Monday, November 27, 2017

City Living, Country Life 2017

THIS was a fun two-week unit: it incorporated art, math, literary thinking, and thinking about social studies.  What a winner!

This was a two-week unit: we studied "the city" the first week and "rural areas" the second.  What tied them together were the two versions of City Mouse, Country Mouse we chose: this gave an opportunity to talk about similarities and differences between the two books.

BOOKS: Any two versions of City Mouse, Country Mouse (We enjoyed Country Mouse in A Townhouse, DK, 1995, a photo-essay where you had to search for the mice in each picture.)

City Books:  Alphabet City or City By Numbers by Stepehn Johnson and Tana Hoban city books are a good choice to give our townie kids a taste of what a city looks like.  Busy, Busy City Street by Cari Meiser and Last Stop on Market Street (Matt De La Pena's Newbery winner) are good, too.    Something Beautiful is a great choice for additional reading, but I use it for our Day of Action lessons, so I skipped it this year.

Country Books: The original Iris & Walter by Elissa Guest is a great choice to bring living differences into focus:  Ma, I'm A Farmer by Michael Marchenko was a hit with the kids (this surprised me!) Cynthia Rylant's Night In The Country is good, too, especially to teach literary devices...

VIDEO: PebbleGo to the rescue, with a fantastic "Living in the City" and "Rural Living" article, including videos.

ART: We built a nighttime cityscape (turned out amazing!) which incorporated math: kids were given instructions to fit as many 1x1 "lights" in their high rise buildings as they could, in a straight line: to put as many people in each building as possible!  We previewed pictures of night cityscapes on Google before we started and the results were great. 

Country Crafts:  We took a poll!  Each kid was given a little mouse (3x4 inches) and colored it like they wished, put their name on it, and had to tape it under a picture of city or country life -- each class was close on preference, but each class chose city life in the end!  They also had a mouse maze and a mouse connect-the-dots to fill time if they chose books quickly...

RHYME:  I love the Elevator Song, which is quite a workout!  SIng it normal, then take the high-speed elevator... then take the super-high-speed elevator (faster faster faster!!!)

Oh, the city is great and the city is grand
THere's a whole lot of people on a little piece of lnad
and we live way up on the 57th floor, and this is what we do when we go out the door:
  We take the elevator up, we take the elevator down (3x)
  And we turn around!


ELVIS Story Time 2017

Because I can.

Mystery Bag: A crown or an Elvis wig or (if you can find them) Blue Suede Shoes...
Word of the Week: ELVIS

SHOW PICTURES!!!  lip-curl Elvis, young Elvis, sideburns, sequins, guitar...

Bawk n Roll by Tami Sauer
Shake, Rattle and Turn that Down (for grades 3+)
ANY BOOK with Hound Dogs or Teddy Bears!

Jailhouse Rock
Hound Dog 
Don't be Cruel
Blue Suede Shoes
Return to Sender
Teddy Bear  

CRAFT of the WEEK:  Gemmed Crown with Sideburns!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pet Care 2017

This week we introduce non-fiction books while we talk about our experiences with pets.  PET CARE is an important lesson to teach to children.

Word of the week: PET (Mascota) 
Sign Language:

Mystery Bag: A pet-food bowl (or) a collar with tags for a pet.

Introductory activity:  Things Pets Need (printed out w/ words and pictures:  sleep, water, exercise, love, wash, eat, toys,vet, training.)

Dog vs. Cat
Pigeon Wants A Puppy by Mo Willems
What Pet Should I Get by Dr. Seuss
Pet Corner=Rincon de las mascotas: Lovable Dogs=Perros Adorables by Katie Kawa (nonfiction)
Me Want Pet: Tami sauer, illus. Bob Shea
Children Make Terrible Pets: Patrick Brown

Action Rhyme
Can you hop like a rab­bit?
Can you jump like a frog? Can you wad­dle like a duck?
Can you wag your tail like a dog?
Can you fly like a bird?
Can you swim like a fish?
Can you sit back down and be still like this?

