Friday, September 20, 2013

September Milk & Cookies Story Morning

The weather is finally starting to cool off here in Missouri--we're slowly inching closer to my personal ideal temperature range, 45-65. The break from the heat means many families are opting to spend weekend mornings out of doors, and who can blame them? Great weather is a true pleasure. Happily, I saw many families veteran and new at this month's Milk & Cookies Story Morning. Here's what we enjoyed before families headed out into the sunshine:

Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"

Story: Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira
     I love sharing this newer story for a number of reasons. It allows me to engage the kiddos in making animal noises that relate to the page, and it also boasts a simple story about how, sometimes, we all just want to make a friend. When I share this story, the children and I make ever-more-dramatic "ribbit!" noises until the climax of the tale, at which point we have a new sound to make.

Song: "Do the Bird" by The Kerplunks
     This song gets everyone up and moving making silly motions like a variety of birds. How many different types of birds do 3- to 6-year-olds know? Judging by their enthusiasm for this song, they know plenty and are happy to imitate them.

Song: "I Know a Chicken" by Laurie Berkner, with egg shakers
     I've mentioned before that this is a favorite go-to shaker song for me. When we're in the bird song mood, how can I not include it?

Finger Play with an App: "Five Little Pirates" using Felt Board from Software Smoothie
     I love the Felt Board app, and I'm just getting the hang of really using it in appropriate story time settings. With its variety of felt shape options--people, scenery, animals, costumes, common objects found in rhymes and fairy tales--I've felt inspired to make digital felt board versions of some of the felt rhymes and stories that would be too cumbersome for my limited artistic abilities (and patience). When I make a series of felt boards that I intend to share in a particular order, I take screen captures of the boards I want to use and then add the images into a Keynote slideshow presentation. Easy peasy, all images are in the correct order and ready to share.
     For "Five Little Pirates," I create six different pirates on a pirate ship background--all of the pirates looked a bit different and wore different things, allowing me the option of talking to the kids about what they could see. They easily spotted the captain: the one with the sword and big pirate's hat. I added a slide into the beginning of my felt board slideshow to display the words for our rhyme, inviting caregivers to look at the words and join us in the telling:

Five Little Pirates
Five little pirates went sailing one day,
Over the seas and far away.
The captain cried, "Yo, ho, ho, ho!"
And four little pirates sailed back home...

Song: "Grey Squirrel"
     With a toss of our song cube, the kiddos and I sang "grey squirrel." Many a caregiver thought it was utterly adorable and took photos of their little ones shaking their bushy tails.

Song: "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"
     I've found that kids really like the whole idea of the song cube, so I've started doing two tosses (and two songs) in a row. Our second song was the perennial favorite "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes," and as soon as they knew the song we would sing, the kiddos launched right into it.

Story: Little Red Riding Hood by Bernette Ford
     As part of my ongoing goal to share folk and fairy tales with the little ones, I pulled this newly-released version of Little Red Riding Hood to share at our story morning. The clean illustrations are great for crowds of varying sizes, and the pacing of this classic story never fails to enthrall. Each time I share such a "common" story, I find that it seems more and more children haven't heard the tale before--and those who have are happy to see another telling.

Song: "We're Going to Kentucky"
     What's not to love about a song that lets us work on our marching, our shaking/shimmying, and our turning around/twirling? Always a hit.

Milk and Cookies Time!
     I had two teen volunteers in the room for this particular story morning, which meant I had help in passing out the milk and cookies to the kiddos. While the volunteers poured the milk, I went around with alphabet-shaped cookies--perfect for reinforcing letter knowledge.

Free Play Time
     The biggest hit at play time on this particular day was definitely the play food station I set up. I put out play dishes, play sandwich fixings, and play pizzas, and boy oh boy did the kiddos get down to business making meals for everyone in the room. Vocabulary was absolutely soaring--I heard talk about foods, about drinks, about how to make foods, about kitchens, about family members and what they like to eat. The only time the chatter stopped was when we had to pretend eat our meals and sip our drinks. These play food items are temporarily at my branch while I process our district's early literacy play kits after their first year of branch-to-branch travel, but I will certainly be looking to have some play food items at my branch permanently.

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