Tag Archives: program

…And Now a Short Break

3 Aug

Kriston Jae Bethel

I’m taking a quick break today from my regularly scheduled blogging to blog-brag a little about the my partner’s amazing skills when it comes to photography and graphic design. I’m going to try really hard not to get too mushy, but he’s got some amazing skills and is brave enough to choose to work (as a freelancer) in an industry that is misunderstood, similarly to libraries (my phone has a camera, why do we need to hire a photographer?), and excel at what he does. Kriston is an editorial photographer working in Philadelphia (and surrounding areas) and has been dappling in illustration for the past month or so working on his graphic design skills, which means creative projects that he gets to have fun and play around with while trying new techniques. In reality, he gets the chance to combine his love of music, puns and illustration to create this awesome graphic for the upcoming eclipse.  A lot of libraries are offering programs about the solar eclipse and are handing out solar eclipse glasses, so if you’re so inclined, you are more than welcome to use this image (please credit him!).

To learn more about how he created this image, check out his Behance page to see the step-by-step process for creating something like this (it’s way more advanced than I imagined it to be). And follow him on Instagram (@kjbethel) for a chance to check out some of his amazing photographs.

And stay tuned, because tomorrow we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program…


Girl Scout Visit – Yoga

2 Mar

I had a visit from a Girl Scout troop this week and was requested to provide a short yoga/book program for the girls. I was well-prepared and created an entire lesson plan the week before, but about an hour before the girls came, I switched everything up and I’m so glad I did!

Here’s what we did:

First, I talked with the girls about yoga and asked them to share what they already knew. This helps me better understand the group and it gives the girls a chance to talk with me instead of just having me lecture them.

What Is Yoga?

  • Originated in Ancient India
  • Longest surviving practices of holistic health care
  • Came to America in the late 1800s
  • Practiced worldwide by all cultures and religions
  • Translated from Sanskrit means “to unite”
  • Connecting the whole self – body, mind and spirit

Benefits of Yoga

  • Healthy body – stretching, improves digestion, increase circulation, motor development, relaxes the body
  • Healthy Mind – reduces stress, expands imagination, calms and clears the mind, increases concentration, and relives tension

Caution – If it hurts, stop doing it!

After our conversation, we started working on breathing. I stressed that yoga is useful for when you feel stressed or have too many thoughts in your brain or if you body wants to keep moving , but you have to be still or if you’re really angry – you can use yoga to calm yourself down.

We started with a few breathing exercises from Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn.

  • Conductor Breath
  • Bumblebee Bee Breath
  • Lion’s Breath

Then I read, You Are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo and we practiced each pose as we came to it in the book, guessing what animal it would be.

After our story we did a few sun salutations – the girls were really receptive to breathing at the right times and really trying their best, especially when we got to the plank pose and had to engage our core muscles.

Then we settled down and I read, I Am Yoga by Susan Verde – a beautiful story with a female protagonist as she learns how to use yoga to improve her imagination and understand where she fits in.

Then we used Emily Arrow’s song based on I Am Yoga and went back through the story and did all the poses with the pictures. The girls loved the balancing poses the best and did such a great job!

Finally, we did a few calming poses and a gratitude meditation from the same book, Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn.

The girls did a great job and I think they had a lot of fun and many of the parents were very thankful as well and thought that yoga is a missed opportunity in the school system. I think teaching kids to be able to identify their feelings and mediate those feelings are two concepts that are needed more than ever as kids are feeling a lot of pressure from their parents, peers and themselves. Maybe meditation and yoga could help!

Toddler Storytime Theme: Cats

29 Mar

Opening: “Put Your Hands Up In the Air” by Hap Palmer, So Big

Puppet Meet & Greet: Meet Woolly (monkey puppet)

Early Literacy Tip: “Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.  From birth!” (Mem Fox’s Ten Read Aloud Commandments)

Resource Share: Ranger Rick Jr. – Wild Cats (02/16)

Book 1: Pepper & Poe by Frann Preston-Gannon

Transition: “Five Little Ducks” (flannel board)
Five little ducks
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
Mother duck called with a
“Quack, quack, quack”
But only four little ducks came swimming back.

Four little ducks…
Three little ducks…
Two little ducks…
One little duck…

Sad mother duck
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
The sad mother duck said
“Quack, quack, quack.”
And the five little ducks came swimming back.

Book 2: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Transition: “Pussycat, Pussycat” by Caspar Babypants, Sing Along! (rhythm sticks)

Book 3: Max the Brave by Ed Vere

Transition: Max the Brave” by Emily Arrow

Closing: “Shake My Sillies Out” Puppet Show

Storytime Planning

21 Dec

Our storytime schedule runs in 6-week sessions, 4 times a year, which allows me time to make changes, adapt, renovate, and change things that aren’t working.  Our winter session begins at the end of January which means I decided to start thinking about themes, no themes, books, activities, songs and everything else now.  Right before my holiday vacation.  That being said, I’ve got some great ideas and would love to share how I go about planning my storytimes.

I start with theme – I’ve done sessions with themes, without themes and times when I’ve mixed some weeks of themes with other weeks of just really great books.  This seems to be a personal choice, I know librarians who do both and it really depends on what you like.  I tend to like a little more structure, which helps me find the books I want to share.  So for this next session, I’ve thought up my themes by checking other storytime blogs, library websites and thinking about upcoming seasons and holidays.  For this session, I’ll be doing:

  1. Snow
  2. Winter Animals
  3. Winter Clothing
  4. The Color Red (for Chinese New Year & Valentine’s Day)
  5. Cookies
  6. Dinosaurs

I try and make sure to choose themes that will be well-liked across the group of kids I work with – when in doubt, dinosaurs and things-that-go are always really popular.  I also tend to lean toward more “boy” books and themes than “girl” books.

Once I’ve chosen my themes, I then start collecting books.  I’m pretty sure some parents think that I just grab three random books off the shelf, five minuets before storytime happens.  But, in reality I go through at least 5-8 books per theme to chose the best read alouds for a large group of kids (usually toddlers).

After I chose my books, it’s then on to flannelboards, extension activities and songs.  I try and tie these activities into my theme, but it doesn’t always works well.  And again, when in doubt – blow bubbles!

And then I type up my plans, of which I rarely use in storytime, but they’re always great to have if you mind goes blank!  I also like having them as a reference for storytimes in the future and as a great reader’s advisory tool, especially for preschool teachers working on themes.

That’s pretty much how it goes down and then I hope that by the time storytime has started, my books are in, my flannelboards are created and I can remember *most* of the words to any new songs.  How do you plan your storytimes?

Zentangle at the Library

17 Dec

Last night I offered a Zentangle Beginner’s Class at the library as part of our de-stress December events for adults.  The Zentangle class was also offered to tweens and teens and although I was a little nervous about leading an adult class, it went very well with a decent crowd.

I created a Zentangle Basics worksheet for us to get started with and showed a few basic zentangle designs on a large dry erase board at the front of the meeting room.  I also talked briefly about the tools that you can buy or use to create Zentangles and how I got started.  After I showed a few designs, I passed out a number of Zentangle books I borrowed from throughout the county and everyone started working.  It was fun to watch kids from 5th grade to senior citizens working on their projects and everyone seemed to really enjoy trying out this new art method.  And this can be a very inexpensive program, we just printed out the front-and-back of the worksheet and we used just basic, black pens to draw.

If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few books that I love:

I use the fine point Sharpies for my Zentangles, but there are a lot of different options, plus I really enjoy tangling on cardboard coasters because they’re a great size and make a great homemade gift.

Sharpie Fine Point Markers

Square Coasters

Circle Coasters

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