Friday, February 5, 2016

School Age Storytime: Social Justice - Sharing and Caring


A Kindergarten-4th Grade storytime featuring the new Newbery Award/Caldecott Honor book “Last Stop on Market Street”, a classic folktale “Stone Soup,” an oh-too-topical story of two girls in a refugee camp “Two Sandals, Four Feet” and a story narrated by a pair of shoes about the many feet who use them “New Old Shoes.”  Also shared a link to a program for giving used shoes new lives.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de La Pena, pictures by Christian Robinson Opened by reminding kids about our Mock Caldecott and mentioning that this book was a Caldecott Honor (for pix) and Newbery Winner (for words/story) – unusual, usually Newbery awarded to a chapter book.  Good discussion of this book’s win here: More at: and

Look and listen…had kids notice pix on endpapers, setting, characters, line “the outside air smelled like freedom,” rain… “freckled CJ’s shirt,” bus “sighed and sagged and doors swung open” (alliteration), Nana’s wonderful answers to CJ’s questions & complaints “Sometimes when you are surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful” …

CJ & his Nana help serve in a soup kitchen…making community soup is an old story – talked about folktales – told by many people, many places, many times…since we are almost at Chinese New Year, will use a Chinese version – Stone Soup retold & illustrated by Jon J. Muth.

Song: Alphabet Soup --  Song on Tom Chapin's album "Moonboat" (alphabet, food) Tom Chapin frequently performs in our area (lyrics & flannel pieces available here –where you can also find the text of another version of Stone Soup for a classroom storyplay. Google “free clip art food item” if you want to make a set of laminated images to use in a participatory Reader’s Theater.)

The people in the Chinese village had gone through hunger and war… but  find happiness in sharing -- like the girls in this storyFour Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammad

Like Lina & Feroza, more than a billion people around this world don’t have shoes… but we can help change that.  New Old Shoes by Charlotte Blessing (Ask kids to notice who is telling the story -- inanimate narrator – a pair of sneakers tells how they go from a young boy in America to kids in Africa.) 

Bedminster kids can help  “Shoes for Shoes” – The Peapack Gladstone Bank in the Kings Shopping Center is collecting "Shoes for Shoes" through February 29 for Mane Stream (an organization that offers horseback riding to people with special needs). Mane Stream partners with Community/ShoeBox Recycling in attempts to help keep shoes out of landfills, provide affordable footwear to people in developing nations and raise enough money to cover farrier costs for the hard-working herd at Mane Stream. More info. at: pairs of men's/women's/kids shoes, sneakers, cleats, flats, heels, dress or riding boots. Please NO single/broken/very worn footwear, NO ski boots, ice or roller skates, NO crocs/slippers/winter boots/rainboots.) Mrs. Hofman has flyer.

If you are interested in more books along these lines or book suggestions on myriad topics …check out the great booklists at


Picture books for kids about social justice around the world.


Also I recommend this great book about helping children “see” the art in picture books written by an educator from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: 

Bedm 2.16

Saturday, January 23, 2016

School Age Storytime–Bears & Snow

Storytime presented the week after the 2016 Caldecott Awards were announced on the day preceding the blizzard of 2016.

Opened with the 2016 Caldecott Winner:
Finding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear (Winnie-the-Pooh) by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Song/Stretch: Boots, Jacket, Scarf & Hat (for lyrics to this and other songs used in this program, see:

Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky – pointed out 6-sided snowflakes, booktalked another Caldecott winner Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian

Song/Stretch: I’m a Little Snowman

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert (had kids look at the collage art – possible art project or inspiration for their own snowfolks this weekend)

Song/flannel: In the Freezer by Joe Scruggs

Coming full circle to another bear story --  an environmental cautionary tale:
The Last Polar Bear by Lindsay George, illustrated by Wendall Minor

ended with an indoor snowball fight – directions:

(Some groups also heard Snowmen at Night – Caralyn & Mark Buehner (mentioned another great story of a snowman at night made into a beautiful video: Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman (, Frosty the Snowman illustrated by Richard Cowdrey, and/or Trouble with Trolls – Jan Brett, Blizzard by John Rocco didn’t arrive in time.)


Bedm K-2 1/2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mock Caldecott 2016


I just ran a Mock Caldecott at the Bridgewater Branch of the Somerset County (NJ) Public Library System and five Mock Caldecotts with the Kindergarten – 4th grade classes of Bedminster School. 

(Methodology used: )

Here are the results:



A list of all titles shared with the children and the preliminary tallies for each title can be viewed at:


I loved getting to read aloud so many wonderful titles -- one of my favorite parts of doing the Mock Caldecott is seeing how the kids respond to the new books -- and seeing the excitement when I come into the room.  The kids really look forward to this program! 

