flannel friday: tom turkey's colorful tail/tale...

I am hoping to get this Flannel Friday post in just under the wire, so here I go!

 Ever wonder how Tom Turkey went from this:

Looking kinda drab there, Thomas...

To this?:

Tom's looking like a cousin of the NBC peacock! 

Well, let's just say there were a few steps in between:

I don't think Madonna went through this many incarnations...

I cheat a little this week and present to you a flannel story that was already made by a previous librarian here at our library! All the Toms are made out of paper and colored with crayon or marker or printed onto colored paper. I will share a link to a Google Doc copy of the story soon, but the basic gist is that Tom was pretty happy as a brown turkey - until he went for a walk and let all the animals in the area get inside his head and make him feel insecure. He meets a blue bird, a rabbit, a snake, a red-headed woodpecker, a chick, a pumpkin, and a cat (pink is paired with the cat... weird, I know). In the end, Tom meets some kids who give him a bath but some of the stubborn colors just won't come out.

I'll probably remake or at least laminate these for the future... and I will try to trace a template for those of you who are interested and I'll post that, too!

Now, off to post this post on Twitter in the hopes that I am not too late to join Katie's roundup!

You can find the rest of this week's round up over at Katie's blog - Story Time Secrets - and view past round-ups at Anne's blog - So Tomorrow. You can also click the Flannel Friday button to the right to view the flannel boards on Pinterest.


happy thanksgiving...

This week's storytime had a pretty predictable theme... being that the only storytimes I have this week are on the day before Thanksgiving, we went the turkey route. :) I am going to give it to you straight... the last storytime I did (Wednesday night) was SUCH a disaster that I've put off finishing this post for over a week to give myself time to get over it. :(

Anyway, here's the Setlist*-

'Hello Everybody'

Welcome: I already had my FF turkey up on the board when the kids came in, so I asked them if they had any idea what kind of stories we'd be reading today. 'Thanksgiving' and 'turkey' were the top answers ('Survey says!'), so I asked them who was going to eat turkey? ham? mashed potatoes? squash? rolls? pumpkin pie? - and interspersed what I was and was not going to be eating. I told the kids that we would be learning all about how the turkey got his colorful feathers (a flannel DISASTER because I didn't know about it before I made the turkey I made!) and make a colorful turkey ourselves.


I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
(Sorry to not include the cover - it's giving me formatting issues that are driving me NUTS...)
Meh. I might be riding this story too hard. We did Old Lady Fly during the Bug storytime and Old Lady Bat during the Halloween storytime... and I have (C)old Lady Snow waiting in the wings for winter storytimes.

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
This story is SO cute. The kids are excited to pile into a bus to go on a field trip but once they get there and learn about the fate of their new friends, they hatch a plan to save lives - just in time for Thanksgiving. I thought this one would go over SO well, but it was a big flop with the kids...

Flannel: Tom Turkey's Colorful Tail Tale

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman
I liked this story, too... clever turkeys make it so the townspeople end up eaching shredded wheat for their Thanksgiving feast (maybe funny because a) I know what that is and b) I actually like it). Again, flop-a-roo. I think the story was too long and the kids were just ready to be done.

Craft - Hand Turkeys with Feathers
White paper, black marker... trace little hands. Color palms brown, add googly eye and use glue stick to add feathers. Voila! turkeys! This went over very well.

I did two storytimes on Wednesday - one for 4-K and a drop-in. They were both lightly attended because of the holiday, but it really threw off the dynamic of the drop-in. At one point, I was reading to a room of noise - parents chatting and kids literally running around in circles. For the first time in storytime, I felt sad and frustrated.

BUT, I learned a lesson. I will most likely cancel storytime during a holiday week like Thanksgiving. My Thursday storytime kids didn't get a make-up and lost out on the whole turkey theme, so next year, I might do Thanksgiving stories the week before Thanksgiving and then cancel storytime for everyone that week... and extend the whole schedule by one week.

Too drastic?


flannel friday: aww, turkey feathers...

I seriously need help. I read the post on the FF Facebook group that said that we could list all our postings there... and I was like, "Wow - people are getting their posts done early!"

