Friday, June 26, 2015

Get Ready for Kindergarten (Safety Town)

  • Program Goals
    • Introduce kindergarteners to the library
    • Encourage return visits throughout the school year
    • Remind kindergarteners about library safety
  • Evaluation
    • 6-26-15
      • Attendance: 4 classes, plus teachers, aides, and middle school helpers. 100 total
      • Notes: Remember to have funnels for the dirt, or pre-fill them.
    • 6-18-14
      • In the past, I've arranged with individual teachers to visit the summer school kindergarteners and do a storytime. This is fun but exhausting, as I end up doing 4-5 storytimes back to back without a break. This year, with a lot of work from various groups, we arranged the first ever field trip for the summer school kindergarteners - the library! Safety Town is the program that's run for all the kindergarteners in summer school, so they will be learning about bus safety and accompanied by a police officer as part of the program. I also supplied a bibliography and books as resources for Safety Town. So, after I had said (multiple times) how it never rained on my rained. It POURED. So the schedule was kind of screwed up, but it worked well anyways, we just had to cut things short and adjust things a bit. Next year I want to have a big book or something to throw up on the screen for Officer Buckle and Gloria and we need to adapt the science program for fewer adults - styrofoam bowls they can pop the sticks in, and smaller waterproof plates and possibly more staff - the water experiments need a little more adult help than one teacher and one aide can do for 20 kids. If we'd done it outside I'd meant to have chalk as well while the kids waited to be helped, but I think changing the project so they can do more independently would be even better (precut the sails and attach them to the sticks so they just pop them in and then they can test putting stuff in the bowls to make them heavier! Genius!)
  • Lotto Tour
    • I handled the tours; there are supposed to be safety tips for the police officer to do, but he wasn't able to come so I did them myself. Note to self: my stranger danger talk lacks conviction. I'm much better about the possibly disastrous consequences of running on the ramp. We start with putting pennies in the wishing well.
  • Storytime
    • Ms. Pattie did storytime. I have her We Are In A Book by Mo Willems, Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson and the three cat books by Viviane Schwarz and then I think she added various activities of her own.
  • Snack/planting
    • The kids had a snack and watched "Officer Buckle and Gloria" and then took their water bottles to plant bean seeds and decorated them with glitter glue and stickers.
  • Dancing - our local ballet school did short dance classes with each group.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mad Scientists Club: What Floats, What Flies?

  • Program Goals
    • Encourage kids to think about how and why things float and fly
    • Encourage creative thinking and problem solving
    • 40 children and adults in attendance
  • Evaluation
    • 6-25-15
      • Attendance: 45
      • Feedback/Connections: This one took people a little time to get into, but once they had started they really enjoyed it.
      • Notes: I threw a bunch of the plastic balls in the pools and that was fun. The styrofoam plates are not as exciting, because they're guaranteed to float, but we weren't feeling super creative today anyways.
    • 2014
      • Attendance: 40
      • Notes for the future
        • This is actually two programs and normally there would be an experimental portion to go with each project, but I did a special summer combination and dropped those portions. I had an idea right after we started and put tape lines and targets on the floor in front of the ladder we were testing the airplanes from and that was really good - got the kids talking/working on how to make the planes fly in different directions.
Project: Making Boats
  • Styrofoam plates and bowls
  • Ribbon
Project: Making paper airplanes
  • Paper
  • Rulers, pencils, scissors
  • Foil, wax paper, rubber bands, popsicle sticks
  • Paper airplane books

Friday, June 19, 2015

We Explore Favorite Artist Julie Paschkis

Best swirly art in the style of Julie Paschkis!
  • Program Goals
    • Introduce Julie Paschkis and her art
    • Encourage gross and fine motor skills
    • Attendance: 20
  • Evaluation
    • 6-19-15
      • Attendance: 25
      • Feedback/Connections: Several families that were new to me came and really enjoyed the program. One grandma was very interested in Julie Paschkis and would like to use what we did with her own students.
      • Notes: I really need older kids to get the sketching part down, but it was fun anyways.
Art Project Part 1: Paper quilts (10-10:15)
I had two samples - shapes drawn with pencil, which you could then cut your pieces to fit, and a more collage-style quilt.

  • Handmade paper
  • Recycled cardstock
  • Pencils, scissors, glue
Storytime/Snacktime: 10:15-10:40
I call people to storytime with the Storytime Song, then had the parents pass out the snack. We started with Mooshka because we had been making quilts, then Where is Catkin? and finished with P. Zonka. For P. Zonka, I had made copies of Paschkis' art process from Seven Impossible Things' interview and we talked about how she sketched out the chickens, tested the colors, and then put all the pictures and words together.

