Three Billy Goats Gruff: Kindergarten Story Time

This week during story time I transitioned from farm animals to folk tales by sharing a folk tale about a farm animal. Most young children just can’t resist the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the group at my school was no exception.

Why is this story so popular?  Maybe it’s because the younger, smaller goats must rely on a bigger and older protector (much as young, small children must do); or because the bullying troll is punished at the end of the story, which doesn’t always happen in real life but is so appreciated when it does; or because the repetitive rhythm of the “trip-trap trip-trap” and the delicious sense of fear when the troll threatens to gobble the goats up is impossible to resist.  Whatever the reason, my audience was literally ROFL when the flannel billy goat butted the flannel troll off the flannel bridge and then stomped on him at the end of the story.

  Yes, this tale has a rather violent ending but I’ve never yet shared it with a group who was upset or frightened by the ultimate demise of the troll.  I like using the text of the OLD version (original copyright date 1957) of The Three Billy Goats Gruff written by P.C. Asbjornsen and illustrated by Marcia Brown.  The language really flows well as a read aloud, and the Big Billy Goat Gruff is a worthy hero and defender.

  I also used the audio version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff from the EPIC! website. (If you haven’t signed up for a free educators account yet, you should do so immediately.) Playing the audio version while using the flannel board set allows me to focus on what I’m doing or what the students are doing with the figures as we act out the story.

  And I actually began the lesson with a nonfiction book about goats from the EPIC! site so that we could review what we remembered about farm animals and then transition into the fictional story. The book I used was titled Goats and is part of the Blast Off Readers series. I like it because it touches on the facts about goats (young goats are called kids, male goats are called billy goats, goats eat grass, etc) that are relevant to the folktale.

I ended the session by having the students line up on one side of our story carpet so they could trip trap across the “bridge” to the library door. The students practiced the littlest goat’s response to the troll’s announcement that he was going to gobble him up: DON’T EAT ME! I’M TOO LITTLE!  Then the troll (aka me) knelt down midway across the carpet and waited for each kid to walk by. (See what I did there?) Some of the students were a little shy about replying to my threat, but most of them loudly told me off before scampering off to “eat their grass.”

Do you have a favorite Billy Goats Gruff story, and/or a creative way to use it during story time?  Please leave a comment or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune and share!

 

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Old MacDonald and His Animals on the Farm: Kindergarten Story Time

After spending two years at a school that housed 4th and 5th grade only, I’m thoroughly enjoying leading story time for younger students again!

  For the last couple of library visits I’ve been focusing on farm animals.  The first time I used several nonfiction books, along with a spirited rendition of the song Old MacDonald Had a Farm complete with flannel board pieces.

For the second visit I shared three fiction stories:

  Click Clack Moo Cows That Type (by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin) This classic book is a crowd-pleaser for children and adults alike which shows how the farm animals work together to negotiate with the farmer for what they want. I’ll probably use some of the sequels during future visits.

  Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry) A rhyming delight AND an opportunity for students to chime in with both animal and vehicle noises AND a sweet message of friendship, all in one book. (There are more books about the Little Blue Truck too.) And it segues perfectly to the next book….

  Old MacDonald Had a Truck (by Steven Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban) Instead of focusing on the animals on the farm, this book celebrates the heavy machinery (dump truck, bulldozer, etc) being used for an unusual project on the farm. Most boys will be delighted by the sights and sounds on each page, and girls will probably be pleased to see Mrs. MacDonald partnering with her husband in their exciting endeavor. (It turns out that Old MacDonald also has a boat, if you’re interested in the sequel to this story.)

Do you have a favorite Old MacDonald story time resource?  Please share it in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune

 

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New Year, New Reading Projects

  I’ve been thinking about the all the upcoming opportunities to share books with kids this year.  I’m excited about the opportunity to partner with teachers to provide a variety of positive reading experiences with students.

We all know that kids are social, so one of my goals is to make reading more social too.  Certainly books can be enjoyed independently, as a private and silent conversation between the reader and the author.  But books can also be read aloud and discussed and debated and reviewed and recommended in a way that builds a shared excitement for reading.

One of the ways I can foster these types of interactions is by collaborating with teachers on some social reading events.  So far I have the following on my list:

  •  International Dot Day (Sept 15-ish) – a celebration of creativity, inspired by the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds.
  •  National Comic Book Day (Sept 25) – an event that I like to celebrate with a Comic Book Read-In in the library featuring an assortment of graphic novels for students to enjoy.
  •   The Global Read Aloud (Oct 1 – Nov 9) – founded by Pernille Ripp to connect and unite students around the world through a common reading experience, and dependent on teachers following a universal read aloud schedule. There are different books selected for different grade levels. (Pictured: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed)
  •   Jumpstart’s Read for the Record (Oct 25) – an initiative developed to highlight the importance of early literacy, which this year features the book Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell.
  •   Picture Book Month (the entire month of November) – an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book and provides a themed literacy calendar and blog posts from picture book authors and illustrators sharing their thoughts on why picture books are important.
  •   The South Carolina Children’s Book Award program (going on now) – a children’s choice award sponsored each year by the S.C. Association of School Librarians. Students read books from a list of 20 nominated titles from one of four age-based categories, and then vote on their favorite.  The format makes it the perfect foundation for a student (or teacher!) book club.  (If you don’t live in South Carolina, your state probably offers a similar program.)

