Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preschool Crafts

This morning I held a Preschool Craft program for ages 3-6.  This is an important age group to remember because many of these kids do not fit into our baby and toddler story times and are too young for our school age programs.  You wouldn't think so, but it is one of our hardest age groups to schedule here.  We registered 20 kids to come in and do an assortment of fall crafts.  Fall in Michigan means mild temperatures and colorful leaves.  On the morning of the program, we woke up to this:

I guess that fall now means snow.  We had three crafts set up at three different stations.  Supplies and examples were set out at each table so kids could work on these projects with little adult "assistance".

"Before" picture

Craft 1: Colorful Trees
This station required stamp pads in red, yellow, orange, and brown, a paper with a tree trunk drawn on it, and baby wipes.  Kids use their fingers to make the leaves by putting them in ink, then on the paper.  If you do something similar, look for inexpensive washable ink as kids like to mix the colors and the stamp pads may not be reusable.

I put brown craft paper down on the table as there were a lot of ink prints that ended up on the craft paper.  This makes it much easier to clean up!

Craft 2: Leaf Wreathes
For this station, we used paper plates with the middles cut out, glue sticks, die cut leaves, and a piece of yarn to hang the wreath.

Craft 3: Turkeys
This station was my favorite as it was neat to see what the kids' designs.  We used colored tissue paper squares and glued them onto half of a paper plate.  If you do this, it helps if you put the glue on the plate, not on the tissue paper.  When they finished their "feathers", they took a plastic baggie that included all of their turkey parts.  They glued these onto the turkey to create their finished product.

While the snow made some people cancel for today's program, we still ended up with a good sized group.  Almost all of them left the program asking when we could do this again!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Flannel Friday Round-Up

Welcome to this week's Flannel Friday Round-up!  There are some great ideas here, so stop by these blogs to check them out.

Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime shows off her 5 Little Mice.  They look very Lionni-esque and would work well for any mouse story time. 

This next flannelboard is awesome as it uses technology!  Jesse created Four Li'l Aliens using LilyPad LEDs to give the pieces flair.  This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for flannelboards.

Sharon at Rain Makes Applesauce shows off a flannelboard that her coworker, Suzanne, made.  Her Make-a-Jedi flannel would be a great addition to a Star Wars Reads Day or an activity room flannelboard where kids could play with the pieces.

Katie at Storytime Katie has recreated a flannelboard turkey from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Check out her neat way of matching the feathers to buttons!

Not flannel, but still fun, Lisa at Thrive After Three shows off her Preschool Dance Party.  She includes her playlist so you could recreate the whole program or just pull out 1 or 2 new songs for story time.

Last, but not least, Jane from Piper Loves the Library has given Olaf some friends in her Do You Want to Build a Snowman? flannelboard.  This would be a great addition to any winter story time or Activity Room board.

Just a reminder that there will be no round-up next Friday as many libraries in the U.S. are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The next round-up will be our Holiday Extavaganza at Mel's Desk on December 5.

If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

School and Public Library Collaboration

This past summer I took part in ALSC's Mentoring program.  I was looking for ways to get involved in ALSC and this was a great way where I could give some of my experience while learning something.  I was paired with a LIS student and we were both interested in different aspects of school and public library collaboration.  After some discussion and pointing her to  great resources, we decided to run a survey so she would have a larger pool of information.

The survey ran in July 2014 and we pushed the link out through Twitter, various Facebook groups, and people we knew.  Here are some of our results:
  • 98% of those surveyed work with their local schools.
  • 76% of those surveyed have collaborations that take place at both the school and the public library. 15% take place only at the schools and 6% take place only at the public library.
  • 63% of those surveyed have 2 or less people who work with their local schools.
  • When asked how often they work with local schools, 23% said once a week, 39% said once a month, 7% said once every 6 months, 9% said once a year, and 22% said whenever they could fit it in.
  • Ideas for working with local schools include booktalks (46%), story times (60%), field trips (60%), summer reading visits (80%), library instruction (33%), and other (41%).
The two of us each had a favorite question asked.  My favorite question was “What is your most successful program run with local schools?”  For me, it was an opportunity to see unique ideas that work.  In addition to some more common ideas, such as booktalks, story times, and summer reading visits, there are some great things being done in libraryland.  My favorites that I would like to try and incorporate in my library system include a kindergarten kick-off, a “We sign you up” program for school employees for new library cards, a school bag service, and school literacy nights.

My mentee's favorite question was “Have you incorporated technology into any programs run with your local schools?  If so, what types of technology have you used and how have you used it?”  She was very impressed with the types of technology incorporated into collaborative programs.  Many of the responses included working with tablets (iPads), eReaders (Kindles), and Web 2.0 tools such as Skype or Prezi.  Fun ideas included having a Techmobile visit local schools, using Prezi with school tours, and a virtual tour of Overdrive.  Plus, one library is giving all of their local high school students e-access cards so they will have access to all of the library’s databases.

So what next?  It is 3 months after our project and I was able to use this information in creating this year's goals for our department.  As a young library system, we tended to have a hit-or-miss relationship with our schools.  This year we are doing more targeting and the relationship has become a higher priority.  Here are some things we have or will be accomplishing:
  • We will have a position created and this person will be responsible for coordinating all school collaborations.  With 47 schools, it is easy to get bogged down or lose track of what we did and where.
  • We started a teacher enewsletter that is sent out bimonthly.
  • We have spoken to local PTO's and have gotten on the agenda for teacher development days to talk about the library and what we can offer.
  • We will be visiting local middle schools during conferences to sign kids/teens up for library cards.
While we're not there yet, we have definitely gotten a good start this year.  I am looking forward to seeing the results!

School Bus

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