Saturday, March 19, 2016

School Age Storytime: Pizza & Pasta & Pie


A fun and silly Kindergarten- 2nd grade storytime incorporating favorite foods, fun songs, poetry, numeracy, social skills and active play. (I asked what the 3 title foods had in common – most kids answered “p”, but one responded “dough!”)

Book (older kids):  Spaghetti Eddie – Ryan SanAngelo (Eddie finds many clever ways to use his noodles to help his neighbors in this fun silly book) – paused after first page to teach them the silly song “Ravioli” (lyrics for this and other songs below)

Poem: "Spaghetti, Spaghetti" by Jack Prelutsky (from the collection Sunflakes – poems selected by Lillian Moore) also encouraged kids to seek out more poems by this delightful and inventive poetour nation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate

Flannel/Song:On Top of Spaghetti” is an easy flannel to make -- I used yellow yarn hot-glued on a flannel plate, and added googly eyes on my "meatball")

Hi, Pizza Man!

Book: Hi, Pizza Man – Virginia Walter (Mother and young child bored with waiting for the Pizza Man play a fun game imagining which animals might deliver the pie.) or Pizza Pat  – Pat Gelman (cumulative tale of a pizza maker with a surprise ending)

The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza

Book:  Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza – Philemon Sturges (kids chanted the dog, cat, and duck’s lines – text to text connection: had kids discuss how it differed from traditional folk tale: hen shares the pizza with the unhelpful trio, but they then clean up afterwards)

Flannel/Song:  P-I-Z-Z-A! (flannel pizza with 5 slices, P-I-Z-Z-A flannel letters --lyrics below) – I removed one slice and letter at a time and we clapped for the missing letter(s)--letter identification, subtraction/numeracy


Book: Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore – David McPhail (frustrated guy has a porcine problem and a pizza delivery)

Flannel/Song: “I Am a Pizza” from Linda Arnold’s Peppermint Wings (also on 10 Carrot Diamond.) (lyrics below)


Book: Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (Jeremy’s father has a surefire recipe for taking care of his son’s nemesis, but first Jeremy must spend the day with his enemy.)


Poem/Song: “Alligator Pie” from Dinosaur Dinner (With a Slice of Alligator Pie) – Favorite Poems by Dennis Lee. (lyrics & tune here:  Shared the three verses, then challenged the kids to make up additional verses of their own starting with other one-syllable (we defined this) foods.

Pete's a Pizza
Storyplay (interactive storytelling with kids acting out):  Pete’s A Pizza – William Steig

No time for Action song: “This is the way we…to make our pizza pie” (lyrics below)

Song lyrics:

"Ravioli"  (tune:  Alouette)--great movement song
Ravioli, ravioli, ravioli--
Ravioli, that's the stuff for me.
Do you have it on your pants?
Yes I have it on my pants.
On your pants?  On my pants.  Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Ravioli, ravioli, ravioli--
Ravioli, that's the stuff for me.
Ravioli, ravioli, ravioli--
Ravioli, that's the stuff for me.
Do you have it on your sleeve?
Yes I have it on my sleeve.
On your sleeve?  On my sleeve.
On your pants?  On my pants.  Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Ravioli, ravioli, ravioli--
Ravioli, that's the stuff for me.
Do you have it on your shoe?…     (chin, hair, nose, ear, etc. -- continue on
a round the body tour...)

"On Top Of Spaghetti" (Tune:  "On Top of Old Smokey")
(Another great flannelboard)
On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table, and onto the floor,
and then my poor meatball rolled out the door.
It rolled in the garden, and under a bush,
and then my poor meatball, was nothing but mush.
The mush was as tasty, as tasty could be,
and early next  summer, it grew into a tree.
The tree was all covered, with beautiful moss,
It grew lovely meatball, and tomato sauce.
So if you eat spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
hold on to your meatballs, and don't ever sneeze!

P-I-Z-Z-A (from the book "Second Helpings": tune: BINGO) (flannelboard has a pizza divided into 5 pieces, I like to use numeral cards with this as well.)
I had a pizza all my own
And all of it was mine-O.
And all of it was mine-O!

