Flannel Friday Round Up: Friday, June 3, 2016

Happy June! I hope everyone’s summer is starting SMOOTHLY and GENTLY!!!


Here are our fab entries for this week’s roundup:

Kathryn has Rainbow Bubbles at Fun with Friends at Storytime. LOVE her idea to use tissue paper, which makes the bubbles transparent–what a great touch! She has a rhyme too!

Kelly at Ms Kelly in the Library is Going on a Picnic with some fun food and a short rhyme your group can learn by heart and then respond to! (Yay participation!) This is totally something you can adapt to your own kiddos and community, love it.

Shawn at Read, Rhyme and Sing has a super creative and practical idea for a library-friendly sensory table…with felt of course! Check out this garden! Especially notice the worms being STEM support. 🙂

Jessica has two monster posts at Storytime in the Stacks! I’m a Little Monster is inspired by another Flannel Friday post (I love it when this happens!) and If You See a Little Monster is adapted from a book I am going to have to put on hold–go see what it is!

Kate at Felt Board Magic ALSO has two posts! The first is Three Little Pigs with doors that OPEN on their houses! Her other entry is Ten Green Bottles (which I learned as a 70s child as Ten Bottles of Beer, oh well) BUT her super smart move is to add numbers so you can sequence, and count forwards and backwards, as well as sing the song! ALSO go look at quilting fabric she used for the wall, which makes me want to go to the fabric store tomorrow morning and look for other ideas!

but HOLD THE PHONE–Wendy has two posts AS WELL. WHAT was in the water this week??? This is awesome! Wendy is at Flannel Board Fun and did her version of the classic Fall Is Not Easy, and you must go look at the special leaves she added for her local kiddos! She also sent in Munch Munch Munch, a simple farm counting rhyme with beautifully collaged felt pieces; I love her technique!

Keith returns with an ADORABLE banana! With moveable peels! And a silly rhyme! PLUS bonus dance tips, seriously, you can’t lose. Check it out at Felt-tastic Flannelboard Funtime!

Lisa at Thrive after Three has a super video of how she turns the out of print book The Moon Might Be Milk into a puppet story. This one is new to me and I will definitely try to get my hands on it! Looks like a great story that can go in lots of different directions depending on your theme or your group.

April at Storytime Ukulele brings us a couple of riffs on Ain’t Gonna Rain No More WITH chords and WITH flannel pieces…I bet this is a really fun felt to put together while the kids are watching and singing along. The fully painted figure at the end is a really joyful payoff!

OK! Everyone on your feet for Jennifer and her NEW BLOG Bookwings and her VERY FIRST FLANNEL FRIDAY POST! Featuring her first-ever flannelboard! It’s for The Green Grass Grew All Around and I’m going to be mad for a week that I didn’t think of her brilliant solution for the hole in the ground. Maybe two weeks. Welcome Jennifer!!!

I’m going to hit publish on this so it’s live two minutes before East Coast midnight–then I’ll come back and add my post when I get it finished later tonight. OK! I finished my post before Mountain Time midnight! In the Garden based on a book by Phillis Gershator and Jill McDonald. Cheers!

Thanks everyone, I smiled the whole time I put this together. Love you all.

Find out more about Flannel Friday at our website, see all the past ideas at our Pinterest, and hang out with us on Facebook.

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Flannel Friday: In the Garden

I made this set earlier this year and thank goodness I never posted it because now I have something new for the round up I’m hosting this week!

A few years ago I bought all three of the McDonald/Gershator board books: Who’s In the Forest, Who’s in the Farmyard, and Who’s in the Garden. They are all PERFECT for baby storytime and the illustrations make me smile!


I made a set of shapes to go along with the Garden book:


A big frog, a little frog, a rock, and a white picket fence.


A watering can, a garden hose, and yellow roses.

WHY are the roses yellow and not red? Why do the fence and the hose have a red background?


Because all of our flannelboards have a red background!

I didn’t make patterns, but I looked at the images in the pictures as I cut the felt. You can see the frog and the watering can in the lower left hand of the book in this picture:


What did I do with these pieces? Different things for different ages. With the babies, I put the pictures up, talking about them as I did, with the big frog sitting on the rock at the bottom of the board. Then I had the frog “jump” from the rock to the blue hose! Then back to the rock! Then onto the yellow flowers! Then back to the rock! Then to the orange watering can! Basically this is just a chance to use color words and specific garden vocabulary that the babies might not hear every day. Plus the anticipation! WHERE will the frog jump next??? Maybe she will jump on my HEAD??? Simple pleasures work really well for the babies!

