Friday, July 26, 2013

Flannel Friday Old School - it's a how to!

"back in the day"

I am grateful that the sun no longer shines on the phrase "back in the day"  It has faded from popularity - amen!  Hearing those words from a twenty-something made my brain giggle while desperately trying to maintain a serious listening face.  Honestly...back in the day, when you were what, ten? ...which is about 14 years ago?  Oh..THAT "back in the day"  Right!

Perspective people!  And yes, I am including myself.  When a 7 year old tells me about "a long time ago when I was a little baby...." I think it's just adorable.  But when the twenty-somethings with no kids, no mortgage, no worries, speak about the wonders of "back in the day  ..." well, it's like fingernails on chalk boards.  (our schools don't even have chalk boards anymore!)   I'm guilty here of some age bias.  But "no worries" "keep calm and flannel on"

While putting away The Very Hungry Caterpillar flannel pieces I thought - maybe I should take some photos and chat them up on FF.  Oh, and how about Brown Bear as well.  They were created about the same time (back in the day) and with the same method.  I drew them, outlined them, colored, laminated, cut and added small pieces of flannel to the back.  Wow, they are twenty-something years old - the flannel board pieces!  Ha!  Here's the backsides of the four strawberries.

Old school hits the nail on the head for today's story time.   The best thing  about the experience of this method is how I've adapted it today for a personal touch in some of our story times.  

When we do the story Brown Bear, Brown Bear on the flannel board we can now have our very own piece on the flannel board.  Let's say we have Cole with his mom in our group...they can create a drawing, color it, place book tape over it and cut it out.  Glue some felt on the back and wow!  WOW! ...they are now a part of our Brown Bear flannel board story in just minutes.  And we can use them for the whole 6 week session.   "It's all good"               
UPDATE on this post: the Tacky glue can cause some irregularities in your colors.  Tips: use thick paper or use Elmer's glue.  

P.S. (Piper Script) Brown Bear, we love you.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Flannel Friday Shark Week!

Every Child a Reader
      Every child takes home a shark!

Today was our last story time for Every Child a Reader this summer and I sent everyone home with a shark!  (and five fish)  Does this look familiar?  

Piper and I featured the shark rhyme on the blog recently, (click here), but this week is SHARK WEEK!   The shark came to life - big time.  And boy-oh-boy and girl-oh-girl, did they ever love it!  We visited camp and brought Shark with us.  We had Shark in story time earlier in the week and Shark made two appearances in our Every Child a Reader program today.  I have seen so many teeth this week as everyone showed me their "shark face!"  Or should I shout ((((( SHAAARK FACE!))))))  

I used the magical copy machine again and made color copies for the kiddos to take home, cut out, (with some help), and do the rhyme with family.  Again - giant smiles all around and...more teeth!  We both started and ended today's program with the shark rhyme.  (see the above link for the rhyme)  The confidence of doing it again at the end of the program surprised me and has me re-thinking my flannel board rhymes.  The kids were more dramatic and more silly with the rhyme the second time.  We'll have to do this more often.  Although...when we sat back down on the rug to do the rhyme again for closing...the moms didn't sit.  Hmmm, maybe it was kids-only-craziness on the carpet! (yea, say that three times with a book in one hand and a puppet on the other!)

Here's a photo of the take home sharks.  Great, huh?  And not a single child was scared of the shark...just me.  No, they weren't scared of me...I was the only one afraid of the shark!

Piper and I brought two really great books along with Shark when we visited camp.
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DeCosta

and The Gunnywolf - retold by A.Delaney

Both were big successes.  Today I told The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the flannel board.  
After the story we moved to the tables for the writing part of this program.  We traced around the butterfly with black Crayola markers.  Each child's skill level was different, it was fascinating to watch.  Although we had hundreds of crayons on the table...some kids really only want pink... and purple! (with a touch of yellow, maybe!)

Butterfly on the left has only the body traced with marker 
and the pink one has selective tracing.  

P.S. (Piper Script):  I'm the nighttime ninja at our house.  Late night snacks are the best!  
        Shhh, don't tell!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Library as Incubator goes WILD!

Maurice Sendak and Where the Wild Things are Inspire our Library as Incubator Group

Let's be honest here folks - how you possibly not be inspired by this illustration?

