Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Book Storytime

I've talked about this thing I do a few times on this blog before. It's this thing were I plan a program and then, as soon as I commit to it (newsletter commit to it), I immediately regret it and don't feel any excitement for it whatsoever. New Book Storytime was one of those programs. I thought it was a smart idea when I came up with it, but as soon as it was in stone, I was like, Ugh, WHYYYY did I sign up for this? The good thing about this thing that I do though, is that most of the time, the program is fun and successful anyway. And luckily, that was the case (for the most part anyway) with New Book Storytime.

The newsletter description of the program left a lot of room for flexibility: Do you feel like you've read every book in the library? This storytime is for you! We'll read a new book or two, plus some old favorites, then make a craft. 

Despite all that flexibility, for whatever reason, I just couldn't muster up any enthusiasm for this program.

In planning the program, I knew I wanted to do a different theme each week. However, instead of my usual first choosing themes and then looking for books to fit in that theme, I perused the new book section of our library for good new books, since that was the ultimate requirement-- at least one new book per week.

The program was for ages 3-5 and was 3-weeks-long. That meant that I needed at least 3 books appropriate for that age group from the new book section. After a lot of reading, the ones that piqued my interest were: Chicken Storytime by Sandy Asher, Go to Sleep, Monster by Kevin Cornell, and Bitty Bot by Tim McCanna.

This meant my themes were:

Week 1: Chickens
Week 2: Monsters
Week 3: Robots

Then it was time to fill in the details. I needed 2 more books and a craft for each theme. Here's a break down of what I did each of the 3 weeks:

Week 1: Chickens

Chicken Storytime by Sandy Asher (New)
Egg by Kevin Henkes (Also pretty new! Bonus!)
If You're Happy & You Know It (Unrelated song break!)
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Craft: Found on Pinterest here, I had a page do all my cutting--egg halves in all different colors and little yellow chickens. When I set up, I put one chicken and one paper fastener out at each spot, plus crayons and leftover foam stickers (these from Oriental Trading) for each table to share. Then I came around to each kid and had them choose their two egg halves from the stack (mostly because there was a distinct top half and a distinct bottom half which would be easily confused, but also because I learned this as a tip for letting kids choose at a workshop I attended about a year ago). Here are a few of the results:

In conclusion: This was a good week. All three stories were great, totally age-appropriate and engaging and also, the craft (while very simple) seemed to really be a real crowd-pleaser!

Week 2: Monsters

Go to Sleep, Monster by Kevin Cornell (New)
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (Unrelated song break!)
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberly

Craft: I did a classic Go Away, Big Green Monster! craft this week. I put out paper plates and had the kids color them however they wanted, then loads of pre-cut shapes (thanks to our super cutter page) to glue on. Then, because I hate when crafts don't involve any element of creativity (and I didn't think coloring a plate was enough), I also put out popsicle sticks for them to decorate and and tape, so they could make their faces into masks. Here are a few of the results:


In conclusion: I was worried that the monsters theme would be too scary for the kids, but it totally was not at all. The kids liked all three stories, but I think they might have been a tiny bit too young to full appreciate Leonardo the Terrible Monster. The craft, though, was fun and totally age-appropriate for this group.

Week 3: Robots

Bitty Bot by Tim McCanna (New)
If You're A Robot and You Know It by David A. Carter
Wheels on the Bus (Unrelated song break!)
Robot Smash! by Stephen W. Martin

Craft: I made this week's craft up completely by myself, but I think it was possibly too complicated. I used a whole bunch of stuff for this: paper bags, old CDs, the tops of baby food pouches (like these), foam rectangles (for robot mouths), pipe cleaners, strips of paper, pre-cut printed robot circuit boards (this one, specifically), crayons, tape, and glue. Phew. This was my sample, which I think pretty accurately represents what I had in mind for the craft:

And here are a few of the finished products:

In conclusion: This was not such a good week. I felt like, other than If You're A Robot and You Know It, my books were too weird and probably also too advanced for this age group. PLUS my craft was way too hard. I even heard one grandma complaining about the glue not sticking. I wish I just did another theme entirely, but what's done is done. Just... thank GOODNESS for If You're A Robot and You Know It. This book works for a lot of different age groups but the 3-5's are definitely the perfect audience. It was really a light in a dark week of storytime.

What worked least overall: It's a tie between the book Robot Smash! and my robot-themed craft. I think the book totally lost them and the craft was way too hard and way too glue-y. You live, you learn though, right? Not everything can be the best.

What worked best overall: Again a tie. This time it's between If You're A Robot and You Know It and my Go Away, Big Green Monster! craft the second week.

Overall, this was mostly a fun program but I don't think I'll be having it again. Also, it should be noted that this program was at the exact same time and for the exact same age group as Musical Kids and every single week, the kids seemed to be disappointed that we weren't singing and dancing.

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