With the older kids I would ask them what garden things they remembered from the book–the hose and the roses are ending rhymes so those were easier to recall. I helped them remember the watering can and the fence with some clues: This is something we use to pour water on our flowers…This is something that keeps the rabbits from coming into your garden and eating the vegetables! As I put the objects up, one of them would have the little frog behind it. Then when the big frog was up on the rock and we’d talked about everything, I’d say, “The big frog is looking for a little frog in the garden! Where do you think little frog is?” If they said the fence, I’d say, “Should we look under the white picket fence?” and expand on their answers a little bit. We’d look until we found the little frog! This is easy to play again if they want to!

One trick for layering pieces like this that I learned from Miss Elisabeth, one of the smart storytimers on my team, is to put a Velcro dot on the back of item that’s underneath, on the lowest layer. The extra sticky from the Velcro dot will help keep the frog (in this case) attached to the board instead of pulling off with the top piece and ruining your reveal!

I had the round up this week and it’s a GREAT one. Go check it out!

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Two Years In

Today is my two-year anniversary of becoming a supervisor and working with a team of storytime providers and early literacy staff at my library! Yesterday I posted this to Facebook, and I wanted to share it here too:

Thursday is my 2-year anniversary as Storytime Supervisor! This has been, hands down, the hardest two years of my career, and the sharpest learning curve–even counting my first years as a baby librarian who didn’t know anything, or the year I wound up chairing CLEL back when CLEL didn’t know anything. But my team is amazing and I feel like I’ve finally discovered a lot of the tools I need to do the job well, and also have a new opportunity to delegate some tasks that turned out not to fit on my plate.

The short story is I’m not feeling overwhelmed every day anymore, and really looking forward to the next phase, which will include more reading and thinking and writing about storytime again. Mel’s Desk is one of the things that has to fall to the bottom of the priority list when I have other responsibilities, but I always miss it, and you, and appreciate your patience with my consistently erratic post schedule.

Here’s to blue skies for all of us this summer.


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Flannel Friday: Things That Go (pt 1)


I didn’t quite get this finished in time–either the set OR this post!

But this is what I have so far for a version of the Where Does This Go? matching game that Miss Mary Liberry posted FIVE YEARS AGO and I have been meaning to make ever since.

There’s no rhyme for this, though you could make one up if you wanted to! I use it the way Mary does, as a conversation prompt, talking about all the forms of transportation, and where they belong. For the toddlers, I put up all the things-that-go first, then I put the places up, but next to the wrong vehicles, pretending I had it right: “So the plane goes on the train tracks and the car goes in the water…” They were VERY happy to help me get them straightened out. As we figured out the correct match, I moved the vehicle over onto the location piece. With preschoolers, you could ask them to think of the correct match without looking at the pieces. “What goes on the water? What goes in the sky?”

Andrea at Roving Fiddlehead and Mollie at What Happens in Storytime have their own versions, too!

The fun thing about making this was that I used the train from my Train set and the rocket from the Outer Space set!

I would like to add a tricycle on a bike path and a submarine under the ocean…oooh, and maybe a sled for the snow???

I had the round up this week! Find out more about Flannel Friday at our website, see all the past ideas at our Pinterest (including the Transportation board), and hang out with us on Facebook.

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Flannel Friday Round Up April 15, 2016

Hi team!


Yay I have the round up this week!

UPDATE 4/16: I did not think it was possible but someone was up even later than me! Jessica posted a link and I missed it, but you should NOT! It’s her very first Flannel Friday, a whole Dogs storytime with an adorable version of Where O Where Has My Little Dog Gone as a guessing game. Excellent! Thanks Jessica for joining us and I’m sorry I was late!

Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime shares a set of veggies and a “gardenful” of ideas for using them…including links to a couple of songs and the ever-popular felt-shape-eating puppet trick! Stop by her post for a couple more ideas as well! Also, everyone give Kathryn a standing ovation for going over and above this year with extra shifts being our Pinterest pinner. Thank you, Kathryn!

Wendy at Flannel Board Fun has TWO entries this week–an “inspired by Flannel Friday” version of A House for Birdie. This one has been on my own to-make list FOREVER and this beautiful set is bumping it up to the top! She also shares a very cute Five Little Ducks set.

Lisa at Thrive After Three shares a technique for making simple “costumes” for puppets or dolls, which you can use to help tell a story in storytime. I think this could be used for a wide range of puppet shapes and sizes!

Speaking of Lisa! Jennifer at Storytime with Miss Jennifer made her puppet version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Looking good! I can see this version working VERY well for my baby storytimes.

Annie at So Tomorrow wrote her own rhyme to go with a set of pirate stuffed toys…I love being reminded that we can make our own version of practically any rhyme or song to fit a new theme or idea!

