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Friday, October 16, 2015

Monsters Everywhere!

With Halloween coming up, I figured why not devote the whole month to some scary (though sometimes cute) fun and start with "Monsters", especially since there are so many cute monster books that are great read-alouds for this age.

We started with our usual welcome song, introductions, and story song, then led off our Monster theme with a classic, Ed Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster!  I don't know anyone who doesn't love this book.  It is fun, with it's die-cut pages gradually building the monster's face, then gradually eliminating it as well, and I like that it gives the child the power to tell scary things to go away (and a good opportunity to remind them that monsters aren't real, just a product of our imaginations, therefore they can make them go away, too).  It can also be very interactive.  I like to let the kids fill in the blank, naming each facial feature as it's added, and then have them repeat all the "go away's".  (His follow-up book, Nighty Night Little Green Monster is good for younger or really sensitive kids as the monster in it is a cute baby monster, and a good bed-time story).

Next, a chance for a little movement with the action rhyme "Monster, Monster":

               Monster, monster turn around
               Monster, monster touch the ground
               Monster, monster reach up high
               Monster, monster touch the sky
               Monster, monster touch your nose
               Monster, monster touch your toes
               Monster, monster touch your knees
               Monster, monster sit down please     

 [I like how this ends with them sitting to prepare for the next story]

For our second book, I chose Even Monsters... by A. J. Smith which shows how monsters do some of the same things that children do, like put on clean underwear, finish their dinner, take a bath, brush their teeth, play soccer, even though they may do them just a little differently.  I like how it ends showing that even monsters can get scared of the dark and need a good-night kiss from their mothers.  There are opportunities for the kids to mimic the  monster noises, such as growl, howl, snarl, and grumble.

Next lots of movement and noise, not to mention fun, pretending to be monsters with the song "If You're A Monster And You Know It"*:

          If you're a monster and you know it, snort and growl.
          If you're a monster and you know it, snort and growl.
          If you're a monster and you know it, and you really want to show it,
          If you're a monster and you know it, snort and growl.

          Smack claws (clap hands), stomp paws (feet), twitch your tail, wiggle your warts
          (face/nose), give a roar, do them all, have a seat [I added this last verse]
              *Taken from Ed Emberley's book of the same name

Then for our last book I chose Monster, Be Good by Natalie Marshall.  I selected this book for several reasons: the illustrations are cute, just the right amount of text, can be made interactive, empowers kids over the monsters, and reinforces appropriate behavior.  I especially liked the part where it says if a monster is being mean to just walk away and say good-bye, which is a great strategy for dealing with other kids who are not playing nice.  I have the kids to repeat all the lines of telling the monsters to do something.  I also like the book has a calm ending, with telling the tired, grumpy monster to go to sleep, then giving him a kiss (I have the kids blow kisses) and say "Goodnight".

Then we ended with our closing song and hand stamps.

How It Went
The kids were really wound up today, but then again they are a particularly energetic, talkative group to begin with.  Part of it was that it had been 3 weeks since I had been there rather than the usual 2 due to fall break, and partly the anticipation of Halloween.  Because I thought this theme would be particularly fun and engaging for them, and the books I had were all pretty interactive and not very long, I decided to try doing 3 books this time.

As expected they loved Go Away, Big Green Monster and they really seemed to enjoy Monster Be Good as well.  They liked Even Monsters...., but had more trouble staying engaged and behaving appropriately and interrupted more with that one.  I guess it wasn't quite interactive enough for this particular group, though some of the kids did really like it, and I've had groups in the past who really loved it. 

And of course they loved pretending to be monster for the "If You're a Monster And You Know It" song, and as they had gotten a little too loud with their roaring and growling previously, I made sure the classroom door was shut and reminded them to give a *quiet* roar at the end.

Though they still need to work on their listening skills, all-in-all I'd say it was a very fun and successful storytime, and they handled adding a 3rd book pretty well.

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