Category Archives: Multicultural Storytime Activities

Woodpecker, Woodpecker: A Signing Rhyme

MacMillan_cover_1p.inddAnother sneak preview of our newest book, More Storytime Magic (ALA Editions, January 2016):

Woodpecker, Woodpecker: A Signing Rhyme

Direct Link: https://youtu.be/YCT3FEC-ZY4

Begin by teaching the ASL signs TREE and BIRD. Explain that in this rhyme, you will be learning about a specific kind of bird called a woodpecker, and will be using the signs to show how the woodpecker uses the tree.

Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to eat! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now eat up the bugs you found, just like that. (move fingers to show beak eating bugs)

 

Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to sleep! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now nestle in the hole you made, cozy as can be! (nestle bird in palm of hand)

 

Find lots more great storytime activities in More Storytime Magic, the latest volume in the Storytime Magic series!

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Celebrating Earth Day in Storytime

earth-clip-art-earth_clip_art_24300Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, in San Francisco, California. Since then, over one hundred countries have joined together for this annual environmental event.  This Earth Day, help the little ones in your life appreciate nature and learn about protecting the environment with this roundup of our favorite Earth day resources from Storytime Stuff and beyond!

Here at StorytimeStuff.net:

Bringing Nature Inside for Storytime – bring the best of the outdoors to your classroom or storytime room!

Nature Around the World Storytime – bring a multicultural touch to your Earth Day celebration!

Springtime Fun Storytime – celebrate the sounds, smells, and sights of spring!

Around the Web:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Earth Day for Kids Website – lots of storytime suggestions and printable resources.

Preschool Earth Day Storytime from Library Village – rhymes, songs, book suggestions, and a supercool recycling craft that easy to make.

Reading for the Earth: Ultimate Earth Day Resource Roundup – a comprehensive roundup of lesson plans, books suggestions, activities, video links and more at the Lee & Low Books blog.

 

Share This Book: Take Me Out to Yakyu

Cover of Take Me Out to the YakyuBaseball season is here!  Celebrate by sharing Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon (New York: Atheneum, 2013).

In this winsome picture book, a little boy describes going to the stadium to watch baseball with his American pop pop, and to the dome to watch yakyu with his Japanese ji ji.  Clever split-page illustrations compare and contrast the American and Japanese experiences of getting to the game, buying souvenirs and snacks, and cheering for the team (tellingly, American fans shout “Win! Win! Win!”, while the Japanese fans chant, “Do your best!”). A glossary of story-related words in Japanese appears at the end of the book, and an author’s note gives more details about how baseball works in American and Japan.  With brief text and vibrant illustrations, this is a great read-aloud for storytimes about sports, exercise, summertime, or families around the world.

Sign This!: “The Little Spider: A Rhyme from the Philippines”

Put a spin on a familiar favorite by sharing this rhyme from the Philippines:

The little spider, the little spider

Climbed up the branch.

The rain came down and pushed it away.

The sun came out and dried the branch.

The little spider is always happy.

Now watch this video to learn how to share this rhyme with American Sign Language:

Multicultural Storytime Magic coverFor more engaging multicultural fun for any storytime, check out Multicultural Storytime Magic by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker.

Celebrate Deaf History with Clerc-Gallaudet Week, December 3-9

In December 1974, DC Public Library established Clerc-Gallaudet Week as a way of honoring the birthdays of Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (December 26, 1785 and December 10, 1787, respectively) and promoting library awareness in the deaf community and deaf awareness in the library community.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a hearing minister from Connecticut, and Laurent Clerc, a deaf teacher from France, met by chance in 1815…but their partnership would found a school, plant the seeds of American Sign Language, and provide the foundation for both deaf education and Deaf Culture in the United States.

Read more about Clerc and Gallaudet’s inspiring story here.

Celebrate Clerc-Gallaudet Week in your library or classroom!

Share a picture book:

Share signs in a storytime rhyme or song:

Share an inspiring video:

Check out the Deaf Performing Artists Network page at http://www.d-pan.org for music videos designed for both Deaf and hearing audiences.  Our favorite kid-friendly and fun videos on the site:

 

Play a visual game:

For more games and classroom curriculum connections, see this article: Keep ‘Em Reading: Deaf History Month and ASL by Kathy MacMillan.

 

Little Hands and Big Hands coverLooking for even more rhymes, songs and crafts incorporating signs?  Check out Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together by Kathy MacMillan (Huron Street Press, 2013).

