Guest Post: National Aboriginal Day

Guest Post: National Aboriginal Day

Jane is an auxiliary children’s librarian in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She loves being a children’s librarian because she gets to work with some of the smartest, funniest, coolest and most important people in the world – kids! When she’s not singing with a puppet or dancing around with shakers, Jane enjoys reading, Netflix binging and sushi eating. You can find out more about Jane on her blog: https://janekwhittingham.wordpress.com/

If you are interested in being a guest blogger on Miss Meg’s Storytime please email missmeg@missmegsstorytime.com


 

June 21 is National Aboriginal Day in Canada, “a special day to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.”

The library was invited to participate in a local Aboriginal Day celebration, and when I was offered the opportunity to help staff the library’s event tent, I was beyond thrilled. The plan was to offer story times in an authentic teepee. How often do you get to deliver story times in a teepee?

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My colleague and I are passionate story timers and believe strongly in community engagement. The challenge, we felt, was how to participate in this important event in an authentic and respectful way.  Neither of us have Aboriginal heritage, and were very aware that despite our best intentions we might not be able to do this culturally sensitive material justice. North America has a long, sad history of cultural appropriation, in which Aboriginal culture has been misinterpreted, disrespected and abused by the dominant culture, and we were very conscious of this unfortunate precedent.

Community engagement often means thinking on your feet and adapting to meet the needs of your community. The morning of the event we decided that instead of running “storytelling tent”, we would instead offer a “story tent”. This simple change in wording reflected a change in emphasis from story telling to collaborative story sharing. Inside our teepee we set out a beautiful selection of Canadian and American Aboriginal picture books, together with stories featuring Pacific Northwest animals. We also had Pacific Northwest animal puppets and stuffed toys spread out for the children to play with, and had an impromptu felt board (an extra t-shirt stretched over a flattened cardboard box!), which the children could use to create their own stories.

 

 

My colleague and I welcomed passersby and encouraged them to explore our story tent. The inside of the teepee was breezy and shaded, and families eagerly spread out on the cool grass to share stories together. The event took place on Father’s Day, and it was lovely to see so many fathers and grandfathers reading with their families. My colleague and I took turns reading with children in small groups or one-on-one, which gave us opportunities to model storytelling techniques to families, but in a very low-key, personal way. It was a refreshing change from our usually massive in-branch storytime crowds! We were also able to talk to families about their literacy needs, get to know our community, answer questions and provide information about the services offered at the library.

The felt board was a resounding success – we had intended to use it to tell stories ourselves, but we found it worked best when used by the children to create their own stories together. Using the felt board encouraged children to work together and to share, and provided opportunities to practice skills that would serve them well in elementary school.

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We estimated that at least 600 people visited our story tent over the course of the afternoon, and the event was a resounding success. We had a great mix of people visit our tent, including families of all ages and descriptions, and people from all sorts of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. The story tent provided a relaxed, laid back environment where families could spend time together and interact with the librarian, which I firmly believe helps counteract lingering stereotypes of libraries as stuffy, rigid, unwelcoming places. These days librarians are as likely to be found sitting on the grass in their shorts as they are to be found sitting behind a desk! We were able to celebrate Aboriginal heritage and culture through our curated collection of picture books, and by allowing families to explore the stories themselves we recognized that were not necessarily qualified to be authentic tellers of these culturally sensitive stories.

Working with diverse communities can be extremely exciting and rewarding, and provides incredible opportunities for connection and communication. To make the most of these opportunities, librarians need to be open and responsive to the unique needs of different communities, and be willing to adapt and rethink traditional library programming, sometimes at the spur of the moment!

Superhero Storytime

Superhero Storytime

Like many other libraries across the nation, we are participating in the CSLP summer reading theme, Every Hero Has a Story!

As part of that, my library hosted a Comic Con kick off event!  One of the (many) workshops/events happening during Comic Con was a superhero storytime hosted by yours truly!

Superhero Storytime at Library Comic Con

Superhero Picture Books

Wonder Woman ABCsWonder Woman ABCs by Benjamin Bird & Ethan Beavers
A great girl power addition to a predominately boy centered subject matter!
Action Movie Kid

Action Movie Kid! by Daniel Hashimoto & Mandy Richardville, illus. by Valerio Fabretti

Shake to AssembleShake to Assemble by Marvel Comics
A great interactive book similar to the popular Press Here
Superman an Origin Story

Superman: An Origin Story  by Michael Manning, illus. by Luciano Vecchio


Superhero Songs & Rhymes

 

Superhero, Superhero, Turn Around
credit: the lovely JbrarySuperhero, superhero turn around
Superhero, superhero touch the ground
Superhero, superhero put on your suit
Superhero, Superhero put on your boots.find other verses on Jbrary

