Friday, December 15, 2017

School Age Storytime : Gifts and Giving

A storytime for K-2 celebrating seasonal holidays. Featuring tangible & intangible giving, with a nod to geography and figurative writing. Great lead-in for holiday toy, coat & food drives.

Book: Rabbit’s Gift – George Shannon (Chinese folktale in which each animal tries to share the turnip left at his doorstep.)


Storytelling with props/flannel: The Great Big Enormous Turnip (heading to the country north of China with another tale of turnips & cooperation -- based on the Russian book by Alexsey Nikolayevich Tolstoy)


Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant (Loosely-based on a true story. A rich man rides a train through Appalachia every year at Christmas tossing gifts to the poor children who are waiting in order to repay a debt he owes the people who live there  the young boy waiting for gifts each year who grows up and also gives back to the community.)

The Marvelous Toy by Tom Paxton (sung) (Several book versions available. Hand-me-down toy has special meaning; performed here:


Book: The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes --Linda Glaser (When unexpected guests are due, a girl borrows more potatoes and eggs from Mrs. Greenberg, the lonely but stubborn older woman next door, and finally figures out a way to convince her to join in the celebration.  This book has delicious examples of figurative language, e.g. "Mrs. Greenberg's house was always clean and tidy, like its face was just scrubbed and its blouse was tucked in, while Rachel's house always looked like it was still in its pajamas and needed to brush its hair yet.")


Song/Flannel: Helping  by Shel Silverstein from Free to Be, You and Me. Lyrics & tune:  (no time today but could also have sung Song/Flannel:  I Had a Little Dreidel (with myriad variations --source unknown -- students encouraged to make up new verses!)


More song lyrics:


Book: Gifts by Jo Ellen Bogart (A grandmother travels the world bringing back gifts both real and fanciful in this lovely rhyming story illustrated with three dimensional pictures created from plasticine clay. The child grows to a young woman and the grandmother gets more frail until the last page shows the child grown up with a child of her own traveling the world and concludes "and everything she shared with me I'm going to share with you." Had kids identify geographic locations mentioned on maps on the endpapers.)


The Extraordinary Gift – Florence Langlois (Imaginative fold out book which says that the best gift is a book!)

Song: We Wish You a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year… (lyrics to this and many other holiday songs here:

If time, could add some of the materials from the programs below:


Looking for additional special holiday titles?  Check out this bibliography:

Bedm. 12/2017

Friday, December 8, 2017

School Age Storytime: Look Again–Art, Artists, and Imagination

K-2nd Grade Storytime utilizing the new Keith Haring picture book biography and encouraging kids to embrace art and creativity in themselves and all around.

Opened by sharing Here a Face, There a Face by Arlene Alda (photographs of “found faces” in buildings and objects – book opens with a tribute to John Lennon’s “Imagine”)


Asked if anyone had ever played the drawing game – taking turns adding lines to each other’s drawing – a game Keith Haring played with his father.)

Read: Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay Haring (Keith’s brother)  (Inspiring picture book biography of this generous-hearted artist who created art often in unused or ugly public spaces – suggested teachers might want to get mural paper and have kids do something similar.)


Read: Changes by Anthony Browne (The objects in a boy’s house morph around him in this intriguing book that pays homage to surrealism…)

Dinner at Magritte's

Dinner at Magritte’s by Michael Garland(great lead in to the art of Rene Magritte – can share pages from Now You See It—Now You Don’t: Rene Magritte (J759.9493 WEN), The Mad, Mad, World of Salvador Dali (759.6 WEN) both by Angela Wenzel, Salvador Dali and the Surrealists – their life & ideas + 21 activities by Michael Ross (J759.6 ROS) and/or Google: “Rene Magritte paintings” and “Salvador Dali paintings”.)


Mentioned  life-like statues of J. Seward Johnson – many available to view at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton NJ – an incredible place to visit.

Action break inspired by stone parents in above book – “statues” game aka “freeze dance” – sing or play tunes as students dance, then stop the music and “freeze”


Another incredibly imaginative artist M.C.Escher “Ascending and Descending” and “Relativity” (above) inspired:

Read: Palazzo Inverso by D.B. Johnson (book imagines “master’s” apprentice changing the drawing simply by turning it around – book goes forward then returns backwards (upside down) to the place where it starts!) – also have the kids notice the fish/bird end-papers.


Return to Keith Haring who famously said “It’s your job to decide [what my pictures mean]. I only do the drawing!’  Show his pictures from: Keith Haring: I Wish I Didn’t Have to Sleep (J 709.2 HAR), read excerpts and have kids supply their own interpretations.


Finish with:



Book: If… by Sarah Perry (imagine if cats could fly, leaves were fish, mice were hair, caterpillars were toothpaste, toes were teeth, or frogs ate rainbows…ends with “If this is the end…then dream up some more! – encouraged kids to create their own book of imaginative ideas!) 

Related programs:

Related books:


Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Illusion by Al Seckel
Imagine a Place (also Day, Night) by Sarah Thompson, Art by Rob Gonsalves

Bedm 1/2/17

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Storytime Craft: "Build It!”


10 a.m. PreSchool Storytime/Activity:

Entering Music: Tracks 5-7 on Fred Penner’s album Collections


Book: 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.) (Alt: If I Built a House by Chris Van Doren (great if kids are old enough), Jack’s House by Karen Magnuson Beil  (cute story but repetition somewhat tedious) or I Can Build a House by Shigeo Watanabe (young))

Song: New House (Tune: London Bridge)

Let’s all build a brand new house,
Brand new house, brand new house,
Let’s all build a brand new house,
Let’s get started!

First we’ll dig a great big hole…
Let’s keep going!

Then we’ll put in walls and floors…
Let’s keep going!

Now it’s time to raise the roof…
Let’s keep going!

Then put out the welcome mat…
We’ll have a party!

“Here’s a story of mouse looking for a house of her own…”
Flannel: Mouse House  (concepts: colors & shapes) (mouse finger puppet, flannel shapes script here:


Fingerplay: Quiet Mouse
Once there lived a quiet mouse   (hold out fist with index finger extended)
In a quiet little house.  (insert index finger into other fist)
When all was quiet as can be
Out Popped He!! (throw arms and hands apart)


Book: Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale  (showed pictures discussing child-made and architect-made buildings, only read some of the poems)

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.)  details:

Action Song: In and Out of Doors by Susan Dailey


Interactive/Guessing Game Book: Not a Box  by Antoinette Portis

STEM Playground Building Materials (Music: Fred Penner’s album “Collections”)

  • Toobers and Zots
  • Foam Shapes
  • Straws & Connectors
  • Duplo
  • Keva Blocks
  • Magnetic Blocks / Magnatiles
  • Lego
  • B&T cardboard, markers, tape, glue


4:30 p.m. STEAM plans (3-6 & K-4)


Book: If I Built a House by Chris Van Doren (booktalked his If I Built a Car)

Flannel: Mouse House 


Book: Top Job by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel  (booktalked Sky Boys by Deborah Hopkinson)

Participatory/Action Storytelling:  Act out traditional story: The Three Little Pigs

Book: Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale  (showed pictures discussing child-made and architect-made buildings, only read some of the poems)

STEM playground same as above.




12/5/17 BWL

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