Everyone knew this book.  Everyone had tons to say about the story and Max.  Was it a dream?You'll have to read it yourself to determine.  All we wanted to do was create something in the style of Mr Sendak right away.  I suppose there was an overwhelming sense that he did it best.  Guess that's why he won the Caldecott Medal.  

We used assorted tip sharpies, oil pastels, really good paper and it was all up to the kids.  We reviewed some of the character traits and found some silly similarities with No David by David Shannon,  (the book we used the first week).  The Wild Things and David have sharp triangular teeth!  They are all wild.  They jump on things.  We really had to wonder if David had a bit of the Wild Thing in him.  Maybe someday we'll get to ask David Shannon if his mother ever called him "wild thing".

This program ran overtime due to the ongoing narration from everyone on just what their Max or their Wild Thing was "up to"!

Here's an illustration with the best facial expression, check out their eyes:

And here, Max, King of all Wild Things!

A very frightening Wild Thing!

Ready for display

And a totally different approach to Max yet completely recognizable.
Our gallery for the week.  Hope you like it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Library as Incubator - Day #3

Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd 
                        meets Piet Mondrian

The Library as Incubator group met today - it's was our third time together and oh, it was great! It's a wonderful and amazing moment when one or some of the kids in the group know the artist you are about to introduce.  One small sample to show the group and zing...  they are already telling me the artist's name.   I want to hug the parent or teacher who has already introduced Mondrian to a second grader.  Thank you!  

Today's book was  Dog's Colorful Day written by Emma Dodd.  (Piper and I have done this in flannel)  The book is adorable and predictable which is exactly why it is so popular.  Emma Dodd is both author and illustrator and as you will see - an excellent source of inspiration!

After reading the book, we talked and thought about all those colors with a dog and his story.  How could we tell it in a different way, maybe a less traditional way, possibly an original way for dog?  This process is always fun.  Those familiar with Modrian jumped right in and were ready to push the boundaries some.  For others..the idea of making a paper collage was "cool" all by itself!  

But first we needed to determine if Dog was going to be in the picture!  The answer: Absolutely!
Check out Dog's new look!  We talked about Keith Haring's art...and discovered a style that worked in a very colorful way.  

We put our dogs aside, to take a rest ... and then everyone set about creating their Mondrian-like background.  There was some guidance today, place colors on the black background and look at them...move them around before you glue them.  

See if they feel right, look right, think balance, spacing and think about your dog...where will you place him?  

And here we are:

Oh, I almost forgot - they each mounted their picture on red

Friday, July 19, 2013

Minions debut on Flannel Friday!

They're here at last!
      They make us smile!
             They make us laugh out loud!

I'm talking minions.  Cute, little, entertaining bright yellow minions from the very popular and incredibly funny movie Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. They are right here on Flannel Friday.  Look!

They were just hanging out at the Library.  Piper suggested I take a photo.  We know there will be more of them tomorrow. (They travel in large groups!)  They'll be a part of story time as soon as we figure out what they want to do.  25 minions jumping on the..., swinging from ....  Who knows?  We're accepting ideas!!  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Flannel Friday Guessing Game!

Simply fun!  
Better yet, just keep reading!

Today was the second program of Every Child a Reader in my branch library and all I have to say is Fun! Fun! Fun!  See Jane have fun!  

Sometimes I think I am "just so" smart...ah...CLEVER...and today was one of those days.  Here, I'll explain and you can determine for yourself!  Clever?  Magical?  Smartypants?  Lost her marbles...I'll let you decide!

When I arrived at the library this morning I planned to create a coloring/cutting craft to complement "Little Cat, Little Cat, are you in this Party Hat?"

I started drawing and suddenly thought...hmm this is too much work on a hot day will be a big process for the little ones.  Is there a better way to do this?  YES!  Place my flannel pieces on the glass of the color copier and make a copy for each child.  Perfect!  Then they can do the cutting - a fine motor skill we all need to practice again and again!  (FYI: They attend this program with a parent who gets to help them with the cutting.)'s what their paper looked like.  Kudos to a great copier. And bravo to the black backing I use on my flannel pieces.  It gives them "depth" and "dimension" and "pop" (okay, I'll stop!), when you photo copy them.  Yes! this is a photo copy!

