Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Under the Sea Story Time


My Under the Sea themed jewelry
I have a document at my library that consists solely of lists of books I'd like to one day use in story time programs. Every time I find a book that I think would be fun to share--whether it's by perusing the new books, browsing the shelves, or hearing customer recommendations--I add it to my list, and occasionally I'll go through the document and group stories loosely by themes. This document is a lifesaver when it comes to quickly planning preschool and outreach story times, and it's where I assembled most of the Under the Sea story time I'm currently taking to area preschools. Dive in!

Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"

Story: I'm a Shark by Bob Shea
     Bob Shea writes great picture books. His characters are hilarious with big personalities, and kids always relate to them. The illustrations are clear and bright, which bodes well for large story time audiences. The conversational text of many of his books, too, makes for a really great opening or closing to a program. This book focuses on Shark, who professes he is not afraid of anything. Yet somehow his professions of toughness keep revolving around the presence of spiders... This is a great, amusing story.

Song: "Baby Shark"
     I always start songs and fingerplays like this one by asking the kiddos to get out their sharks (or fish, or whatever else the song/rhyme calls for). They always giggle--of course they didn't bring sharks to school!--before shaping their hands to the shark shape. We go through the variety of sizes and shapes of the shark family in this song as kids get their wiggles out.

Baby Shark

Baby shark doo doo, doo doo (repeat 2 times)
make a shark with the thumb and pointer finger

Mama shark doo doo, doo doo (repeat 2 times)
use the thumb and rest of the hand

Daddy shark doo doo, doo doo (repeat 2 times)
use two hands

Grandpa shark doo doo, doo doo (repeat 2 times)
tuck your fingers under using two hands

Giant shark doo doo, doo doo (repeat 2 times)
fully extend both arms

Story: I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
     This book presents a great opportunity to talk about the variety of creatures in the ocean. The main character is a giant squid who compares his large size to everyone else he meets: shrimp, clams, turtles, an octopus, jellyfish... He determines that he's the biggest thing in the ocean. At least one child always pipes in to say that whales are bigger, and lo and behold, on the next page, our giant squid friend discovers this fact is true. Bright, simple illustrations make this a great read aloud!

Story: Swimmy by Leo Lionni
     Swimmy also explores the variety of creatures in the ocean, but it tells a story of working together to overcome a problem, too. After Swimmy's school is swallowed up by a large tuna--only Swimmy, the fastest swimmer, escapes--Swimmy solitarily explores the sea. When he finds another school of fish to join, they are too afraid of being eaten to venture out and explore. Swimmy thinks up a plan to defeat this problem: swimming together as a big fish to scare away predators. Lionni's illustrations and quiet stories are classics for a reason.

Felt Rhyme: "Five Little Fishies"
     I do this rhyme with the help of colorful felt fish and an alligator puppet, but I show kids how they can do it with just their hands, too.

Five Little Fishies

Five little fishies swimming in the sea
Teasing Mr. Alligator, "You can't catch me!"
Along comes Mr. Alligator, as quiet as can be,
And he snatches that fish right out of the sea!
repeat by counting down

Story: The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
     This book was nominated for a Building Block Picture Book Award in Missouri a few years back. It has some repetitive rhyming text without becoming trite or laborious, and the kids usually love making the dejected "blub" noises of the pout-pout fish. Mr. Fish is always is a gloomy mood, spreading the dreary-wearies. He claims he can't help being pouty because of the shape of his mouth-- that is, until he discovers his fishy face could serve another, less gloomy purpose.

Closing Song: "If You're Happy and You Know It"
     I adapted the song to include some under-the-sea-themed actions, including swimming with fins and being a shark. I love adapting this ending song.

Other books I had on hand in case they were needed:
Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett
Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins

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