to trace and color at the library or take home.  We practiced the 'J' for sign language too.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What's that Smell?

We start off with playing "Happy" by Pharrell Williams and singing and dancing with scarves. Then it's on to the Read portion with:  
Who Wants a Hug? By Jeff Mack.  Another great 2015 treat is The Skunk by Mac Barnett.  Who Wants a Hug? is truly about smelly things, while The Skunk just follows along and you keep expecting the person in the story to get sprayed.

Do skunks stink? What else?  The skunk (in The Skunk) didn’t really stink, but he was sneaky.  What did you like about this book?  What other things stink? Talk about how the two books are alike and how they are different.  

Nonfiction is always great to have on hand, you can talk about what else stinks and use a nonfiction book like What stinks? By Marilyn Singer.  I put a few post-it notes in ahead of time and show the kids some items and then take their ideas.  

Math & Flannel Board
Stinky Socks
One red stinky sock smelling like an old shoe.
Another comes another and that makes two. Two stinky socks, one red, one green,
Here comes another and that makes three.
Three socks – P. U! Here comes 1 more, that makes four.  With four stinking socks, red, green, orange, and blue, let’s add another – Five Now there’s enough to chase you!   
Add socks to the board as you say the rhyme.  I just made this one up.             

Science & Play
Scratch and Sniff Name Cards to play with, you can smell, hear, see, and touch them, but not taste because of the glue.
There's a link for the whole 5 senses, here.

Rhyme Time Black Socks - using Bill Harley CD -Play it again 

Black socks, they never get dirty,
The longer you wear them the stronger they get.
Sometimes I think I should wash them,
But something inside me says No, no, not yet.
Not yet, not yet, not yet...

The children in my Storytimes love Laurie Berkner's The Goldfish song.  So we play that in between stories.  

More Read
Near the end of Storytime I pass out board books and all the kids sit with a book and 'read' to themselves, each other, to an adult they came with, whatever works.  I usually have 2 sets on hand, but if we have more kids than books, I pull out my tubs of books and they pick.  Or if there is a very stubborn child and they do not want to use the set I am using, they pick their own.  I read aloud the sets I have.  It's a bit chaotic.  But we talk about how the children need to have books in their hands if they are ever going to learn to read, and the daycare teachers and helpers seem to get it.

After that we exchange the book for a shaker and sing and shake it out.  I use Laurie Berkner's I Know a Chicken, or Jim Gill's Silly Dance contest.

Hope you are having a great October!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Going to the Beach

We need to talk more with our children. Talk about what we're doing, what they are experiencing and simply what is going on.
So for Storytime this week we went to the beach.

Talk and Background Knowledge
Let’s talk about going to the beach.

Beach House by Deanna Caswell

We sang The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner, the kids that come to my Storytime love this song!  It's a great song to get them to listen and follow directions.

For Math I used Beach I Spy from this website, here. I think it will be great for the kids to search and count the different beach items.

A good classic read aloud is All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle.  We didn't get to read this title this week, but I booktalked it. 

For Play, I suggest pretending you are at the beach, it’s easy, a towel on the floor, a ball, sunglasses, a cool glass of tea, listen to ocean sounds or beach music!

A Great Read Together – The Bears’ Vacation by Stan Berenstain (Ms. Dianna’s Favorite)  I showed and read aloud about 4 pages and shared that my dad read this with me and it's a great read, especially one-on-one.

For Science:
Do you know why we have high tide and low tide? Using Why do the ocean have tides? By Marian B. Jacobs I booktalked about tides.

I Read aloud A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams because it's a great read aloud and you follow along with Gregory as he explores the beach.  It features an African American young male and his dad. It is illustrated by Floyd Cooper, so with a wonderfully diverse group of children I have in my Storytime, it's a perfect match. I briefly explained Mr. Cooper's technique of painting.

We grabbed our shakers and sang Shake & Stop and Up So High from Kids Make Music and Alabama, Mississippi by Jim Gill

With the flannel board I used  Baa Baa Black Sheep.
Baa, baa black sheep have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full.
One for me and one for Jane,
And one for my friend that lives down the lane. 
(I don't like the old-fashioned version, it sounds way too slave-owner like with the 'master' in it,  so I changed it.)

Then I used the book sets This Little Fishy by Richard Powell and handed out each book so the kids could manipulate the book themselves.  I read it aloud, but they go at their own pace so that they have the book in their hands and get to play with awhile.

Another Early Literacy Tip from Saroj Ghoting:
"As children get older they follow directions, repeat your words, respond to what you say with words, phrases, and then whole sentences. Listening to children while they speak is as important as talking to them."

Take Home Connection & Write
  • Letter B to make a beach with sand and shells.
  • Writing letter B
  • Beach I Spy
One week had the previous line-up and the next week I read aloud Sea Rex by Molly Idle, It's a Seashell Day by Dianne Ochiltree, and To the Beach!
The first week I had two children and 3 adults and the 2nd week I had 12 children and 4 adults.  I never know from week to week if I'll have zero or twenty.  So from time to time, I'll repeat a very similar Storytime when it's all new kids.  At both I read A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams, because I believe strongly that children need to see themselves in books.

The Letter B page idea I saw on Pinterest, here.