Friday, January 6, 2017

A Bear-y Fun Storytime

Many of our winter-themed picture books in my kit for the Storytime-To-Go program have to do with animals, particularly bears, hibernating. I didn't really feel like talking about winter again, so I decided to do a general "Bear" storytime. We started with our welcome song, and then talked a little about bears and how they would be sleeping, or hibernating, now that it's winter, after eating and getting fat during the fall. We followed that up with a version of the classic "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" rhyme:

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, reach up high.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the sky.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, show your shoes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, I love you!
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch your knees,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, sit down please!

After singing our "story song", we read our first book, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. I love all books illustrated by Jane Chapman, but especially Karma Wilson's Bear books. This one is particularly fun for the kids because in addition to saying the repeated line "But the bear snores on," they get to make snoring sounds. I also like the drama when the bear wakes up and at first seems angry that the other animals are in his cave, but he's really just upset that he missed out on all the fun. For 3-year olds, that's a pretty significant plot twist.

After that we sang my version of a childhood classic, "The Bear Went Over The Mountain":

The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
To see what he could see.

The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all that he could see.

The bear swam across the river...

The other side of the river...

The bear went across the meadow...

He found another bear there,
He found another bear there,
He found another bear there,
Who looked just like him.

And they went off to play,
And they went off to play,
And they went off to play,
And had lots of fun!

Then I brought out a non-fiction book to show all the different kinds of bears, Bears! from Time For Kids. I was really torn between this one, which has photographs of real bears, and Bears! Bears! Bears! by Bob Barner that has a fun rhyming text and a map at the end showing where each type of bear lives. I decided I really wanted them to see real bears, so I went with the first one, but in retrospect, I realize I could have shown them as part of the introduction, then read the second book to elaborate on them as one of the stories. 

Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I found a song on Jbrary that was the perfect follow-up to this, adding a verse for panda bears to the Jbrary version:

"Grizzly Bears"
(to the tune of "Mary Had A Little Lamb")

Grizzly bears are big and brown,
Big and brown, big and brown.
Grizzly bears are big and brown,
And live in the woods.

Polar Bears are soft and white,
Soft and white, soft and white.
Polar bears are soft and white,
And live where it's cold.

Panda bears are white and black,
White and black, white and black.
Panda bears are white and black,
And like to eat bamboo.

Teddy bears are just my size,
Just my size, just my size.
Teddy bears are just the size,
To cuddle with at night.

[I showed a picture corresponding to the bear in each verse,
 then pulled out a real teddy bear at the end.]

I ended up using another one of Karma Wilson's Bear books, also illustrated by Jane Chapman, because it just came out this past year and I always like to introduce new books, and I really thought it would work well as a read aloud.

Big Bear, Small Mouse is the third "concept" book for the series, with the first two focusing on colors and counting. Throughout the story, as we see what Bear and his friends are up to, we are presented with opposite pairs, like big-little, slow-fast, quiet-loud, and cold-warm.

We finished up with our closing song and passed out stickers.

How It Went  
Today was not a typical day, for a number of reasons. First, it was the first storytime after Christmas break. Second, we had our first snowfall of the year overnight, and not only were the kids excited about the snow, but the daycare had opened 1 hour late, so they were off the normal routine. And third, there were two new students who were a little apprehensive. Because of the weather, it was a much smaller group than usual, which was probably a good thing, considering.

Despite the circumstances, the kids did pretty well other than being a bit more chatty than usual, and settled down pretty well after having a chance to tell me about their Christmas presents, and one who got a new baby brother. One of the new students warmed up pretty quickly and started participating, but the second was having a harder time adjusting and clung to one of the teachers the whole time. 

This group really seemed to like Bear Snores On, which I was pleased to see as some groups don't seem to appreciate Bear as much as I do. They didn't really get into "The Bear Went Over The Mountain" at all for some reason, but did like "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" and "Grizzly Bears".  

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