  • Mooshka: A Quilt Story
  • Where is Catkin?
  • P. Zonka Lays an Egg
cookies, napkins

Art Project Part 2: Painting (10:40-11)
I had pencils if they wanted to sketch first, but my crowd was mostly younger and just enjoyed painting.

  • Pencils
  • Washable paint in no-spill cups
  • 9x12 paper
  • Paintbrushes, aprons, and lots and lots of wipes

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Messy Art Club: Pots and Planting

These are the plastic pots. They look
amazing but take forever to dry and
require a lot more dirt!
  • Program Goals
    • Encourage creativity and problem-solving
    • Allow children to experience different art products and styles
    • Develop fine motor abilities
    • Attendance: 35
  • Evaluation
    • 6-18-15
      • Attendance: 82
      • Feedback/Connections: Lots of new folks, but also quite a few who have been here before and are excited to get their summer pot.
      • Notes: I finally had enough of everything and the parents loved it that I let them decorate pots along with their kids. I only used about 6-8 seed packets b/c I was really firm about the kids only taking 2 seeds each.
    • 6-12-14
      • Attendance: 70
      • Notes: This is the fourth year I've done this. This year it fell on the booksale, but fortunately this is one of those programs where people move through it fast, since I only had a few tables. We used nearly everything! I need to try to get the clay pots, not the plastic ones, since they work better but Walmart runs out of them fast. I nearly ran out of seeds too! I had about 5 packets and it was barely enough.
    • 6-20-13
      • Attendance: 52
      • Notes: This year was a little different b/c I could not get clay pots and we had to use plastic instead, and the paint didn't dry as fast. So, the kids left the pots to dry and I put the dirt outside for them to come back and fill them later. Yeah...those handouts...I dumped that idea after about two club meetings. Meh. I've also let the book display go, since books + paint = disaster and I do new books at Lego Club, so coming up with something themed for each Messy Art Club hurt my brain. 
    • 6-21-12:
      • Attendance: 65
      • Notes: This is the new and improved Messy Art Club! I am going to include a handout for each program and more closely themed book displays. Um...well, this didn't really make any difference. Because the kids went out and came back, nobody ended up looking at the book table. I did get some handouts given out, but I don't think anyone cared. But it's summer and there were about 65 people there. 
Project: Paint pots and plant seeds

How it works: We paint the pots inside (acrylic paint dries super fast) then take them outside and plant seeds in them. Very Important - the kids don't water them until they get home!

Small clay pots or plastic pots (Walmart) (plastic recyclables in case I run out)
Acrylic paint, brushes
Old sheets, paper plates, aprons
dirt, seeds

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Children's Gardens

Last year we had two pools that were supposed to be pizza gardens and pumpkins in the walled garden. It was freezing cold most of the summer and the walled garden dirt turned out to be less than it could be and we got nothing much but a few tomatoes and 1 small pumpkin, very late in the summer.

This year, we were supposed to weed and plant on May 20. It was about 30 degrees. We finally got the plants to use at Go Go Garden and it was pouring rain. So I got my aide and we planted on Saturday. A little at a time and hopefully the gardens will improve slowly over the years.

I thought this bare spot would be nice to put a couple tomato plants, as soon as I scraped off the rough gravel on top. And the gravel underneath. And underneath that. When I got down about a foot and a half, I gave up, dumped some potting soil in, and shoved the plants in. Whatever.

We left the empty half of the walled garden empty while we were waiting for vegetables and then last week someone from the city showed up (without any communication) and planted a bunch of unwanted flowers. Uh....whatever. There was still space left, so we shoved the squash plants and a bunch of bean seeds in there. 

I have doubts about the drainage qualities of these pots, but it's too late now. They have tomatoes and the pool has 2 squash plants and some bean seeds.

From the sidewalk. The city did bring us a bunch of bags of dirt, so all is forgiven. I'm going to use the rest for our planting programs. That railing and bushes hide a staircase down to the basement and the door leads to the landing on the stairs going to the basement. Someday, we plan to turn the bare spots to the right into a butterfly garden.

The walled garden outside the storyroom. The door is an emergency exit.

We plan to have storytimes and programs here, picnicking under the tree, etc. but there's no fence and a busy road right behind the sidewalk, so we're going cautiously.