Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SLP Stories in Action Table

A cartoon donkey drawn in crayon with a speech bubble.
Text reads: "Tell us about a book you've read!"
Late last year we lost our fish tables (tables that looked like fish; not made of fish or specifically for fish), which meant that my space for the Story Action Pods went away. As I was brainstorming a new place for it, I thought about covering one of the tables we already had with butcher paper so kids could draw directly on it,  like some family restaurants do (I don't know which ones those are now, but there was one in Tallahassee Mall that did that. a Ryan's?). Exactly two days later, Rebecca at Hafuboti posted her Table Top Time inspired by Mo Willems, which gave me the courage to try it out... eventually.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PJ Puzzles PK-2 Storytime (with Bedtime Math)

oversized tangrams
Hey everybody: I did a program where the oldest kid participant was 8 years old. AND it was not pop-culture-based. AND the attendees LIKED it!

I feel like I have to start this off by saying: I wasn't the biggest fan of Bedtime Math when I first heard about it. This is because:
When they rhetorically ask, "We read bedtime stories right before bed! Why not do math?"
This is supposed to elicit the following response in the reader:
"Hmm, yes, why not?"
BUT: I really feel like the CLEAR ANSWER to this question is:
"...because listening to stories for fun employs cognitive skills that are far less demanding than math, even when done 'for fun' (you know, Webb's Depth of Knowledge and all that)."

Here's where that gets us into a pickle:
a. Children need a good night's rest to perform well in school.
b. Higher-demand cognitive processing delays sleep, not even starting with the fact that math anxiety is a real thing.
Check out these tips for a good night's sleep. Not one involved doing a word problem. Kids need wind-down time, too.

This is not at all to say that we shouldn't make a point to include mathematical themes in play and throughout the day as much as possible. I have strong opinions on this and how we're doing math all the time and we need to be deliberate about it so our kids realize that. This is why I really, really like Bedtime Math's new offering, Crazy 8's. Everything they do comes with scripts and everything! And I do appreciate that they emphasize on their website that it's about adding math to a daily routine whenever that happens!


Friday, June 6, 2014

School Carnival: A Library Outreach Report

Windblown, torn, and taped, we soldier on.
I wanted to report out to you all the changes I made to our elementary family night-style outreach as a result of my massively weird observations at a recent brewfest. I haven't yet figured out the first observation, but I did fairly well with the rest: Infiltrate the crowd; be ready to play; and keep your offerings small but important.

Before I tell you what DID work, here's the ugly part: it had just rained, but it was still outside (because Bouncy Houses, etc). Since it's Wisconsin, and rains works the way it's supposed to here, it was WINDY. AS HELL. I had intended to sign up kids for SLP, but after a few minutes it was so ridiculous, and I had chased down everything from my table so many times, I just gave up. As a result, I had absolutely no 8.5x11 anything to give out (this was an enormous step and I feel like I need validation/praise for simply sitting there without any full-page-fliers at the ready).