By Awnali Mills
This was a really fun storytime. It wasn’t until I got to the end of it that I thought—wait a minute. We didn’t do ANY SINGING! But the kids seemed perfectly happy since they had lots of other activities going on with the books. I had planned singing, but it totally slipped through the cracks. Oh, well.
Our books today were Oh, No! by Candace Fleming, It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle, and Warning: Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt.
We opened with our usual opening song, Hello Everybody and How are You? and then did our weather observations. I started doing this a while back and the kids seem to enjoy it. I was doing it without flannels, and then saw Storytime Katie’s weather flannels. I was hooked! I made up something very similar to this and we’ve been using them ever since. Today we even talked about what the word “partially” meant, as in “it’s partially sunny.” That’s where I threw in my EL tip about using harder vocabulary words and explaining them as a way of helping kids develop the vocabulary they’ll need to become excellent readers.
In my magic bag I had a tiger puppet who really wanted to eat children, even just a finger or toe. But I insisted that we read tiger books instead, and he reluctantly went back into the bag so we could read.
Our first book was Oh, No! I had the kids yell “Oh, no!” every time we read the words and they really got into it. There were a lot of laughs when the animals refused to help the tiger out of the hole.
We’ve been cleaning out our story time things as we get ready to transition to a new library building, and we ran across this wonderful coconut palm with monkeys and a crocodile puppet stuck in a corner. (It’s the Five Little Monkeys Sing and Learn Kit from Lakeshore Learning—they don’t seem to carry it anymore.) Naturally I had to use it in jungle storytime! It was a huge hit. We all said together:
Five little monkeys sitting in a tree
Teasing Mr. Crocodile, “Can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Crocodile quiet as can be…
Four little monkeys sitting in a tree!
No little monkeys sitting in a tree!
And then I said, “And the moral of the story is…don’t tease crocodiles!” which the parents loved.
I had the tree sitting in front of me on a stool, and the monkeys already attached to the tree with their Velcro hands. I wove the crocodile back and forth behind the tree, sneaking up on those cocky monkeys, and SNAPPED them off the tree, one by one, then unobtrusively dumped the monkey into my other hand and stashed it on my cart. You should have seen the eyes on those kids each time Mr. Crocodile started sneaking up on the monkeys. It was hilarious. And each time he snapped one up, they would jump and gasp and laugh. At the end I was putting it away and one of them said, “But where are the monkeys?” I said, “They’re all in Mr. Crocodile’s stomach—and that’s why we don’t tease him!”
Our next book was It’s a Tiger. I prepped the kids to yell “It’s a tiger! Run!” when I pointed at them. I also had them slapping their legs to imitate running, and acting like they were swimming, so we got quite a lot of exercise with this book!
As soon as we were done with the book, I flipped my flannel board around to the white board where I had a graph set up. The board was divided in half. On the top of one half I had taped a picture of Oh, No!’s book cover, and on the top of the other half was taped a picture of It’s a Tiger’s cover. I handed out post it notes to each child and had them come up and vote for the book they’d liked the best. It’s a Tiger won handily, with some kids urging each other to vote a certain way. We counted the votes together and I wrote the numbers at the top of the board. Then, I told them that we had done math by making a graph!
Next, we did the flannel “Five Elephants in a Bathtub.” This is another one that required lots of audience participation, with clapping, slapping, and yelling.
One elephant in a bathtub going for a swim
Knock, knock (clap, clap)
Splash, splash (slap hands on knees)
Come on in! (make a big “come on” gesture)
Two elephants in a bathtub, etc.
(End) And they all fell in!
For our final book, we read Warning: Do Not Open This Book. While a few of the children were sure that we shouldn’t turn pages, the others urged me on. After all the monkeys, toucans, and the alligator were running around loose, we got them good and trapped when the kids all slapped their hands together and I slammed the book shut. Whew! None of the animals escaped into the library. Wait a minute. Is that a monkey over there???