And then I realized it was Friday morning.

I missed last week because I was out of the building at a meeting - I didn't want to miss this week because I am a creature of habit and I was afraid of slipping into that one (not posting). :)

So, without further ado...

Turkey Feathers!
Here's the star of the Thanksgiving show (though I doubt that was a role he sought for himself)! This turkey - hereafter referred to as 'Tom' - was inspired by the work of Anne, Andrea, and Allison. I loved the idea of having the turkey bend over to show off his feathers and the songs that you could use to count or identify colors.

Tom's nekkid!
Now, I have to tell you - Tom's a bit of a miracle. When I went to start putting him together this morning, I discovered that I only had scraps of brown felt left. SCRAPS, people. Tom is made of nearly ALL the brown I had - and his little body is about the size of the average woman's (I think I'm pretty average) hand spread out. I guess he was just meant to be!

Lookin' good, buddy!
I added little tiny pieces of velcro to the feathers I picked out for his tail. I am not sure that this part of the flannel will survive until next year, but MAN are these feathers pretty! You'll notice two shades of green and two shades of blue. Not ideal for talking about colors with the littlest patrons, but I needed them to get to ten  feathers total in Tom's tail - ten being a great number for counting and all. 

You can find the rest of this week's round up with Cate at Storytiming and
 view past round-ups with Anne at So Tomorrow, or click the Flannel Friday button to the right to view the flannel boards on Pinterest.

Happy Flannel Friday! 


things that go...

Two posts in one week? Do I have a fever? :D

This week we did stories on things that go. I thought this theme would leave me open to use books with lots of different modes of transport, but I ended up reading two car books and a train book. I'll need to try harder next time to find books about bikes, scooters, unicycles, motorcycles, etc. :)

Here's the setlist*:

'Hello Everybody'

Welcome: I asked the kids to name things that go - car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, scooter, etc. - and they came up with a great list. I reminded them that they, too, are "things" that go and let them know that they'd have a chance to do just that later! I also put all the books that I would be reading up on the windowsill so the kids could see them. One of my 4-year-olds always asks, "Are we done reading yet? I wanna do the craft." I hoped that *seeing* how many books were left would curb that question (it did for *him*; someone else asked). :D


Rattletrap Car by Phyllis Root
I think the reason that this book was so well-received is that it is so silly. The family is HOT and wants to take a ride to the lake... problem is, there car is... uh... unreliable. Every member of the family pitches in and with a little help from chocolate marshmallow fudge delight, they get where they're going.

In the Driver's Seat by Max Haynes
I treated this story more like an activity than a book - because that's how it reads. You can see from the cover that the illustrations are drawn to put the reader behind the wheel of a car. We drive fast and get ourselves into some jams, but all's well in the surprise ending. I had kids starting the cars with their keys, turning the steering wheel, leaning left/right/back, and honking their horns - it was quite a ride!

Song: 'The Wheels on the Bus'
We really milked this song... we sang about the wheels, the wipers, the horn, the money, the driver, the baby, the momma, the storytime kids**, and - finally - the doors. :D

Game: Red Light, Green Light
This was a last minute addition but what a hit! None of the games lasted very long because the room is fairly small, but to some of the kids, this was a brand new game... and to some of their parents, it brought back some memories! The best part? Parents cheering their kids on during green lights and holding up open palms to signal "stop" during red lights.

Freight Train by Donald Crews
After the fun and ruckus of 'Red Light, Green Light', we needed something quiet - Freight Train totally fit the bill. I cannot put my finger on what I *love* about this book... the simple illustrations? The colors? The white space? The text? All of it comes together to create a peaceful feeling and the kids were definitely calmed by it.

Craft: Load Up the Bus!
Our Ellison die machine came in handy this week again! We used a large bus dies and I drew a background to glue them on. Each child received three small circles to begin with so that they could load up the bus with passengers. Pretty simple all around... just paper, glue, and markers.

