Toddler: Jump!

We explored animals that jump this week. It was a great opportunity to mix and match some seemingly unrelated books and lots of movement. Here’s what we did!

Early Literacy Tip of the Day:
When you read to your child, run your finger under the printed words to help her/him know that it is the text you are reading, not the pictures. This helps kids know text has meaning.
For more easy to use tips like this one, check out the The Early Literacy Kit by Saroj Ghoting (Every Child Ready to Read) and Betsy Diamant-Cohen (Mother Goose on the Loose), both of whom I finally met in person at the #alsc2014 conference.

Welcome Song: The More We Get (Read) Together
(I start singing this as I pass out the day’s information sheets)
The more we get together
together, together
The more we get together
the happier we’ll be!
For your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends,
The more we get together the happier we’ll be.

The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together
the happier we’ll be.
We’ll read big books and small books (with hand motion)
and short books and tall books
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
Credit: Jbrary

I just came across a version of the first verse with sign language which I’ll be using next week. Check out Holly Jin’s video (Skokie Public Library)!

Fingerplay: Open Shut Them

Movement: Monkey See, Monkey Do (I used this last week and repeated it to make a connection between storytimes and include an opportunity to talk about the importance of repetition.)
Monkey see, monkey do
Little monkey in the zoo
Monkey, monkey, in the tree
Can you jump around like me?
(…swing your tail…clap your hands…nod your head…sit down…)

One little one pointed out that we don’t have tails as we swung our pretend tails which gave us a chance to talk about similarities and differences!

Book: Pouch by David Ezra Stein (this is a book many families receive as participants in the local Imagination Library program so it is well-loved by little ones.)

Pouch by David Ezra Credit: http://davidezra.com

Pouch by David Ezra Stein Credit: http://davidezra.com

Movement: Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill (Irrational Anthem album)

Fingerplay: Two Little Frogs (using thumbs as frogs)
Two little frogs sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
“Jump,” said Jack. “Jump,” said Jill.
And they both jumped down the great big hill. (“jump” thumbs down towards floor)
Come back, Jack. Come back, Jill.
And the both jumped up the great big hill. (“jump” thumbs up towards ceiling)
Credit:Storytime Katie

Book: The Croakey Poakey! by Ethan Long

This book works well with kids that need to move as they listen. It has a funny and unexpected ending!

Croakey Pokey by Ethan Long Credit: http://scholastic.com

Croakey Pokey by Ethan Long Credit: http://scholastic.com

Movement: Bubbles!

Movement: Jump Around the Rosie (adapted)
Jump around the rosie
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

The cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups
Thunder, lightning,
We all jump up!
(repeat in other direction)

Goodbye Rhyme: Wave Hi, Wave low

App-ily Ever After Digital Storytime: Animals

I have introduced and successfully integrated apps into several of my library’s weekly preschool storytimes. However there are some apps and digital media I have not used, but wished I could. Our storytimes are held in our children’s library instead of a separate storytime space and the beautiful design does not easily accommodate media tools like large screens. When the space was designed and built, new media was not part of the storytime conversation. Without a large screen on which to project book apps and other new media, some are too difficult to use or be seen by large groups on the smaller iPad screen.  In fact, ability to be easily seen on the iPad screen and used by groups are two of the criteria I use for selecting apps for storytime.

Innovation, as always, requires creativity! So, with my director’s support and interest, I designed a new, digital storytime using our meeting room with its large monitor and space for comfortable seating. (We removed the meeting tables before the event and brought in the beanbags from the children’s library.) We decided to not only alter the media format for the pilot program, but to also host it on a Saturday, another first for our library.

The digital storytime seemed like a perfect fit for Little eLit’s October Tech Challenge, in which we try something new and a even little bit nerve-wracking in honor of the “scary” month. Here are the details of my challenge-to-me program.

Digital Storytime: App-ily Ever After

16 kids and caregivers attended the program. Kids were ages 2-9. Two teachers brought their kids. Only three of the kids had ever been to a storytime at the library (or outreach program) before this one. The group size was perfect for a pilot program in our room size and with the devices we had on-hand.

I divided the one hour program into two parts. The first half was a storytime similar in format to the weekly preschool programs. We sang, moved, and read together. This format was used with the idea of offering some familiarity to families while at the same time letting me highlight apps that demonstrate the tips I planned to share with parents. The kids had fun while the parents saw the apps in action.

The second half of storytime was dedicated to letting kids and caregivers try out apps I had preloaded on four iPads and share information with each other about apps they like. I also took the opportunity to talk with families about what to look for when searching for apps.

