Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Storytime's a Zoo

This week's storytime was all about the zoo!  This is a theme I love because there are many great zoo books and you can always supplement with books about different wild animals if you need more ideas.  I had all these songs planned for this week and then I had a cold over the weekend and on Monday my voice was totally shot.  Advice: have a back-up plan!  I was able to substitute rhymes for the songs and we called it good.  Here's what I did:

Opening Song:  "Shake Your Sillies Out" by Raffi

Memory Box:  This week's Memory Box item was a teacup from A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Book:  The Birthday Zoo by Deborah Lee Rose.  Rhyming couplets show zoo animals putting together a birthday party for a little boy.  Not only is the rhyming text great for phonological awareness, but the vocabulary is awesome in this book!  It shows not only bears and monkeys, but tapirs, okapis, emus, and more! 

Prop:  Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin.  There are many ways to share this wonderful book.  For my storytime, I used laminated animal faces that we already had in our props cabinet.  This would also make a great felt story or you can just use the book!  Whenever I read one of these books, I sing it to the tune of "Baa, Baa Black Sheep".

Book:  A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead.  We just got our copies of this year's Caldecott winner and as soon as I looked at it, I knew I wanted it for my zoo storytime!  This is a sweet, silly story and the funny little details in the illustrations make it great for one on one reading. 

Rhyme:  Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree.  I put up the felt monkeys and had our alligator puppet snap each one out of the tree!

Five little monkeys, swinging in a tree
Teasing Mr. Alligator, "Can't catch me!" 
Along comes Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be and
SNAPS that monkey out of the tree!

Repeat with four, three, etc.

Book:  From Head to Toe by Eric Carle.  This is a nice book to use because it's interactive.  As each animal makes a different movement, ask the kids to make it, too.   We needed to stand up for a bit, so I had all the kids stand up and they did all the motions as I read the book.  It's great for reinforcing body language vocabulary, too!

Activity:  Felt zoo pieces.  We also have a zoo box like last week's woodland creatures box, but my kids love to put things on the felt board, so I elected for the felt pieces.  I made up a little rhyme:

Walking through the zoo and what did I see?
I saw a lion looking at me!

And as I said each animal, I invited the kids to come up to the board and put up their animal.  When we had all the animals up there, we counted them all together.

Song:  "I Went to Visit the Zoo One Day".  **I had planned to do this song, but we were out of time and also my voice was nearly gone by the end of storytime, so I skipped it!**

This is adapted from one of the songs we use with Mother Goose on the Loose.

I went to visit the zoo one day
Saw an elephant along the way!
And what do you think I heard him say?
[elephant noise]  

And repeat with different animals.  I printed out animal photos to hold up for each animal, but you could also use puppets or felt pieces.  I sat and thought about what zoo animals make noises the kids might know and I came up with: elephant, chimpanzee, owl, seal, and lion.  (You could also use tiger, bear, etc. but since they all ROAR, I just stuck with lion.)

If you don't know this song and aren't comfortable with it, you can also do "Old MacDonald Had a Zoo" or "Over at the Zoo" from Mel's Desk to similar effect. :)

Book:  Heads by Matthew Van Fleet.  This cutey cute cute book has moveable pieces and examines different animal heads, from necks to noses to ears.  Have the kids show you their eyes, ears, necks, etc. as you read it.  Ohh, the kids loved this one.  It has some moving parts and a nice big pop-up spread at the end.

Closing Song:  Do You Know What Time It Is?

Take-Home Craft:  This week we didn't have a craft for our take-home craft!  Two summers ago, we ordered a ton of animal masks from Oriental Trading to be used as Summer Reading Club prizes and we have had a huge box of leftovers ever since.  So I took off the elastic bits (they were useless and pulled right through the fun foam masks) and put them in baggies along with a storytime handout and a handout on the 40 developmental assets.

Masks are great for encouraging dramatic play.  PLUS I really just wanted to get rid of them.  :)

Alternates:  If you don't like or don't have any of the books I mentioned here, you are in luck because there are eleventy bajillion great readalouds on zoos. I suggest the following (and I'm sure you good people will have some more favorites to add in comments):

(I also highly recommend checking out Mel's zoo storytime for additional ideas.)

Animal Strike at the Zoo, It's True! by Karma Wilson
Class Two at the Zoo by Julia Jarman
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Gladys Goes Out to Lunch by Derek Anderson
Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Move! by Steve Jenkins
Tails by Matthew Van Fleet