thinking outside the box...

As I may have mentioned earlier, this session I am flying solo when it comes to storytimes. With the exception of our Books & Babies storytimes, I am the storytime presenter here at the library. I have a drop-in each Tuesday, two storytimes on Wednesdays, two storytimes on Fridays, and a monthly storytime on a Thursday evening.

Flying solo is pretty cool in that I am solely in charge of what we read and what we make... I pick the songs and I make the nametags and I generally call the shots. Now, this is not to say that I was not able to make my own choices in the previous session - it's just different when you are collaborating with other people who bring their own ideas and favorites to the storyroom. I am the whole show these days - with repeat performances.

So I've been struggling to come up with my themes... I find myself falling back on the tried and true animals over and over. I started off with bears, but I knew that I wanted to take my other storytimes in a different direction. But where?

Enter storytimekatie - my go-to blog since I accepted this position and learned about my storytime responsibilities. Using the theme tab Katie so graciously put at the top of her page, I was able to peruse a list of themes she's used since 2010... but it was the BOXES post on the right-hand side of the screen popped right out at me!

Boxes? Katie is brilliant! I tweaked the storytime a little bit - I used shapes for the flannelboard and the craft - but the imagination/box theme was strong through the story selection.

Here's the setlist*:

"Hello Everybody"

Welcome: I didn't have enough "box" books to display around the room, so I asked the children to guess what storytime was about based on the flannel shapes I had up on the board. The most frequent guesses were "shapes" and "colors" - and I told them that they were right... but we'd be reading stories about using our imagination to play with shapes and colors.


I've been having a LOT of trouble with covers messing up my text, so I am borrowing ANOTHER page from Katie's book and doing a book collage at the top of the books section. :)
A Box Can Be Many Things by Dana Meachen RauThis book is pretty small, but it did such a good job of illustrating that all it takes to take a box from blah and boring to superfun is a little imagination - and maybe a well-placed square cut-out.

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Oh how I LOVE this book! One page shows our friend the Rabbit standing next to (or on top of, or inside) what looks like an ordinary box. The next page reveals, however, that it is NOT a box. Lots of giggles on this one.
Flannel: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell OR Flannel Shapes
Katie made an UH-mazing flannel version of this set of printables; I printed the printables in color, laminated them, and added velcro (yup, BIG cheater). The story is so easy to tell without the text and the kids who haven't seen the book (not too many *haven't*!) had a fun time guessing what was in each box.

I did not, however, have this ready to go at the beginning of the week, so I also used our Ellison to make basic shapes in flannel - a circle, square, triangle, rectangle, and (for fun) a trapezoid. C'mon- it's superfun to say 'trapezoid'... it's the 'zoid'. It makes the word. :D I showed the group how we culd rearrange to shapes to make new things - a house, a rocket, a clown, a gumball machine, a tractor, a truck... and that's exactly what we did for our craft!

Song: 'If You're Happy & You Know It'

(4-K group) It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
We own the big book version of this book and it was fun to use with the older kids... they enjoyed shouting out what they saw and learning that, in the end, it was none of those things. :)
(2-3 group) Meeow and the Big Box by Sebastien Braun
This book also encouraged the kids to guess what was being made, but I thought Meow (such a cute illustration) would play better to them than the simple blue and white pages of It Looked Like Spilt Milk.
Magic Box by Katie Cleminson
We finished up with this whimsical story of a girl and her magic box - the illustrations, which use an interplay of black, white, and shocks of color, is what takes this book to the next level. Getting the pet you always wanted isn't bad, either!
Craft: Shape Creations!
I gave the kids construction paper shapes like the felt ones I'd used on the board and a sheet of black construction paper. I also gave them a quarter sheet of paper with ideas for using the shapes to make pictures!
I think that despite a rough start in trying to come up with a theme this week, I ended up in good shape.


Get it?! :D