Bookmark This Site: Storytime Underground

If we may quote a little Labyrinth-era David Bowie:

“Down in the underground (oh oh oh oh oh)
You’ll find someone true (down underground)
Down in the underground (oh oh oh oh oh)
A land serene (oh oh oh oh)
A crystal moon, ah, ah…”

OK, so maybe it wasn’t quite that transcendent an experience when we discovered the Storytime Underground website, but it sure made us run to the keyboard and type up this post to tell our readers about it!  The group’s passion comes across in its “Meet the Corps” page, which is less “about us” and more manifesto:

“This work is often underappreciated or disparaged by our fellow library professionals, but we at Storytime Underground know the truth: if you are out in the storytime trenches you are changing–and sometimes saving–lives with every fingerplay and feltboard. This is not an exaggeration. Literacy is not a luxury. To survive and thrive, a democracy needs a literate populace and we, the army of Children’s Librarians, are the front lines in the battle to deliver literacy to everyone…At the Storytime Underground our mission is threefold: We support each other, We promote each other, and We train each other.” Click here to read more.

A short list of things you’ll want to check out on the site:

  • Storytime University, where you can enroll for participatory, collaborative professional development.  (If you’d rather be referred to as a “badass ninja” than a “workshop participant”, this is professional development made for you.)
  • A great list of links, blogs, and other online resources, about programming for various age groups.
  • “Ask a Storytime Ninja”, a regular advice column where you can get real answers to your questions about literacy, storytime best practices, group management, and more.
  • Guerilla Storytime, the radical, participant-focused in-person trainings conducted by the ninjas (with ideas shared on their blog).
  • Advocacy Resources including links to research, sound bites, and stories from real library users.

But don’t take our word for it!  Go check out the site and soak up all the great ideas!

Signing Fun at the Baltimore Book Fair

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Bring the whole family this weekend for the Baltimore Book Festival, an exciting 3-day celebrating books and readers!  The festival will take place at the Inner Harbor this year.  There will be lots of great activities for readers of all ages, and you’ll get to meet lots of authors in person – including Kathy MacMillan, co-author of the Storytime Magic series and author of Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together.

Here’s where the signing fun will be going down:

Friday, September 26 at 11 AM: Little Hands and Big Hands storytime for children ages birth-6 and their grownups at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Children’s Stage (located near the Maryland Science Center).  ASL Interpretation will be provided.

Friday, September 26, 4:30 PM: Little Hands and Big Hands author talk at the Bicentennial Plaza Authors’ Stage.  Learn about the myths and realities of signing with young children in this interactive presentation!  ASL Interpretation will be provided.

Friday, September 26, 12 PM-8PM: Visit me in the  Bicentennial Plaza Authors’ Tent between to purchase a signed copy of Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and enjoy some hands-on sign language crafts!

 

 

Getting Started with Baby Storytimes

We love this round-up of great resources for Baby Storytimes over at jbrary.com – and not just because our latest book, Baby Storytime Magic, is first on their recommended booklist.  (Though that does prove their impeccable taste!) Whether you are new to storytimes for babies or looking for ideas to expand you repertoire, you’ll want to bookmark this great post:
http://jbrary.com/babytime-beginners-guide/

From Last Minute to Legendary

I had a great time last Thursday presenting my brand-new workshop, “Last Minute Lessons”  at the 52nd Annual Early Childhood Education Conference.  Participants were challenged to come up with creative lesson plans in response to emergency situations – all with limited materials.  Check out some of the wildly creative things they did with waterlogged books, paper goods, and the contents of their pockets and purses.  One thing’s for certain: if I am ever stranded on a deserted island, I hope it’s with a group of these resourceful early childhood educators!

Lacing card made with an index card, hole punch, and the string from a conference badge.

Lacing card made with an index card, hole punch, and the string from a conference badge.

Found objects for each letter of the alphabet.

Found objects for each letter of the alphabet.

Sheep and fence made from clothespins, index cards, and cotton balls.

Sheep and fence made from clothespins, index cards, and cotton balls.

 

Farm animals made from a file folder, paper cups, clothespins, cotton balls, and pictures cut from a magazine.

Farm animals made from a file folder, paper cups, clothespins, cotton balls, and pictures cut from a magazine.

Caterpillar made from soda bottle and crepe streamers, Chrysalis made from plastic cups, Butterfly made from napkins and a plastic fork.

Caterpillar made from soda bottle and crepe streamers, Chrysalis made from plastic cups, Butterfly made from napkins and a plastic fork.

 

Numeracy activities: Number line using cardstock and sticky notes, Number box using a cardboard box and pennies.

Numeracy activities: Number line using cardstock and sticky notes, Number box using a cardboard box and pennies.

A simple activity for a lesson on sickness and health: place a piece of painter's tape on a card, then ask the children to color the card with a crayon.  Remove the tape to show how bandages protect wounds from germs.

A simple activity for a lesson on sickness and health: place a piece of painter’s tape on a card, then ask the children to color the card with a crayon. Remove the tape to show how bandages protect wounds from germs.