I had a little poodle (hold up fist)
His coat was silver gray,
One day I thought I'd bathe him,
To wash the dirt away,
I washed my little poodle,
(scrub fist with other hand),
then dried him with a towel
(pat fist like drying with a towel)
My poodle seemed to like his bath,
He didn't even growl.    

CRAFT:  we made a version of this using Goldfish crackers, Rice Crispies, and a die-cut fishbowl that we have at work.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Bob Shea Story Time 2017

Buddy And The Bunnies: Don't play with your food

Pre Reading:
During: watch # of bunnies multiplying
Post Reading

Monster Pokey 
(Sung to the tune of "Hokey Pokey") 
You put your claws in. 
You put your claws out. 
You put your claws in and you shake them all about. 
You do the Monster Pokey and you turn yourself around, 
That's what it's all about. 

You put your fangs in. 
You put your fangs out. 
You put your fangs in and you shake them all about. 
You do the Monster Pokey and you turn yourself around, 
That's what it's all about. 

You put your horns in. 
You put your horns out. 
You put your horns in and you shake them all about. 
You do the Monster Pokey and you turn yourself around, 
That's what it's all about. 

You put your tail in. 
You put your tail out. 
You put your tail in and you shake it all about. 
You do the Monster Pokey and you turn yourself around, 
That's what it's all about.

“Monsters Galore”
Monsters galore, can you roar? (Roar.)
Monsters galore, can you soar? (Flying motions.)
Monsters galore, please shut the door. (Clap.)
Monsters galore, fall on the floor! (Sit/fall down.)

Action Rhyme: “Monster Stomp”
If you want to be a monster, now’s your chance.
‘Cause everybody’s doing the monster dance.
You just stamp your feet, wave your arms around. (Stomp, wave arms.)
Stretch ‘em up, stretch ‘em up, (Stretch up arms.)
Then put them on the ground. (Put hands on the floor.)
‘Cause you’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)
That’s right! You’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)

Other Potential Monster Crafts:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cars Story Time

Cars.  Traffic.  Traffic Lights.  Today let's celebrate cruisin'!

Welcome:  (to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down)
                   Welcome to the library, library, library.  
                   Welcome to the library, please come inside and read.

4-finger rules of the library:
                   1.  Quiet (finger to lips)
                   2.  Eyes on me (2 fingers point to eyes)
                   3.  Listen ( 3 fingers make elephant ear)
                   4.  Walking only, no running (2 fingers "walk" on other 4-finger palm)

Mystery Bag: (matchbox car.)  What words do we use to describe it w/o seeing what it is.... small, hard, square... some kids can feel the wheels...

Word of the Day: English: car
                            Spanish: carro
                            Sign Language:

BOOKS:  CAR WASH by Sandra Steen 
                 any TRUCKTOWN book by Jon Scieszka
                 MY CAR by Byron Barton
                 5 LITTLE MONKES WASH THE CAR by Eileen Christelow
                 RATTLETRAP CAR by Phyllis Root

Finger plays:

Try this funny action rhyme if you have a TV:

Craft:  traffic light cut & paste.  We cut them out for the kids in the interest of time and sanity.   Here's a link to the final product.  (You can do much smaller or larger dots, too.) 

Closing Song:  Open, Shut them.  Open, shut them.  Raise your hands up high. 
                          Open, shut them.  Open, shut them.  Wave and say goodbye.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mother Goose: This Little Piggie Storytime


Welcome:  (to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down)
                   Welcome to the library, library, library.  
                   Welcome to the library, please come inside and read.

