I am officially done with my first ever rounds of story times. On site, one of my coworkers does the story times, but I am in charge of the story times off site. I visit the 2 elementary schools' 4K classrooms twice a month; there are a total of 40 kids at one school and 20 at the other. . . for the first groups. There are the same number for second ground. Did you get that? 120 different kids, but I only need to do one story time plan.
I also do bimonthly visits to the local parochial school, where I visit preschool, kindergarten, and day care -- about 80 kids total.
So for my very first story time ever, I knew I faced 40 kids at once. I wanted to pick a theme that would be pretty easy, so I chose Fall (which ended up being a lot more "fall animals" than actual fall). Here were my reads of choice:
Kitten's Autumn was a hit because the kitten hides in each of the pictures. We were able to look and find him on each page together. Nuts to You is just plain fun, as the kids were very excited to talk about animals they see outside and don't want to see inside (and I'm shocked how many kids said they have seen bears lately -- I guess it IS Wisconsin). I'm Not Cute got the kids nice and riled up for their craft, since they can participate with the book and they get the chance to shout "I'm NOT cute" over and over.
Before diving into reading, I had the kids stand up and do "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" with me. We did it normally, then we did it fast, slow, loud and quiet. They loved it.
We then read all three stories, and I brought out the flannel board. For the first group, we did "Five Little Squirrels." The kids were SO EXCITED to help me count 5 squirrels. I made 5 squirrels, 1 door, 1 tree, 3 coats (and asked the kids if they'd ever seen squirrels wearing coats), and 1 sun. The story goes:
5 little squirrels sitting by the door
1 ran away and then there were 4 (as a group, count them out and swap out the door for a tree)
4 little squirrels playing by the tree
1 ran away and then there were 3 (as a group, count them out and swap door for coats)
3 little squirrels with coats so new
1 ran away and then there were 2 (as a group, count them out and swap coats for sun)
2 little squirrels playing in the sun
1 ran away and then there was 1 (as a group count them out and take down sun)
1 little squirrel wasn't having any fun
he ran away and then there were none.
I love this simple flannel board because the kids LOVE to help count. They will tell the story for you by the end, and that's exactly how it should be.
For the 4K and the day care groups, I was asked to bring a craft to share. They made owl masks, which you can see a photo of right here. The craft required paper plates, cotton balls (which I ripped in half to double the number), orange construction paper, popsickle sticks, and glue. I pre-cut the plates, the eyes, and the nose to bring with me, and after the first session of story times where the kids wanted to play with their masks before the glue dried onto the sticks, I decided to tape them on before handing them out (for immediate gratification). They kids loved the craft, and they were all eager to hoot around the room.
A couple of classes elected to go without a craft, so we played "Little Mouse." This is a story time favorite everywhere, and I plan on bringing some sort of variation of it with me regularly.
I'm jazzed to do story times now. I loved getting hugs from the kids at the end, and I know that even if I am not perfect, as long as I have fun and let the kids have fun, it all works out just fine.
(Also: this is the longest post on story times you will ever see here. From here on out, it'll be much shorter - books, activities, lessons learned).