Thursday, January 22, 2015

Seattle Story Time Tour - Northgate Branch

Branch: Northgate
Storyteller: Ms. Claire
Age/Type: Family

As you walk into the library, a friendly whiteboard reminds all story time goers to get a ticket at the desk. The story time at this branch is more popular than the room can handle, often turning people away to adhere to fire code. Laminated tickets are given out to ensure just the right number of people can enter the program. 

Ms. Claire has made handouts with today's songs, rhymes, and books so that parents can take the fun of story time home. The repetition, she explains, helps them learn concepts and memorization.  

Even though Ms. Claire does not always do themes, she points out that the characters for this story time are all worried about something. 

Before her opening song, Ms. Claire goes through the motions that they will use in the song. This gives the newcomers a chance to learn and gives the regulars a chance to practice. Her opening song goes like this:

"Good morning dear earth. Good morning dear sun. Good morning to the clouds and the flowers, each one - Good morning to the bees and the birds in the trees. Good morning to you and good morning to me!"

Next, she takes the chance to tell parents about story time expectations. To entertain the kids while she does so she tells them to shake one hand then another as she outlines how to make the most of story time. She tells parents it is okay to be loud, but any unhappy children are also free to leave and rejoin them when they are happier. Parents are expected to participate and put those cell phones away.

To get out a few more wiggles, Ms. Claire has them sing "Open Shut Them."

Her first book is a classic. I adore this book: "Owl Babies."

After the story she has them sing the classic camp song "Boom Chicka Boom." She then asks them to whisper it, sing it fast, sing it slow, then sing it super fast. The result is perfect. The kids love this one. 

To transition into the next book she has the kids shake up high, shake down low, and shake in the middle. She reads "The Squeaky Door." 

Side note: This book is perfect for a flannel story as well.

Now Ms. Claire asks them all to stand and sing "Itsy-Bitsy Spider." They like that so much, she starts a second verse with "Great Big Spider," making bigger gestures. 

While still standing, she teaches them the finger play "Johnny, Johnny, Whoops!" 

You hold out your hand and point to each finger, naming them Johnny. When you get to the crook in the hand between the pointer finger and thumb, you swoop your finger down and say "Whoops!" Ms. Claire does this faster and faster until silliness occurs. (I feel like this is a good general rule of thumb for story time. "Repeat until silliness occurs.")

The last book is good old "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes."

The best part of her reading is when she points out how unrealistic it is to step in random piles of fruit. 

Her closing song is a fantastic counting ditty about dinosaurs. It's a song by Nancy Stewart called "Dinosaurs in Cars" and you can find it here.

She ends the story time by stamping the hand of each kid who wants one. She has them sing a waiting song. She points out to the parents that this will help them self-regulate later on. The song is to the tune of "Frere Jacques" and goes like this:

"I am waiting, I am waiting. For my stamp, for my stamp. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. For my stamp, for my stamp."

All and all, a good show! Thanks for letting me observe, Ms. Claire. 


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