4-finger rules of the library:
                   1.  Quiet (finger to lips)
                   2.  Eyes on me (2 fingers point to eyes)
                   3.  Listen ( 3 fingers make elephant ear)
                   4.  Walking only, no running (2 fingers "walk" on other 4-finger palm)

Mystery Bag: it's a stuffed pig.  What words do we use to describe it w/o seeing what it is.... soft, small, round, lightweight... what else?  Let kids pet on the pig if you like... show them picture of pig so they see the "beard" in the sign language word is like the whiskers on the pig's chin.
Word of the Day: English: PIG (say it, syllabicate it, spell it in the air)
                            Spanish CERDO (s-air-dough)
                            Sign Language:

READ Nursery Rhyme "This Little Piggie" to the kids, then read it with them.
                         1.  Do you know this rhyme?
                         2.  Do you know what is happening to each piggie (like what is a market, roast beef...)

Read:  Is That Wise Pig?  -or-
           Elephant & Piggie -or-
           If You Give a Pig a Pancake
           Pigs by Robert Munsch (great on PebbleGo if you have it)

Piggie Finger Play: 

Fingerplay: “Two Mother Pigs”
Two mother pigs lived in a pen (show thumbs)
Each had four babies, and that made ten (show fingers & thumbs)
These four babies were black as night (thumb in palm, wiggle fingers)
These four babies were black and white (switch hands, repeat)
But all eight babies loved to play
And they rolled and rolled in the mud all day (roll hands)
At night, with their mother, they curled up in a heap (clasp hands)
And squealed and squealed till they fell fast asleep.
Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

 Fingerplay: “Five Little Piggies”
“It’s time for my piggies to go to bed,” the great big mother piggy said.
“So I will count them first to see if all my piggies came back to me.
One little piggy, two little piggies, three little piggies dear
Four little piggies, five little piggies, — yes, they’re all here!”
Credit: Preschool Rainbow

Piggie Song: Old McDonald Had a Farm

Piggie Coloring Page

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


More people celebrate Lunar New Year than almost any holiday in the world: and most Americans don't know very much about it.  Here's a visually exciting introduction to this amazing celebration.


Mystery Bag: Holds a stuffed dragon puppet

Word of the Week: 
      English: HELLO
     Chinese: NI HAO (Knee How?- rising inflection at end.  Listen on Google Translate so you get the tone right: Chinese is very dependent upon the tone of each syllable.)
     Practice (To the tune of "Farmer in the Dell")
     Let's wave and say NI HAO,
     Let's wave and say NI HAO.
     Let's say HELLO to all our friends,
     Let's wave and say NI HAO.

INTRODUCTORY Video:  CeeBeebies: (BBC Children's  This videos shows a child's perspective of Chinse New Year: have kids watch for :
     1.  what color are the kids wearing (red)
     2.  Lion Dancers
     3.  Things they're familiar with (festivals, dance recitals, giving gifts to parents)

BOOK:  Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year (Scholastic, 1990.)
     This is a great book to take your time over: nonfiction & the pictures are wonderful.  Find similarities between Chinese and American culture (for example, the "altar" in the Chinese-American home is like the pictures traditional Americans may have of family members who have died: many Hispanic-Americans will light candles or incense by these pictures, too.)  The meal reminds many young children of Thanksgiving.

MOVEMENT: Dragon Dance (To the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
  Dragon, Dragon turn around.  Dragon, Dragon touch the ground.  Dragon Dragon shake your head.  Dragon Dragon, tongue so red.  Dragon Dragon, stamp your feet, Dragon, Dragon coming down the street.)

ELECTRONIC RESOURCE:    Chinese culture in a nutshell:  Panda Express made a very nice video that explains the origin of Chinese New Year, the Chinese Zodiac and how to celebrate Chinese New Year... all in 5 minutes. (Google This: Panda Express Fortune Tales)

ELECTRONIC RESOURCE (ALTERNATE):  PebbleGo Social Studies Chinese New Year.  Accessed 24 January 2017.)  This goes really well with the preceeding videos, as many of the same concepts are reinforced.  We used the "Share What You Know" activity page with the 2nd grade to practice note-taking and active listening.

TUMBLEBOOKS: Round is a Mooncake or Red is a Dragon.