My personal favorites -- I must admit I am a sucker for great illustrations complemented by a great text (even though that is not the "official" guideline):
Last Stop on Market Street (Grandmother/grandchild and city people so well imaged)
Finding Winnie  (charming, so fitting for the story)
Trombone Shorty (so evocative of New Orleans!)
Drum Dream Girl (gorgeously vividly Caribbean)
In a Village by the Sea (great changes in perspective, incredible detail, full-circle story)


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pre-School Storytime: The “Bear” Necessities


The “Bear” Necessities

(Fun storytime geared for ages 2-6, incorporates participatory storytelling, numeracy, colors, alphabet reinforcement, music, and even a folk tale! – lots of great material to choose from.)




Intro music: Rosencrantz “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” (display book Teddy Bear’s Picnic – Kennedy – can march around to this tune too.)


Glove puppet/numeral cards (numeracy):  Five Little Bears (source unknown)

One little bear wondering what to do              

Along came another -- then there were two.  


Two little bears climbing up a tree   

Along came another -- then there were three.


Three little bears ate an apple core.

Along came another -- then there were four. 


Four little bears found honey in a hive.          

Along came another -- then there were five! 




Book:  Orange Pear Apple Bear – Emily Gravett (5 words, very clever…easy to “read” together – kids love this!)




Flannel: Brown Bear, Brown Bear…What Do You See? – show book by Bill Martin & Eric Carle (in addition to reinforcing color & animal names, repetition and word clues make this another first book for child to “read”)




Copycat Bear! – Ellie Sandall  (Bird is initially upset that bear is copying her actions but eventually realizes it is a sign of friendship – great fun to act out bird & bear’s actions with the kids)


Creature ABC – Andrew Zuckerman (Reinforcing the letters of the alphabet (and their sounds) with a great guessing game!)


Action:  Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around (traditional)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear  turn around.
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground.
Teddy bear, teddy bear reach up high,
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the sky.
Teddy bear, teddy bear shake your head.
Teddy bear, teddy bear point to red.
Teddy bear teddy bear stomp your feet.
Teddy bear, teddy bear take your seat.


Flannel: Goldilocks and the Three Bears (classic folk tale, talk about kids acting it out at home using puppets or props)


DVD: Corduroy (16min. but kids love!)  PPR on Weston Woods 50th Anniversary Collection (Margaret Draghi favorite modern classics)  (lace button craft)



Additional possibilities:


The Bear Ate Your Sandwich – Julia Sarcone-Roach – surprise ending


Bear Snores On – Wilson (If not using for a winter storytime -- kids snore along! (Margaret Draghi favorite modern classics) also DVD)

Song: Where is Brown Bear… hibernate (below)

Make a Wish Bear – Greg Foley

Good Luck Bear – Greg Foley

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? – Nancy Carlstrom

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry – Wood

Action Book: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Rosen (Margaret Draghi favorite modern classics)  story map

Flannel/song: Down by the Bay – Raffi

Bear’s Picture – Pinkwater/Johnson – use for art/creativity

Bears on Chairs – Parenteau – cute sharing but not exceptional

Bear has a Story to Tell – Stead

Red Sled – Judge

Bear who Shared – Rayner – beautiful illus

Moon Bear – Guiberson/Young

Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep – Wright (bear misinterprets winter’s instructions)

The Terrible Plop – Dubosarsky

Interactive Book: Are You There, Baby Bear? – Gliori  (flaps)

Brown Paper Teddy Bear – Allison

Old Bear – Henkes
Where’s My Teddy?  -- Alborough  (also flannel)
You & Me Little Bear -- Waddell



11/10, 11/11, 12/12, 12/15  bwl  (have to pick and choose)



 Songs & Fingerplays:



One little bear      

Wondering what to do       

Along came another          

Then there were two.          


Two little bears    

Climbing up a tree              

Along came another          

Then there were three.


Three little bears 

Ate an apple core.              

Along came another,         

Then there were four.         


Four little bears   

Found honey in a hive.      

Along came another,         

Then there were five!         


Five Brown Teddies (glove count down)

Tune: "Ten Green Bottles"

Five brown teddies sitting on a wall,

Five brown teddies sitting on a wall,

And if one brown teddy should accidentally fall,

There'd be four brown teddies sitting on the wall. 

Repeat counting backward with each verse.



Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around;

Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground.

Teddy bear, teddy bear, reach up high;

Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the sky.

Teddy bear, teddy bear, go upstairs;

Teddy bear, teddy bear, comb your hair

Teddy bear, teddy bear, stomp your feet;

Teddy bear, teddy bear, take your seat.


Teddy Bear Teddy Bear turn around
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear touch the ground
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear show your shoe
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear that will do
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear go upstairs
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear *show you care*
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear turn out the light
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear say good night.

