Friday, January 29, 2016

The [not very] Snowy Day

This is the storytime that got postponed because of "Snowpocalypse 2016" last week.  We didn't get quite the huge amounts of snow forecast (our friends in the mid-Atlantic region got the worst of it), but 7-1/2" of new snow on top of 1-1/2" on the ground from two days earlier is still a large amount for this area.  But, by this week it was almost all gone; all that was left were a few small patches and piles from the cleared parking lots.  In fact, the kids had already forgotten about it, until I reminded them!  But, having had the experience of a big snowstorm the week before made our stories today that much more relatable for them.

We started with our welcome song, then a very brief introduction, and our story song to lead into the first book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  I was in the first generation of children to enjoy this book, and I still have my original copy, though it is a bit worse for wear after going through five kids.  I love using this book each winter, with it's simple yet engaging story, and wonderful illustrations.  Despite it's simplicity, children find it very engaging, plus since most of the kids in this class are of color, it's nice to have a story with a main character that looks like them.  I like seeing if they can predict what will happen when Peter hits the snow-covered tree with a stick, or explain why his snowball disappeared.  I like using the 50th Anniversary Edition because it is a little bit bigger than the standard book.

After that, we did the "It Is Snowing..." song and flannel board that I used yesterday:

"It Is Snowing"

It is snowing, it is snowing,
On my head, on my head.
I need a hat, I need a hat
On my head, on my head.

Other verses:  chest - jacket,
legs - snow pants, feet - snow boots,
hands -  mittens, neck - scarf

For the second book, I brought my son's pop-up version of Snowmen At Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner, which is simply called The Snowmen Pop-Up Book.  I first decided to use it because this class has been so hard to keep engaged, so I hoped that the pop-ups would add more interest to help hold their attention.  Then as I checked it over for condition, I realized it is also edited to be shorter, which made it an even better choice for this group (fyi, the pop-up version omits the pages about drinking cocoa, ice skating, and playing baseball).  I like the cute story of the nightly snowman games that the boy imagines to explain why his snowman looks different the next day, though most kids will correctly explain that it is because it started melting.

And that of course led perfectly into my "Five Little Snowmen".  Since I did this as a rhyme yesterday, I decided to change it up and sing it today, to the tune of "Five Little Ducks Went Out To Play", especially knowing how this group likes to sing.  After showing them all the hand motions and setting up the magnetic board, we sang it first, then did my game version.  See my previous "Flannel Friday" post for full descriptions of all versions.

"Five Little Snowmen"

After that, it was time to settle down and sing our closing song, then pass out stickers and say "good-bye".

How It Went
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about storytime today because this year's class has been so difficult to manage (and it's not just me; the teacher reports the same thing).  But they completely surprised me with how good they were!  By the time we started our first story, they were settled and they stayed that way throughout the first story!  They were engaged, they participated but did not interrupt (much, hey, they're 3), and at the end one little boy even said "Thank you" and asked for another story. 

They did a great job with the first flannel board and song, and though they were just a tiny bit restless at the start of the second book, once they saw the pop-up snowmen, they were fully engaged!  The liked the melting snowmen, and absolutely LOVED my game version of it, and asked to play it again, but we were out of time.  I just love seeing how they giggle with the suspense of waiting to see who will get melted next, and some of the more dramatic death scenes.

So it turned out to be a really great storytime after all, and I felt a little guilty for not being too enthusiastic about it initially.  The shorter, pop-up version of Snowmen... turned out to be perfect for them, and I'm thankful that I happened to have a copy at home!

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