This type of storytime needs tools also, they are just a bit different. I stated that iPads would be used in this program, but many of the apps I used or mentioned are available on multiple platforms. The equipment I used for this program included:

  • Large monitor
  • Apple TV (This connected the iPad to the monitor wirelessly allowing for more movement as I used the iPad.)
  • Wireless Router (We created a hot spot in the meeting room so families could download apps with ease during the program without competing with the whole library for bandwidth.)
  • 4 iPads (I used my personal iPad to present the storytime elements and then had the library’s iPad and a city-owned iPad on hand- both preloaded with a collection of 20 apps I selected- for kids and caregivers to try out. My director also brought her iPad loaded with apps she wanted to share. It turned out that all but one family brought their own iPad which I encouraged on the flyer for the program.)
  • 20 apps for storytime program and for families to try out
  • Beanbags and chairs for families
  • paper copies of Sandra Boynton’s Blue Hat, Green Hat and Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (two apps used in the program are based on the popular paper books)

Storytime:
Welcome song: Open Shut Them (a classic storytime song we sing regularly on Wednesdays)

Song: Are you ready for a story? (Clap Your hands)

Parent Tip: I explained the difference between a book app and an e-book.

Book app: Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boyton and Loud Crow (2011)
$3.99 :: App available via Apple, Google Play, Amazon App Store, and Nook Color

This app is so silly that even the adults were laughing! It quickly helped the group relax and caught their attention.

Parent Tips:

    • The value of meaningful Interactivity: In this app the reader taps animals and objects to animate them. The actions closely relate to the story, as do the sounds which extend the story. Early readers can tap on the individual words to hear them read aloud even with the read-to-me function turned off.
    • App’s early literacy value: phonological awareness
    • Choosing book apps: This is an engaging story with entertaining characters, not just just lots of interactivity plus it has simple, uncluttered pages with quality images and easy to read text.

Toy App: Peekaboo Barn by Night & Day Studios (2011)
$1.99 (free lite version is available) :: App available via Apple, Google Play, Amazon App Store

After seeing all of the silly, farm animals in Boynton’s app, we played a game identifying farm animals in this one. When the app is started, a barn appears and an animal’s sound is heard. Tapping on the barn opens the doors to reveal the animal making the sound. The name of the animal also appears on the screen. The barn doors then close and a new animal sound is heard. While this app works well with groups because there are multiple opportunities for kids to participate, I actually prefer another farm animal app, Animal Sounds-Fun Toddler Game, qwhich I have used in a weekly storytime about farm animals. The game format I use with it would not work with the apps projected on a large screen.

Parent Tips:

    • Joint Engagement: A child could navigate this app on his/her own, but it is more fun when children and caregivers or children and other children play it together. Joint Engagement offers great opportunities for learning!
    • Early literacy value: phonological awareness and print awareness
    • Choosing apps: Look for apps that are age appropriate and can be played over again. Be sure to review an app before introducing it to your young child.

Song: Are you ready for a story? (Tap your toes)

Book App: A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman and Oceanhouse Media
$2.99 :: App available via Apple, Google Play, Amazon App Store and Nook Color

Frog is a frog who has dreams. He wants to fly, even if it isn’t a frog thing. In this gentle story, again with meaningful interactivity, frog saves the day, realizes a dream and inspires his family and friends. I picked this book app because it demonstrates another way book apps can still be effective and engaging without being silly.

Parent tip:

    • Early literacy value: This book offers new vocabulary like the word aerodynamic and opportunities to build narrative skills. This is also a good choice for STEAM storytimes focusing on frogs.
    • Choosing apps: Look for uncluttered, pages with easy to read text. I pointed out the read to me, read to myself, and auto play options and the button to turn music on or off, all features which I look for.

Toy app: Felt board by Software Smoothie

We used this digital feltboard to act out the song, Five Green and Speckled Frogs (demonstrated here by the Jbrary librarians). Many librarians have talked about using this app and this felt story before. Instead of using screenshots of each movement in the story and projecting them with keynote, I saved my story (a new update) and physically moved the frogs as the story progresses in the song. This worked perfectly and mimicked one of the great aspects of traditional felt boards. I was comfortable doing the actions with my hands and moving the frogs on the iPad. Almost everyone sang along with this song.

With multiple backgrounds and a zillion characters and features to choose from, this toy is perfect for kids of multiple ages and for playing together.

Parent tips:

    • Choosing apps: Select apps that encourage open-ended play and creativity.
    • Early literacy value: This app is great for building narrative skills.

Toy app: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive This App by Mo Willems and Disney
$5.99 :: App available from Apple only

This app is based on the popular book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. The app does not include the book, but it extends the story by offering kids a chance to create and play using the beloved characters from the book. As a group we recorded a story directed by the bus driver. We were asked a series of questions and took turns saying silly answers which were then incorporated into a story that was played back and acted out by the bus driver and the pigeon. This was a great transition into the second portion of the program.