Isn't this soooo CLEVER?  We sat at the tables and first - we decorated brown paper bags - we needed something to bring our "parts" home safely.  And then we cut out these paper parts that look just like my flannel board pieces!   Magical!!

The guessing game was going on all over the tables!  The smiles were all around the room.  There was conversation on making Daddy guess later.  They were thrilled, overjoyed, excited, happy that they were taking the pieces home!  This was so successful.  And so easy.  

Just in case the Little Cat/Party Hat guessing game is new to's the same as Little Mouse, Little Mouse.  Click here to see our version.   Hide the mouse behind a house or hide a cat behind a hat and recite a little verse.  We could play this all day long.  I'm serious!  Mostly because of the Pirate House! (in the mouse version below)

Today's program included the book Dog's Colorful Day and everyone got to place splots and spots on Dog.  We sang "Do you know the ice cream man" while we rang our bells and I pretended to be a rockstar we rocked it with Greg and Steve's ABC Rock.  Oh yeah.  It was a great day in story time.   Maybe, possibly, could be ... that I've lost my marbles!  But I'm good with that today!

P.S. (Piper Script): no comment!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

How to keep programs going when a key player is down

Life keeps coming, thank goodness!  It's by far better than the alternative.  Yesterday I was talking with a friend who also happens to be a mom/wife/fast-talking piece of positivity/team worker/intent listener/creative thinker/tech savy/problem solver and not surprisingly a very dedicated Librarian serving children and teens. She is often the go-to person for me, even if only in my mind.  (hmmm, what would ____ do about this?)

Discovering that the roller coaster known as life has tossed her into a loop made us both stop, spend a second in the brain trust-think tank and jump into how to handle this. My personal roller coaster took me for a white knuckle, stomach wrenching ride recently.  It's nice to be on the other side of that and back to the world of "cleared to work"  Yay!

Being whisked away from your day-to-day responsibilities in a career you love is not easy. When that career is public service and defined more specifically as literacy involving children, teens and families you've hit the mother-load of worry.  Can "someone" (read: a person who loves children and being silly) take over story time?  Who (translation: that rare person who loves Teens) will cover that Teen Tech program we spent months planning?  Does the budget stretch?  Did we ever follow-up on that idea of an approved "sub" list for story time?  Whoa, this may help...

Put YOUR mask on first and then help others!

Honestly - it is very difficult to turn off the brain when you love what you do.  I hear this again and again from my library friends working in Childrens.  We are a dedicated lot.  Everywhere we go we find ideas that inspire what we do with kids. We walk around the world with that familiar facebook thumbs-up click, click, clicking everything we "Like".   Always processing, "if we just tweak it a little we can do that with two year olds!"  Heck, we're the group that gets excited over board books!  We get excited over free posters!  Book galleys = our secret code to happiness!

The problem presents itself - how do you handle the sudden absence of a key player in the library, specifically Children's Services?  And does anyone else share our passion for families and little ones?  Perhaps this is the disconnect or the key?  I recall many conference speakers, and yes including this gal, touting the value of keeping library management aware of all we do in Children's, meeting our community needs, commitment to closing the achievement gap, the professional tools and training of story time, our work to meet the goals of the library and so much more.  But the reality, when it hits, because it usually does, is that we're not usually prepared no matter how we've tried, or who we have notified.  Where do we get subs to keep programs going?  So the person who is on sick leave may just be feeling that they have let everyone,(read: EVERYONE), down, colleagues and community.

All things considered:  (a partial list!)
Experience tells us that if the story time and program structure collapses - the families loose trust.
Budgets are tight
Fund raising for emergency funding?
Create a voluntary share.  Do your best program at their library.  Is this allowed?
collaboration = good librarianship
staffing is stretched
"sub" list for story times
how do we pay the subs if we don't have $$$
is there a community impact?
should we develop a stash of prepared story times
anyone keeping the teens in order?  are they running amuck?
short term/long term projects

Some larger libraries have greater flexibility providing them the ability to handle the situation.  Moving children's staff from building to building helps maintain programs and staffing throughout.  Amen for that.  The further we can spread out the absence, allowing it to be absorbed in the grander scale,  the less painful it is for all.  What happens in your library?  what works?  what doesn't?  Any ideas?  Please leave comments.

