Friday, January 31, 2020

School Age Storytime: “Soup’s On”

School Age Storytime: “Soup’s On”   K-2 Bedminster School

Featuring soup stories and songs, incorporating fiction and non-fiction, concepts of alphabet, emotions, and months of the year, and participatory storytelling of a classic folk tale.

Kdg only: Book: Growing Vegetable Soup – Lois Ehlert (vocabulary, non-fiction concepts of gardening & food prep)
“Piggy Back” Song/Action: This is the Way we… make the Soup (lyrics for this and all other songs below) (reinforces sequencing)

All classes:  Interactive story with props (pot, puppets, & veggies): Stone Soup  (Participatory storytelling, mentioned old story many variants – I use the Ann McGovern version with old lady and young man - script and songs here:

Song/Flannel:  "Alphabet Soup" by Tom Chapin (reinforces alphabet) 

Book: Mean Soup – Betsy Everitt (A great idea for a difficult day – could also make "Mean Cheerios!") (Alternative: That is NOT a Good Idea -- Mo Willems)

Song:  "If you are happy and you know it…" .. sad, angry, excited, etc.

Book : Monkey Soup – Louis Sachar – author of Sideways Stories from Wayside School  (child makes her father a special kind of soup to help get him well – silly!)   Don't try this at home! 

Book/Cards/Song: Chicken Soup with Rice – Maurice Sendak, tune by Carole King from “Really Rosie” concept: the names of the months (Watch on Youtube here: , more tracks from the musical here:

Book (1st & 2nd grade):  Armadilly Chili – Helen Ketterman (Armadillo fails to get help from her friends in chili preparation but when they return with "sackfulls of apologies plus apple cider, cornbread, and brownies, she finds sharing dinner with friends is best of all. This is a  folktale variant of "Little Red Hen" – which I challenged students to identify midway through the story.)

Song/Action: “Doing the Chocolate Shake” (chocolate soup)


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2020 Mock Caldecott Election Results Bedminster School K-4

Another by Christian Robinson
Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman
Daniel's Good Day by Micha Archer
Elvis is King! by Jonah Winter
Fly by Mark Teague
Going Down Home With Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Hey, Water by Antoinette Portis
My Heart by Corinna Luyken
River by Elisha Cooper
Saturday by Oge Mora
Small World by Ishta Mercurio, Illustrated by Jen Corace
A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel
Truman by Jean Reidy, Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Vamos! Let's Go to the Market by Raul the Third
Vroom! by Barbara McClintock
Why? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Arrived too late to use:
Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, Illustrated by Zeke Pena
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, Illustrated by Carson Ellis

Friday, January 25, 2019

Read Across America 2019

Thank You, Mr. Falker -- Patricia Polacco. Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who would not let her fail and encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. 

Imagine -- Juan Felipe Herrera
Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside under the starry sky and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his migrant family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? With this illustrated poem of endless possibility, Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo breathe magic into the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.  

Building Books -- Megan Wagner Lloyd  (I wanted to find the pix from the woman who designs sculptures with books but didn't find it today. Didn't find that, but found some other cool stuff. Will send the link when I find it.)
  • Katie loves to build. She loves the way the blocks click together, the way they crash when they topple to the floor. But most of all, she loves to build something brand-new. Unlike her brother, she hates reading. Owen loves to read. He loves the way the pages rustle when he turns them, the way the paper smells. But most of all, he loves to read something brand-new. But, unlike his sister, he has no interest in building. When their rivalry finally comes to a head, a librarian suggests a solution. Books for Katie to read and books for Owen to shelve. Can they learn to appreciate their siblings hobbies and build something together?
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (based on the 2011 Short Film) -- view here:
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a 2011 animated short film directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, and produced by Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana. Described as an "allegory about the curative powers of story," the film centers on bibliophile Lessmore and his custodianship of a magical library of flying books. It was created using computer animation, miniatures and traditional hand-drawn techniques. After winning over a dozen film festivals, the film was awarded the Best Animated Short Film at the 84th Academy Awards. 

Reading Makes You Feel Good -- Todd Parr
For more books and songs celebrating reading, visit my website:

Bedm 1st Grade - Lovejoy 3/1/19

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

STEAM Storytime Surprise -- Youth Services Forum Oct. 29, 2018 Presentation


See the slides from the presentation

Rebranding storytime as a S.T.E.A.M. Storytime Surprise allows librarians to use the ECRR2 format for early literacy and combine that with the interest and excitement that STEAM brings – not just elements of Science and Technology and Engineering, but also Arts and Mathematics. This format emphasizes process during craft and play times; examples of successful programs for children ages 3-10 years will be shared. 

