Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Storytime: Cows

I was especially excited to do storytime this morning because I just got back from the 2012 ALSC Institute and I'm all jazzed up about early literacy and learning through play and brain development! Our theme this week was cows and here's what we did:

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Memory Box: This week's Memory Box item was a chicken from the book Cock-A-Doodle-Moo (and many of the other books/activities in storytime).

Book: Cock-A-Doodle-Moo by Bernard Most. This is a silly story about a cow trying to take over for rooster in waking up the farm. You could easily tie in an early literacy message about rhyming words and encourage parents to engage in wordplay with their kids. Making up nonsense rhyming words is a great way for kids to start to hear that words are made up of smaller sounds.

Fingerplay: This Little Cow.

(Point to or gently grasp each finger on your hand as you say this rhyme)

This little cow eats grass
This little cow eats hay
This little cow drinks water
This little cow runs away
And this little cow does nothing
But just lies down all day! (Lay your thumb across the palm of your hand)

[A session at the ALSC Institute has reminded me to include fingerplays in storytime because they are great for fine motor development!]

Felt Activity: Color cows. I passed out our cows of different colors and had children bring them up to me when I called their color. You can sing a song as you do this: "If you have a red cow, a red cow, a red cow. If you have a red cow, bring it to the farm!" I always try to do different tunes, but always always always the tune that pops into my head is "Do You Know the Muffin Man?".

Book: The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson. Karma Wilson is a master of rhymes, so I love using her books in storytime. Since this book talks about the different animals on a farm, that was a great transition into our next song...

Song: Old MacDonald Had a Farm with puppets. [ALSC Institute also reminded me that kids love and respond to puppets! It's easier for me to use them with a song than with a script, so this was a perfect activity for me!]

Book: Raising Cows on the Koebels' Farm by Alice K. Flanagan. I wanted to include a book with photographs that would show something about where milk comes from or how cows live on a farm and this book fit the bill! It's a little dated - I'm sure the machines and computers have changed - and I mostly paraphrased the text, but it has nice, clear pictures. We talked about what baby cows are called and how milk gets from the cow to our glass.

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is?

Play!: After our last song, I brought out the wooden barn pictured at the top of this post. Honestly, this is something I wouldn't have bothered with before attending the ALSC Institute. We include playtime at the end of our baby and toddler storytimes, but we have not been doing it regularly with our preschool storytimes. Sessions at the Institute reminded me that children learn through play, so I made sure to include some free play time at the end of our storytime. I let them play with the puppets I had used for the song as well as the plastic animal toys we have with our wooden barn. Next steps will be coming up with language to communicate to parents why play is important and why it's important for them to be engaged with their kids in storytime.

Craft: This is a picture of what was in our craft packet this week. We had materials and instructions to make a paper bag cow puppet. Kids can color the cow pieces and cut them out (cutting is a kindergarten readiness skill, so we always try to let them cut out their own pieces whenever possible!) and then glue them on to the bag. We also include a handout that has a book list on one side and early literacy and/or extension activities on the other side (pictured).

Alternate Books: If you don't like or don't have any of the above books, try some of the following:

Click Clack Moo: Cows Who Type by Doreen Cronin
The Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming
Cows Going Past by Bruce Balan
Moo Who? by Margie Patalini
Sakes Alive! A Cattle Drive by Karma Wilson
There's a Cow in the Cabbage Patch by Stella Blackstone
Too Many Pears by Jackie French