There is discussion going on as I type, (real life conversation discussion!), to bring this to our Round Table meeting.  Here's your chance to contribute and I will report back if this subject goes to meeting.  I see that it is on our FF FB page again.

Thanks ~ jane

All photos from Google images

Friday, July 12, 2013

Library as Incubator debuts with "No, David"

How Deep is David?

We pondered this, examined this, incubated this, cracked up over this!  Does he have depth? Does he have potential?  Can he do better?  You know do...

Yep!  That's him, David.   

This summer our library has joined the national project, The Library as Incubator, to support the arts, providing opportunities for creativity for our citizens.  And in this case...our young citizens.  

The logo for this project has that funky retro look that most of my library kids would not grasp.  They have never even seen a card catalog in their public library!   This does not in any way diminish their enthusiasm to be a part of something trending across the country.  These kids are smart, talented, creative and very funny.  Before I say more about them - let's take a look at the project.

I copied the following from The Library as Incubator website to help explain things, but you should go take a look for yourself.  Cool stuff.  Click here.

We believe the library is a place to connect and create.

The Library as Incubator Project was created by Erinn Batykefer, Laura Damon-Moore, and Christina Endres, and was inspired by a discussion about creative advocacy for libraries in one of their courses at the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies.
The Project highlights the ways that libraries and artists can work together, and works to strengthen these partnerships. At a time in which both libraries and arts organizations are often having to do more with less, it makes sense for these two parts of our culture to support each other. The Library as Incubator Project calls attention to one of the many reasons libraries are important to our communities and our culture, and provides a dynamic online forum for sharing ideas.
I have been following this project for about a year and a half and it was just time to jump in.  The planets aligned in our Summer Schedule!   Our inspiration is, as they say, "in house" .  Children's books have award winning illustrators and authors. And we have thousands of books.
We debuted the program this week.   The tremendously talented author/illustrator David Shannon created the No, David series of books which seemed to be the perfect starting point for a group of kids who like to read, write and draw.  I selected this character because I thought every child knew this book by now - I thought wrong!  

No biggie - the plan was to intro the project with some history, intro the book, read the book and start thinking, working, playing with ideas.  Everyone understood the meaning of INCUBATE...and they loved that I had not set any rules about their artwork.  FREEDOM!  Truth be told, I had ideas of where I wanted to take the project but I also knew that these kids might take it someplace else and I was more than willing to go with them.  
I provided paper, a tupperware circle (they did not have to use it), markers and crayons.  The students talked ideas for about 15-20 minutes before the drawing began.  They had ideas that made David so awful it was hysterical.  Then they traveled into what it would be like to be his parent...and what they would do as a parent...and some of them were pretty awful parents as well!  Just when I thought we had reached the point of no return of who could "out do" the others in silliness they pulled it back together.  I didn't need to say a word.  

From my perspective - they got wild and crazy misbehavin' silly ...just like David!  They tried David on, you know, they slipped into being David.  I hadn't even thought of doing that!  And then...they took it to - what will happen to David?  What will he be like when he gets older?  What will he do?  Be a waiter?  Be a church usher?  Be a lawyer in NY?  Be organized?  Will he stop picking his nose?  He'll have to wear braces for those triangle teeth!   And now, I was grinning ear to ear.  This is soooo much fun.  

Each David was different.  Everyone went with a word bubble to explain the new David.  Very cool!  

These ears are pretty orange...must make for a keen sense of hearing!  

 We hope to submit our work, if we are lucky we will be featured on the website.  We are moving in the right direction. The artwork from this group of elementary students is on display in the Library.
Our Tweens and Teens debuted The Library as Incubator project using Vincent Van Gogh as inspiration yesterday.  Can't wait to put their work together for a photo shoot.  It's all good!  We have some very happy artist in our libraries.  As for me...I am the luckiest librarian in town!  Yippee!  

If you would like to learn more about David Shannon, the author and illustrator - please click here for a video and so much more.  

P.S. (Piper Script) Thanks for visiting our blog.  We would love to hear what you have to say.  Please leave a comment ~ thanks!  

How To : Every Child Ready to Read with "No, David!"