'The More We Get Together'

Late Additions:
After going through this storytime twice (4-K, drop-in), I decided to call an audible and tweak the selections for the 2-3 year old crowd. These books replaced Rattletrap Car and In the Driver's Seat:

Froggy Rides a Bike by Jonathan London
I'm embarassed to admit it, but this is the first Froggy book I've ever read! I mean, I am very familiar with Froggy and he's done a lot of stuff... but this is the first time I read one of his stories. Boy was I missing out. This book was very fun. One word in the story I decided was NSFS*** - I replaced "butt" with "bottom".

Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubbell

I was ready to skip this one for my little ones... there was a lot going on and I wasn't sure we'd be able to get everything in. I did, however, put the books on display and one of my guys noticed we'd skipped this one. SO, after we sang out goodbye song, we actually all sat down and read this book, too! The rhyming text and busy illustrations were great; there are so many different kinds of trucks, there's something for everyone to love here!

* I call my storytime plans "Setlists" because I actually carry a half sheet of paper into the Story Room with me to remind me what I'm doing. It's all keyword/notes, so that's what it looks like to me - a setlist. And, "setlist" cracks me up. We're rockstars! :D

** "The storytime kids on the bus say, 'Let us off!' :D

*** NSFS = Not Safe For Storytime


diggin' dinosaurs...

Last week, we had some fun with dino stories... I expected it to be a big hit - and it kind was, and it kinda wasn't. Plus, thanks to my approach (roaring, stomping, etc.) the kids were pretty riled up. :P

Anyway, on to the Setlist*:

Song: 'Hello Everybody'

Welcome: We read a quick book from one of our kits called Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner. I chose to do this because I wanted to remind all the kids (and maybe inform them, who knows?) that dinosaurs were real, but they aren't around anymore. I had the kids name some dinosaurs that they knew (boy, some kids are regular paleontologists!) and got right to the stretch. 

(Dinosaur) Wiggles
Can you stretch your neck like a brontosaurus?
Can you flap your wings like a pteranodon/pterodactyl?
Can you stomp your feet like a stegosaurus?
Can you open your jaws like a tyrannosaurus?
Now can you do it all at the same time and give a big ROAR??
That's how we stretch like a dinosaur!

Now reach WAY up high... and WAY down low... and tuck in  your bottom... and sit yourself down for our first dino-story.

Dinosaur Roar by Paul Stickland
Great way to start off, especially for the little ones. This is a book of dinosaur opposites and shows that there were dinosaurs that were big and ferocious and dinosaurs who were small and "meek". The colorful illustrations were great as I asked the kids to remember them for the craft we worked on later...

Flannel: "One Dinosaur Went Out to Play"

Song: 'I'm Bringing Home a Baby Dinosaur"

I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Won't my mommy fall right through the floor?
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Ouch! He squished me! Flat as a pancake!

I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Won't my mommy hide behind the door?
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Tromp! Tromp! Tromp!

I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Feeding him will make my mommy poor.
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
There goes all the dog food! There goes the dog!

I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
My mommy shouts, "Don't bring me any more!"
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Where you going with those suitcases, Mom?

The Littlest Dinosaur's Big Adventure by Michael Foreman
Didn't realize that this is actually a follow-up to an earlier book by Foreman, The Littlest Dinosaur. This little guy wanders away as he follows his fancy, but ends up helping another little guy who is not so brave. The illustrations are soft and lovely - a different kind of dino-tale.

I'm Bad! by Kate & Jim McMullan

The McMullans just know how to write a funny book (check out I'm Dirty! and I'm Stinky! for proof). This T-Rex means business and he does everything in his power to prove to you that he is, indeed, BAD. But when it's time for dinner, do his bad ways get him anywhere?

Craft: Make Your Own ___________asaurus!
We do a lot of "make your own"s, but it's super cute and this week was no exception. I drew the outline of a dinosaur and wrote "This is my _________________asaurus!" underneath. :) I gave the kids a googly eye (duh - I love them), markers, some construction paper shapes (circles and triangles), and a glue stick and told them to go to town! Then, I encouraged the kids to come up with their own dinosaur names - or USE their own names! Mine was a storytimeasaurus. :)

Goodbye Song: 'The More We Get Together'

All in all, I think we had a stompin' good time!

