Thursday, December 18, 2014

December Outreach: Believe in the Christmas Wombat

  • Program Goals
    • Offer a neutral holiday storytime
    • Learn about animals in winter
    • Distribute outreach brochure and encourage kids to visit the library
    • Take remote collections to schools
  • 2014 Notes
    • TLC afternoon (4K) (8): I took our temping reference associate with me. Despite my sinus infection, I didn't lose my voice and the kids sat still for Sister Bear, loved Christmas Wombat and the whole program went well.
    • Tibbets Kindergarten (Gunderson) (20): The schedule for my kindergarten visits has changed - it's now Tuesday early afternoon and I'm visiting the classes in the exact opposite order! This class is always a bit wiggly but they were off the walls today. The teacher said next year she'd try to make sure I didn't visit after the holiday program rehearsal. I was also really frustrated that my Who would like a Christmas tree pieces, which I'd put magnets on just last week, lost their magnets so fast (not the kids' fault). I was pretty hoarse by the time this group was done.
    • Tibbets Kindergarten (Shively-Smith) (20): The teacher let me know right before I started that they had a child that did not do Christmas, so no Christmas books. This would have been helpful to know earlier, back when I contacted all the teachers before I came, but probably the parents hadn't told her at that point either (and the Christmas Wombat knows plenty of things slip my mind as well). This is why I take mostly neutral books. I did Who would like a Christmas tree (without the flannel board) and trying to remember to talk about pine trees, not Christmas trees and skipping the part at the end about December. I did Sister Bear and just said "midwinter" in place of the couple instances of Christmas and Waiting for Winter. We melted as snowmen and then, since they were all on the floor, did "Hop Hop Little Bunnies."
    • Tibbets Kindergarten (Buechel) (20): This class had a substitute and were very consciously being "good for the special teacher" so it was pretty smooth sailing (except for the farting incident). Lots of "it's a bear!" wombat skeptics though.
    • TLC morning (4K) (Amanda) (13): Quite well-behaved and the blend I tried - Waiting for winter to "five little snowmen" to "hop hop little bunnies" to "five little cookies" and then the ending song worked really well. When I read Sister Bear they all told me "that was a GOOD story"
    • TLC morning (4K) (Emily) (13): Not so well-behaved. Last minutes of storytime devoted to battle of wills with naughty four year old who kept disrupting storytime by yelling "POOP". Like the wombat, I won. Mostly.
    • TLC morning (3 yr olds) (12): Started on a low note with a shoving match while they cleaned up the rug for storytime and a child who started yelling "I DON'T LIKE THE LIBRARIAN" but we recovered and had a fun storytime (albeit somewhat sniffly from the back).
    • Note to self - schedule December outreach visits earlier or not at all next year. Oy.
  • 2013 Notes
    • TLC afternoon (4K) (15): The youngest/wiggliest class. Christmas Wombat they found funny, Five Little Snowman got very hectic - lots of "I can't seeeee", abridged Story of Snow, Footprints in the Snow, Millie in the Snow. They wanted to do "Hop little bunnies" but my neck and back were hurting so I did the closing song instead a couple times.
    • TLC morning (4K) (Kate): This group is still obsessed with the length of the stories. They want to know before every book how long it will be.
    • TLC morning (4K) (Emily): In this class I encountered the WOMBAT SKEPTICS. Nothing I could say would convince them that the wombat in Christmas Wombat was a real animal. They were sure it was a bear and I was just calling it a silly  name. Oy. I will have to bring my marsupial book next time.
    • Tibbets Kindergarten (Buechel) (20): I had to cut this a bit short as I needed to be at the youth services committee. They were a bit restless, but I didn't want to try to do any movement, since they were all eating cookies while I was reading aloud.
  • Sister bear by Jane Yolen
  • Soup Day by Melissa Iwai
  • Christmas Wombat by Jackie French
  • Millie in the snow by Alexander Steffensmeier
  • Very Fuddles Christmas by Fran Vischer
  • Waiting for winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser
Remote Collections
  • Christmas, winter, just for fun

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gingerbread Man storytime

  • Program Goals
    • Offer a neutral holiday program
    • Offer a program on no 4K day
    • Introduce children to different versions of a folktale
    • Attendance: 20
  • Evaluation
    • 12-17-14
      • Attendance: 25
      • Connections/feedback: A couple regular attendees and some new families showed up. They really loved the scavenger hunt. 
      • Notes: I don't normally offer a program after the big Santa's Kitchen ending program the previous Saturday, but this year I wanted to keep up having programs on the no 4K Wednesday. I adapted my We Explore format for this and it was a casual, fun storytime. However, this was stressful in conjunction with my end of year projects. I don't know that I would do it again. The flip books weren't really used b/c they didn't get put together correctly.
Project 1: Make your own gingerbread man story  (10-10:15)
I had the kids get started by picking out paper die cuts of animals, gingerbread people, etc. They taped them to popsicle sticks and then got started decorating them.