That’s exactly what Emily did at Literary Hoots! She made her own rhyme inspired by one she found online, AND made her own clip art ice cream images to go with. Head on over to her post because she is generously sharing her files!

I’ve seen a few different flannelboards to go along with Jamberry, but Carol took her set in a fresh direction that is simple and effective! See how she piles up blueberries and counts them into a canoe at her blog Magical Library Book Bug.

We’ll wrap up with a Not-a-Flannel Friday post from Jane at Piper Loves the Library: A home-grown Sesame Street photobomb opportunity for National Library Week! She also reviews the new Denise Fleming book which is “just waiting to be flannelized”!

Another Update 4/16: I was late with my own post: Things That Go!

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Please Vote for our Conversation Starter!

A couple of months ago, Marge Loch-Wouters suggested that she and I propose a Conversation Starter for ALA Annual 2016 on being intentional about managing our professional and personal time by saying “no” to opportunities.

Guess what, I said yes!

(Irony Meter Levels: Quite High)

Irony meter photo irony.gif

We’re pretty excited about sharing the strategies we’ve gathered through trial and error (lots of trial, lots of error) to manage our workloads, both at work in our library departments as well as our extracurricular professional obligations outside of our day jobs.

If this sounds like it would be of value to you, and if you’re an ALA member, please hop over to ALA Connect and vote for our session! You can find our program proposal here: You Say Yes, I Say No: Achieving ALL. THE. THINGS.

While you’re there, take a look at all the other proposals too. We have some pretty smart colleagues with great things to say!

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20 Years of Storytime


In January I posted this pic in Instagram with the caption “2016 = twenty years of planning storytime.”

In 1995 I graduated library school, and in early 1996 I landed my first library job and was given a weekly storytime, so that’s where I’m starting my official count. Unlike a lot of librarians, I had NO experience with storytime before I went to library school. So my children’s services class was the first chance I had to put together a storytime agenda.

Guess what?

It was pretty mediocre.

How do I know?

I still have it!


I look at this plan and I think of ALL THE THINGS I have learned about storytime, and kids, and presenting, and cognitive & physical development, and group dynamics, and early literacy, and children’s literature, and ten other things I am forgetting at the moment, over the thousand storytimes I have shared.

I would grade myself much more harshly than my professor did! 🙂

Out of this entire list, I would, maybe, keep The More We Get Together, Where’s My Teddy, and Teddy Bear Teddy Bear in a storytime I planned now. I put storytimes together in a completely different way. I look for different qualities in my rhymes and fingerplays. My time is more evenly balanced between books and activities. This doesn’t even feel like one of “my” storytimes!

I love that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I can’t wait to do another 10 or 15 years of storytime and see where I end up!

What have you learned since you’ve started storytime? What’s different about your storytimes now?

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One Like One Book

The weekend of March 4-5 a meme floated around Twitter:


For every “like” on a tweet with that image, the poster would list one book. Any book. ANY book! There were no rules, so after putting about 100 books on hold from reading everyone else’s lists, I decided I’d like to post picture books, so I jumped in. This isn’t in any order, and isn’t even a personal best-of…I posted a mix of books from my childhood, titles that have impressed me, stories my kids loved…kind of shooting for a list of titles off the beaten path.

I wound up really liking the list so I thought I’d share it here, too, with the captions I wrote to go with each title. The images are mostly quick snaps from around the house, so they aren’t that great!


1. Trolley, by Taniuchi. This was in my house as a kid & I remember REALLY PUZZLING over the tracks in the air.


2. Can’t Sleep, by Raschka. One of the most exquisitely paced picture books I’ve ever read. This is one book I really don’t read dialogically because I just want to present the text as written.


3. Niño Wrestles the World, by Morales. When I saw this book I knew the Bell Awards really were going to work!


4. Pish, Posh, said Hieronymous Bosch, by Willard/The Dillons. “In this vale of tears we must take what we’re sent / Feathery, leathery, lovely, or bent.”


5. Big Momma Makes the World, by Root/Oxenbury. A gentle, theologically-sound, female-centric Creation story.


6. An Undone Fairy Tale, by Lendler/Martin. My kids and I have read this dozens of times & we still laugh out loud.


7. The Water of Life, by Rogasky/Hyman. Familiar tropes; fresh narrative; and a princess who knows what she wants.


8. More Poems to Read to the Very Young, sel Frank/ill Wilson. I still know half of these poems by heart; thanks Mom!


9. To Everything There Is a Season, by the Dillons. I gave this to each of my kids when they were babies.


10. Katy and the Big Snow, by Burton. Mike is OK but Katy is the best. I spent hours tracing her path on the maps.


11. Polar Bear Night, by Thompson/Savage. Utterly respectful child’s point-of-view with absolutely zero noisy grownup agenda.