What reading events are you looking forward to this year?  Please leave a comment or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune and share!

 

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Summer Reading Reminders for Students

I always like to plan end-of-the-year activities for my library classes that encourage students to keep reading over the summer. As someone who always has stacks of books around the house, as well as a public library card, I take it for granted that time off from school just means MORE time to read.  But I realize that for many of our students, the opposite is true.

Here are a few things I like to do:

  I usually do a book swap during the last week of school, but this year we made that one of our Read Across America Day activities.  Click to download the flier I send home for the summer swap.

 Summer Reading BINGO, except I don’t play it as a bingo game.  I give each student a copy of the grid showing all the reading possibilities along with some colored pencils.  I put on some upbeat music and students move around the room collecting signatures from their classmates.  Each student signs a square representing one type of summer reading he/she will participate in.  Not only does this get kids planning for their reading, but it makes a nice memento with everyone’s autograph.  I have also used this as a back-to-school icebreaker, where students sign a square that represents a type of reading they actually did over the summer.  You can download the grid I use for free on Teachers Pay Teachers from Create Teach Share.  (Also includes a Summer Reading Bucket List, which is cool for setting individual reading goals.)

  I also like to create a Summer Reading Brochure tailored to my students as a way to share a lot of info in one place.  I include a definition of “summer slide” and how to overcome it; information on summer reading programs hosted by the public library, the local bookstore, and online sites; and summer reading lists including our state book award nominees for the upcoming year.  Since many kids now have some type of device capable of accessing the internet, I also include URLs for websites with free ebooks.  I include our school library collection, and a link to DISCUS Kids, which includes a free subscription to Tumblebooks for residents of South Carolina courtesy of our State Library.  (Your state library may offer something similar.)

  And finally I entice them with the promise of our annual Summer Reading Celebration, an ice cream sundae party for students who turn in a reading log (signed by a parent) of books they enjoyed during the break or a certificate of completion from an official summer reading program.

How do you get students excited about reading over the summer?  Leave a comment and share!

 

 

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Steve Jenkins Books in the Elementary Makerspace

If you’re a follower of this blog, you know what a passion I have for collage art.  (I’ve written about it here and here and here.)  A favorite author/illustrator is Steve Jenkins, whose non-fiction animals book inspire me with both their facts and their art.

         
(Click the book covers to look inside.)

He’s the inspiration for our latest activity in the STEAM Makerspace this month.  First I share some of his books with my students, and we discuss how they think he created the art.  Then we watch this video on the Steve Jenkins website showing how he creates an illustration for his book Move.

Click to view the video.

I realize that kids can’t expect to measure up to his artistic standards, and I don’t want them to feel disappointed with their results, so I also show them some examples of animal collage art made by other kids.  Then I turn them loose with paper, scissors, and glue!

(Click the photo to enlarge)

I think the results were pretty awesome!  Do you use collage art and/or Steve Jenkins books in your library or makerspace?  Leave a comment and share!

 

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Shopping at The Monstore on Read Across America Day

One of the best activities we did on Read Across America Day was our Book Switcheroo!  Each teacher selected a book to read aloud to a small group of students and prepared a follow up activity for them.  Students were sent a google form with pictures of all the book covers so they could choose the one they wanted to hear, and during the last hour of the day they switched to the classroom where that book was being read.  Teachers weren’t limited to only reading Dr. Seuss books, although many of them did.

  I chose the book The Monstore by Tara Lazar.  I thought it had a bit of a Dr. Seuss feel to it, since he was known for his imaginary creatures, it works with multiple ages, and I had a great idea for a follow-up activity that I knew the students would enjoy.  After all, who can resist designing and creating their own monster!

As the kids came into the library, they were each given three tickets to save for later.  Before sharing the book with them I asked who had younger brothers or sisters (most did) and we discussed how pesky they can be.  After the story – which they thoroughly enjoyed – the kids all sat down at a table while I explained that I had a Monstore set up for them to visit.  At my Monstore they could use one ticket for a piece of colored card stock, and with the remaining two tickets they could purchase “monster parts” for an original creation.

Choices included googly eyes, pipe cleaners, yarn, glitter, fancy-edged scissors, etc.  Each table was also given a caddy with regular scissors, markers, and glue.

As I expected, the students were wildly inventive with their monster ideas, and by limiting the number of add-on’s they could purchase we avoided copycat creations.  I realized afterwards that this would also be a great Makerspace or Learning Center activity for students.

Library bulletin board featuring our Monstore monsters. Click to enlarge.

If you’d like to use The Monstore in your library or classroom, visit the book’s official homepage for a free teacher’s guide, as well as additional ideas and links.  If you have other suggestions for sharing this book, please leave a comment!

 

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Read Across America Student Bulletin Boards and Door Decorations

  Our school held a bulletin board or door decorating contest for all teachers and students in honor or Read Across America Day last Friday.  We were given 3 hours that morning to create and put up our best Dr. Seuss idea featuring student work.

I shared the book Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss with my morning classes, and we discussed how books can take you to different places, time periods, or situations that you might not be able to experience in real life.  Then the students used construction paper, markers, and yarn to create a hot air balloon that included the name of a favorite book and a sentence explaining why.

Here are pictures of what some of the other classes did:

              

  

Please share your Dr. Seuss door and bulletin board ideas with me on Twitter @LibraryLoriJune

 

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