Saturday, March 9, 2013

Incredible Adventures: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Incredible Adventures: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
Ages 5-12

 Join us as we listen to the story of a 14-year-old boy in an African village who figured out how to build a windmill from items in a local junkyard, then make a pinwheel, a “galimoto”, collage art or take apart some broken appliances to reassemble the pieces into other forms.

Display books: 609 “inventions” incl. Girls Think of Everything 609.2273 THI, Wind and Windmill books The wind at work : an activity guide to windmills YA 621.45 Wind power : 20 projects to make with paper BB 621.312136 DOB 621.8 “simple machines”, Marvelous Mattie – B Knight, So You Want to Be an Inventor – St. George.   Now and Ben: The modern inventions of Ben Franklin --  609.2 Barretta,  Neo Leo : the ageless ideas of Leonardo da Vinci - Gene Barretta. – 609.2 BAR, Dotty Inventions 609 MOR, Gizmos & Gadgets 500 HAU, Horray for Inventors 609.22 WIL Picture books: Weslandia – Fleischman, Hoover’s Bride –Small, If I built a car/house –Van Dusen Henry’s Amazing Machine – Dodds  (not RA), Inventor McGregor – Pelley (not RA), Wendel’s Workshop –Riddell,  Wondrous Whirligig – Glass, Galimoto – Williams, 


sections from: Reading Rainbow: Galimoto as children are arriving

Talk about
 no “Toys R Us” in Africa, show map of Malawi: from

 The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (Dial, 2012) –picture book biography

Stations:  (African or World music playing e.g. “Africa Playground”)
o    Appliance deconstruction (supplies: broken small appliances, tools)

o    Pipe cleaner “galimotos”

o    Collage Art (supplies: paper, glue sticks, various paper scraps)

o    Optional additional stations: Experiments with Air, Simple Machines

Consider: Reading Rainbow: Alistair's Time Machine (DVD: How is it Made?) -- includes amusing inventions that never quite made it.
Another great title: It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pre-School Storytime: Houses, Homes, and Habitats

Preschool Storytime: Houses, Homes, and Habitats
Age 3-6
Featuring homes for animals and people which incorporates:
fiction and non-fiction, music,
the concepts of color and shape,
and participatory storytelling of a classic folk tale.

Note: this is a long program, not all elements may be done with all age groups, (or it could be split up into a week of thematic programming in a preschool.)

Program Plans:

Entering Music: Tracks 5-6 on Fred Penner’s album Collections

Read: Blue Rabbit and Friends by Christopher Wormell (Alts: No Place Like Home by Jonathan Emmett, Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino or Moving House by Mark Siegel)
“Here’s a story of mouse looking for a house of her own…”
Flannel: Mouse House  (concepts: colors & shapes) (mouse finger puppet, flannel shapes as per script)
Fingerplay: Quiet Mouse (click here for text of all songs, fingerplays, and flannels)

Read (Interactive Non-Fiction): Whose House is This? -- 591.564 GREG (may not read all the details with pre-schoolers) (Alts: Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs by Linda Ashman, or Have You Ever Seen a Stork Build a Log Cabin? – 591.564 Kaner)
Flannel/Song: A Squirrel Lives in the Tree (musical reinforcement of above book)

Read: Raise the Roof by Anastasia Suen (fiction with non-fiction elements: sequence of building a house; extend vocabulary – asking children who puts in the pipes? “plumber”, what are wires for? “electricity” etc.) (Alts: Jack’s House by Karen Magnuson Beil or I Can Build a House by Shigeo Watanabe)
Song: New House and/or action: Building a House

Read: A Squash & a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson (retelling of a classic folk tale, repetative refrain which children can say with librarian)

Participatory/Action Storytelling:  Act out traditional story: The Three Little Pigs (Supplies: 3 pigs and wolf puppets (laminated enlarged clip art mounted on chopsticks work), yellow, brown, and red sheets of paper photocopied with “straw”, “sticks”, and “bricks” patterns, optional parachute.) 
Hand out pigs & wolf puppets to child volunteers. As narrator tells story (one house built and blown down at a time), the rest of the children pick up appropriate paper "building materials" and stand around first one, then two, then all three pigs (my telling has the pigs escaping to the next pig's house, not being eaten) under a parachute held by adults.  If using parachute: adults shake parachute as the wolf "huffs & puffs" and children urged to "fall down" when the wolf “blew the house down.” (Kids help narrator with the lines "Little pig(s), little pig(s), let me come in." "Not by the hair on my/our chinny-chin-chin(s)!" "Then I'll huff & I'll puff & I'll blow your house in!") At the end, narrator can either have the wolf sliding down into a pot of boiling water, loudly yelling "ouch" and running away (Susan Dailey's suggestion) or use the more traditional (bloodthirsty) version. Note, depending on the energy level of the group, I sometimes will omit using the parachute during the storytelling because the group may get quite wild, and instead bring it out afterwards for:
Parachute/Action Song: In and Out of Doors by Susan Dailey