 

 

Sign This!: In the Ocean

Use the American Sign Language sign FISH as you share this rhyme.

sample picture_fishIn the ocean the fishies swim.  (sign FISH)

They leap up high… (move FISH hand up as if fish is leaping)

then jump back in!  (move FISH hand low as if returning to water.)

Look for more fun American Sign Language rhymes, songs, crafts and more in Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together by Kathy MacMillan, coming in October from Huron Street Press.  Pre-order now!

Ribbons and Streamers: Not Just for Parties

Ribbons and streamers are fun to incorporate into storytime and can be used in a variety of ways, all of which promote development of gross motor skills. You can use sturdy pre-made ribbons from a school and library supply company (our favorites are Lakeshore Learning’s Wrist Ribbons, which are just the right size for young children), or you can make your own using lengths of ribbon tied to dowel rods. For a less sturdy take-away streamer, tape a length of crêpe streamer to a straw.

Here are some ideas for using your streamers in storytime:

1. Share an ancient tradition:

The Ribbon Dance is a two thousand year old Chinese folk dance. Dancers use long ribbons attached to sticks to represent clouds and are supposed to bring rain and plentiful crops. Invite the children to move their ribbons in different ways as you show the sun, rain, wind, and clouds.

2. Catch a Wave:

Ribbons and streamers make wonderful waves. Make waves to your favorite Beach Boys tune, or go under the sea with a Calypso rhythm. Invite the children to stand in two rows, waving their streamers up high. Let the children take turns “swimming” between the rows so they feel they are under the sea!

3. Make a Rainbow:

Pass out streamers in a rainbow of colors. Wave them above your head when practicing your colors, singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, or during a book when a rainbow is mentioned. Or share the rhyme below to reinforce color knowledge.

If your streamer is red, wave it over your head!

If your streamer is blue, shake it by your shoe!

If your stream is yellow, wave it at a fellow!

If your streamer is green, shake it while you lean!

If your streamer is pink, shake it however you think!

4. Share a Star:

Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as you gently wave your streamers to show the shimmering starlight, or share the shooting star rhyme below:

“The Star”

There once was a star who lived up in the sky (wave streamer above head)

He twinkled and twinkled at all who came by (move streamer in small movements to represent twinkling)

He twinkled left and he twinkled right (move streamer left, then right)

He twinkled through the day and he twinkled through the night (continue twinkling)

He twinkled down at the earth and he twinkled at me (point streamer down and keep twinkling)

Until he decided Earth was where he wanted to be.

So one day he twinkled as brightly as could be (move streamer in large back and forth movements)

And became a shooting star who came down…to..me! (slowly make streamer descend to the ground)

5. Race a Rocket:

Mark off a “course” on the floor using plastic cones or masking tape. Let the children take turns becoming “rockets” with the streamers as the fire coming out of their engines, as they skip or dance along the course.

Rocket Song (to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”)

(Name) is blasting off into space

In a big red rocket

First we count and then we blast off

(5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Blast off!) (slowly raise streamer during countdown)

ROAR! Goes the rocket. (go along course with streamer behind you)

 6. Fly a Kite:

Play “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Mary Poppins and pretend your streamer is a kite in the sky.

7. Share a Shape:

Use your streamer to create shapes in the air as you sing this song.

Shape Song (to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”)

Can you draw a square, draw a square?

Oh can you draw a square, draw a square?

Draw a line and then three more

They are all the same for sure

Oh can you draw a square, draw a square?

 

Can you draw a circle, draw a circle.

Oh, can you draw a circle, draw a circle?

A circle is round

With no corners to be found

Oh, can you draw a circle, draw a circle?

 

Can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

Oh, can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

Make one side and then make two,

Then make a third, that’s all you do,

Oh, can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

8. Write a Word:

Use the streamer to write words or letters in the air. Encourage the children to make their letters as large as possible. This activity encourages letter knowledge, gross motor skills, and prewriting skills. As you lead the letters, describe exactly how to move the streamer to create them. For example: “Let’s make a letter A. We start at the top, then make a slanted line down to the bottom. Now back up to the top, and make a slanted line going the other way. Now make a little bridge to connect the  lines. We made an A!”

