Sunday, May 6, 2012

Puppet That!

The Connecticut Library Association annual conference begins on Monday, May 7th. Presenting Flannel This, Puppet That! with my colleague Kari Ann St Jean and a host of puppets, (each clamoring to be a "star"),  is the highlight on my spring calendar!  

I am creating this post to allow those attending the Conference a place to re-visit the puppets in the "Puppet That" part of Flannel This, Puppet That!

Piper comes to this event with "depth of experience"! Heck, she's been to Broadway, Lincoln Center...New Jersey, Baltimore, Rocky Hill...she has FANS, a following!  It is her job today to keep Tanika, Isabella, and Mouse calm.  Besides, she is a very real puppet...a category of her own.  You haven't heard of VERY REAL PUPPETS? - someday you will...and then you will know!
Facts about Piper:  Story Time Mascot!
Age:  stage age..3.  (Real age, a secret!)
Breed:  Black Labrador Retriever
Source:  Folkmanis (shhh...don't let Piper hear you), Puppets
Parents: Dad is Murphy, Mom is "Mom"  
Favorite things: books, balls, biscuits, bed, chewy sock, Mimi, Twinkle, pacifier, singing, magic fairy dust, Speedo
Piper's Biography: found on the home page of this blog!
Piper with bandaids! She is a tad dramatic!

Now this is Tanika!

 She is forever taking her shoes off, she loves her hair and her favorite color is purple.  Tanika is a full body puppet yet her legs are removable.  I adopted Tanika and Isabella about 5 years ago although they remain preschoolers...for life!  Tanika is known for the very best hugs at the end of Story Time.  She is gentle and kind and a very good listener.

Hola from Isabella and Bo!

My library is located in a culturally diverse neighborhood. Isabella speaks Spanish and English. She assists me with the many languages in our community.  She has a sweet way about helping me understand.  She is polite with everyone.  She will sing some of our opening songs in Spanish...and sometimes she will be at Story Time for hugs if Tanika has gone to 
Miss Kari Ann's house for a sleepover!

Now, Bo is new to us...and as much as I love, love, love this new Dog....he is not fully accepted by the children yet.  I need to work on Bo's personality some more.  My Bo is the Presidential dog..lives at the White House, hangs with the President and family and comes to the library for Special Events.  
We are sooo lucky in West Hartford!

I love these two little puppets!
Introducing Twinkle and Mimi!!!

Twinkle and Mimi are finger puppets.  Twinkle flies through the night sky twinkling her favorite song, (Twinkle twinkle little star..) ...and Mimi's claim to fame is singing
"mi-mi-mi-mi-mi" in a deep, or low voice, then again in a middle range voice, and then in a high voice  (She is a great intro to the 3 Billy Goats Gruff)  These two finger puppets live in Piper's bed, therefore...I never leave home without them.

Chicken and Mouse will be with us at CLA. I am a big believer in back stories, (biographies) for puppets...the children want to know...and they remember!  Yet in all the years that Mouse has been with me...he has never been given a name.  And this works for us because...that's the way I tell it...Mouse has no name!  Sometimes we will ponder always have suggestions!  Mouse will even bring the books with baby names to Story we can look up names. But seven years later...
Mouse still has no name!

Chicken makes occasional appearances, usually with the shaker eggs or in Spring stories and sometimes in Our Mother Goose on the Loose Program with Betsey Diamont Cohen's chant: "Hickory Dickory Dare...the chicken jumped up in the air!" And every child has a chance to toss the chicken!  (of course our Chicken has some words about this!!)

FYI: Piper is always introduced by her little girl and the spelling of her name.  To the tune of BINGO we sing: "There was a girl who had a dog and Piper was her name-oh

I have a clearly defined goal in my Story Times..Learn to LOVE your Early Reading Skills! I am dedicated to Every Child Ready to Read.  check it out!  This flannel board song-introduction to Piper purposefully brings together skills to practice with parents and children.

Talking builds vocabulary...I begin with talking about the little girl and her clothing, the color of her hair, her busy day.. 
Print awareness is demonstrated with words and symbols... we even discuss that the heart on the shirt is a symbol for love
Letter Knowledge... the letter P begins Piper's name...where is that letter?  what does it sound like? who can make that sound?  does anyone else have a P, yes, Peter has a P!
Print Motivation ...we are reading the T-shirt, reading PIPER's name!  We are such good readers.  (If you are doing this with are awesome!)..Those letters mean something!
Narrative skills...we tell this story in a sequence that slowly brings all the letters into their space holders..we narrate this story every single week and it is the best!
Phonological awareness...we put it all together and's a song for us to value to each sound...making words and then sentences.  WOW!

Thoughts inspired by organizing my puppets:
Learning to read does not come easy for every child.  Loving to learn is not automatic.  Something I hope I can do in story time and with Piper's to inspire parents and professionals to make every time we pick up a book to read with a child...a happy time.  Send a positive connection into that amazing, developing, gorgeous brain!  
If we are successful in making happy connections to reading...the child will ask for a book again and again.  And then...the golden opportunity arrives to pass all the early reading skills along - show your child that reading is a blast! They will learn, they will remember. Understanding the value of letter knowledge, print motivation, narrative skills and singing will empower you to want to read more, sing more, play more with your child!!  ...or your story time kids!! 

So, go pick up a book and read to someone little.  xo

P.S. (Piper Script) :  I'm little!

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