A School Librarian Asks Me to Be Cool

When I was still in training, a school librarian came to an event at the library and asked me and the former librarian to participate in a Read Across America event at her school. Hooray for being approached by other librarians!

So I got in my car on my day off and went out to the school to hang out with the kids. Since it was going to be just me at the event, I had to make a quick call. Do I attempt to sign people up for cards while also trying to keep kids amused with the game I brought? Or do I just have a parent fill out a form so that I can set-up the card back at the library and play with the kids in the meantime? I went with the second option, which turned out to be for the best. We had around 70 kids come by, 52 of whom wanted to play Dr. Seuss Twister with me. If I had been trying to key in card information, I would have been very overwhelmed and probably would have missed the opportunity to have fun with the kiddos.

dr. seuss table 2


dr. seuss twister

I took goodie bags/prizes with me for anyone who played Twister. Whether they won or not, I let them pick between either a glowstick bracelet or a little bag of Dr. Seuss goodies. (Target has a great deal on 15 glowstick bracelets for a $1.) Dr. Seuss Twister entailed finding rhyming Seussical words and then writing one on the spinner and the other on a circle. I printed and taped down my words so that I could re-use the game with different words or none at all.

Since these were elementary kids, some of the younger ones needed a little help, but I was quick to give hints and very forgiving when a child toppled over or couldn’t reach. Since there were so many kids, I let each set of kids go through a few words each before giving them their prize. Fun was had by the smallest and biggest alike.


Kindergarteners Invade!

Last week, I was going to play host to two kindergarten classes coming to the library to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Since we had inclement weather, the event was moved to this week. It was so much fun!

The classes came in two groups and had a police officer for an escort as well as four-ish teachers to assist with each. Both groups had about thirty minutes to spend with me, so I planned something snappy and simple. Here was the plan:

Give quick tour of library
Sing/play: Baby Shark  by the Learning Station
Go over listening and sing: If You’re Ready for a Story
Read: One Fish, Two Fish
Give out clip art and play opposite game
Sing/play: Goldfish by Laurie Berkner
Make craft and eat snacks

I work between two branches, and for the branch the kiddos were visiting, the easiest event space for a group that size is made through converting the city’s council chambers. They graciously let us use it so long as we put everything back immediately and coordinate dates with them. Council chambers are kind of mysterious and fun for kids, but I also dressed up the room for their arrival.
Here’s what it looked like when I was through with it:

table close
I had four tables prepped with crafts–plates and fish to transform into their own fishbowls. Since there was little time between the groups, I made a stack of plates with fish all ready and then just put them on the table when the first group left.
A couple things happened that threw off the plan slightly. One, I left my projector cable that would have allowed me to project videos for music and dancing. I didn’t prepare by having cds as well, but I just decided we could sing and play action games. I also realized we weren’t going to have time for me to pass out snacks to everyone, so I just sent snacks back with the kids to have in their classrooms.
Here’s how the plan actually went:
Kids got a tour of the library on the way in.
Sing/play: Open, Shut Them three times–first slowly and then faster and faster.
Went over listening ears and sang If You’re Ready for a Story
I always talk about listening with every crowd, even kids with teachers there to help. I always ask, “how do you know when someone is really listening to you?” And they think and we talk about how we like someone to look at us when we’re talking to them and they should listen quietly, without talking. I go over this again and again with preschoolers, who always have to think long and hard despite the repetition. It’s a good way to point out positive social behaviors, in my mind.
Read: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Play/talk: Opposite game with the cards pictured above.
I handed out cards with fish from the book. There were enough so that two or three kids would have the same card, so when I called for all the “fast fish,” a small group would stand and act out being fast. Then I’d ask for the opposite and the slow fish would hold up their cards and act slow. This went back and forth for ten different fish, all the opposite of each other.
Play/talk: Simon Says
Craft time
On the way out, most of the kids told me how much they want to come back with their mom and dad. I hope and hope and hope that they do!