* I call my storytime plans "Setlists" because I actually carry a half sheet of paper into the Story Room with me to remind me what I'm doing. It's all keyword/notes, so that's what it looks like to me - a setlist. And, "setlist" cracks me up. We're rockstars! :D


fall into books...

PLEASE NOTE: I have a backlog of storytime themes and activities from my first month on the job that I would like to document here; please pardon the dust as I try to catch up. :)

This was my very first storytime and I was nervous as all get-out... but I made it through and therefore believe that any devoted children's librarian can, too. :)

Here's the Setlist*:

Hello Song: 'Hello, Everybody"

Welcome: I introduced myself as the new children' librarian (the previous children's librarian was called 'Mrs. Z', so my name was sort of a foregone conclusion). :) I asked them about fall - what happens to the weather? What happens to the trees? What kinds of things do we get to do? What holidays will we celebrate?

Song: "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Leaves"
(Tune of "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians")

One little, two little, three little leaves... (bring up three fingers)
Four little, five little, six little leaves... (bring up three more fingers)
Seven little, eight little, nine little leaves... (bring up three more fingers)
Ten little leaves just blowin' in the breeze. (bring up the last finger and wave arms back and forth slowly)


Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert
I really like Lois Ehlert's books for children, but I have to admit that this was not my first choice for this storytime. I think I would have preferred Leaf Man or Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, but those were checked out and I hadn't even thought to request storytime titles through ILL yet (which I now do all. the. time.). Luckily, I read this story at a time when kids were still coming to storytime in shorts and t-shirts (summer seems to hang out in the Midwest a lot longer these days)... so we could still relate to the story.

It's Fall by Linda Glaser

Again, I didn't feel like this was my finest hour in story selection. While the book does highlight the colors and textures of fall, I don't think my kids really connected with it... but that could also be because I hadn't given them a wiggle break either. Lessons were being learned, people. :D

Song: 'The Leaves are Falling Down'
(Tune of 'The Farmer in the Dell')

The leaves are falling down,
The leaves are falling down,
Red, yellow, green and brown,
The Leaves are falling down.

Craft: Colorful Leaves
After I had cut out all the nametags for the session using our maple leaf Ellison die, I had a lot of negative space leaves and nothing to do with them! :) What I decided to do was to tape them to half-sheets of white paper with removeable tape. I wrote 'Happy Fall!' and a child's name on each one (I was really intent on learning the children's names) and then told them to color in the leaf. I encouraged them to scribble and mix up their colors... no need to be careful! Then they lifted off the leaf shape and each had a very colorful leaf to take home!

All in all, this was an *okay* storytime. I was sweating at the end, but it wasn't from overexertion, trust me. I didn't *love* the books I was sharing and I learned that that makes a big difference. Next fall, I'm going to nail this one!

* I call my storytime plans "Setlists" because I actually carry a half sheet of paper into the Story Room with me to remind me what I'm doing. It's all keyword/notes, so that's what it looks like to me - a setlist. And, "setlist" cracks me up. We're rockstars! :D

buggy about books...

PLEASE NOTE: I have a backlog of storytime themes and activities from my first month on the job that I would like to document here; please pardon the dust as I try to catch up. :)

It's getting to the point where it's almost painful to look back at these storytimes... I can see in my setlists how panicked I was about it!

This particular week, we were reading bug books. I had no idea how many books featured bugs as their main characters - there were tons of great books to choose from! I went with a classic and a crack-up... I think it went pretty well. :)

Here's the Setlist*:

Hello Song: 'Hello Everybody'

Welcome - I asked the kids how many different kinds of bugs they could name and if they had a favorite. We talked about where bugs live and what they eat... which was the perfect transition to our first book (and wiggles). :)

Wiggles - I usually do a specific 'wiggle' order... but it seemed fun to work in the bugs this week, so we wiggled our fingers like antennae, rubbed our legs like grasshoppers, moved our arms like spiders, and wiggled all around like we had ants in our pants!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
We have a large boardbook version of this story and most of the kids had heard it before... which was actually nice, because there were parts where they were ready to just join in ('but he was *still* hungry.'). The craft I came up with for this storytime was a colorful caterpillar-like creature and so it was good to talk about all the beautiful colors and get some inspiration from those illustrations.