 

Nine Nifty Nursery Rhyme Activities

Nursery rhymes help children develop important pre-reading skills, such as phonemic awareness, and make language fun! Here are nine fun, interactive ideas to present nursery rhymes in storytimes:

1) Hey-diddle-diddle:

Read Over the Moon by Rachel Vail. (New York: Orchard, 1998.) This story is a clever twist on the classic nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”. A frustrated director can’t get his cow to understand how to go OVER the moon. The story emphasizes prepositions in a fun way. After reading the story, make a large paper moon and have volunteers help you act out the various ways the cow interacts with the moon.  Then, for a surprise, use the “Magic Door to Books” trick found in Carolyn Feller Bauer’s Leading Kids to Books Through Magic (American Library Association, 1996) to walk through your moon. Review the prepositions in the book at the end.

2) The Little Spider: A Nursery Rhyme from the Philippines:

Every culture around the world has nursery rhymes. Many of the themes of nursery rhymes are similar across different cultures. Share this rhyme from the Philippines with children and ask them if it reminds them of one that they know.

The little spider, the little spider (wiggle index finger)

Climbed up the branch (move index finger up opposite arm)

The rain came down (wiggle fingers down)

Pushed it away. (show spider falling)

The sun came up (hold arms in circle over head)

It dried the branch.

The little spider is always happy. (make index finger hop up arm again)

Learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language in this free video featuring Kathy MacMillan.

For more terrific nursery rhymes from around the world, see http://itsasmallworld.co.nz/index.php.

3) Hickory Dickory Dock:

Give each child two rhythm sticks and have them hold them like clock hands to show the time in each verse of the rhyme.

Hickory Dickory Dock,

the mouse ran up the clock,

the clock struck 1, the mouse ran down

Hickory Dickory Dock!

…the clock struck 2, the mouse said “Boo!”

…the clock struck 3, the mouse said, “Whee!”

…the clock struck 4, the mouse said, “More!”

…the clock struck 5, the mouse did the hand jive.

…the clock struck 6, the mouse did magic tricks,

…the clock struck 7, the mouse said, “This is heaven!”

…the clock struck 8, the mouse cried, “I’m late!”

…the clock struck 9, the mouse said, “Fine!”

…the clock struck 10, the mouse said, “Again!”

…the clock struck 11, the mouse said, “Still heaven!”

…the clock struck 12, the mouse said, “Swell!”

4) Little Miss Muffet:

Try a traditional nursery rhyme silly style! Alter the last words of the rhyme, making sure to act very seriously, as though you think these are the correct words. The kids will love correcting you!

Example:

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her…macaroni and cheese

Along came a…dinosaur

And sat down beside her

And ask her to go to the library!

5) Jack Be Nimble:

Set an unlit candle in the middle of the floor. (A large pillar candle works well for this activity.) Recite the rhyme together, then invite the children to take turns coming for-ward and jumping over the candlestick as everyone says the rhyme, replacing “Jack” with each child’s name. This activity is popular with babies through preschool. (Parents can lift babies over the candlestick.)

_____ be nimble, _______ be quick.

Jack jump over the candlestick!

Learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language in this free video featuring Kathy MacMillan.

6) This Little Piggy:

Make this traditional rhyme interactive by having the children suggest new destinations and foods for the piggies. Write their suggestions on a board or flipchart, then have everyone recite the new rhymes together. This is a great tie-in for nursery rhyme, community helper or “in my town” storytimes.

Example:

This little piggy went to the zoo,

This little piggy stayed home.

This little piggy had ice cream,

And this little piggy had none.

And this little piggy went “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way home.

7) The Grand Old Duke of York:

Give each child a pair of rhythm sticks and tap out the rhythm of the song as you sing, moving the sticks up and down as the soldiers do.

The grand old Duke of York,

He had ten thousand men

He marched them up to the top of the hill,

And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,

And when they were down, they were down,

And when they were only half-way up,

They were neither up nor down.

8) Wee Willie Winkie:

In your baby program, pass out large pom-poms to the parents. Invite them to use the pom-poms as puppets to act out this classic nursery rhyme, making the pom-pom race up and down baby’s arms and tap gently on their foreheads:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,

Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown,

Tapping at the window and crying through the lock,

Are all the children in their beds, it’s past eight o’clock?

9) Jack and Jill:

This interactive craft is a great way to act out this favorite nursery rhyme.

  1. Print out the craft templates here.
  2. Cut a slit in the “Up the Hill” sheet along the dotted line.
  3. Color Jack and Jill, then cut them out.
  4. Glue Jack and Jill to the craft sticks.
  5. Poke the sticks through the slit in the worksheet to act out the rhyme!