Autumn Leaves: Kindergarten Story Time

 I love autumn, and I enjoy sharing all the elements of the season with my students. In this lesson I shared the fabulous book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert, which never gets old for me even though I’ve been reading it aloud for ten years! We followed the book with a discussion of all the items she was able to make with leaves, and then we brainstormed ideas of other pictures that could be created.

I then gave each student a sheet of plain construction paper, and an assortment of real leaves and acorns from my yard. Ordinarily I would take the students on a nature walk around the school grounds to collect materials for this project, but Hurricane Michael closed our school and then left a wet mess behind. As we talked about what body parts people and animals have, the students experimented with different sizes and shapes of leaves to design their own leaf pictures. And while they were making art, I was taking photos!

We ended our time together by returning to the rug and singing Autumn Leaves are Falling Down by The Kiboomers on YouTube. I chose this song because it mentions the colors of the leaves that fall from the trees, which is one of the facts I wanted the students to know.

I reinforced that concept with our line up activity: When I called a child’s name, s/he had to name a real leaf color (green, yellow, orange, brown) before lining up.

Do you share the beauty of autumn leaves with your students? Please leave a comment and share your ideas!

 

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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves: Kindergarten Story Time

Our most recent story sessions have focused on trees and orchards, so our next logical step was to talk about leaves and the seasonal changes they are starting to go through.

 I began with a callback to a read-aloud I used earlier this year: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms TabackWe re-read that book and used the old lady interactive puppet to re-enact the story, then segued into a different “old lady” book: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro. To make sure the students were actively listening, I instructed them to say “ah-choo” every time they heard the word “sneeze.”

 Not only did we see leaves on every page of the book, but at the end of the story (spoiler alert!) the old lady sneezes out a scarecrow, which provides another seasonal icon to work with! We had an interesting discussion about the purpose of a scarecrow. A few children knew it was for scaring birds away, while others insisted it was a Halloween decoration. We finally agreed that both uses were important.

After the story it was time to move around, so we learned the Scarecrow Dance using the video for the Scarecrow Song by the Learning Station on YouTube. I almost used the video/song Dance Like a Scarecrow but in the end I preferred the way the “Scarecrow Song” kept repeating and got a little faster each time. That gave the kids a chance to practice the dance, and they really like it when things speed up the longer you do them.

 Then we worked on small motor skills with a simple scarecrow coloring page. Some students surprised me with how well they were already coloring, but others were mere scribblers. All were proud of what they created though, as evidenced by their enthusiasm for “show and tell” time when we came back to the carpet to share the pictures.

Do you have some good scarecrow resources that you use in your story time sessions?  Please leave a comment or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune

 

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Building a Community of Readers in the Library

 I’m not going to keep you long at my blog today; instead I’m going to send you over to Expect the Miraculous to read a post written by Andy Plemmons, who is the award-winning media specialist at Barrow Elementary School.

 In The Power of First Lines: Another New Library Orientation, Andy shares how he begins building a culture of reading during the very first week of school. His message to students revolves around the joy and power of reading, and everything he says and does during their first visit to the library communicates that.

I appreciate that he so generously shared his strategies for giving kids a positive experience with books. And in a world where social media revolves around sharing only our moments of carefully filtered perfection, I appreciate that he also shared what he terms a “pitfall” of this type of library session. (To which I reply: I realize that we all have a different level of tolerance for noise and disorder, but my philosophy is that learning is often loud and messy, and that’s okay. I’m glad Andy feels that the value of giving the students this type of experience outweighs the nuisance of a few mis-shelved books.)

If you’re thinking, “Wait, this is a library orientation lesson, and it’s already the end of September, so hasn’t this ship pretty much sailed already?” let me reassure you that it’s never too late to implement these ideas in your library.

So without further ado, go read his post!  You’ll be glad you did!

