Thursday, March 20, 2014

Preschool Storytime: Spring

Yesterday, I had a Head Start class visit the library for storytime. Since I've started doing preschool science programs, I hardly ever get to do a straight up preschool storytime anymore, so this was a real treat and we had lots of fun! I didn't realize until I started writing up this storytime how much STEM material I went over in this storytime without even realizing it! Here's what we did:

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello. When doing a new song with a new group, I'm careful to sing slowly and clearly to give the kids a chance to learn the words. They love to sing along and will try, so make it easier on them to hear what you are saying and learn the words. Singing is one of our five early literacy practices - it helps kids hear that words are made up of smaller sounds.

Book with Scarves: Duckie's Rainbow by Frances Barry (Candlewick, 2004). I was inspired by this post on Thrive Thursday: Using Scarves with Stories and decided to break out our colorful scarves for this one. I passed out the scarves to the kids (remember: you get what you get and you don't throw a fit) and then as I read the book, I asked the kids to wave their scarves when we got to their color. At the end, we all waved scarves together to make our own rainbow and then we scrunched them up and threw them into the air!

To put our props away, I called them up by color and let them put their scarf in the bag. This makes putting the scarves away part of our game!

This activity reinforced color knowledge and helped them practice listening and following instructions, both school readiness skills. The book Duckie's Rainbow is a short book, but contains lots of great vocabulary words like "poppy", "waddled", "hurried", "indigo" and more! Books are a great way to expose kids to words they may not hear in normal conversation, and it's easier for kids to learn to read words that they know!

Felt: Five Umbrellas
(Borrowed from Anne LaBoon's kindergarten class!)

Five umbrellas stood by the door,
The pink one went outside, then there were four.
Four umbrellas, pretty as could be,
The blue one went outside, then there were three.
Three umbrellas with nothing to do,
The green one went outside, then there were two.
Two umbrellas not having much fun,
The yellow one went outside, then there was one.
Just one umbrella alone in the hall,
The purple one went outside, and that was all.

We talked about the rain in the last book and the rain outside yesterday. I asked the kids what we need to take with us when it rains and they chorused, "UMBRELLAS!" and then we did this rhyme! Hearing rhyming words helps kids hear that words are made up of smaller sounds. In this rhyme, we also practiced counting down from five.

Book: Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2001). I wanted to include a book that would show plants growing and this was a great choice. At the beginning, a boy plants ten seeds, but as they start to grow, things happen to our seeds. An ant carries one away, a mouse eats another, a slug destroys a seedling, a ball crushes a plant... until we're left with one flower! I like this book because you can see the seeds start to grow roots and then the plants growing on each page.

This is a great book for including some science information. Talking about science concepts helps increase vocabulary and expand kids' knowledge of the world around them. We talked about how the seeds were growing. We also talked about animals eating seeds - animals need food, too! And it's also a counting down book. I think this is a book that can be used on different levels depending on how old your audience is. For younger kids, I might just emphasize the counting down aspect, while for these older Pre-K kids, we had a conversation about how the seeds grow. (Yay STEM!)

Song: "Ten Little Flowers" (Tune: Ten Little Indians)
Borrowed from Storytime Katie!

One little, two little, three little flowers
Four little, five little, six little flowers
Seven little, eight little, nine little flowers
Ten flowers in the spring
Give them rain and lots of sunshine
Give them rain and lots of sunshine
Give them rain and lots of sunshine
So they'll grow up tall!

It was time to stand up and give the kids the chance to move a little bit and get some wiggles out, so we all stood up and did this song together. I went over the actions first (counting on fingers, fingers coming down for rain, arms above head for sunshine) and then we sang the song. We sang it twice since the kids were learning it the first time. Singing it again reinforces learning and gives the kids a chance to sing along with me.

This song not only gave the kids a chance to move around a bit, it also reinforces science knowledge - plants need water and sun to grow. Using their hands to make the movements helps develop fine motor skills.


Rhyme with prop: Three Kites

This is a prop that Miss T made. It uses magnets to hold and move the kites around. I believe she got the idea from a presentation by Susan Dailey.

Three kites up in the air,
Three kites in the air
One kite flew too close to a tree
And it got stuck there!

Repeat as you count down, ending with:

Three kites in a tree
Three kites in a tree
The wind blew hard and harder still
And the kites fell down to me! (Pull off the magnets at the end and let the kites fall!)

Again, we have rhyming words here and counting. After I said our rhyme, I turned the prop over to show the kids how it worked and we talked about how the magnets made the kites move. Just a little more sneaky STEM in this storytime. ;)

Book: Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2001). This book takes us through the life cycle of a butterfly, from tiny eggs sticking to plants through caterpillars and chrysalises to new butterflies... who also lay eggs. The rhyming text contains lots of great vocabulary words. This was also another opportunity to have a STEM conversation. The kids already knew a lot about butterflies and they were happy to share with me. Here's another chance to reinforce science knowledge and help kids learn about the world around them.

Felt Activity: Spring Things

This is an activity that we almost always include in our Toddler Time programs, and it works for the older kids, too. We have many different felt shapes that I pass out to the kids and then ask them to bring up and put on the board when their shape is called. This is another activity that helps kids practice listening and following instructions. When all the pieces are up on the board, I ask them to sit on their bottoms and help me count as I take the pieces off. (This not only reinforces counting skills, but it's a sneaky way for me to get my attendance numbers - bwa ha ha ha!)

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is?

This is our typical closing song, to the tune of "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" and one of the kids asked me afterward if I know the song "Do you Know the Muffin Man?".

We use a closing song to indicate to the kids when our storytime is over. They're familiar with the song if they've been to the library before and they know this is the end of our storytime routine. For a group visit, when we've sung our last song I tell them that now it's time to be good listeners and listen to their teachers who will tell them what to do next. This is not only closure for the kids, but it's closure for the teachers. They know that I am done with what I was doing and it's okay for them to take over and instruct the kids again.

This was a great group and we had a blast!