Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ukulele: Picked a Berry Chord Chart

I made another chord chart for a song I used my berry storytime (write-up coming soon™) so, as promised, I am sharing it with all of you! This is a sweet little song about picking berries. You can add additional verses with different berries in them. Strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry are all great options!

The song is to the tune of "Oh My Darling Clementine" which is in 3/4 time as noted in the bottom corner of the sheet. Keep that in mind when you choose a strum pattern. when I play it, I use D-DUDU.

Feel free to download the pdf from my google drive and use it for your own story times!

Monday, June 26, 2017

New Storytime Write-ups

Pretty soon I will be posting a huge backlog of storytime write-ups. Because these are older storytime plans, I probably won't go into much detail about with how it went or about which books and songs on the list that I ended up using for each storytime. I just want to get them all written up and posted ASAP so I can get back on track with my blog updates. I might end up doing less extensive write-ups in the future too and just post a list of books, songs, and rhymes for each theme so I can get the posts up more quickly. Hopefully this still works well for anyone who follows me. I figured it's better to get shorter posts up than let a backlog of drafts languish while I work on write-ups!

Ukulele: Random Song Activity


I finally mustered up the courage to start playing ukulele during storytime and it was magical! I am by no means a great ukulele player, but children's songs are quite simple to play and the kids and caregivers enjoy it even if you aren't great. When I brought out my uke for the first time the kids were enthralled. I think we could have probably done this activity for the entire storytime if I had wanted to. They were that into it! If you have a ukulele and haven't used it for storytime yet, do it! If you don't have a ukulele I definitely recommend getting one. I have a ukulele beginner's guide that I wrote after buying my first ukulele to help get you started. The ukulele I bought for myself is not the one I use for storytimes though. I was fortunate enough to have some grant money left over to buy a ukulele to keep at the library. I bought a durable polycarbonate ukulele from Outdoor Ukulele for my in-house uke. I'll do a review of their ukuleles later!

I came up with a really fun way to get the kids involved in the ukulele activity beyond just singing. Eventually I will be making a song cube, but for now I put icons representing each song in a bowl and have the kids pull one out to decide what we should play. Almost all of the songs I chose to use are pretty ubiquitous children's songs. Because they were such familiar songs, the kids could easily tell what the song was just from the simple icon on the paper.


I chose six different songs to use for this activity, though I'll come up with more to use in the future to help keep things fresh! The songs I used are:

  1. Pop! goes the Berry
  2. You Are My Sunshine
  3. I'm a Little Teapot
  4. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  5. Itsy Bitsy Spider
  6. Mary Had a Little Lamb
All of these songs can be played with just three chords: C, F, and G

Fingering charts from Coustii

In all of these songs you can replace the G chord with the G7 chord if you prefer it. I used to find G7 much easier to play than G. Some of these songs had G7 instead of G when I looked up the chords, but after practicing other songs, I find G easier to transition to, so I switched it for my preference. Use whichever you are more comfortable with! There will be songs where you can't switch G and G7 and still have it sound right, but I have yet to find a children's song where this is the case!

For chord charts for six different songs, click read more!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Storytime: Robots



~*1 Robot Lost his Head by Marc Rosenthal
*Bitty Bot by Tad McCanna
~*Hello, Robots by Bob Staake
~Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley
Junkyard by Mike Austin
Sometimes I forget You’re a Robot by Sam Brown

I'm finally finishing this write up though I did the storytime quite a while ago. Books marked with ~ were used for the toddler storytime and ones marked with a * were used for the preschool storytime. There are tons of great books about robots out there so this was a really fun storytime to do! I was inspired to do the theme when I saw Bitty Bot on on the return shelf waiting to be re-shelved in the children's area. It looked so cute and I thought there must be some other fantastic robot books out there. Hello, Robots has some great silly mishaps, so it's a lot of fun to read and have the kids tell you what the robots are doing wrong.

Click read more for extension activities

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I am very behind with my storytime write-ups currently. I have about three new themes to post about! May is a busy time of year with Summer Reading prep, as I'm sure you all know, so I've let my blogging fall to the wayside. I hope to get some new things up by this weekend and also update some old posts with new pictures.

This week, I may be making my ukulele debut at storytime, so we'll see how that goes! I'm pretty excited and I'l sure I'll have lots to write about that, if I can just find the time to do so!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Art in Action: Matisse

Before I started working in libraries, my background was in art and art education. I've been wanting to start a monthly art program here at the library for a while, and finally got to run my first one. I was looking for a catchy title and eventually decided to call it Art in Action! I hope the title helps emphasize the hands-on approach to learning art. Each month we will read about a different artist and then explore their style while creating our own works of art. The program is geared towards elementary and middle school students, so an older age range than would come to a typical storytime. I'm continually searching for programming that will be engaging for older kids as well.

For the first program, I wanted to do something fairy simple as far as what supplies we would need and something that could be adapted for a wide range of ages since I didn't know how many people to expect or what age group would come to the program. I chose to look at Matisse and focus on his later paper collage work. Older children could cut complex shapes, but young children could still participate by tearing paper if they weren't comfortable with scissors.



*Mr. Matisse and His Cutouts by Annemarie van Haeringen
*Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman
Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter
A Bird or Two by Bijon Le Tord
Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors by Keesia Johnson
The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan

Books with a * are ones I read or used the most for the program, though I had all the books out and available for people to browse through for inspiration.

I was really pleased with the number of picture books available about Matisse. He made for a great first subject for my program! The first three books on this list focus exclusively on Matisse’s cut paper works, which were the works I wanted to focus on for this program. I especially like Matisse’s Garden because it has large foldout pages that show images of Matisse’s actual art and the illustrations are also cut paper, which was very inspiring for making our own collage art. A Bird or Two and Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors provide nice basic overviews of Matisse’s life and The Iridescence of Birds focuses on Matisse’s childhood and how his mother helped influence and inspire his creativity.

Click read more for my art project ideas and sample images.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flannelboard: Bunnies

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


I wanted a relatively simple flannelboard for this week because I didn't have a ton of time to make it. Thankfully, these bunnies were pretty simple overall! I used this for my bunny storytime. You will also see soon that I made some additions to the set to make use of it for another storytime too. I'm sure there are many additional songs and rhymes about bunnies that these little guys might be good for so I think I'll make good use of them in the future!

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

“Five Little Rabbits”

Five little rabbits sitting by the door.
One hopped away, and then there were four.

Four little rabbits under a tree.
One hopped away, and then there were three.

Three little rabbits drinking morning dew.
One hopped away, and then there were two.

Two little rabbits resting in the sun.
One hopped away, and then there was one.

One little rabbit isn’t any fun.
He hopped away to find the others,
and then there were none.