Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Storytelling: Any Room for Me? by Loek Koopmans, on a snowy day!

Saturday was a very special day where we are: we woke up to find our world hidden under a couple of centimetres of snow, and more was falling fast. Now, this is a bit like Christmas: it happens but once a year (at most) and it's REALLY exciting! We obviously had to get out there and throw some snowballs!

I had a storytelling session later on, and had planned to tell The Ugly Duckling, sing 5 Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day and do a cute little make-a-duck craft... Quite spring-like and totally unsuitable all of a sudden! So I went into last minute planning mode, and came up with a (snowy) plan B:

Book: Any Room for Me? by Loek Koopmans (Floris Books, Edinburgh, 1992)
Craft: Make a cardboard snowman
Song: Couldn't think of anything snowy not related to Christmas :-( So we did Hickory Dickory Dock. OK, unrelated, but the planning time was shoooooooort! Here are some of the results:

The kids loved them! (Copyright on the snowmen creations EZ i AA!)

Any Room for Me? by Loek Koopmans is a beautiful, magical, funny story that kids love. An old man drops his woolly mitten in the snow, and several of the wild inhabitants of the surrounding woods immediately see its great potential for a lovely warm house, much to the surprise of the old man's little dog!

The story is a tender and amusing reflection on sharing, even with the most unlikely of companions, with a fun will-he won't he? can he can't he? cliffhanger on every page that all children I've read this story with just love. I enjoy building up this sense of anticipation as we wonder if yet another, even bigger, animal will be able to snuggle into the mitten. And there is a real sense of delight and satisfaction when, time after time, he can and he does! Look how warm they are all snuggled up together!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Storytelling: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

As well as reading to my little book bugs at home, I also do storytelling sessions for non-English-speaking 2 to 6-year-olds and their carers in my local bookshop. The aim is for families to take part together in fun activities, share as many lovely books as possible, and learn and/or practise a bit of English!

I want the sessions to be fun and participative, and not too hard on tender, non-native attention spans, so we mix stories, songs, crafts and games for 45 minutes a time.

So this is the first post about these sessions. See what you think.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?

Hamish Hamilton, London, 1996

Main Target Vocabulary: animals, colours, same/ different

Session One
·   Starter: Sit in a circle and greet each child individually by name.

·      Read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? book with different voices and sound effects for each animal. Check out the author reading it himself on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdHCYgO9zh8

I expressed surprised at the blue horse and the purple cat (isn’t that strange?!) and we laughed, but otherwise read it straight through so as not to lose the children’s attention. I tried to get my listeners to join in with the last page when the children list all the animals they see looking at them. They are non-natives with little to no exposure to English, so they joined in in Catalan: I read, “A yellow…?” with rising intonation and paused for them to fill in the animal, which they did in Catalan, I repeated the target word in English, and onto the next animal. For me, the most important thing is that the children enjoy the story and follow as much of it as they can, so if they’re participating, even in their own language, that’s great! A round of applause and “Bravo!” ends each activity.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

International Book-Giving Day, Feb 14th 2013

Inspired by Zoe at Playing by the Book, I decided to mark International Book-Giving Day in a couple of ways. Firstly, to give my little book bugs a new book each (any excuse is good, and I'd had a couple hidden away in the cupboard since our last trip to the UK that I was dying to give them!) For MBug, George and the Dragon by George Wormell, and for LBug, Alfie's Feet by Shirley Hughes.

More about those another day...

Secondly, I wanted to get some friends involved and celebrate such a great day with them. Here in Catalonia, St George's Day, 23rd April, is the day of the book and of loved ones, but again, any excuse is good to get together and give or share books, so we made a treasure hunt for our little ones to find books we'd hidden around the house and garden.

Our children range in age from 1 to almost 5, and they'd never done anything like this before, so we didn't want anything too complicated (emphasis on fun and sharing books rather than complicated rules)...