Info from other programs at the presentation is here:


Previous Workshops for Librarians & Educators:

imageSlides & Resources at: Storytime Shake Up -- Jazzing Up Storytime Programs


Slides: Books Alive! Storytelling Workshop

Around the year thematic bibliography: Using Storytelling Skills and Interactive Books to Create Excitement and Empathy in Your Students 

Slides here: UnCommon Core -- Youth Services Forum 2014 –Slides

Bibliography:  “UnCommon-Core” -- Outstanding Informational Read-Alouds for PreSchool & Primary Students


Picture This: Adventures in Art & Imagination
Interested in taking your school-age programing in another direction? Want some ideas for this summer’s Summer Reading Club “Be Creative @ Your Library?” Carol Simon Levin (Somerset County Library - Bridgewater) will share ideas from a program she created that merges literature, art, and creativity. She'll present her program plans for everything from prehistoric cave paintings to Pointillism, Cubism to Chagall, Escher, O'Keefe, Matisse, and many more. It is a program suitable for both public libraries and school settings.

NJLA 2009 “Picture This” Slides and  Program Notes 
(a revised version of my 2007 Youth Services Forum program)



imageCarol Simon Levin is a retired youth services librarian, author, storyteller and program presenter for audiences of all ages based in Somerset County, NJ. Whether she is impersonating the woman who helped to build the Brooklyn Bridge, engaging families in a rousing Halloween Hootenanny of songs and stories, expanding on the mathematical and artistic possibilities of a simple square, or sharing the story of a dolphin who learned to swim with an artificial tail (along with activities to help children understand what it is like to live with a disability), Carol always strives to create exciting programs that engage her audience’s interests and expand their horizons.  Librarians are welcome to replicate or use portions of any of these programs. If you have questions or need more details (including providing song tunes), contact her at cslevin59 (at) or 908-361-6519.

bring the stories 6

Maker Program: Emily Roebling Builds a Bridge–A Hands-On Program for Exploring Bridge Building and Encouraging Women in Engineering

"Emily Roebling" tells the story of her role in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge then assists children & tweens as they experiment with bridge designs & construction.


Carol Simon Levin portraying “Emily Warren Roebling”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Matheny School–Program Plans

Asian American History Month


Read: Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say.  Caldecott-medal winning story of Allen Say’s grandfather who immigrated to the US, then returned to Japan and Say’s own conflicted feelings about home in both countries. Gorgeous illustrations, many of places in the US – great lead-in to singing “This Land is Your Land” – used


Read: The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang. Let each student choose several puppets so we could act out the story.


Followed with “He’s Got the Whole World in Our Hands” with sign language video  then with the puppets we’d used.  Also did Q&A with puppets asking two-choice questions.

image(second group only) Shared selections from A is for Asia  by Cynthia Chin-Lee (915 CHI).  We found pictures and more info. on the Internet for some of the concepts mentioned.
No time for these but left these books for the class:


Gypsy’s a.m. classes 5/11/18, More ideas here:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

School Age Storytime & Craft: Earth Day


Earth Day Heroes: A non-fiction “un-common core”  K-2nd grade storytime featuring inspiring stories of diverse people who have made a difference to our planet. Introduces American and global environmental history and issues, non-violent change agents, along with a book about photosynthesis and the interdependence of all life on earth. Also includes songs, sign language and gorgeous images (visual and literary) of our planet. Not all items used with all groups.


Spring finally arriving – flowers outside – opened with poem  “Spring Is” by Bobbi Katz from Sunflakes: Poems for Children.

Book: The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock (The true story of how a camping trip in California with John Muir inspired Teddy Roosevelt to preserve America’s natural wilderness – long but the kids enjoyed.)  Could also booktalk John Muir: America’s Naturalist by Thomas Locker (gorgeous illustrations)  Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers by Kathi Appelt (President’s wife’s advocacy led to the beautification of America’s highways.)  and  Redwoods by Jason Chin (A boy is transported through the pages of a book into a forest of these magnificent trees.)  (Mentioned they can see a sequoia/redwood tree in nearby Buck Gardens.)

Book/Song: This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
or Song: “We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands” (traditional – optional props/puppets: world globe ball, brothers/sisters, bird, fish – lyrics

Book: Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm (572.46 BANG) -- this creative and memorable explanation of photosynthesis will stick with kids for a long time.

