Friday, January 30, 2015

Flannel Friday: Bear's Picture

This flannel story is loosely based on Frank Asch's Bread and Honey, but I have changed it a little bit to make it a more dramatic flannelboard. (See notes at the end)

One day at school, Bear painted a picture of his mother. He gave her a nice round bear face, a short bear neck, two little bear eyes, some friendly bear eyes, a little bear nose, and a sweet bear smile. (I put on the pieces as I say each piece). 

He was so proud of his picture that he decided to take it home to show his mother.

On the way home, he ran in to his friend Giraffe. He showed him the picture of his mother and Giraffe said "It's nice, but don't you think the nose is a little small?" Little Bear looked. "I guess I can give her a longer neck," So Little Bear painted on a longer neck.

"How's that?" He asked. "It's perfect," Giraffe replied. And Little Bear kept walking.

He runs into several animal friends on the way who all suggest changes that Little Bear dutifully follows. (The conversation is the same as above, except, obviously, for the specific body part). 

Owl thinks the eyes are too small. 

Rabbit thinks the ears are too small. 

Alligator thinks the mouth is too small. 

Lion thinks it needs a mane. 

And Elephant thinks the nose is too small.  

Once Little Bear gets the picture home, he shows his mother by saying "Look, Mom, I drew a picture of you!" And Momma Bear looks at it and says "It's perfect."

"Just as it is?" Asks Little Bear. "Just as it is," says his mother.

And that's the story of why, if you go to the bear's house, you will see this picture on their refrigerator.

Notes on the telling:

- I changed the order of the animals from the book's version because I wanted the changes to go from more subtle (the neck, the eyes) to the ridiculous (the nose, the mane). It's also easier to put the ears before the mane and the mouth before the nose so I don't have to switch those parts later on.

- I put a clean paintbrush with this set and when I tell it on my flannel board on wheels, I spin the board towards me, "paint" on the changes, and then swing it back so kids can see it. Ta DA!

- Sometimes, with younger kids especially, I make Little Bear roll up his picture (roll my arms) and then unroll his picture (a hand motion that looks like unrolling a scroll) each time. This keeps the ones who need action a little more engaged. I find it's unnecessary with the kindergarten classes (who, by the way, are hysterical by the time I'm done changing Bear's picture).

- I am lucky in that I have stuffed animals in my collection that match all the animals that Little Bear meets. I put them in a big bag and pull them out one by one. I've found that some kids will start to guess what the animal wants changed, so I say "It's nice, but......." and pause to let them guess what the animal is going to say.

And yes, I find I have choked up more than once on the "perfect just as it is" part, especially when looking down into all the lovely faces of my kids. Power through, people, power through.

And Happy Friday!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flannel Friday: Hooray for Hat!

(Apparently formatting is not my friend today because my pictures REFUSE to orient properly. I apologize for the turning of the head required to read this post.)

I read somewhere that "Hooray for Hat!" would make a great flannel and I thought "OMG yes it would!" So here's my version (as of yet untested - my Story Time sessions start next week).

When Elephant woke up he was grumpy...

But there's a knock on the door and he gets a present: a hat!!

So he goes to show Zebra (who is grumpy):

Elephant cheers him up by giving him part of his hat:

So they go show turtle (who is grumpy):

But they cheer him up with part of the hat:

Then they go show Owl (who is grumpy):

I'll bet you have no idea what cheers him up...

They go show Lion (who is, you guessed it, grumpy): 

And while his part of the hat cheers him up...

 He feels bad because Giraffe is still unhappy and there are no more hat pieces left. So they put all their pieces together and that helps Giraffe feel better.

 Hooray for hat!

I made the animal pieces reversible (someone turned me on to reversible flannel pieces and I'm digging it). So here they are grumpy:

And here they are happy: 

TL:DR? Here's the whole set:

Happy Friday and Hooray for Hat indeed!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Preschool Science: Dinosaurs

For this Preschool Lab, I started off by reading How Big were the Dinosaurs by Lita Judge. I didn't read all the pages, just the ones that seemed most accessible. Then we took a look at Inside-outside Dinosaurs by Roxie Munro and named some of the dinosaurs we saw there.

We finished with Dig Those Dinosaurs by Lori Haskins Houran and we were off to the stations.

1) Dinosaur Footprint
The American Museum of Natural History has a guide for how big a dinosaur footprint would be, so I taped one out on the floor and encouraged the kids to explore how big it was in comparison to their own foot. This station was a bust - I didn't see anyone even glance at it. Which was a bummer because I thought it was fun.

2) Dinosaur Spikes 
I made some sturdy dinosaurs in bright colors and put out dice and clothespins. The children were encouraged to roll the dice and put the matching number of clothespin "spikes" on the dinosaurs.