Superhero
(tune: The Wheels on the Bus)
credit: The Mild Mannered LibrarianThe Superheroes arms flex and lift,
Flex and lift, flex and lift, the superheroes arms flex and lift, all around the town.
Eyes go zap, zap, zap
Legs run very fast
Legs jump super high
Flies zoom zoom zoom
The person in trouble yells help help help!
The superhero goes to save the day

Extension Activities

Look here for a link to a flannel Friday superhero song soon!A superhero storytime is a great opportunity to get the kids up and moving! Have them show off their muscles, practice jumping or running in place.  You could also test their senses for a STEM activity!

Craft

I did this storytime twice–once at comic con and another time at a regularly scheduled storytime.
Comic Con did not have a special craft, but we did have crafts going throughout the day which were very basic and easy– design your own masks! We have this die cut for a mask and embellishments, but you could easily find a template on pinterest.  The die cut was really great for having to cut a large quantity, though.For the second group, which was smaller and on a less crazy day, I gave them all capes. I bought red, blue, and yellow felt and used a similar template to this one by Jolly Mom.  I even had two kids show up to comic con wearing their storytime capes!



 

Overall, this one went really well!  I was nervous about the book choices but all of them went over well and were fun to read.There are SO MANY superhero options in library world right now but here are some blog posts I found especially helpful:Superheroes! – Sunflower Storytime
Superhero Storytime – Mild Mannered Librarian
Pre-School Storytime: Superheroes – Jbrary
Superheroes! – Storytime Katie

Guest Post: Everyone Can Code!

Guest Post: Everyone Can Code!

Casey is a library media specialist at Winnequah Elementary School in Monona, WI, teaching kids from 4k all the way through 5th grade.  She loves sharing her love for reading, coding, and technology every day with her students. Casey also enjoys long walk on the beach,eating cheese and finding the best bloody mary available.  Connect with Casey on Twitter @RedorRead

If you are interested in being a guest blogger on Miss Meg’s Storytime please email missmeg@missmegsstorytime.com


As a school librarian, I don’t typically get a chance to provide the same types of programs you might see in a public library setting. This May, though, I had the chance when our school hosted Springfest. Basically, during Springfest, each teacher signed up to run an activity in their room for the last hour of the day, and students signed up for an activity that interested them.

This felt like the perfect opportunity to share one of new passions in life with the kids, coding! I would like to say that while I love coding, I am very much a beginning coder myself, and have limited experience. I am, however, a big believer in including coding in our schools and encouraging students (especially girls) of all ages to learn at least a little bit of code.  I had done a school-wide Hour of Code  in the library this past December, but hadn’t had a lot of opportunities to include coding beyond that. This time around, I decided to limit it to students in 3rd-5th grade. There were eight kids total who signed up, four boys and four girls (yay!), which made it a very low-key afternoon.

When the students arrived, I started by briefly introducing the three programs they had the option of using – Code.org, Scratch, and Bitsbox. All of the students had seen Code.org and used Scratch Jr. before, but Bitsbox was completely new to everyone. I really wanted the students to explore on their own, and I didn’t want them to see me as the expert in any way. Some of the kids had more experience than I did, which was great!

code Scratch Bitsbox

As the students were set free to choose where to begin, it was interesting to see who gravitated to which programs first. I should mention I don’t have a large number of computers in the library so students were using Chromebooks, PCs, and one student was using the brand new iMac. Because these were all web-based programs, it didn’t really matter that students were using different devices. In the end, three of the girls jumped on Bitsbox right away and the rest tested the waters with Scratch.

Screenshot 2015-06-15 at 6.04.12 PM

I was really excited to see what the students would create left to their own devices. It was a bit of a rough start for some as Scratch is not overly intuitive for beginners, in my opinion. We worked through it together, but it was important to me to remain very hands off. I would give verbal directions while the struggling students would “drive” their own computer. Once we got past the first couple of hiccups, it was pretty smooth sailing.

After about forty minutes, students started sharing what they had created on their own without any prompting from me. One boy who had never used Scratch before was very proud of his animated character, as he had spent the greater part of half an hour figuring out how to first make it walk and then make it look like it tripped. One of the girls had experimented with making her own app using Bitsbox, and she had coded a simple click/touch app. Most students had tried out at least two of the coding programs by the end.  It was amazing to see what each student got done in such a short amount of time, and made me wonder what they could be capable of if they had more time.

I even sat down and played around with some of the predesigned apps from Bitsbox, and created a fire-breathing dragon!