The Other Day (Tune: "Sippin'  Cider Through A Straw")

The leader sings a line and the group repeats it.

Then the leader and the group sing through the

entire verse together singing each line only once.


The other day.                                                     

I saw a bear.

Out in the wood.                                 

Away out there.


He looked at me.

I looked at him.

He sized up me.  

I sized up him.

He said to me.                                     

"Why don't you run?"

"'Cause you ain't got any gun."


And so I ran.

Away from there.

But right behind.

Me was that bear.



And then I saw.

Ahead of me.

A great big tree.

Oh, glory be!


The nearest branch.

Was ten feet up.

I had to jump.

And trust my luck.


And so I jumped.

Away from there.

But I missed that branch.

Away up there.


Now don't you fret.

And don't you frown.

'Cause I caught that branch.

On the way back down.


This is the end.

There ain't no more.

Unless I see.

That bear once more.

Repeat last verse.


Where Is Brown Bear?

Tune: "Where Is Thumbkin?"

Where is brown bear, where is brown bear?

Here I am, here I am.         (show thumb)

You look so big and furry,

Now we have to hurry,

Hi-ber-nate, hi-ber-nate.


repeat with:

young bear            (show pointer finger)

tall bear                 (show middle finger)

old bear                 (show ring finger)

short bear              (show pinky)


Bears Are Sleeping

Tune:  "Frere Jacques"

Bears are sleeping,

Bears are sleeping,

In their dens, in their dens,

Soon it will be spring, soon it will be spring.

Wake up bears, wake up bears!


Rhyme: Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear

            FW had no hair

            FW wasn’t fuzzy, was he?


Puppets/Song: I Know A Bear Named Corduroy 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Picture This: Artist Day Program


Artist Day Program  Table signs for this program can be found here.


There will be a variety of activities available for children aged 3 and up including:

  • * "Cave Painting" -- in the style of the first artists 32,000 years ago!
  • * "What can you do with a line?" -- Sqiggle pictures to get those creative juices flowing.
  • * "What can you do with a dot?" -- Pointillism with Qtips in the style of Seurat.
  • * "What can you do with a dab?" -- Watercolor painting in the style of Monet.
  • * "Drawing with Scissors" -- Cut-up collages in the style of Matisse.
  • * "Mixed-up faces" -- Self-portraits in the style of Picasso.
  • * "Picturing the impossible" -- Surreal pictures in the style of Magritte & Dali.

Families can arrive and leave at any time. Parents and/or caregivers are expected to stay with children during their museum visit.

Note:  More detailed plans for single programs on each of these artists can be found in other blog entries hot-linked to the titles below.  Also done as Play With Art.

General Books & Materials:

CD player


  • Hey Picasso by Jessica Harper JCD 730 Harp
  • Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky ACD 425 MUSS

Books: (a sampling)

  • Eggs Mark the Spot by Mary Jane Auch
  • Color by Ruth Heller
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie de Paola
  • Micawber by John Lithgow
  • The Shape Game by Anthony Browne
  • Mathterpieces by Greg Tang
  • Tell Me A Picture by Quentin Blake
  • Dreamer from the Village – Michelle Markel
  • I Am Marc Chagall by Bimba Landmann
  • Marc Chagall: Life is a Dream


  • Who is the Artist? Chagall, Klee, Magritte
  • Barry’s Scrapbook a Window into Art
  • The Dot



To get the most out of this program, we recommend that you read (or browse) the book(s) before using the materials to create your own artwork in their styles.

There is no “right way” to do art and we have only 2 rules:

1. Please clean up when you have finished a project.


"Cave Painting"

The First Artists 30,000 Years Ago!



  • · Quennu and the Cave Bear by Marie Day
  • · First Painter by Kathryn Lasky
  • · Mystery of the Lascaux Cave by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
  • · The Mud Family by Betsy James




Paleolithic art the oldest known (ca. 30,000 years old) examples of which were discovered in 1994 at the Chauvet Grotto in southeastern France. Other famous sites that yielded more recent works are: Cosquer, France (19,000-27,000 years old), Altamira, Spain (14,000-16,000 years old) and Lascaux, France (10,000-15,000 years old). This type of art predominately features paintings of animals.




"What can you do with a line?"

Squiggle pictures to get those creative juices flowing.




  • · Harold & the Purple Crayon books by Crocket Johnson
  • · Ish by Peter H. Reynolds


  • · Paper with squiggles
  • · Markers

One person (parent or child) draws a squiggle; the other completes the drawing to make a picture!

"What can you do with a dot?" Pointillism in the style of Seurat.


Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte shows people of all different classes in a park. The tiny juxtaposed dots of multi- colored paint allow the eye of the viewer to blend colors optically, rather than having the colors blended on the canvas or pre-blended as a material pigment. It took Seurat two years to complete this ten foot wide painting, and he spent much time in the park sketching to prepare for the work. It is now exhibited in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.


  • · The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
  • · Monet and the Impressionists for Kids


  • · Paper
  • · Paint
  • · Q-Tips

Create a picture using Q-Tips to paint dots on your paper. Notice how your eyes blend the dots into other colors when you step back from your picture.

"What Can You Do with a Dab?" Watercolor Painting in the Style of Monet



  • · Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew
  • · Monet and the Impressionists for Kids


  • · Paper
  • · Watercolors
  • · Brushes

Try dabbing watercolor paint on paper to make your own impressionist painting.



Impressionism was a 19th century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists, who began exhibiting their art publicly in the 1860s. The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant.

Characteristics of Impressionist painting include visible brushstrokes, light colors, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, and unusual visual angles.

They used short, "broken" brush strokes of pure and unmixed color, not smoothly blended, as was the custom at the time. For example, instead of physically mixing yellow and blue paint, they placed unmixed yellow paint on the canvas next to unmixed blue paint, so that the colors would mingle in the eye of the viewer to create the "impression" of green. Painting realistic scenes of modern life, they emphasized vivid overall effects rather than details.

"Drawing with Scissors" Cut-up collages a la Matisse.



  • · Henri Matisse – Drawing with Scissors


  • · Paper
  • · Scissors
  • · Gluesticks

Create a cut-out collage with bold shapes and colors.

What can you do with a face (or a body?)

Rearrange it in the style of Picasso!


Things to try – Draw a self-portrait, then cut it up and rearrange the pieces!



"Mixed-up Faces"

Portraits in the Style of Picasso.

clip_image027Cubism clip_image029

An early 20th-century school of painting and sculpture that was created principally by the painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in which the subject matter is portrayed by geometric forms without realistic detail, stressing abstract form at the expense of other pictorial elements largely by use of intersecting often transparent cubes and cones. The Cubist style emphasized the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane. Cubist painters were not bound to copying form, texture, color, and space; instead, they presented a new reality in paintings that depicted radically fragmented objects, whose several sides were seen simultaneously.


  • · When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden
  • · Picasso book


  • · Paper
  • · Markers
  • · Scissors

· Gluesticks

Create a mixed-up picture of a person (or make a regular picture and then cut it up and rearrange the pieces)!

"Picturing the Impossible"

The Surreal Images of Magritte & Dali.



  • · Dinner at Magritte’s by Michael Garland
  • · Magritte, the Double Secret
  • · Now You See It, Now You Don’t – Rene Magritte
  • · The Mad, Mad World of Salvador Dali
  • · Salvador Dali by Mike Venezia


  • · Paper
  • · Magazine Pages
  • · Scissors
  • · Gluesticks

Create your own Surrealist images by juxtaposing different pictures from magazines.

"Dreamer from a Village"

The Amazing Visions of Marc Chagall.



  • · I am Marc Chagall
  • · Marc Chagall: Life is a Dream
  • · Dreamer from a Village


  • · Paper
  • · Paint
  • · Brushes
  • · Collage Materials
  • · Gluesticks

Create your own dream-inspired images through either painting or pasting multimedia collage materials.

"What Can You Do with a Shape?" The Vibrant Images of Wassily Kandinsky



  • · The Life and Work of Wassily Kandinsky


  • · Paper
  • · Markers

Experiment with shape, line, balance, and color to create a Kandinsky-inspired image.

Next time – Michaelangelo Sistine chapel under card table

Info. About grounds for sculpture

Check out more ideas at:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

School Age Storytime: Halloween

Witches and Ghosts and Pumpkins, Oh My!
(K-2 Storytime)
Fun seasonal storytime -- incorporating interactive storytelling and a nod to strong women/working mothers (who just happen to be witches!) and land preservation as well.


Book: In a Dark Dark Wood, an Old Tale with a New Twist – David A. Carter (Great “read-together” book with a “BOO” ending!)


Book: My Working Mom – Peter Glassman (It isn’t easy having a working mom – especially when your mom’s a witch!)


Interactive storytelling/puppets: Big Pumpkin – Erica Silverman (Halloween variant of the traditional “Great Big Enormous Turnip” tale – I do it as a musical chant – contact me if you want the tune)


Book: A Job for Wittilda – Caralyn & Mark Buehner (A witch with 47 cats to feed in search of gainful employment…)


Interactive storytelling/props: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything – Linda Williams 


Book: Pumpkins: A Story for a Field – Mary Lyn Ray (Modern environmental fable/fairytale about a man who saves a field from development by growing pumpkins and sending them around the world.)

Bedm. 10.15

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