 

 

 

Sign This: “The Owl”

Did you know that August 4 is International Owl Awareness Day?  Celebrate with this fingerplay perfect for owl or nocturnal animal programs!

The owl is a creature of the night,

His great big eyes give him keen sight.

He looks to the left and to the right.

And hoots so softly through the night.

Watch this video to learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language:

Baby Storytime Rhyme: Tickly Octopus

Octopus, octopus, bobbing up and down,

reaching your long arms all around.  (wave arms)

 

Baby tries to crawl far away

but octopus arms don’t let you stray (hug baby)

 

Here comes the octopus tentacle by tentacle (walk fingers up baby’s arms)

He’ll wrap you in a hug and give you a tickle! (hug and tickle baby)

Wonderful Watermelon

Celebrate this summery sweet treat in storytime with this action rhyme and a watermelon science project!

Watermelon, watermelon, turn around.

Watermelon, watermelon, touch the ground.

Watermelon, watermelon, stamp your feet.

Watermelon, watermelon, good to eat! (rub tummy)

 

pink frothy liquid erupts from a watermelonTry this vinegar-free watermelon eruption project from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine to demonstrate chemical reactions and promote fine motor skills.

It’s Not Too Late! Register for Basic American Sign Language for Library Staff eCourse Today!

macmillan-course-blue-300Instructor: Kathy MacMillan, NIC, M.L.S.

Asynchronous eCourse beginning June 2, 2014 and continuing for 6 weeks

$195.00

Click here to register.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 30 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

American Sign Language (ASL) is an invaluable skill for library professionals. A basic grasp of ASL enhances your ability to serve deaf library users and opens up a new world of possibilities for storytime programs. It’s also a marketable professional skill that can translate to public service jobs beyond the library world.

Ideal for those without previous experience, this eCourse taught by librarian and ASL interpreter Kathy MacMillan will use readings, multimedia resources, and online discussion boards to introduce basic ASL vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting. MacMillan will place ASL within a linguistic and cultural context, aiding participants in improving library services.

Comments from previous students of this course:

“Thank you for teaching me much more than I expected. It’s been a wonderful experience that I will certainly share with everyone who will listen!”

“This course has been invaluable to me…I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the course and truly appreciate someone’s genius in offering it.  The instructor was a gem in the way that she provided comprehensive answers to questions, feedback, tips and resources.”

“I absolutely loved the class and would HIGHLY recommend it to ANYONE — librarian or not!”

“This class was interesting, informative and entertaining. It opened my eyes to a variety of ideas and concepts that can only make me a better librarian as well as a better person. I thought things were well organized and presented in an ordered and logical fashion, each lesson building on the one before.”

Register now!

Something to Celebrate Every Day

cover of World Rat DayWorld Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of

by J. Patrick Lewis; illustrated by Anna Raff  (Candlewick, 2013)

Ever heard of “Dragon Appreciation Day” (January 16)?  How about “International  Cephalopod Awareness Day” ( October 8)?  Or our personal favorite, “Chocolate-Covered Anything Day” (December 16)?  Well, J. Patrick Lewis and Anna Raff have, and they’ve assembled a funny, surprising collection of poems and illustrations that pay tribute to lesser-known celebrations.  From advice from a worm in “What the Worm Knows” (for Worm Day on March 15) to the susurrating, lyrical word-pictures of “Bats” (for Bat Appreciation Day on April 17), these poems introduce a variety of poetic forms along with the silly holidays they celebrate.  These kid-friendly poems beg for classroom and programming extensions with stories, songs, and crafts, and this book would be a terrific holiday or end-of-year gift for the teacher on your list.

Basic American Sign Language for Library Staff eCourse

macmillan-course-blue-300Instructor: Kathy MacMillan, NIC, M.L.S.

Asynchronous eCourse beginning June 2, 2014 and continuing for 6 weeks

$195.00

Click here to register.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 30 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

American Sign Language (ASL) is an invaluable skill for library professionals. A basic grasp of ASL enhances your ability to serve deaf library users and opens up a new world of possibilities for storytime programs. It’s also a marketable professional skill that can translate to public service jobs beyond the library world.

Ideal for those without previous experience, this eCourse taught by librarian and ASL interpreter Kathy MacMillan will use readings, multimedia resources, and online discussion boards to introduce basic ASL vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting. MacMillan will place ASL within a linguistic and cultural context, aiding participants in improving library services.

Comments from previous students of this course:

“Thank you for teaching me much more than I expected. It’s been a wonderful experience that I will certainly share with everyone who will listen!”

“This course has been invaluable to me…I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the course and truly appreciate someone’s genius in offering it.  The instructor was a gem in the way that she provided comprehensive answers to questions, feedback, tips and resources.”

“I absolutely loved the class and would HIGHLY recommend it to ANYONE — librarian or not!”

“This class was interesting, informative and entertaining. It opened my eyes to a variety of ideas and concepts that can only make me a better librarian as well as a better person. I thought things were well organized and presented in an ordered and logical fashion, each lesson building on the one before.”

Register now!

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