  • Die cut shapes (gingerbread people, animals)
  • Markers, glitter
  • Buttons, yarn
  • Glue, scissors

Storytime/Snacktime: 10:15-10:40
Collect everyone with the Storytime Song, ask parents to pass out snack. I ended with Catch that Cookie and then the kids could either start right away on the second craft, or go out and do the scavenger hunt. Some teens decorated a bunch of paper gingerbread people and I had a staff person hide them around the library during storytime.

  • Gingerbread boy by Beatrice Rodriguez
  • Pancake boy by Lorinda Cauley
  • Senorita Gordita
  • Catch that cookie by Hallie Durand

Vocabulary and early literacy skills
  • Folktale
  • Gingerbread Man and variations (cultural knowledge)
  • Pancake, Gingerbread
  • Different animal names
  • Recognizing the tale and changes made to it
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Animal crackers (for kids who don't like gingerbread)
  • napkins, plastic cups
Project 2: Flip Books (10:40-11)
These were pre-made for the kids to decorate. I had a volunteer trace my large gingerbread man shape onto cardstock. Three sheets are stapled together and then cut partway across at the neck and waist. Kids decorate each one and then you flip the pages to match up different expressions/clothes/etc.

  • Pre-made flip books
  • All supplies from previous project still out

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Santa's Kitchen

  • Program Goals
    • Offer a community holiday program
    • Offer a weekend program to finish off the semester
    • Encourage new families to visit the library and connect
  • Evaluation
    • 12-13-14
      • Attendance: 70
      • Connections/Feedback: Several return visits, new people, and a family I have been trying to coax into programs for months (there's a language barrier).
      • Notes: Our local ballet studio asked to be involved this year and I could fit them into the lobby, where we'd had carolers in past years, and it meant I didn't feel a need to have music or a movie playing in the community room, which meant less chaos. I need to remind staff that registration is never "required" (and I could probably take registration off for this one) as some people wanted to come at the last minute and were told they couldn't, even though I had space. We had a lot of cookies left over and with the extra stations of the dancers I could fit more people in. 
      • This year I had already spent a lot of money on ornaments for the Messy Art Club and didn't have access to the local place where I usually buy the wire stars, so we did a simpler ornament craft - paper chains and pipe cleaners to make the beaded stars.
      • My director and aide both started at 9 to help set up and I scheduled the aide to 1pm, which worked well. The Toe to Toe dancers were a huge hit and would like to make this an annual event, which is awesome.
    • 12-14-13:
      • Notes: I started setting up with my aide at 9am and was barely done in time to start at 10:30. Next year I need to either have two helpers or start earlier. I also only scheduled her to 12, but that's when we finished and we still needed to clean up! Next year I'll schedule her to 1 and/or have another person. I also bought mini Reese's pieces on a whim and it turned out I had a lot of mild peanut allergies among the kids, so that won't be a decoration next year. We got TONS of free sprinkles from the school, so I won't need more sprinkles for another 20 years...
      • I thought about having the kids decorate their paper plates, but turned out we didn't need an additional craft. The high schoolers have come and sung carols for us before, but I wasn't able to set that up this year. The parks and recreation department sent over wrapping paper for a wrapping station and while it wasn't hugely popular, enough kids did it that it was worth rearranging to fit it in.
I was sure I'd written this program up earlier than 2013, but either I lost it when I transferred to this new blog or I just dreamed that I did. That happens to me a lot - I'm very productive in my dreams. This is our traditional end of year holiday program. I do it on the 2nd Saturday in December and it marks the end of our programming for the year. I've been doing it for quite a while - in 2010 we did gingerbread houses (hugely popular but a massive time sink) and then starting in 2011 we switched to cookie decorating. I added ornaments in 2012 and that's pretty much what we'll probably stick with going forward.

