Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New Adventures!

I'm off to new adventures in my life. My last day at MPL is March 25, 2015. Here's what I have learned over the past 2.5 years:

I'm not anyone else, and that's okay. My predecessor was here for five years. (I haven't even held a single job for five years.) I was so afraid that I wasn't enough like her that I was petrified of changing anything. Once I got comfortable with what I like to do, programs got easier and patrons were happier.

I can change my circumstances. I cannot change my personality.

Patrons love it when you know their names. Bonus points for knowing what they like to read.

Working in a library is what I do, not who I am. This one is going to be tough for me.

Give as much as possible, then give some more. Make a connection with people, and they will remember all the fuzzy feelings when they step through your door again.

I love libraries, and always will, regardless of if I'm working in one.

Librarians are badass people. Keep defending the freedom of information and allowing kids to see what awesome places libraries are, you badass librarian! *high five*

So, new adventures. I'm leaving MPL for home, maybe for a seasonal job. I'll be homeschooling my oldest kiddo in the fall, so that will be amazeballs. I hope that my blog has given you some ideas for your amazing library programs. See ya later, alligators!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Instant Pre-K Program: Sneaky Math Storytime

When the storytime universe planets align, and I feel like I can repeat a class because all the things were amazing, I store my plan in a separate "Instant Pre-K Programs" binder. I have built up a pretty nice collection over the past year or so since I started. Here's my storytime from this week that I'm adding to the awesome pile.

I'm in the planning stages for a fall preschool STEAM program, so I'm requesting lots of STEAM-y stuff via inter-library loan. That's how Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra popped up on my radar. Monkey, tired of eating lemons from the only tree on the island, spies another island in the distance with a BANANA tree. Unfortunately there are many crocodiles in the Sillabobble Sea, and Monkey just wants to eat dinner, not become dinner. Luckily Monkey plays to the crocodiles' sense of pride and says he'll count how many crocodiles are in the sea, because there are SO MANY. He hops across the sea while counting, scores the bananas, then hops back counting. High five, Monkey!

Here's an activity to illustrate Monkey's counting process that I offered for our station time. I wrote numbers 0-10 on heavy Styrofoam plates, and we used wooden cubes to represent the crocodiles. Honestly, most of the kids just wanted to build towers with the blocks, but some actually doled out the correct amount. The parents loved the idea, as it was easy enough to do at home. I had three families place Counting Crocodiles on hold, so I'll mark it as a victory! There were 55 crocodiles, by the way.

I also read You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, the latest Geisel Award winner. My first group LOVED this book. With the second group, I could only hear the crickets laughing at the story. Anyway, this story deals with size and order, which are totally math concepts.

After our stories, we break for activity stations before we jam to music. Aside from the aforementioned plate + cube activity, I set out the My First Sorting Bears activity (I'm not being paid by Lakeshore to promote this, but you know...I AM YOUR BIGGEST FANGIRL, LAKESHORE PEOPLE.), plus a prebound DIY numbers book, along with a reading station.

To wrap up storytime, we rock out. I passed out instruments and did a "Miss Michelle Says" game. Then we raged to One, Two, Three, Whee! by The Learning Groove with our shakers. I found out about this website from Anne at So Tomorrow. It's really the most amazeballs site I have found for awhile, so MAD PROPS, ANNE. After we went crazy with the parachute, it was time for us to say goodbye.

Do you have any math-related books or activities I should know about? Please mention them in the comments!

Friday, February 20, 2015

February Round Up

tl;dr: Three "oldies but goodies" picture books, Pre-K Prom (including playlist!) and Panamanian folk art. Stay awesome!

I know, I know...it's not actually the end of February yet, but I wish it was. The high temperature yesterday was 12 degrees, and I'm more of a 65 and partly cloudy kind of lady. Some of my patrons did brave the snow and cold to make it to programs this week and we have been doing some great stuff, like such as:

Reading awesome stories: I am still unsuccessfully adhering to my resolution to read less. I'm currently mining bibliographies from older early childhood publications for fictional gems I may have missed while I was busy reading Ranger Rick at age 7, or what have you. Even though they are longer stories,  Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow by Ann Tompert, Don't Fidget a Feather by Erica Silverman, and Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern are storytime gold for the 3-6 crowd. I normally do two books per class, but these stood well on their own as strong stories that held kids' interests.

Blurring the program lines: I carried over some elements from my Mother Goose on the Loose program into my storytime. The older kids are loving more time with musical instruments and gross motor-building songs. I have enough instruments to go around for kids AND parents, so you better believe that caregivers are breakin' it down as well. Speaking of breakin' it down...

Pre-K Prom: YES. It was amazing. Last year, Ingrid blogged about her Valentine's Dance, and I was all OMG YASSSS all over the place. I kept the idea in the back of my mind. (I honestly didn't even remember that she originally had her dance on V-Day until I looked at the link!) When planning Spring 2015 programs (you know, in September or whatever), I didn't have anything lined up for February, so I slapped Pre-K Prom on February 12. And this is what happened: 

It was so much fun. I danced for the full 90 minutes and felt like I had been hit by a truck full of happy kids the next day. The prep was simple: Beth the Amazing Volunteer made a backdrop for photo opportunities, I ordered cupcakes from a local bakery, bought a dress (!), made a playlist (see photo), set out shakers and ribbon dancers, pressed play, and ta-da! Unprogramming Prom happened! 

As you can see from the playlist, I took requests at storytime two weeks in advance. I made sure there were songs that we use in storytime, as well as requests and, eh, songs that I like to dance to in my living room. 

Aspiring Artists: Last week, I demonstrated how to carve a rubber stamp and we made Valentine's cards with stamps and ink. No blood was shed, so I'll call it a victory. This week, we discussed Panamanian mola art, which is a reverse-applique fabric art featuring bright colors, bold patterns, and oftentimes animals. You can find a great kid-friendly link all about it here. We simply used construction paper, scissors, and glue stick.This is what my end product looks like:

Octopus Garden in the Shade
And as always: I'm rocking the desk. My work desk is the children's department desk. I'm the face people see when they walk in, for better or worse. On that note, I'm swamped with patrons and it has taken me three hours to write this post. I had to work last Monday, so I took tomorrow off...therefore Happy Friday to everyone, and stay rad!