Saturday, April 27, 2013

Screen Free Week

It started back in 1994 when TV-Free America hosted the first "TV Free Week".  Since that time it has evolved into including all kinds of screens--not just TVs.  In 2010 it became Screen Free Week sponsored by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC).

So what's the purpose of Screen Free Week?  I could repeat all the statistics concerning the connections between TV and childhood obesity, TV and video games linked to violent acts, and how grades in school correlate with the amount of time children spend engaged in screen time activities.  These are all valid reasons to reign in the screen.  However, in my opinion, it's not just to disconnect from screens that we interact with daily--TVs, computers, video games and hand-held devices--but it's to reconnect with people and the truly more important things in our lives. 

Over the past few months I have caught myself saying (on several occasions), "I don't have time to read all the books I want!"  Well, maybe it's because I spend too much time interacting with screens (I won't even mention the amount of time I spend on Pinterest!)  As I have prepared to go "screen-free" this coming week I have started to realize how much time I spend each day with screens when I could be reading, enjoying a walk outside, cooking a healthier meal for my family, organizing an overloaded closet, writing a letter to my grandma, calling a friend...the list could go on and on!  So many things I feel like I have lost connection with that I hope to reconnect to this week.

So I am taking the pledge from

I, Miss Tammy, pledge that during the week of April 29-May 5, 2013, I will:

  1. Watch no TV or DVDs, play no video games, and only use the computer to check my email once per day or if it's required for a work assignment;
  2. Encourage my friends and family to go screen-free;
  3. Explore new screen-free activities;
  4. Have fun!

Instead of spending time with screens, I will:

  • Go for a walk
  • Read a book (or two or three)
  • Try a new recipe
  • Play board games with my family
  • And hopefully a lot more things!!
So take the challenge...go screen-free for a week!  I will post again on May 6 to let you know about my week.  I'd love to hear what you and your family did during screen-free week!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rapunzel Puppet Show

Thursday, April 18, was our final puppet show of the school year, presented by Brian Henning of the Urban Prairie Puppet Company.  And the show of the day was..."Rapunzel".

Part of the show was done by marionettes and the other part by shadow puppets.  The kids loved watching the witch climb Rapunzel's hair--especially climbing down because the witch would fall on her bottom!

A special thank you to our generous sponsor of this show!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

B is for Bunnies

Preschool Outreach Storytime for April to KinderCare, La Petite Academy, and Welcome School

 Suki: The Very Loud Bunny  by Carmela and Steven D'Amico

Home for a Bunny  by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Garth Williams

What Does Bunny See?  by Linda Sue Park; illustrated by Maggie Smith


Two Little Bunnies
A little brown bunny popped out of the ground
(Make fist with one hand and make bunny ears with two fingers when you say "popped")
Wriggled his whiskers and looked all around.
Then a white little bunny who lived in the grass,
Popped his head out and watched him pass.
(Make fist with one hand and make bunny ears with two fingers when you say "popped")
Then both little bunnies went hippity hop,
Hippity hop, hippity hop.
'Til they came to a wall and had to stop.
Then both the wee bunnies turned themselves around.
And scampered off home to their holes in the ground.
("hop" bunnies behind your back).

Little Bunny
I saw a little bunny go hop, hop, hop.
(make bunny ears with two fingers and hop)
I saw his long ears go flop, flop, flop.
(put hand on head and flop)
I saw his little nose go twink, twink, twink.
(touch nose and wiggle it)
I said, "Little Bunny, won't you stay?"
But he just looked at me and hopped away.
(two finger bunny hops away)

Have you ever seen a bunny?
(tune: Have you ever seen a lassie?")
Stand up and hop like the bunny!

Have you ever seen a bunny, a bunny, a bunny
Have you ever seen a bunny that hops so fast?

He hops and hops and hops and hops
Have you ever seen a bunny that hops so fast?

Have you ever seen a bunny, a bunny, a bunny
Have you ever seen a bunny that hops so slow?

He hops and hops and hops and hops
Have you ever seen a bunny that hops so slow?

Have you ever seen a bunny, a bunny, a bunny
Have you ever seen a bunny that hops on one foot?

He hops and hops and hops and hops
Have you ever seen a bunny that hops on one foot?

Monday, April 15, 2013

National Library Week

What's your favorite library memory?  What is you favorite thing about the library?  As we celebrate National Library Week this is a good opportunity to think about what the library means to you...and how your life would be different without a public library.

My favorite library memory is taking my daughter to "Book Babies"--a special storytime for babies and their parents [Marshall Public Library in Pocatello, Idaho].  This program helped my little girl become excited for books and the library.  Some of the first words she would say were "Book Babies"--she loved to go to the library.  This program ensured we visited the library often, not only to enjoy storytime, but then to explore books and take armfuls of wonderful books home.  She would even "play" Book Babies at home with her stuffed animals.  My daughter is an avid reader today.

My favorite thing about the library is definitely selecting tons of books--for FREE!!  (If I bring them back on time).  Borrowing books from the huge selection lets me try new genres, explore a topic I haven't before, and use the library to find information that will help me.  I've found I enjoy reading non-fiction books, though usually just once, so I don't like to buy them.  Here are a few of the great non-fiction books I've enjoyed from the Bellevue Public Library.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption  by Laura Hillenbrand
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daneil H. Pink

Celebrate National Library Week by stopping by your local library this week--for a program, to check out something new, or re-read an old favorite!

Friday, April 12, 2013

D.E.A.R. Day!