Project: Wire star ornaments

  • 50 wire stars (about $30)
  • beads, pliers (borrowed additional pairs)
  • ribbon, scissors
  • Pipecleaners, beads
  • Ribbon, scissors
Cookie decorating

  • 250 plain sugar cookies in holiday shapes and 6 lbs red, green, and white frosting ($87)
  • Cookie decorations - m&ms, sprinkles, chocolate chips ($30?)
  • paper plates, popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, plastic bowls
  • wrapping paper (to cover tables) holiday serving dishes and napkins (9 yards of wrapping paper only covers 3 tables)
  • One table cattycorner by the door for the cookies, one table next to that for books, borrowed a table from the Storyroom catty corner to that for the wrapping station. Every other table in the community room was lined up with 4 for star ornaments, 2 for pipe cleaner ornaments, and everything else for cookies.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We Explore Nature: Animals in Winter

  • Program Goals
    • Learn about animals in winter
    • Offer a non-holiday winter program
    • Encourage kids to go outside and explore
    • Develop early literacy skills
    • Attendance: 20
  • Evaluation
    • 12-12-14
      • Attendance: 10
      • Feedback/Connections
      • Notes: After this year, We Explore Nature will be once a month for no 4K day, so it will be directed at a slightly older audience. I also don't usually do these in December and there was a huge program in the community room, so not an auspicious occasion.
Project 1: Animal Collage (10-10:15)
Kids cut out and glue animal pictures to paper. Encourage parents to write what the kids think the animals do in winter.

  • Magazines, paper
  • scissors, glue
Storytime/Snacktime: 10:15-10:40
Collect everyone with the Storytime Song, ask parents to pass out snack. Many of these books are more conversations with the younger kids - we talk about each animal and what they do in winter.

  • Waiting for winter by Sebastian Meschenmoscher
  • Bear dreams by Elisha Cooper
  • North by Nick Dowson
  • Over and under the snow by Kate Messner
  • Time to sleep by Denise Fleming
  • Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle
  • Under the snow by Melissa Stewart
  • Who would like a Christmas Tree by Ellen Obed

  • Migration
  • Hibernation
  • Winter
  • Seasons
  • Animals (bears, salamanders, skunks, caribou, etc.)
  • Animal crackers
  • dixie cups, napkins
Project 2: Animals winter camouflage/Puppet time (10:40-11)
I had paper with a slit pre-cut in it. The kids decorated die cut animals, taped them to popsicle sticks, and had them "hide" in the paper. I also opened up the puppet theater for them to play.

  • White paper (pre-cut)
  • Die cuts
  • Popsicle sticks, markers, tape

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Messy Art Club: Holiday Ornaments

  • Program Goals
    • Offer an inexpensive holiday program for families
    • Offer a fairly holiday-neutral program that everyone can participate in
    • Encourage creativity and using different art styles/materials
    • Help build gross and fine motor skills
    • 30-60 attendance
  • Evaluation
    • 12-11-14
      • Attendance: 80
      • Connections/Feedback: Lots of people at the last minute, which was fine since I'm planning to extend this program to 5:30 next year. Most of these were people who haven't been in a while and they were very happy that we had enough for them and let them come at the end.
      • Notes: This year I found plastic ornaments from S&S Worldwide and ceramic ornaments from Discount School Supply. I bought them on sale so they were fairly cheap and I bought a lot, because attendance for this kind of thing can vary.
    • 12-5-13
      • Attendance: 60
      • Notes: I changed up the project because people had gotten bored with the glitter pinecones and 3-D paper ornaments. I wanted split open ornaments but couldn't find them - I used acrylic balls from Michaels (50 for about $35) and we made paper chains.
    • 12-6-12
      • Attendance: 50
      • Notes: We made glitter pine cones and 3-D paper ornaments. Having plastic tubs instead of leaky cardboard boxes for the glitter was a great improvement. I played some Christmas music because people came and went in small groups and it was really quiet.
Project: Ceramic ornaments
I got a deal on these, otherwise to get enough for potentially 50-60 people is too expensive. 

  • Ceramic ornaments (60?) (Discount School Supply)
  • Acrylic paint, brushes, aprons, paper plates, wax paper (to dry them on)

Project: Ornament Balls
When I can find the ones that snap shut, I have packing tape available because you usually have to tape them to secure them. If using the ones that don't open, expect lots of kids to just fill them with sequins. If you do this project at the same time as the ceramic ornaments, you can paint these as well.

  • Sequins, ribbon
  • glitter glue, glue, packing tape
  • snowflake punch

Project: Paper chains
If you don't have fancy paper, regular paper and markers works just fine.

  • Paper, markers, scissors, tape
Project: Glitter Pinecones
The important thing with this is to have enough big tubs to shake the glitter over and to remind people to tie their strings on FIRST.


  • Pinecones, yarn or ribbon
  • Glitter, glue, large plastic tubs

Project: 3-D paper ornaments
You fold the die cuts in half, glue the halves together. You do need symmetrical shapes. You need at least four, but you can add more and make it fancier. It works best if you glue the yarn or ribbon down the middle while/before you add shapes.

  • die cut shapes (Christmas trees, stars, gingerbread men)
  • hole punches, markers, scissors