Thursday, February 23, 2017

American Girl Club: Meet Gabriela

Our latest American Girl Club was one of my favorite meetings of the year. We got to learn about the newest American Girl of the Year, Gabriela McBride. It is always fun to focus on a new character, and I continue to enjoy the way the Girls of the Year provide an opportunity to talk about contemporary topics.

When it came to Gabriela, the big ideas I wanted to discuss were community and voice. Gabriela helps raise money for her community's arts center. She also struggles with speaking out because she has a stutter. These two themes come together as she uses her love of poetry and dance to help save the center. As a group, we talked about these things in our brief discussion of the book, which was just enough to give an overview of Gabriela and her story.

What we did: 

  • Our first activity was MadLibs. It is a fun and easy way to play with words and story writing, so I thought it made perfect sense to use for this program. I found a free MadLibs app in the iTunes store (, because I wanted to incorporate our iPads and new projector. I was very happily surprised to learn that the app actually had Gabriela themed MadLibs to complete. We each took turn entering words and then read our communal story aloud. 
  • After MadLibs, we did a poetry game I found called Poetry Charades. I found it on Poetry4Kids. Charades are a fun way to get kids up and moving, and always seem to go over well with kids at my programs. I choose this version of the game in order to incorporate Gabriela's love of spoken word poetry. I especially liked that it provides the kids with a set of actions to guess from. Definitely makes the game a little easier!
  • Our final game was Girl of the Year Bingo (found here). My kids love Bingo, even if the prize is as simple as first crack at checking out one of our American Girl of the Year books. 
  • We ended by snacking on modern delicacies such as cookies, chips and fruit snacks. The craft was meant to be word collages with letter stickers but we did not have a chance to get to that this time. I'll be saving that idea to try again at future American Girl programs.
  • As a take home activity, I also provided a word search about Gabriela and a template to create an acrostic poem.

For information on my other American Girl Club programs (including other American Girls of the Year) see the links below:

Hopefully these ideas come in handy for any programs you may be doing about Gabriela this year. She still has two more books coming out, so I'm sure there is plenty more fun to come! If you have any questions you can get in touch with me here or via Twitter (@MsKellyTweets).

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Flannel Friday Roundup for 2/3/17

I am once again hosting Flannel Friday!

In case you aren't familiar with it, Flannel Friday is a weekly series where librarian bloggers share descriptions of flannel boards and other storytime props. We are always looking for new participants!

For more information about Flannel Friday head over to the Flannel Friday Blog or Pinterest page. You can also follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter. 

We had some great ideas shared this week, so without further ado here they are:

Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime shared some winter themed sets guaranteed to help keep us feeling warm at storytime this winter.

Over at One for the Books Laura contributed a Frozen themed feltboard story starring everyone's favorite cartoon reindeer, Sven.

Speaking of popular characters, Jenni of From the Biblio Files posted about her Pokemon feltboard. I'd choose her recreations anyday!

I always find it fun to see the different ways people adapt books into flannelboards, so I was glad to see Keith from Felt-tastic Flannelboard Fun share his version of My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall.

Kate at Feltboard Magic shared a great pattern and counting rhyme about Three Little Jellyfish.

I wrote about the "Boo Boo Bear" I used at some of my most recent storytimes.

Thanks for stopping by and thank you to all who participated! Next week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Emily from Literary Hoots.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Flannel Friday: Boo Boo Bear

My contribution this Flannel Friday is a flannel set I made up for a recent "Icky Sicky" storytime. I was inspired by the wonderful Storytime Katie. She had the kids place felt "bandaids" on her storytime mascot during her storytime on the same theme, and I adapted the idea into a flannelboard.

To make this set, all I did was use a bear template found online to trace the shape of the bear onto brown flannel. The other pieces were all cut freehand.

When we used "Boo Boo Bear" in preschool storytime I passed out the bandaids to the kids and had them come up to place a bandaid on the bear as I called the colors. This helps them work on both turn taking and color recognition.

For my toddler storytime I turned the bandaids into a way to teach about body parts using this song I found at One Little Librarian:

Bandage Song (to the tune of Farmer in the Dell)
Put a bandage on my knee,
Put a bandage on my knee,
Oh please take care of me,
Put a bandage on my knee.

Put a bandage on my head,
Put a bandage on my head,
Please put me to bed,
Put a bandage on my head

Once again each child received a bandaid, but this time we put them on various body parts as we sang the song. This is a fun way of introducing the names for body parts, which is important vocabulary for this age group.

The Flannel Friday Roundup this week is hosted by me! To add your ideas head over to the placeholder post and share a link in the comments. To participate in upcoming roundups, or get more great storytime ideas head over to the Flannel Friday Blog or Pinterest page. You can also follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.