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!
Night Light by Nicholas Blechman. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2013.
This fantastic book combines the joy of a guessing game with counting, and every kid’s favorite – vehicles! On each page a clue is given, “1 Light Shining Bright?” When you turn the page, a wonderful illustration of a vehicle is shown, in this case a train. Have fun reading this book and playing. Some of the vehicles are ones you wouldn’t normally think of, which makes the book even more interesting.
Night Light is an excellent book to use in a preschool storytime. As you read each page, ask the children if they have any idea what the vehicle could be. If they don’t, you can give them another clue, like making the sound of the vehicle. This is an easy way for children to learn problem solving skills as they process the clues.
With the leaves falling in your backyard, it’s a wonderful time to integrate a math activity into your Fall or Leaf storytime.
- Collect a variety of leaves from your yard or neighborhood a week or two prior to the storytime. Make sure they vary in color, size, and type of tree (oak, maple, etc.).
- Dry the leaves by laying them flat between pages of newspaper. Placing books on them will help the leaves dry flat. The dried leaves should keep their color.
- Once leaves are dry, place an assortment in a baggie, making sure that there are some of the same color, size, and variety in each bag. Make sure you have enough bags for each child in the storytime.
- Pass out bags of leaves to the children. Ask the children to do a variety of tasks: count the leaves, group them by color, group them by type, create a pattern (red, brown, yellow, green). This will reinforce many of the early skills needed for children to succeed in math in school.
- When you are done with the leaves, give each child a blank piece of paper and glue stick, and have them create a leaf man or other picture using their leaves.
We posed this question to our newsletter readers:
With math and science benchmarks playing an ever-more important role in early childhood education, librarians are often expected to incorporate these concepts in conscious way into storytimes. How do you incorporate meaningful math and science concepts into your storytime activities?
“Introduce simple graphing…..when doing colors, have bags of M and M’s available. Have a simple graph with the colors listed available (we have one we found online sometime back). Have participants count the numbers of each color and record on the graph. Or do this in front of the whole group and have small bags for participants to eat. Graph other things….do you like red, yellow, or green apples? Do you like snow or not? What Easter/Halloweencandy is your favorite?” -Barbara S.
“I started a monthly program that is history or science based for kids 7 to 14. We offer programs for babies, preschool kids and teens but there was nothing for the in-between ages. The mummy program has been the biggest hit so far. There was a slideshow of actual mummies and artifacts, an online game that showed how Egyptians embalmed their dead, and the kids got to dissect a mummy that I made. I have kids that talk to me about it months later.” -Elizabeth L.
Kathy and Christine say:
Incorporating math and science into your regular storytimes is easier than you think! Here are some simple ideas:
- Invite children to count the objects placed on the flannelboard. With preschoolers, pose simple math problems, such as, “If I take away one apple, how many will be left?” Use the tangible objects to make the math come alive.
- Graph the objects. Create columns of like objects then count them. Ask the children which object had the most?
- When doing crafts, count how many objects you’re gluing on or how many colors you’re using.
- You have to count your storytime attendees for your statistics, so why not make it part of the program? Invite the kids to count along with you as you count attendees. For family programs, count how many kids and how many adults, then ask the kids to compare the numbers – were there more children or adults? Write the number on a whiteboard or chalkboard so children can connect the written and spoken forms of the numbers.
- In a color storytime, discuss the primary colors and how to mix them to create secondary colors.
- In a weather storytime, practice blowing bubbles or scarves and discuss wind and what makes a windy day. Is it snowing? Talk about what the temperature needs to be to snow.