Bookshelf image is from Creative Library Concepts 
http://creativelibraryconcepts.com/roll-it-over-mobile-shelving-helps-libraries-to-open-up-space/
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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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FALLing Leaves Library Lesson Plan

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I always look forward to celebrating in my library with read-alouds that celebrate the colorful falling leaves of the season.  Here are some of my favorites:

Fletcher Falling Leaves Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
It’s autumn, and Fletcher’s favorite tree is slowly changing colors and losing its leaves.  Fletcher is very worried.  He tells the tree he’ll help. But when the very last leaf falls to the ground, Fletcher feels as though he’s let down his friend, until the first day of winter when Fletcher receives a surprise.

Lucky Leaf Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley
Our main character is thoroughly enjoying his video game until mom tells him to go outside and play. Fortunately he finds two of his friends who are in the same situation, and the three begin trying to catch the last leaf on a tree (the lucky leaf).  The twist at the end of this comic book-style book is how our hero uses his good luck

Read Leaf Yellow Leaf Red Leaf Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

Leaf Man Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m drawn to books that feature collage illustrations, and Ehlert is a master of this art form.  In Red Leaf Yellow Leaf she introduces us to the life cycle of the tree, and in Leaf Man she takes us on a journey with the title character as she imagines where he might travel and what he might see, and she shows us all the flora and fauna that can be created using different combinations of leaves.

Leaf Man spread

Can you find all four mice in this illustration from LEAF MAN by Lois Ehlert? (Click to enlarge)

At the end of the book, Leaf Man settles down happily with a Leaf Woman, which always wins approval from my listeners.  After we examine Ehlert’s clever cut-paper illustrations, students draw (or trace) and cut out their own selection of leaves and use them to design an original leaf collage.  I show them a collage that I created as an example to get them started.

1-Leaf GirlIf you have access to iPads, you may want to incorporate the Labo Leaves app in your lesson as well.  It provides students with digital leaves that they can drag into position to create leaf animals that burst into life when completed.  What a great hands-on introduction to the possibilities of designing with leaves!  See for yourself:

You can purchase Labo Leaves for ios ($1.99) or android ($0.99) and once you download the app you can use it without an internet connection.  You can see other Labo apps here.

What are your favorite fall leaf read-alouds?  Please share in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune

 

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Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything!

I’m putting my 5th graders on notice this week that it’s time to start thinking about being prepared to move on to middle school next year, so they need to step up their game when it comes to library skills.  I want them to be able to walk into their new library next year and know how to use the OPAC, how to use call numbers and library signage to find what they’re looking for, how to choose appropriate sources for research assignments, and how to choose books for pleasure reading.

  Toni Buzzeo has written a great picture book on this very topic that makes a great read-aloud for older students.  Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything tells the story of Robert, the new kid in Mr. Dickinson’s class, Carmen, the disgruntled classmate assigned to accompany him to the library for the first time who warns Robert that their librarian is NOT helpful, and Mrs. Skorupski, who wants all of her patrons to become Library Success Stories.  She makes the most of every “teachable moment” to meet her students at their point of need and show them how to find the answers themselves, whether it’s selecting a useful online article, choosing a project idea, or locating snake books in the nonfiction section.

The ongoing feud between Robert and Carmen (who are assigned to the same research team) adds humor to the story, and things come full circle at the end of the book when Robert is asked to escort the next new student to the library.

After reading the story aloud, I introduce the students to Toni Buzzeo and the real Mrs. Skorupski.  Finally I have my students complete an exit slip so I can see whether they understand what it means to be a Library Success Story.  Isn’t that what we all want for our students?

Helpful Resources

Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything Exit Slip 

Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything Reader’s Theater Script

 

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Dot Day Resources for School Librarians

  International Dot Day is coming on September 15-ish, so I’m gearing up to celebrate all week with my library classes.  Here are some of the resources that I’ll be using:

  The Dot by Peter Reynolds

  Ish by Peter Reynolds

  DVD version of The Dot and Ish (also Includes the book Art by Patrick McDonnell)

  The Dot Gallery 

  The Dot Day Educator’s Handbook

  The Dot Song by Emily Arrow (video on YouTube)

What resources and activities are you using to celebrate Dot Day?  Please tell us in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune and share!

 

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