Celebrate "Drop Everything And Read" Day by taking the time today to read to and with your child today!

This day was created to honor beloved children's author Beverly Cleary...maybe most famous for her "Ramona" books.  Ramona is a child that children can relate to.  Her worries, her mischief, and her proud moments.  What better way to celebrate an author than by dropping everything and reading?

My family and I have a tradition we started many years ago.  Most months we will have what we call a "Read-a-thon".  I bring home a huge stack of books from the library, we make some yummy snacks, and we spend the evening reading.  Nothing fancy but it is a time we all enjoy together.
Our Christmas Read-a-thon books
When my daughters were younger I would read aloud to them part of the time, then they could look at books the rest of the time. At first our read-a-thons were only 45 minutes or so.  I always wanted to keep it a positive experience so when they were "done" we were finished for the evening.  But as the years have progressed and we continue to "Drop Everything and Read" some read-a-thon nights last well over two hours.  We sometimes just read picture books, other times we read whatever "chapter book" we want.  But we spend time reading together every month.  It has become one of our favorite family traditions!

So celebrate D.E.A.R. by making reading enjoyable--something your family looks forward to!  And remember, it's a great idea to read aloud to children who know how to read on their own!

To learn more about D.E.A.R. visit the official website.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Y and Z are for...

The last storytime of the school year!  It's hard to believe we made it through the whole alphabet!


In My New Yellow Shirt by Eileen Spinelli; illustrated by Hideko Takahashi

Zip, Whiz, Zoom! by Stephanie Calmenson; illustrated by Dorothy Stott

Flannel Board/Songs/Rhymes

Five yaks yawned a lot--
Time for bed believe it or not.
One closed his eyes and slipped into bed
Good night, good night is what he said.

5 yaks all in bed
They did just what their mother said
They always try hard to obey. 
When they get up they all yell yea!

Bumblebees Buzz
(tune: 3 Blind Mice)
Buzz, buzz, buzz.
Bumblebees buzz.
Buzz over here.
Buzz over there.
They buzz up high and they buzz down low.
Around and around and around they go.
They buzz-buzz fast, and they buzz-buzz slow.
Oh, bumblebees buzz!

I cut out clipart bees for the kids to hold and "fly" around during the song.  This helps to engage the children as they actively participate.

There was an old woman
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn't know what to
She gave them all broth, without any bread
And kissed them all soundly and put them to bed.

Enrichment Activities

Zoo stamps
Little People Zoo set
Yellow Y
Zoo file folder game

Friday, April 5, 2013

W is for...

Back to the alphabet and scurrying to the finish...


Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields; illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Who's Who?  by Ken Geist; illustrated by Henry Cole

Flannel board/Songs/Rhymes

(sung to Bingo)

There was a day when we were blown
And windy was the weather.
And windy was the weather!

There was a day when we were blown
And windy was the weather.
And windy was the weather!

There was a day when we were blown
And windy was the weather.
And windy was the weather!
The Wheels on the Bus

There was a day when we were blown
And windy was the weather.
And windy was the weather!

There was a day when we were blown
And windy was the weather.
And windy was the weather!

There was a day when we were blown
And windy was the weather.
And windy was the weather!

The Wheels on the Bus
(Traditional song)

We used these verse:
Wheels--round and round
Doors--open and shut
Driver--"Move on back!"
Wipers--"Swish, swish, swish"
People--up and down
Babies--"Wah, wah, wah"
Parents--"Sh, sh, sh"
Wheels--round and round
Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!

Enrichment Activities
Wooden Blocks

White chalk, crayon, pencil on black paper

Wind-up Toys (a HUGE hit!)

I also pulled out the indoor hopscotch--just because it's fun!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I {Love} My Library

April's Do It Yourself table celebrates Libraries and Books in connection with International Children's Book Day on April 2, D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Day on April 12, National Library Week-April 14-20, and El Dia de los ninos/El Dia de los libros (Day of the Child/Day of the Book) on April 30.

We have four activities you can do anytime you visit the library this month!

Make your own library mouse similar to this one.

See if you can guess what the library mouse saw in the library

Here's a preview:

Help write the book "L is for Library"

Do some library puzzle pages

We also want to know your favorite library book!!  At the end of the month we will make a list of the might then find a new favorite!

International Children's Book Day

Children's books is what lead me to pursue a career in Children's Librarianship.  I have a passion for children's literature.  I loved to sit on my mother's lap while she read book after book to my sisters and me.  However, when the time came for me to read on my own I turned up a nose to books.  I had a very difficult time learning how to read and books and reading were no longer associated with happy moments.  I sat in class fearing my turn to read aloud in the "round robin".  I did very little reading on my own, so my reading skills did not improve.

Then my fifth grade teacher read aloud to our class every day...and that changed my life!  I still treasure the three books I remember her reading to us...The Westing Game, Gloomy Gus, and The Zero People.
I re-read all those books several times.  I wasn't scared of not "getting it" because I knew what was going on, so if there were words I didn't know that was alright.  Then I branched off to read several other Walt Morey books and even got to meet him when he visited our local library.  I still have his two books he signed for me.

Now that I had 'practiced' reading I was getting more confident and I began exploring other books and found out I really could read and the joy of books came back into my life...and has stayed with me since.

So, on International Children's Book Day I would like to encourage you to read aloud to a child.  They are never too old to enjoy a story and it might just be the spark they need to make reading a part of their lives!

For more information about this day visit the ALSC (Association for Library Service for Children) blog.  .