Of course, the kids had their own take on this, as they often do. 

3) Dinosaur Dig
This was a favorite station. I had some leftover dinosaur eggs (prizes from Dig Into Reading) which I buried in a box of sand. The kids were given a large paintbrush to brush away the sand (like archaeologists!) and find the dinosaur eggs, which they got to keep.

4) Dinosaur Books
Over several weeks of preschool labs, I've tried to be consistent with adding pages to their "book." Each child who comes to the program makes a book of index cards on a shower ring. The great part of these books is that they can constantly be in flux. Is your child into colors? Make all color pages. Does your child miss you while they are in school? Make a book of pictures of the two of your together. So: very flexible construction.

Anyway, this week I had pictures of various dinosaurs for the kids to color and add to their books.

5) Playdough and Pasta Fossils
I put out some balls of playdough and different shapes of pasta for the kids to make their own fossils. They rolled and flattened the playdough and then pressed the noodles in. Some people just made dinosaurs out of playdough and some kids just enjoyed squishing the noodles in, but all in all it was a good station. 

6) Dinosaur Puzzles
I printed out some big pictures of dinosaurs, glued them to construction paper, cut them out, and laminated them to make puzzles. I also used color coordinating smaller pictures as guides so the kids could see what they were building.

All in all, a good lab. Roar!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Preschool Story Time 12/2/14

Opening Song: Oh Hey, Oh Hi, Hello

Book: A Letter for Leo by Sergio Ruzzier

I thought this book was cute, but perhaps a little slow. I'm glad I decided to use it first, when the kids were most attentive. It was the only book that didn't get checked out at the end of the program. I still think it's a nice book, though. 

Fingerplay: These are my Glasses

I sang this one - it's a Laurie Berkner song. I to
ok a page from her book (haha) and asked the kids what was in their books. Princesses, vampires, and dinosaurs were the top answers. 

Flannel Story: Froggy Gets Dressed

Froggy never fails me. The kids liked guessing what he had forgotten to put on; I know I have their attention when they start trying to peek at the flannel pieces in my lap. 

Book: Pirate, Viking, Scientist by Jared Chapman

This book is hilarious and a pretty good interpretation of the scientific method. I tried to amp up the interest by asking the kids if they thought the experiments would work. I think I should have explained what pillaging and plundering were before reading it, though. Or maybe it would just work best with an older crowd. 

Dance: Silly Dance Contest

Dance: Bananas Unite

Settle: I clap my hands

Book: Is there a dog in this Book? by Viviane Schwarz

This was the favorite book by far. The kids loved it. 

Action Rhyme: Baby Shark

Book: George in the Dark by Madeline Valentine

This one was a quiet success. The kids were scared with George and brave with George and said "I'm brave, too!" when I finished. 

Story with Puppets: The Squeaky Door

It's nice when a story gets spontaneous applause from the parents. I have the perfect puppet for the "AAAAAHHH!" sound that Molly makes when the door creaks. I'm not sure I have enough hands to pull this story off as well as I would like to - I think next time I might hand out the animals to the kids to have them make the animal noises and just keep the girl puppet myself. 

Closing: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Holy hiatus, Batman!

Whoa! That past month went quickly.

I finished my fall programs on December 19th and then Christmas came along and I went back to Michigan to visit my family (and managed to sleep nights! Thank you, Mom, for handling my son!) and now I'm finally back to work and getting ready for my spring programs.

But it hasn't only been a hiatus from blogging, it's also been a program break. I take most of January off to get my gears oiled and ready for the spring.

Sounds nice, right?

Yeah, when I planned it out, I thought so, too. But then my list of things to accomplish during my break just got longer and longer and longer... and everything takes so much more time than I think it will..... and it's just been nose to the grindstone work work work.

On the plus side, I've accomplished a couple of things so far:

  • Finally got my spring program schedule nailed down and ready to go. The registration sheets are ready, the brochures are ready, the staff has been informed... it's all good. (Of course, now I have to actually plan the content of those programs, but let's take it one obstacle at a time, yes?)
  • Story Bundles! I go this idea from The Show Me Librarian and it's been awesome so far. Since I'm doing it right after the holidays, I get the added bonus of the kids saying "it looks like presents!" which makes them more eager to check them out. I've also been able to point them out when parents are disappointed that there is no Story Time this week. (Quick note: I also do a music and movement program called "Let's Move" so I put out CD bundles with some of my favorites for those who wanted to dance at home). 

  • Weeded my reference collection down to two shelves (it was previously nine shelves!!). I put some of the materials into circulation and some of them just had to go (a book that only shows the country and its flag with no more info? No longer useful!). The empty shelves are just waiting to ease the burden of some of my over-crowded sections. 

So that's something at least.

Now back to work!
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