I had a pizza that I shared
One piece went to my brother.
But all the rest was mine-O!
(continue with sister, mother, father...)

I had a pizza that I shared
One piece is all I'm left-O.
(clap, clap, clap, clap, clap),
(clap, clap, clap, clap, clap),
(clap, clap, clap, clap, clap),
And now that piece is gone-O!

"I Am A Pizza" (tune on Linda Arnold's  "Peppermint Wings"  (echo & response song -- you sing then audience repeats line)  If you don't have the album, feel free to give me a call and I'll sing it for you.) 
I am a pizza  … (audience) I am a pizza  (place flannel “tomato/cheese pizza” on board)
With extra cheese… with extra cheese   
From tomatoes… From tomatoes…
Sauce is squeezed… Sauce is squeezed…
Onions and Mushrooms… Onions and Mushrooms…  (add flannel onions/mushrooms)
I am a pizza … I am a pizza
Ready to go!

I am a pizza… I am a pizza…
Pepperoni… Pepperoni…  (add flannel “pepperoni”)
No Anchovies… No Anchovies…
Or phony balogne… Or phony balogne…
I am a pizza… I am a pizza…
Order by phone… Order by phone…  (flannel phone receiver or just use hand motion)
I am a pizza… I am a pizza…
Please take me home.

I am a pizza… I am a pizza…
Peppers on the top… Peppers on the top… (add flannel “peppers”)
Out of the oven… Out of the oven…
And into a box… And into a box…      (cover with square flannel “pizza box” )
Into the car… Into the car…
Upside down… Upside down… (groan)
I am a pizza… I am a pizza…
Dropped on the ground.  
I was a pizza… I was a pizza…
I was the BEST… I was the BEST…
I was a pizza… I was a pizza…
NOW I’M A MESS!   (flip over “pizza box” to reveal a flannel “scrambled up pizza”!)

Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee (tune here:

Alligator pie, alligator pie.
If I don't get some, I think I'm gonna die!
Give away the green grass. Give away the sky.
But don't give away my alligator pie!
Alligator stew, alligator stew.
If I don't get some, I don't know what I'll do.
Give away my furry hat. Give away my shoe.
But don't give away my alligator stew.
Alligator soup, alligator soup
If I don't get some, I think I'm gonna droop.
Give away my hockey stick. Give away my hoop.
But don't give away my alligator soup!

“This is the Way…to Make Our Pizza Pie” (Tune: “Mulberry Bush”)
This is the way we mix the dough, mix the dough, mix the dough
This is the way we mix the dough to make our pizza pie.
…pound & knead…
…twirl the dough around…
…stretch the crust in the pan…
…spread the sauce…
…sprinkle the cheese…
…bake the pie…
…slice the pie…
…gobble it down…we’ve made a pizza pie!

Bedm 3.16

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day!

All ages challenge – stop by the library on March 14th and recite Pi to the farthest number you can memorize.  We’ll keep score and give you a medal for trying!

Celebrate International Pi Day with  stories,  mathematical art and fun! Everyone from Preschoolers to Pre-teens will have lots of fun things to do. 

Playing as kids arrive Pi Song from, other Pi videos follow.

As kids arrive, encourage them to work together and browse through displayed books -- recreational math books from 793.74, Bedtime Math books 513.2 OVE and other fun 510s, Greg Tang’s Grapes of Math series (Picture Book TANG), Sir Circumferance series (Picture Book NEWSHWANDER), Stuart Murphy’s math books (Picture Book MURPHY) etc.

Had them try Pie math: title poem from Edgar Allen’s Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems (811.54 LEW) (let them use paper plates and pipe cleaners to figure out), pizza problem from Greg Tang’s The Grapes of Math.