Parent tip:

    • Early literacy value: Strengthens narrative skills and helps build vocabulary. This also provides a nice introduction to creating digital stories.
    • Choosing apps: This app has no in-app purchases or ads, what I look for especially for use in storytime.

For the rest of the time, we looked at and explored apps informally. Caregivers shared apps they have used and liked. Kids and caregivers had lots of questions about app suggestions, even for specific purposes like strengthening math skills, and how to select apps. Several of the adults also asked if we were going to offer a similar storytime again!

I gave every caregiver a double sided information sheet, Kids and Digital Media Tips for Parents 10.13, which included app suggestions, developer suggestions, early literacy information, and resources for learning more. This kind of program offers a lot to think about, so something to take home was important.

This was a successful pilot program that showed us two things. One is that a program like this one can be successful and is important to families. Secondly, it helped us assess the need for Saturday storytimes. We hope to host similar programs again as resource allows.

This blog post content also appears at littleelit.com.

Preschool: Frogs

Did you know that during the winter, one of the two frog species found in Alaska completely freezes and then thaws come Spring time? Amazing.

And, so is a storytime about frogs! We had a large group again today with lots of kids ready to share their frog facts.

After everyone was settled, we gave the rhyme cube a couple of spins. The kids were ready for reading, so we started right in on our first story.

Book: Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013)

The kids loved this story of a pig who pretendsribbit to be a frog, much to the dismay of the other frogs. It’s a sweet story about friends that we just added to our library’s collection.

Between stories we got to our feet and jumped like frogs, practiced the sign for frogs and talked about the natural history of the beloved amphibian.

But, what does the frog say? We couldn’t do a storytime about frogs without learning a super silly song I learned from the Jbrary librarians via YouTube!

Song: Mm Ah Went the Little Green Frog One Day
Mm(close eyes) Nn(Stick out tongue) went the little green frogs one day.
Mm Nn went the little green frogs.
Mm Nn went the little green frogs one day,
And they all went Mm Nn Ah.

Well we all no frogs go
*clap* Na na na na na
*clap* Na na na na na
*clap* Na na na na na
We all no frogs go
*clap* Na na na na na
And they don’t go Mm Nn ah.
Lyrics modified from: Song Lyrics

wide mouthed frogBook: The Wide-mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner (Dial, 1996)

Our next story was a simple pop-up book about a frog who knows when to keep information to himself! The dramatic ending and the fun, quick story make this a hit at both preschool and toddler story times.

Like most kids, the storytime regulars light up when I show them a pop-up book. They loved Mo Willems’ Big Frog Can’t Fit In, so I thought I would share a new frog story magically made interactive thanks to the engineering and artistic abilities of book designers and illustrators. I chose to read The Wide-mouthed Frog midway through storytime instead of last so I could talk about the activity following the upcoming stories and final singalong.

Song: Five Green and Speckled Frogs
Five Little Speckled Frogs (Hold five fingers (frogs) on top of your
other arm (log)
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs. Yum! Yum! (rub belly)
One jumped into the pool (jump a finger off the log into the pool)
Where it was nice and cool (hands across chest and shiver)
Now there are Four green speckled frogs (Hold up four fingers)

Four Little Speckled Frogs
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs. Yum! Yum!
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there are Three green speckled frogs

Three little speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs. Yum! Yum!
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there are Two green speckled frogs

Two little speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs. Yum! Yum!
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there is one green speckled frog

One little speckled frog
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs. Yum! Yum!
It jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there is no more speckled frogsA Frog in the Bog
Credit: Grandparents

Book: Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2003)

This was a nice last story because it was similar to The Wide-mouthed Frog and offered opportunities for questions and conversation. The rhyming text has a great rhythm to be read aloud. We read it more as a picture walk; stopping to talk about the illustrations, ask questions about frogs, and comment on the amazing amount of food the frog could eat.

IMG_1127

Activity

Today’s activity was a pop up frog! We jumped, so must our frog friend!

The template and craft idea came from The Craft Train.

Pop up frog craft materials

Materials (for each child):
1 frog (I pre-cut frogs in a variety of colors before storytime)
1 piece of green cardstock (I traced a lily pad on each sheet, but did not cut it out)
2 strips of paper approx. 4″ long x 1/2″ wide, accordion folded, to elevate the frog and create the pop up affect (not seen in picture of completed frog)
tape to secure the fold paper to the frog and lily pad
Small strips of green construction paper for lily pad veins (scraps)
markers & crayons
googly eyes
small pompoms of various colors
round stickers of various colors

Image credits: Ribbit – Random House, The Wide-mouthed Frog – Amazon.