VIDEO to share CULTURES:  The LED Dragon Dance videos are so exotic and fun to watch!
MY favorite:
LEGO Lion Dance:

COLORING: 2nd grade enjoyed coloring "Chinese Symbols" with markers. 2nd grade also got red bookmarks with their Chinese Zodiac animal on it.  The K kids made paper-plate roosters or colored red-rooster 2017 for their families.

CHINA 2017

In preparation for Chinese New Year, we're doing something NEW to story time: focusing on the culture and facts about one country (CHINA!)

Those of you who know me of old may remember my favorite class I ever taught was a 6th grade social studies course -- a survey of world history and culture.  With all of history and all of Earth's people (and their habits) as your course work, how could you NOT have an amazing journey?


WORD of the WEEK: 
     English:  CHINA
     Chinese  中国 (use Google translate -- it sounds like CHUNG-kuwa)
     Spanish: CHINA (Pronounced CHEE-nah)

     Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong (Albert Whitman, 1993)  Retelling of a folk tale where a magic pot multiplies everything-- even the people in the story.
     Anything by Jon Muth would be a good choice-- Chinese and Japanese culture share some important elements and Muth's stories don't specify a country....

Electronic Resources:
* TIME for KIDS magazine online has a whole sub-site on China.  Small kids will especially relate to the "Day in the Life" and "Native Lingo", which pronounces some key Chinese words.

PebbleGo has a wonderful visual introduction to this country: (subscription required)

Count to 10 with a video: this one is short, shows great graphics, and the teacher is clear and friendly:

Craft: we made Chinese FLAGS with red construction paper and pre-cut stars: this took some doing, a coloring page may work, if you don't have time to cut out 500 stars (100 kindergarten students * 5 days of lessons = tired hands!)  Show students a model of the flag and have them replicate it as closely as they can.

We also made chinese BINGO, using words from the PebbleGo article and the animals of the Chinese zodiac.  Winner got a Bookmark!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

GERMS 2017

Cold season's upon us.  Stop the spread of germs by teaching health etiquette.  It can be fun, seriously!  

Here's this week's lesson, tailor-made to keep teachers and students healthy until the weather warms up and we can all get outside. The highlight of the lesson were the hands-on activities.

We paired a nonfiction book or online resource with our stories so kids could see the science behind how germs spread, too.  



  • Henry and Mudge and the Cold Shivers by Cynthia Rylant
  • Ba-Choo! by Sarah Weeks (participatory, an annual favorite!)
  • Mercer Mayer's Ah-Choo is a good one for small groups.  It's a tiny book!



some links below are broken, try this

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Stars 2017

This week storytime was surprisingly captivating!  Turns out, kids love thinking both scientifically & imaginatively about the night sky.

Welcome Song & Library Rules

Mystery Bag: A stuffed (plush) star

Word of the Day:  STARS
ASL sign for stars: : Estrella (Es TRAY YAH)

   *Waiting Is Not Easy by Mo Willems (emergent readers help you find sight words)       Draw Me A Star by Eric Carle (notice how the artist ages through the book: one
                   child commented this book  was "sad but good")
        Stars by Mary Lyn Ray (illus. Marla Frazee)
     * There are hundreds of great nonfiction books for beginning readers: we didn't have time to read a print book but Thomas Adamson's Stars: Las Estrellas (2008, Pebble Plus) is a really easy, quality, beginning book.

Electronic Resources:
    *PebbleGo's "STARS" article (Science> Earth & Space Science > Stars)
    (This is a great opportunity to show kids how to access PebbleGo so they can explore independently the topics that interest them.) 
 Ready Jet Go Star Mindy's Constellation Exploration 


*  A trip to NASA online should receive top billing. (
*  Little minds also LOVED this memory game
  There are many starry crafts online, too, including constellation creation.

For Even More Fun:

I passed out some flyers to the university planetarium, to try to encourage home connections to our story topics.  There are lots of handouts about constellations for kids, and the NASA website & app are both of the highest quality.  Any of these activities make a great addition to the experience.