Friday, September 9, 2016

Farm Animals Story Time

***This is the first of what I hope will be several Story Time plans, in an attempt to share with all the fellow librarians who have so generously shared their ideas with me!

We kicked off our fall story times with farm animals this year - mainly because I wanted to read Moo! by David LaRochelle.


Before the stories we talked about my expectations for kids and adults, and what we will be doing a little differently this year (more on that in later posts). One thing I am trying to do is incorporate more traditional songs and stories, and what better song for this theme than Old McDonald Had a Farm?

To help, I put together a simple paper bag barn with animals. I asked the kids what animals they might see on a farm, and what sounds they made, then we sang the song with whatever animals I pulled out of the bag.

The printable I used for the animals comes from Ideas for Early Childhood. (I whited out the chick, because it was too small for my purposes.) The barn template is from Get Coloring Pages. (I enlarged slightly and cut off the weather vane.)

Of course, animal sounds segued nicely into the reading of Moo!. If you haven't read it, the entire book has just the one word (with a small twist at the end), so inflection is everything. It is SO much fun to read aloud, and the kids love it. In fact, this group loved it so much, they immediately insisted I read it again! (And I did, with their help). I can tell I am going to have a lot of fun with this year's crew.

Hey, we've talked about what the animals say, but what about the farmer? What does he do and say? Our next story was

Oh, Crumps!
$7.95 PB

The poor farmer, all he wants to do is get some sleep before his full day of work tomorrow, but the kids animals keep waking him up! The parents in the room could certainly identify with his mounting fatigue and confusion - was he going to mow the cow, or climb it? - and the repetitive structure made it easy for kids to chime in. For props I also had a cookie sheet and magnetized pictures of the cow, silo, fence, and hay, along with pictures of a hammer to fix the cow, a bottle to milk the silo, a tractor to mow the fence, and a ladder to climb the Fortunately, I had one young man who insisted on putting all the pictures back where they go when we were all done. I have found my kindred ocd spirit!

Finally, we circled back to our song with

Young McDonald
(currently out of print)

Young MacDonald has built a machine to combine animals, making creatures such as the "cowl" - with a "HooMoo here and a HooMoo there. Here a Hoo, there a Moo..." Talk about a tongue twister! My new little friend kept asking "What about the dog?", until finally the cat pushed a button while the boy was setting that dog into place, and we got...a Bog! He really liked the idea of combining animals, and had his own opinions about how that should go.

This segued nicely into our craft, which was making our own paper bag farm and animals. At least one family switched heads on their animals after coloring them, which was awesome! They were having fun with our

Pre-reading Skill Focus: Of course, most story times will use work to develop all pre-reading skills, but using Young McDonald means this one works especially well with Phonological Awareness. Encourage kids and parents to see what other words they can combine to make up new words. This helps kids focus on the parts of words, finding places to split and combine them. In addition to animals, you can make up words for feelings ("I'm silappy" could mean you are both happy and silly). I had a handout available with some phonological awareness activities, and another one for activities to go with "Little Boy Blue", which continued with the farm theme.

A great beginning to our school year, I can't wait to see what the kids surprise me with next!

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