Talking, Singing
       Reading, Writing, Playing

Every Child Ready to Read advises me to include all of the above in Story Time.  I agree, completely!   Here's my most recent attempt to talk, sing, read, write and play my way through Story Time.  This time with David Shannon's famous, possibly infamous, certainly biographical, truly endearing character, David, from his children's book No, David .  We love this kid.  We all know this kid.   Reading this book in story time always brings out confessions!  Kids are loud and proud, parents blush.  It's great!  Emotional responses from all ages.  How perfect!

After bringing David to life in 4 programs this week - I'm pretty cool with David.  We're best buds.  I totally get him!  Of course I totally get his mom too.  Hey, there are consequences for your actions David.  She's not saying "NO" for the heck of it.  She has her reasons.  We explored these in an earlier post  Oh! David it's Flannel Friday.  

Here's the book::

Now, let's talk:  What is happening on this cover?  Tell me, what David's doing?  uh, huh...right...and then....yes, I think you got it.  So what does his mother say?  You are 100% , up high here, kiddo! That's probably how he got the title, don't you think?  And check out the author's name.  David! you think he could be .....yes, again.!  You are smart!  I bet this is about when he was little.  That's pretty cool. What would be the title of a book about when you were really little?  Do you like to write?  Do you like to draw?  David Shannon does both!  This is the background information.  It is a grand key to comprehension.

Let's sing:  you can do this one...(I can do this one)  Take a look inside the cover at David's mom's body.  Her head is not in the illustration.  Does that body look happy?  Sad?  Upset?  Bingo!  Upset!  So, stand up, get your hands on your hips...maybe you can find your pointer finger and let's sing out the word "no" to the tune of the alphabet song:  "NO, no No no no no NO....." Show some attitude!

Let's read: now that you've practiced your "NO" - I think you're ready for the book.  I will need your help with this story.  I'll turn the pages and we'll all check out the illustration and then, please tell me what's happening.  After we figure it all out...we'll do the reading part together.  I'll point to the words and help.  But let's see what the illustrations tells us first.  

Let's write:  you guys were great with the book.  Now let's move to the craft table...we need to make ourselves a David to take home.  Should we make a Naughty David?  A Good David?  How do we do that.? I'll bring the book to the table so we can see what the author/illustrator did.  Remember the page where his mom called him Davy?  I love David's face in that picture.  Moms and Dads can make a David too.  Or you can make David's mom or dad. 

This is what I provided at the craft table with crayons, markers
scissors, paint stirrers, and painter's tape

Check it out, my David has dirt on his face! 
Everyone wrote their name on their paint-stirrer-stick

And then we had pipe cleaners for writing NO

Tracing and creating N and O  NO

Let's play:  We're playing with our puppets!  Without using words - will you show me how your puppet says yes?  and how does your puppet say no?  David are you allowed to run down the street naked?  David are you allowed to shove all your food in your mouth?  (I think you get the picture)  Let the kids come up with some questions too.
Let's play some more:  on the flannel board...with a flannel David (directions to follow) we can show David's feelings, his emotions.  I gave each child a flannel bandaid to bring up to the flannel board to describe something that happened to David and why he needed a bandaid.  And with this new fancy-movable-facial-features...the kids can also show me how David feels.

Here's my process for making David:  Trace a circle on paper and draw in David's face,cut it out

Tape it to black felt, stiffened felt is best, and cut out the background following the outline.  It should look like this when you are done.

Now tape the same pattern to the skin color felt and cut inside the outline.  Cut off the ears and hair in this skin color felt.

Cut the ears, cut away the outline..just like you did with David's head.

Place things where they belong

I cut out the features and use them as the pattern.  So I placed the original back over David  - this photos is now called Silence of the David!

David had his skin brightened with these markers.  

I glued David's face to the black backing.  I glued the ears too. I glued his teeth into his mouth.    
His eyes, brows, nose and mouth are all movable

Real men have emotions!  

That's it folks. My interactive flannel David!  Now, you can make him too.

We also sang the Ants go Marching in this program because of course David would like a song where ants go marching into the ground!  And we read Press Here by Herve Tullet.  Each child had his own copy to press.  I'm certain David likes Press Here.

 Look!  Here's David!!  Yikes :)      
Click here to learn about him and all of his fabulous books. Go on, click!

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