Read Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure (Picture Book NEWSHWANDER) – stop on the page with the pie and hand out various-sized circles along with scissors & a pipe cleaner – have kids measure the circle with the pipe cleaner then cut off the excess and fold the pipe cleaner across the diameter…all should find that the pipe cleaner goes across 3 times with a little left over. Inspired by:  Resume the story.  The story ends with the decimal 3.14159 about 1/7. 

(omitted this) Have the kids stand in a circle holding hands.  Wrap string around the circle, then weave it back and forth to show our 3 and a bit left over number again.

Mention that Pi is a very unusual number…goes on forever and ever.  (Show picture of Pi with many digits 

Placed the numbers 0-10 on the rug around the room and had kids move around as I recited the digits of Pi so they could realize there was no pattern. (kids loved this!)

More Pi play (stations for different ages – since this was an all ages program):

Lego/Duplo Pi Skyline counting activity:


Pi Day graph skyline:


Color the number of squares on the graph representing each digit of Pi. Then cut out your “skyline” and mount it on colored paper.

Pi Day Bracelets (great pattern activity –very popular station)  free planning worksheet:



Color a Pi poster:

Circle Art & Experimentation (Pi/Pie Math) – Make free-form pictures with different-sized circles (Ellison die cut), Cut some in half/quarters/eighths/thirds/fifths/sevenths to add “pieces of pie” to the pictures -- playing with fractions.


Also had a table with math games & challenges left over from our Leap Day program: – older kids really enjoyed doing these.

Other possibilities here:

Other cool math videos:


3.16 BWL


Friday, March 11, 2016

School Age Storytime–Let’s Go Ride a Bike!



K-3 storytime featuring bicycles – includes text to text connection to a well-known Aesop fable (“The Tortoise & the Hare”), visual storytelling via a wordless book, books on perseverance (earning the money for a bicycle rather than having it given to you), generosity (worldwide bike donation program)  and overcoming disability, as well as some fun songs & flannels.

Stella & Roy by Ashley Roy ---- “Who do you think would be faster big girl on a trike or baby brother on a scooter?see if this reminds you of another story (text to text connection: The Tortoise and the Hare.)

“This next story (The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett) is also about a girl and her little brother, but it is told entirely in pictures – so you’ll need to use your eyes to figure out what is happening… let’s tell it together…” (Girl helps a neighbor with chores for a whole year to earn enough to buy the bicycle in the window but when she goes to buy it, it is gone! Instead she uses the money she earned to get a tricycle for her brother and then receives the bike she wanted from that neighbor – along with a beautiful hug.)


Sally Jean the Bicycle Queen by Cari Best (Another beautiful story of self-reliance: When Sally Jean outgrows her beloved bicycle, she has to figure out a way to get a larger bike since the family can’t afford to buy one.)


Action song: “Bumping up & down in my little red bicycle…  the front wheel’s off and the axle’s broken ..Sally Jean is gonna fix it with her pliers…bumping… the back wheel’s off… Murray’s gonna fix it with his hammer…bumping…”


The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella. (told rather than read because the text was too long for our audience)  “This is another story of a red bicycle…it is the true story of a boy in Canada who earned money to buy a bike.  Later he got too tall to ride it, but instead of giving it to a sister or brother, he donated it to an organization that sends bikes to places around the world where they are needed. His bike went along with 4000+ others on a truck, then a ship, then another truck all the way to Africa…where a girl got it so she could go to school since it was too far to walk, then it became a bicycle ambulance so a nurse could take sick and injured people to hospitals”…. showed pix in the back: a bike being used as a mobile bread shop, and ones carrying huge loads of wood and bananas.   Booktalked: My Rows & Piles of Coins by Tolowa Mollel -- another book about a kid in Africa trying to earn enough for a bicycle so he could help his family.

  • Bikes for the World, Washington DC USA., info *.  The do a lot of their collections around DC, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. BfW Video
    "As of 2007-2014 the largest, on an annual basis, of the international recycling organizations and is building a national movement to collect and distribute used bicycles for productive use.  Since beginning in 2005, it has delivered more than 90,000 bicycles to programs serving low-income individuals and their communities across the globe.  In 2013, Bikes for the World delivered 13,650 bicycles to more than a dozen selected service organizations, focusing on Africa and Central America, but with significant numbers going to the Philippines and community groups in the eastern U.S."  More groups:

“Here’s another true story from Africa…what do you notice about the person on the cover?” (He’s riding a bicycle but only has one leg.)


Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson (A disabled boy in Ghana overcomes prejudice and poverty – ultimately going on a 400 mile bike ride to change his country’s attitudes and laws on disabled people.)


Showed pix from Gretchen the Bicycle Dog by Anita Heyman (636.7538 HEY) – (dog from NJ who lost the use of his legs found mobility again through an innovative set of wheels). Some classes: mentioned Mama Zooms by Jan Cowen-Fletcher

“Here’s another interesting set of wheels…”

Flannelboard: Mrs. Armitage on Wheels based on the story by Quentin Blake.  Mrs. Armitage continually adds “improvements” to her bicycle (horns, bucket of water for cleaning her hands after fixing the chain, a toolbox, a seat for her trusty dog “Breakspear”, a picnic basket & music box, umbrellas to keep off the rain and finally a sail for extra “oomph” – until the wind sends the whole contraption down a hill and turns it into a pile of junk…but that doesn’t phase Mrs. A.  She has a new set of wheels: roller skates!


(some classes): recapped Mrs. A’s adventures to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

“How many of you are riding a two-wheeler without training wheels? Riding a bike for the first time without training wheels can be a challenge…but when you do, it feels like magic!”   The Magic Bicycle by Berlie Doherty


Booktalked: The Best Bike Ride Ever by James Proimos – “it is not enough to know how to ride a bike, you need to know how to stop it too!”

Closed with Fast Food by Saxton Freymann


Other fun titles (no time): Bike on Bear  by Cynthia Liu, Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst, Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle and a Bicycle Changed History by Sue Stauffacher (used two years ago for Women’s History Month) Cromwell Dixon’s Sky-Cycle by John Abbot Nez (Picture Nez) – mostly true story of 1907 Boy Wonder inventor.

Want to add a bit of math?  Check out these bicycle problems from Bedtime Math.

Bedm. 3/16

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Make Math Fun–Suggestions from

Want to make your kids more math savvy every day of the year?   Check out these booklists & activity suggestions courtesy of


image  The toddler set is focusing on pattern learning, relative sizes and pairing. Their attention span for lap-sitting and reading is also very short. Focus on books with engaging, happy and simple text and bold, pattern-oriented illustrations. Just remember, your baby and toddler does not need how to learn to add and subtract!  More ideas 10 ways to make math fun for babies and toddlers!

MATH BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOLERS In no way is there a dearth of counting, shape and pattern books for preschoolers. This book list is a great way to start, but is by no means exhaustive! Once you start looking at the library you will easily find many more to add to your reading list. For more on easy and fun hands-on activities to encourage your young children to love math, read 7 Simple Math Activities for Preschool at The Measured Mom.



MATH PICTURE BOOKS (KINDERGARTEN, 1ST AND 2ND GRADES) -- math books that incorporate concepts into engaging stories, or books that challenge kids to see math in the natural world around them rather than “math teaching books.” More age appropriate math activities from The Measured Mom that will help your kids develop a love of math from the get-go! 


11 ADVANCED CONCEPT MATH PICTURE BOOKS  These math picture books look at a wide variety of more advanced concepts, from fractals to factorials. They are good for the upper elementary grades and even up to age 12.  And here are some more ideas on how to make math fun for 8 to 12 year olds.




Add math to your nature walks – see  if their patterns in flowers, leaves, pine cones etc. adhere to the sequence and try out an open-ended Fibonacci art project!



Math chapter books and story collections where mathematical concepts play a crucial part of the story. They are excellent tools for cross-curriculum learning. Best of all, even if your child’s favorite subject in school is art or drama or history, all of the books make math accessible and tell a good story. (And by the way, if your kid loves art, try one of these amazing math art projects for kids.) 




