"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

23 September 2015

Storytime: Back to School

Because of weird scheduling issues and also holidays getting in the way, my back-to-school story time didn't happen until halfway through September, when most kids had already gone back to school. No worries; we could still read school stories and enjoy a school-related craft without it being the official start of school anymore.

*Opening Rhyme: I use "open them, shut them" as a chant to start story time.

Book: Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Safety Poem:
Stop, look and listen
Before you cross the street
Use your eyse, use your ears,
And then you use your feet!

Book: Chu's First Day of School by Neil Gaiman

*Song: "If You're Happy and You Know It"

Back to School Rhyme:
Two little houses all closed up tight.
Open up the window and let in some light.
Ten little finger people tall and straight
Ready for school at half past eight!

Book: Splat and the Cool School Trip by Rob Scotton

Song: "The Wheels on the Bus"

Book: How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen

*Song: "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes"

Book: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

*Goodbye Rhyme:
On my face I have a nose,
And way down here I have ten toes.
I have two eyes that I can blink,
I have a head to help me think.
I have a chin, and very near,
I have two ears so I can hear.
Here are my arms to hold up high,
And here is my hand to wave goodbye.

This is my standard storytime format. I try to alternate books with action rhymes or songs, and I do more actions toward the end of storytime than I do at the beginning. The items marked with a * are always a part of my storytime, so the kids eventually learn the words and movements and can participate regularly. These are also good cues for the kids regarding the beginning and end of storytime.

I put the lyrics to all songs and rhymes, as well as book titles and author names, on Power Point slides that I project onto the screen behind me during story time so that parents can follow along. I have added a simple picture to each slide, too, so that kids who are not yet reading can still recognize when we're doing a certain song or rhyme.

My story times usually end with a craft, which I do after the last rhyme so that parents who need or want to leave can do so while everyone else moves to the tables to begin the craft.  This week we made pencil name tags that could be used as a refrigerator magnet or a door hanger, depending on what the child wanted.

To make the pencils, print this template on cardstock or make your own similar template. I made the pencil shapes in MS Publisher using the basic shapes available (triangle, rectangle, etc.). I then cut the paper so each pencil shape was separate, although I didn't cut out the individual pencils.

The kids at my storytime picked one pencil and colored the eraser (and the tip if they wanted).  Then they colored four craft sticks and used white glue to stick them on the pencil so the sticks looked like the wooden part of the pencil. I emphasized with the kids that they could color their pencil however they wanted.  I had sticky magnets to attach to the back and string if they wanted a door hanger.  Many chose to add their names to their pencils, but not everyone did.

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