Song: 'There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly'
Some people might be able to just read this story straight, but I couldn't do it! :D I just sang and sang. I did make the lyrical adjustments for "perhaps she'll die" - we sang "it made her cry". I had a puppet (pretty creepy looking, but it did the job) and stuffed animals to work with, so each child got to stuff something into the old lady's gullet.

Song: 'Shoo Fly'
Shoo, fly - don't bother me...
Shoo, fly - don't bother me...
Shoo, fly - don't bother me...
I belong to somebody!

We had fun with this as I made flies for everyone to use! We had the flies land on different parts of our bodies (head, knee, shoulder, belly, nose) and started the song over again.

Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks
Best part of this story? Yelling. Yelling "Aaaarrgghh! Spider!" is hysterically funny. The spider in this book is darling and I love how the story makes us sympathize with her plight to try and make herself attractive to the family she wants to join. But the yelling was still the best.

Song: 'The (Eeensy Weensy) Itsy Bitsy (Big Giant) Spider'
Again, hysterically funny (sensing a theme here? lol). I informed my young friends that the Itsy Bitsy Spider had a little brother (the Eeensy Weensy Spider) and a *big* brother (the Big Giant Spider). We proceded to sing the sony eens-ily, its-ily, and bigly... with gestures and voices to match. I could barely contain my laughter at the end... little ones using deep voices? Hi-larious.

I Love Bugs! by Emma Dodd
I probably didn't really have time for this book, but I squeezed it in anyway because I figured it would be good inspiration for the craft. It's a quick read with fun pictures and the descriptions of the bugs without really naming them was really neat.

Craft: Build-a-Bug
We have a stockpile of 1/2 inch circles of contruction paper. I gave each child six circles (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) but also put out a basket of the circles in case they wanted to trade for more of any color. I also gave the each a short length of pipe cleaner (bent in on each end so as not to poke!), a green popsicle stick, and (can you guess?) googly eyes!** I called it 'Build-a-Bug', but they all pretty much looked like caterpillars. :D

Goodbye Song: 'The More We Get Together'

As you can imagine, this storytime sort of went OVER time. :) It was my second and the one the week before seemed too short. Overcorrected here, but had a lot of fun!

* I call my storytime plans "Setlists" because I actually carry a half sheet of paper into the Story Room with me to remind me what I'm doing. It's all keyword/notes, so that's what it looks like to me - a setlist. And, "setlist" cracks me up. We're rockstars! :D

** - I changed the craft for the 2-3 year olds by having them put their bugs in a jar (clipart)... seemed easier for little hands. They had fun, too!

down on the farm...

PLEASE NOTE: I have a backlog of storytime themes and activities from my first month on the job that I would like to document here; please pardon the dust as I try to catch up. :)

This was a fun theme that I am sure I'll do again soon... you can go in so many different directions with it! The time around, we went with the animal angle and chose stories that featured farmyard friends (hey, that's not a bad theme title). 

Here's the Setlist*:

Song: 'Hello Song'I first heard this when I attended a Music Together class with some friends of mine and our children (of course). It's catchy and repetitive so parents and children learn it fast. Plus, it welcomes every child by name (we wear nametags) and we even welcome baby siblings, moms, dads, and grandparents when they're with us.

Hello, everybody! So glad to see you...
Hello, everybody! So glad to see you.
Hello to _____, so glad to see you!
Hello to _____, so glad to see you!

Welcome/Theme Intro
I used this time to sort of prepare my younger kids for some of the action in the stories we were reading that day. We talked about how owls are different from other birds (they sleep all day, they eat mice, they don't 'sing')... and we practiced saying what they did say... a LOT. 

Can you wiggle your finger bones like this? (out in front of our bodies)
And can you wiggle your toes bones inside your shoes where no one can see? 
(they always look) :)
And can you wiggle your shoulders? How about your nose? What about your knees? 
(we look hilarious)
And can you keep wiggling like that in a circle?
Now, let's reach up HIGH... (high voice) and down LOW... (low voice) 
And let's tuck in our bottoms and sit right down... for a story.

