I’ve been completely and totally neglecting my blog lately, but for good reason: one of my four work goals for this fiscal year was to create new lesson plans for the Storytime for 2′s & 3′s. Here is my official goal, as submitted at the beginning of the fiscal year:
Create 16 more lesson plans to add to the curriculum for Storytime for 2’s and 3’s. Lesson plan creation includes selecting 20 to 30 book titles for each theme, creating weekly handouts, choosing fingerplays, rhymes, and songs, and creating feltboard materials (which is done at home on my own time). This will bring the total number of lesson plans up to 67, which is enough to get through two full years (including summers) with repetition only occurring a few times in those two years (Halloween/Fall, Winter, Spring, Valentine’s Day, Summer, etc.). Though two and three year olds actually love repetition, parents are never as keen on it, so it is important to have enough lesson plans to cover the entire period that a child is registered for this storytime.
I knew that this goal, along with my usual reading-done-at-home for the five book groups that meet each month, would seriously impact my ability to write blog posts. But I didn’t anticipate that it would mean no blog posts for a huge span of time! But, I am very pleased with how these new storytime lesson plans are turning out, and very happy that I will have enough plans to cover two full years; good for me as the presenter, good for the folks who attend.
One reason these plans have been taking longer than expected is that I have moved beyond my original source for plans, Storytimes for Two Year Olds by Judy Nichols, and am creating everything from scratch. In her book Nichols provides fifty themes, with suggested book titles for each theme, as well as suggested fingerplays and songs, follow-up activities, craft activities, suggestions on which books to turn into feltboard stories, and so on. While I’ve always viewed Nichols’ book as a starting point for me, since I am my own person and like to put my creative stamp on my storytimes, having that starting point was absolutely invaluable. I’ve been totally on my own for these new lesson plans, and thus bring much of the planning work home (in addition to the feltboard work), since creating from scratch takes soooooooo much longer than using someone else’s template. And my theme ideas haven’t always worked out, meaning that I’ve had to regroup many times…
I’ve had to trash several ideas for themes that seemed good when I chose them, but turned out to have insufficient books available for this age group. I gave up on “Dragons and Unicorns” after spending a great deal of time searching for and reading picturebooks on these two mythical creatures; fewer picturebooks exist on them than I thought, and those that I found were far too complex and long for my target age group.
Another theme that I thought would be terrific, but didn’t work out at all, was “Royalty.” Queens, kings, princesses, princes, knights – surely that would be a great topic, right? Not so much. I found a few books, but ultimately gave up and completely nixed the theme after deciding that the books I had found (both in my library and other libraries) were either too long or too dull or both.
And “Snakes.” Great idea, especially since we have a couple of terrific snake puppets that I’ve been dying to use. But a total washout in terms of books that are available. I finally had the great idea to take the snake idea and broaden it out to “Pets.” The snake puppets still got used, and I found a tremendous number of great books.
Why so many books, you ask? Partly to include in the weekly handout, which I know many parents use as a source for age-appropriate books for their children. Partly so that there is a stack of books available for checkout by the kids and their parents on the day of the storytime (which many families love). And partly so that there are thirty or so books on display in a ring around the carpet squares in the room; these books are there for the Quiet Time section of the storytime, as recommended by Nichols. I’ve grown quite fond of the Quiet Time section, and love seeing the caregivers each reading to their children – it’s a terrific way to take the reading skills learned during the storytime and bring them back to their everyday one-on-one at home usage.
And on that note, I think that I had better get to work on the handout and lesson plan for Monday’s storytime, theme of Spring…wish me luck!