12. A New Year’s Reunion, by Li-Qiong Yu/Cheng-Liang Zhu. I am still devastated by the leave-taking in this story.


13. The Stinky Cheese Man, by Scieszka/Smith. I was a bookseller when Stinky Cheese Man was published; we call books gamechangers but this really was.


14. The Three Questions, by Muth. My pick for a graduation gift book over pretty much any of the cute ones!


15. Shadow, by Lee. Suzy Lee is a gift to us all and she needs to create at least 73 more books.


16. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, by Kimmel/Stevens. Hands-down my fave story to tell; great read-aloud too.


17. Max, by Graham. All of Graham’s families just shine out with their love for each other.


18. Me…Jane, by McDonnell. A master class in writing a big story one well-crafted page turn at a time.


19. All the World, by Scanlon/Frazee. Reading aloud any two of these pages–ANY two–will make me verklempt.


20. Be Nice to Spiders, by Graham. All her kids go through life with their eyebrows raised and their interest high.


21. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, by Barnett/Klassen. “The Golden Age of Picture Books” is never, ever over.


22. Sunbread, by Kleven. My 15 year old daughter and I have been reading this and making the recipe together for 12 years.

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2016 Resolutions

Nothing like getting your act together in time for the 75th day of the year! (nb Thursday night: I pinkie swear I wrote this Monday to post Tuesday, so much for getting my act together)


Last week I posted about last year’s goals, and primarily the realization that I had a stated goal (to stay on top of things) but what I was really hoping for was to meet an unstated goal (to work ahead of the curve). I’ve been thinking about THIS year, and I have to admit that “working ahead of the curve” still sounds really appealing. So I’m going to make that this year’s goal–now that I have some more tools and procedures in place, I do want to be able to plan ahead with trainings and schedules, and not always be working in a reactive mode. I’d like to feel a little more on top of events and use my checklists to be proactive about as many tasks as possible. That’s really a “process” goal–about HOW I want to get work done.

But I also have a “content” goal, about WHAT work I want to accomplish, and that’s to think even more deeply about our storytime competencies, and what rubrics I might be able to construct to go along with each one. All with an eye towards being able to be as precise as possible when teaching and mentoring storytime skills, to have possible strategies and potential exercises thought out ahead of time, so if and when staff identify a skill they’d like to improve, I’m ready with some ideas for how we can approach that learning.

We’ll see! There’s still 291 days to go!

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I Resolved to Rock in 2015 and I Did

…even if it wasn’t in the way that I had planned on.


I was feeling confident, early in 2015, that in completing my first year at my new job, I would be able to clear the time and space to “stay on top of things” in the year ahead.

Staying on top of the routine tasks, keeping on top of the to-do-list making so I don’t panic about what’s not on it, thinking ahead and being proactive instead of reactive with planning…There are 9 million different ways this could look, but I hope it looks like less anxiety about opening my email, more blog posts here, being able to plan farther ahead, having some time to think more deeply about storytime and training staff.

For the most part, I did stay on top of the essential tasks, I hit my deadlines, I worked on storytime training with my team, I stopped being quite so anxious about opening email; all great accomplishments. But I didn’t realize how much I would still be learning, in year two, about the job and about what routines and disciplines I needed to have in place to do the job as well as I wanted to. So I couldn’t be as proactive with planning as I wanted, or think as deeply about how to mentor, and certainly the hope for more blog posts was a bust!

Well, “staying on top of things” was a great goal anyway, and one I was able to meet, even if now I can look back and realize that what I REALLY meant by “staying on top of things” was “working ahead of the curve” which I couldn’t quite pull off yet. But with “staying on top of things” as my lens I was able to spend the year creating the tools that 14 months ago I still didn’t know I needed. Now I am going into this new year with an accurate daily checklist, a roadtested list-building & planner routine, and better ways to capture info while I am not at my desk. I have a lot more practice with routine supervisor tasks such as creating schedules and approving timecards so they take less time, and everyone in the district is getting used to our new storytime staffing plan which means fewer emails are coming in, and THAT takes less time. And we even hired a new librarian* who will be able to help with some ongoing programs and services I’ve never been able to prioritize as highly as I should have.

So yay 2015! It was another tough year but I learned a lot, and I’m even in a place now where I’m building my list of the final new-supervisor projects I want to finish before my 2-year anniversary in May. I’m still not sure what my 2016 Resolve to Rock** resolution will be, but come back next week to find out what I decide!


*re: the new librarian

**re: other resolutions, find them at Storytime Underground!

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