Thursday, May 3, 2012
Our guest blogger today is Amanda Struckmeyer, a YSS member from the Middleton Public Library.
After our opening song, I often introduce storytime themes with a piece of mail. I would guess that most storytimers don’t receive a lot of “real” mail, so this is exciting for them and it really grabs their attention. It’s also a sneaky way for me to incorporate some teaching. The whole process takes about two minutes.
I read the entire address, pointing to the words as I go. I use each part of the address as a clue that this piece of mail might be intended for us.
“’Storytime’. That’s us! ‘Middleton Public Library.’ That’s our library! ‘Middleton.’ That’s our city! ‘Wisconsin.’ That’s our state! ‘53562.’ That’s our ZIP code; this mail must be for us!”
Did you catch the sneaky teaching? Some kids might not have heard of a ZIP code before, and it never hurts to reinforce the ideas of city and state.
I read the return address aloud, too, so that we can find out who the mail is from before we open it. Usually, this is a clue as to what our storytime theme will be that day. I would love to improve this tool by adding thematic paper stamps, but for now, they are simply drawn on the envelopes.
The mail always includes a letter and some kind of clue pertaining to our theme. This particular clue is a flannel puzzle in the shape of a pig, which I put together on the flannel board as I read the letter aloud.
“Dear Storytime, here is a clue for you! First, put the big oval on the flannel board. Next, place the four rectangles underneath the oval. Now put the bigger circle on one end of the oval, and put the two triangles above the circle. Place the smaller circle on top of the bigger circle. Add the two eyes above the smaller circle. Now put the curly tail on the end of the oval. Have fun reading today! Love, Farmer Janice.”
I stop throughout and we decide together which of the circles is smaller and bigger, where exactly to put the eyes, and such. Because I am placing the flannel pieces, the puzzle always comes out looking like the intended object.