And the Green Grass Grew all Around (flannel) – lyrics here: Song on Rachel Buchman’s “Sing a Song of Seasons” (Children echo words in italics)



Take a Walk Outside (from Pick Me Up, Fun Songs for Learning Signs – played the song from the album as we “danced with our hands”)

Book: Wangari’s Tree’s of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter (The inspiring story of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner who spear-headed the reforestation of Kenya despite threats and jail time.)  (Mentioned “biography” – non-fiction about a person)

Action Book: Earth Dance by Joanne Ryder (Kids stood up and acted out this poetic tribute to our earth. Touches on the ideas of earth science, gravity, seasons, and planetary rotation)

Finished with:

(Younger classes) Book: I Love Our Earth by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson (Dan Lipow’s photographs are “eye candy” – a splendid look at the earth’s gorgeous diversity.)


(Older classes) Book: Mother Earth by Nancy Luenn ( personification of the earth “The ground is her skin, Mountains her bones, Trees and plants her living hair, Birds are her songs, And the listening stones her ears…”  remind listeners that we must use her gifts well, and return them with respect and love. Gentle watercolor illustrations by Neil Waldman)
Sign Language Song: “Walk the World Now Children” from Tom Chapin’s Album Some Assembly Required. Find signs here: – skipped at Bedminster 2018 because didn’t get album in time.  Used at Milltown.


Milltown afterschool program:

Book: The Camping Trip that Changed America

Book/Song: This Land is Your Land

Book: Wangari’s Tree’s of Peace: A True Story from Africa

Sign Language Song: “Walk the World Now Children”

Booktalked and read selections from other titles.

Craft – torn construction paper collage – earth, environmental, spring scenes (some kids asked, could they use “random”? – I responded “Sure” and introduced the concept “abstract art”)

(Played music from Tom Chapin’s album This Pretty Planet playing as kids made crafts.)  Didn’t remember to use Earth Ball with song “We’ve got the whole world in our hands. Could use next time.)

More Earth Day programs here:

Bedminster K-2, Milltown Afterschool 4/2018

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Day!–Celebrating Books and Reading

Ages 3-6 and 7-12 in two groups: Children (and some adults) wore costumes celebrating characters from their favorite books

Opened by asking kids to tell what character/book they came from. Then said we were going to read a book about a superhero Librarian --


Read: Library Lil – Suzanne Williams (a librarian with superhero strength revitalizes the towns library even convincing the head of the town’s motorcycle gang to become an avid reader)


Sing: R.E.A.D. (lyrics here: (did the letters in sign language alphabet – could also do with full bodies – similar to Y.M.C.A.)

The Book with No Pictures(Age 7-12 only): The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak – read by the author here: (kids love this silly silly book!)

imageMiss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland  When the teacher is late for school one day, all the storybook characters escape from their book!

Booktalked the sequel: Miss Smith Reads Again image

(3-6 only) Flannel: Just Use Imagination (lyrics here:

or Throw it Out the Window -- an action riff on nursery rhymes (lyrics here:

followed with:
Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall eating black bananas
Where do you think he put the skins? – Down the king’s pajamas!

Pirate Treasure Hunt by Jan Peck -- pajama-wearing pirates follow their captain in this rollicking action book

Action Song: I'm Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor (or Big Alligator) <– I had a green scarf so did the former



(Ages 7-12 only) Asked whether the first book we read was true or fiction – then showed the following title and asked the same question – kids astonished, this one is true!

Read: Librarian on the Roof: a TRUE story – M. G. King (librarian spends a week on the roof of the library to raise funds for a children’s room - now that is my kind of hero!)



: Joe Scrugg’s “Read a Book” (lyrics here:



(Ages 3-6 only) Read: Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

(Ages 7-12 only) Book: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore -- William Joyce (story that inspired this Academy Award-winning short film:, also any iPad Ap)

Then taught silly Humpty Dumpty variant:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Eating black bananas.
Where do you think he put the skins? Down the king’s pajamas!

(refreshments inspired by books were served afterwards)

Muslim Homeschooling Co-op 3/29/2018

More ideas here:


Bedm SRC 2018 – K-2, selections differed. Found giving them two selections for each book & having them vote worked well!  Librarian on the Roof, Flying Books, Throw it Out the Window (action + Humpty Dumpty black bananas) and Book with No Pictures did well. 

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