Clip Clop by Nicola Smee
I didn't choose this book initially - I went with Farmer Duck, also a very good story, but the kids eyes glazed over. I'd thought this one might be too simple, but if you read it enthusiastically, it's definitely a good one. I love the illustrations and just discovered that there's a Christmas version called Jingle Jingle! I'll be sure to get a copy of that before the snow starts falling! 

Song: 'This is the Way We...' (Farm Chores)
This is the way we plant a seed, plant a seed, plant a seed. 
This is the way we plant a seed - now we'll get it growing!
This is the way we water our seed, water our see, water our seed. 
This is the way we water our seed each and every morning.
This is the way the plant grows up, plant grows up, plant grows up.
This is the way the plant grows up - it's ready for a'picking!
This is the way we pick the food, pick the food, pick the food.
This is way we pick the food and now it's time for eating - YUM!

Song: 'Old MacDonald'
How could we NOT? :D We have a collection of mitt puppets that fit the theme, so every child got to hold up their own barnyard animal. 

Cock-a-Doodle Quack! Quack! by Mick Manning
This book? Huge hit... everyone in the room just loved that baby rooster for seeking the advice of everyone on the farm and even trying "Cock-a-poodle-poo!". :) You know it's a fun story when you look out at your group and the parents and grandparents are cracking up. Plus, the illustrations are so bright and cute. I really liked this book.

Song: 'If You're Happy & You Know It'
I wanted to work in an 'old standard' so that I could use it again in the future. :)

Craft: Make a Farm Animal
We provided the kids with a choice of three animals - a sheep, a pig, or a chick. Each was made up of simple shapes and each had a fun element (the sheep had cottonballs for fleece; the pig had a curly pipecleaner tail; the chick had colorful feathers) PLUS they all had googly eyes (my fav)! 

Goodbye Song: 'The More We Get Together'

This was my third storytime and I think it was the one where I hit my stride. I felt comfortable and happy and probably had more planned than I needed (our storytimes are 30 minutes long). So, if you're new to this game, don't get discouraged if you need some time to get your groove going - and believe me, it's worth the effort. :)

* I call my storytime plans "Setlists" because I actually carry a half sheet of paper into the Story Room with me to remind me what I'm doing. It's all keyword/notes, so that's what it looks like to me - a setlist. And, "setlist" cracks me up. We're rockstars! :D

flannel friday... five little dinos!

Hey, all! Today's Flannel Friday post is not original, but is super cute nonetheless. I am in the process of planning the second session of fall storytimes and next week's theme is "Diggin' Dinosaurs". As I trolled my favorite storytime blogs for inspiration, I came across "Five Little Dinosaurs" on Mel's Desk - and when I realized she had provided a link to the adorable dinos she'd used, there was no stopping me.

Srsly?!? How cute are these little dinosaurs??
I also loved how Melissa described singing the song:

Five Little Dinosaurs Went Out to Play
(Tune: Five Little Ducks Went Out to Play)

One little dinosaur went out to play
on a giant fern one day.
She had such enormous fun
that she called for another dinosaur to come.

(Cup hand around mouth: "Oh diiiiiiiinnnooosauurrrr!" / slap hands on thighs to make running sounds)

Two little dinosaurs...
Three little dinosaurs...
Four little dinosaurs...

Five little dinosaurs went out to play
on a giant fern one day.
They had such enormous fun
That they played until the day was done! 

Who *wouldn't* come running to play with these dinosaurs?
I printed out the images at the size they were and they are pretty small... you could enlarge them on a copy machine or something like that. But I liked the size they were because they are "little dinosaurs" and they are supposed to be playing on a giant fern (which I just drew on green construction paper myself; put one small teardrop shape at the top and then pairs of teardrops until they are as big as you like, leaving room for the 'stem' to connect them all). The image is black and white, so you get to color them yourself - and I added some extra lines and circles to give the dinos some pizzazz. :D

I came up with a pretty cute craft to go with it, but you'll have to wait until I post about that storytime. Don't worry, though -  Melissa's post reminded me how fun it is to share. :) 

You can find the rest of this week's round up and view past round ups with Anne at So Tomorrow, or click the Flannel Friday button to the right to view the page on Pinterest.

Happy Flannel Friday!