More great ideas:

image also offers more than 200 other great booklists on myriad topics!

Looking for a fun way to make math part of your family’s daily activities? offers fun and interesting daily math problems -- 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Here’s an example:



Skydiving is one of the craziest sports out there. You jump out of a plane thousands of feet up in the sky, fall at over 100 miles an hour, then pull your “parachute” to slow you down to land. But if LOTS of skydivers jump at once, they can grab each other’s arms to link up and make pictures in the sky. These 164 skydivers hold the world record for the biggest crowd dive, jumping out of 7 planes over Chicago. If you watchthe video, you see how they steered themselves to fall faster or slower to meet each other in the sky. Some fell as fast as 175 miles an hour! They planned out the design down on the ground, then figured out who should grab whom…after all, some divers have a stronger right or left hand, and some dive faster than others. Their totally awesome star shape broke the record of 100 group divers — and everyone’s parachute worked!

Wee ones: How many points does the skydiver star shape have? Remember where you started counting!

Little kids: If 4 people grab hands, and they need 6 in total to make a loop, how many more divers need to join them?  Bonus: The group’s very first dive had just 18 people. If you had gotten to be one of them, how many skydivers would have jumped with you?

Big kids: The old record had 100 people jump in a square. How many more divers did this group have? Bonus: If 12 of the 164 had made a center circle, and the rest of the divers had fanned out to make 8 equal chains, how many divers would have made each chain? (Hint if needed: 8 is 2 x 2 x 2, so to divide by 8, just cut in half 3 times in a row!)

Click HERE for the answers.

Friday, March 4, 2016

School Age Storytime: Hold Fast to Dreams–Fly High!


(K-3rd grade)
At the tale end of  Read Across America week celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the beginning of Women’s History Month, we shared stories of girls who defied convention, worked hard and followed their dreams. 
(Relates to Dr. Seuss’ book Oh the Places You’ll Go)


Amazing Grace – Mary Hoffman  Grace loves acting out stories. Told by her classmates that she can’t play the part of Peter Pan because she’s a girl & black, she learns that she can do anything she puts her mind to.

Asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Women often were told they couldn’t be what they wanted to be. 

Every-Day Dress Up – Selina Alko – A girl ditches her princess duds in favor of daring dames – Amelia Earhart, Ella Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Marie Carie & more. Briefly discussed each woman presented. When we discussed Stanton, mentioned women couldn’t even vote in the US until a little less than 100 years ago – had them figure out how old the US is (240 years) so for most of that time, women couldn’t vote. Long battle, Stanton and others spent their whole lives (70 years!) trying to get women’s voting rights.

“It is fun to dress up in princess skirts for dress up or a party, but how would they like to wear long heavy skirts (as heavy as a box of books!) everyday?  They couldn’t bike, or climb a tree, or run and play…”

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! --- Shana Corey –  Delightful biography of the suffragist & newspaper founder who founded a movement to get women out of long limiting skirts.

Nobody Owns the Sky: The Story of “Brave Bessie” Coleman – Reeve Lindbergh (youngest daughter of Charles) – No American flying school would teach Bessie because she was black so she sailed to France for lessons then returned to the states with the dream of starting her own school for African American pilots.

Movement – “Stretch High, Bend Low, Reach to the Sky, Then to Your Sides, Spread Your Wings, Turn around , then sit back down.”

Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee – Marissa Moss – Maggie Gee, who dreamed of flying from the time she was a girl, finally gets her chance during WW2 when she becomes one of only two Chinese-American WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots).

(did a variety of stretches and chants encouraging the kids to dream high & work hard to achieve their dreams)

Previous years:

Some other great titles:

My Name is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? – Jennifer Fosberry
To the Stars: The First American Woman to Walk in Space – Carmella Van Vleet
Wilma Unlimited – Kathleen Krull
Elizabeth Leads the Way:Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote – Tanya Lee Stone
I Could Do That: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote – Linda Arms White
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor – Robert Burleigh
many more here:
and here:


More on early pilots:

Bedm. 3/16.

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