 

Screenshot 2015-06-15 at 7.59.47 PM

With about ten minutes left, I brought out the coding themed temporary tattoos I had gotten through Bitsbox and offered them up to anyone who wanted one. I did have to talk one student out of putting his tattoo on his face or neck, but otherwise they were a big hit!

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All in all, I was very happy with how everything went!  I think having the different coding options worked really well, and while I had been a little nervous about how the loose the structure was, the students enjoyed the freedom. If you haven’t tried a coding program in your library yet, I highly encourage you to try something like this. It required very little prep work, and you truly only need to have a bare minimal understanding of coding beforehand. It was great to learn alongside my students for a change!

 

 

Mo Willems Party

Mo Willems Party

Yay– finally getting around to blogging about my Mo Willems Party I held at the beginning of May.  This came after Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus won our March Madness book tournament! Suffice to say, we are big Mo Willems fans at my library.

Mo Willems Party | Miss Meg's Storytime

Here is how I set up my area– The books I would be reading on my table and then a bunch of other Mo Willems books on the table behind me.  I really wanted to highlight some of his less popular books with the display.
The scraps of paper are from a drawing I did– ever kid got entered to win a plush pigeon toy.

The first book I read was obviously Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  And of course, we were not going to let him:
Mo Willems Party | Miss Meg's Storytime

The other books I read were We are In a Book, Knuffle Bunny, and my favorite Elephant and Piggie book, Let’s Go For a Drive! I broke up the books with Shake your Sillies Out and Icky Sticky Bubble Gum… It was necessary to stand up and dance silly along with reading our favorite silly books!

Next was the time for activities!

We did the elephant and piggie puppets found on Three Little Birds. A children’s room staff member created our elephant and piggie (and they turned out amazing!). I also bought blue and pink paper bags, similar to Marge at Tiny Tips for Library Fun.

Elephant & Piggie Puppets | Miss Meg's Storytime

Last year we had a big library carnival and along with that I had made a Pigeon mini golf course– which came in handy for this party! It was a big hit. We made it with plywood and pool noodles for the bumpers.

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Thankfully there are some amazing teacher guides available on the Pigeon website- check them out! I downloaded all of them and used some activity pages for each and had these set out on a table along with scissors, glue, and markers.

And now for my favorite (and proudest) part of the party:

Mo Willems Partry | Miss Meg's Storytime

This idea came from Abby the Librarian on the ALSC blog.  To make them I used large pieces of cardboard (one was posterboard and two were from window boxes) and traced the characters using our projector.  I already had the correct paint colors from the mini golf so that part was really easy.  As for the stands– I wish I had a perfect way to tell you how to make them yourself, but alas, I don’t.  I went to Home Depot with the picture from Abby the Librarian and asked them for recommendations on how to make ours.  They don’t do miter cuts at home depot so luckily my boss was able to do that for me.  I then drilled all the pieces together.  And hot glued as reinforcement since I am a Children’s Librarian after all :)

Overall, this party was a HUGE success.  We had great attendance and everyone seemed to have a great time (parents and kids alike)


So as not to reinvent the wheel- instead of making a list of all the awesome bloggers who have already discussed their Mo Willems parties I will just redirect you to Jbrary– who has already made a list!

Aside

Guest Bloggers

Hey!

If you are a youth services librarian who doesn’t have a blog but wants to share your ideas then I want to talk to you! (or does and just wants to share more widely!)

I would love to open my blog to some more guest bloggers to share some amazing programming ideas, storytime plans, flannel friday submissions, or awesome things from the library world.

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If this sounds like something you would be interested in please email me- missmeg@missmegsstorytime.com

Early Literacy Evening

Early Literacy Evening

 

My library recently hosted a workshop for parents based on Every Child Ready to Read.  This was funded by our town’s School Readiness Grant.

Early Literacy Workshop

This was an hour long evening event for parents. My description for the event was:

An information session for parents or caregivers of children ages 0-5.  We will be exploring ways to promote literacy at home through reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing.  Childcare will be provided in the children’s room and every parent or caregiver in attendance will take home an early literacy gift bag

These were my goals for program:

  • Parents and caregivers will understand that children need help getting ready to read. They will understand the importance of developing early literacy skills in children, beginning at birth.
  • Parents and caregivers will learn about the five early literacy practices- talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing- that they can use to help children develop early literacy skills and get ready to read
  • To give parents and caregivers suggestions for creating an effective and affordable early literacy environment at home
  • To help parents and caregivers understand that developing early literacy skills should be an enjoyable experience for children and adults
  • To promote the library as a place that supports early literacy through our parenting and teaching resources, programs, and the collection as a whole

The program was broken into two parts: a short powerpoint presentation and then a hands on activity.  At the end of the program each parent went home with an early literacy gift bag.