Video/DVD: Reading Rainbow: Desert Giant (non-fiction connection) (Alts: Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins on  Stories for the Very Young v.2 or The Three Little Pigs (Weston Woods, long --11 minutes), Reading Rainbow: Is this a House for Hermit Crab? or The Napping House (Weston Woods)

Close with Singable Book (or Flannel):  A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman (music: track 7 on Fred Penner’s album “Collections”)

Hand stamping music: Fred Penner’s album “Collections”

Display for take-home:  Fiction and non-fiction titles (591.564, 728) on the subject of animal and human homes (including other versions of The Three Little Pigs.)  For other titles, see the contents of our Houses & Homes Storytime Theme Kit.

3.13 3.14 BWL
Thanks to: for some of these ideas.
Great S.T.E.A.M. idea:

Stunning new multicultural title: In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van, illustrated by April Chu.

Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus (Winners 2017)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Just Bag It!

We’ll share the story of Margaret E. Knight, the nineteenth century woman who figured out how to make a machine that could fold a flat-bottomed brown paper bag, then we’ll make wild and wonderful paper bag creations.

(Ages 5-10)

Program Plans:

Music: Free to Be, You and Me* (CD) --Marlo Thomas and Friends – played as children enter, again while doing craft later.

Display books: Biographies on inventors (especially female inventors), collective biographies 926.082’s, 609’s invention books – early arrivals browsed through these.

Read: In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up – Monica Kulling, illus. by David Perkins (Alt: Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully)

Flannelboard/Song (optional): “Parents are People" from above album

Craft: Make masks and puppets from brown bags. Google images for inspiration: "paper bag Saul Steinberg"
Supplies: brown paper bags (lunch and grocery sizes), markers, scissors, hole punchers, glue sticks, scotch tape, pipe cleaners and anything else desired for decoration
Table signs available (email me)

*Also available as DVD and segments on Youtube


Book: In the Bag!: Margaret Knight Wraps it Up by Monica Kulling The true story of how a 19th century woman invented the machine that could make the paper bag we all take for granted and how a man tried to steal her patent!  (Common Core – can compare with Emily Arnold McCully’s equally excellent Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor. (both JBiog Knight) or Monica Kulling’s book about another facinating female industrial engineer Spic-and-Span: Lilian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen – who invented a step-on trash can and shelves in the doors of our fridges!)  Want to learn more about women engineers?  Check out:

“paper or plastic? – often at the store, your purchases are now put into a plastic bag instead -- paper bags decompose, but plastic lives forever and can cause real problems”


Book: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul tells how plastic bag trash was becoming a terrible problem in a village – even killing the goats – until a clever and enterprising woman and her friends figured out how to take this trash and make it into useful purses that could be sold for income.  (Booktalked: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer – the autobiographical story of a boy from Malawi, who, when a drought threatened his village, used books found in a library to learn to build a windmill from scraps. – has more ideas for this title. – has more stories of environmental heroes.

“Here’s another kid who uses imagination and builds things from scraps…but unlike the other books we shared today, this one is fiction (not true)…”


Book: Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty   Rosie loves to invent until an uncle laughs at her cheddar cheese hat, but her Great-Aunt Rose (a tribute to the “Rosie the Riviters” of WW2) convinces her that inventions that fail are not failures….your brilliant first flop was a raging success…come on, let’s get busy and on to the next!…The only true failure can come if you quit.”  Fun related book: Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (2nd grade boy saves the day when his class is stranded on an island and he builds a suspension bridge.)

Read: “Frisbee” p.6-7 of Imaginative Inventions by Charise Mericle Harper (609 HAR) named after the Frisbie Pie pan used by Yale students as the original flying saucer game.

More great inventors:


So You Want to Be an Inventor by Judith St. George and other Dewey 609s – e.g. Dotty Inventions and Some Real Ones Too, Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women and Inventions that Could Have Changed the World But Didn’t .

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