I began the program with some basic info: what early literacy is, when learning to read begins (at birth!), and by letting the parents and caregivers in attendance know that they are the child’s first and most important teacher. Also, since I had parents of children who were a range of ages from birth to 5 I made sure to let them know that it isn’t too late to help their young one develop important literacy and pre-reading skills.  My goal was to not make the parents of older kids feel bad for not doing anything at home.

Also, since we live in Connecticut I made sure to have some information about the kindergarten standards for Connecticut. Giving them these facts hopefully helped them to see exactly why it is necessary to foster early literacy and pre-literacy at home.

I then focused on each of the skills of Every Child Ready to Read: Talking, Singing, Playing, Writing, and  of course Reading.  I didn’t want to bore them with information so I gave a brief overview of how to promote that skill at home.  I also gave them specific ideas of what they can do (make up songs about what you are going to do that day) and why that helps (singing helps break a word down as well as creates opportunities to learn new words).

After  the 25 minute powerpoint presentation we did the hands on project: creating an early literacy ‘toy’ to take home!  I decided that the simplest (and cheapest) craft would be to make an I spy bottle.  For this I needed sand or rice, small toys/craft objects, and some sort of bottle.  I got a small jug type of thing from the dollar tree. You can find out more on how to make this from Because I Said So.  I also made sure to superglue the lids on when we were done because there are small parts in the jugs.

Lastly– everyone got to take home an early literacy gift bag! This included a few toys, a board book, information from the session, a booklist and a take home activity page.

I purchased all of the toys from Amazon and here is a fancy little widget thing with links to each one:

The board books included in the bags were

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell • Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton • Peek a Who by Nina Laden • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney • Big Little by Leslie Patricelli

The booklist included these titles:

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
Machines at Work by Byron Barton
A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker
Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Birds by Kevin Henkes
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Elmer and the Rainbow by David McKee
Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
Curious George by H.A. Rey
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen
The Mitten by Jane Brett

And lastly, the take home activity!  This was my favorite part because it connects what they learned to actually doing something– and getting rewarded for it!

ECRR Activity Board | Miss Meg's Storytime

 

This is a jpg of the image and feel free to download it and use it yourself!  If you would like and editable publisher doc then feel free to comment or email me at missmeg@missmegsstorytime.com!


 

these are the resources I used when planning my early literacy evening:

Obviously the Every Child Ready to Read handbook… We have edition 2 which is the most recent edition.

Edmonton Public Library: Early Literacy
Austin Public Library: Shared Resources for their Play Read Grow program
Dallas Public Library: Every Child Ready to Read
Zero to Three

Rainy Day Storytime

Rainy Day Storytime

When I did this storytime it was supposed to be a rainy day but it ended up being a beautiful outside— oh well, it was still a great rainy day storytime!

Rainy Day Picture Books

Rainy Day
Rainy Day By Patricia Lakin, illus. by Scott Nash
Peep and Ducky Rainy Day
Peep and Ducky Rainy Day by David Martin, illus. by David Walker
Mr. Gumpys Motor Car
Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car by John Burningham
Split Splat
Split Splat! by Amy Gibson, illus. by Steve Bjorkman

Rainy Day Songs & Rhymes

These are in addition to the two songs we do every week, Icky Sticky Bubble Gum by David Landau and The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider 

This Old Man

I Hear Thunder  [tune: Frere Jacques]
source: North Mankato Taylor Library

I hear thunder, I hear thunder
How ’bout you, how ’bout you?
Pitter patter raindrops, pitter patter raindrops
I’m wet through, so are you!

I see blue skies, I see blue skies
Way up high, way up high
Hurry up sunshine, hurry up sunshine
I’ll soon dry, I’ll soon dry!

Rainy Day Craft

I have been trying to do crafts that specifically help with fine motor skills for my preschool group.  This one was perfect because not only did they practice threading but it turned out adorable!

Materials needed: paper plates cut in half, blue paper (I used many different shades), ribbon, glue/tape.  We taped the string on the back of the raindrops after threading to help them stay!

Rain Craft | Miss Meg's Storytime Rain Craft | Miss Meg's Storytime

Other Rainy Day Storytime Ideas

Rainy Day Storytime | Sunflower Storytime
Rainy Days | Storytime Katie
Library: programming: storytime rain | Passion for Reading Pinterest
Rain Storytime | North Mankato Taylor Library System
Storytime- Rainy Days | Falling Flannelboards
Rain Storytime | The Loudest Librarian
Rain- Toddler Storytime | Jen in the Library

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