The topic for my first ever (planned) storytime is birds! This lesson features nine book options with reviews, two games, and a flannel play activity.
I landed on this idea after observing the preschoolers a couple of weeks ago. It was my first time working with them and I haven't had as much experience with this age group (I am certified for secondary education), so I was interested to see what the children have learned so far. The kids and I were playing with a set of Eric Carle dominoes, which depicted several different animals, and I noticed that the kids were struggling to identify the specific birds.
I was so excited to put together this storytime because I have a (not so secret) love of birds, especially pelicans. The middle and high schoolers I've taught in the past were very familiar with our class pet, Scoop the Pelican, my favorite stuffed friend EVER.
Bird Storytime Intro ________________________________________________________________________
I displayed all of the books and a few stuffed animals to grab the kiddos' attention. I had them look at the display and I asked, "What do you think we will be learning about today?"
Books About Birdies:
Froodle (Antoinette Portis)
This is a funny book about a bird who decides that she doesn't want to sing the same song as the other birds. The kids will love the nonsensical words!
Hooray for Birds! (Lucy Cousins)
This book was my favorite of the bunch! The artwork is eye-catching and it contains a number of different actions that birds might do. This was a perfect set-up for our movement activity (in the activity section below).
On the Wing (David Elliott)
I used this book to teach the kids about 5 specific birds: hummingbirds, pelicans, cranes, and owls. Looking back, I wish I would have used Carle's Animals Animals instead as I like that artwork more and I feel it would be easier for this age group. Some of the words are very advanced, such as conflagration and cacophony, so I was trying to avoid using those pages.
Flannel Rhyme: Five Hoot Owls
This is a simple rhyme to help familiarize the kids with counting and subtraction. It goes like this:
Librarian: Five hoot owls sitting in a tree,
One flew away! How many do you see?
Everyone: One, two, three, four.
Librarian: Four hoot owls sitting in a tree,
One flew away! How many do you see?
Everyone: One, two, three.
(And so on and so forth...)
Movement Activity: Hooray For Birds!
For this activity, I first created cards with various actions from Hooray for Birds! I flipped through the cards and called out the actions in order, demonstrating the action then having the kids repeat after me. This activity has a natural start and end thanks to "waking up" and "saying goodnight." I love that we start with the "cock-a-doodle-doo" of the rooster then end with the "hoo-hooing" of the owl.
1. Waking Up: Have the children lay down and pretend they are sleeping. When you call out "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" they all stand up.
2. Catch a Fly with Your Beak: Turn your head left and right (slowly) and chomp!
3. Run like an Ostrich: IN PLACE!
4. Cuddle in your Nest: Crouch down and huddle up.
5. Goodnight: When you go "hoo, hoo", have the kids wave goodnight then lay back down.
Bird Pictures Identification Activity
I downloaded several images of the birds we discussed on one of our iPad's. I showed the kids each picture and asked them to identify them. If they had trouble, we discussed some identifying features, such as "Oh, this is the pretty white bird with the long neck" or "This is the bird that sings cock-a-doodle-do in the morning!"
I was going to do a little quiz game with them, but I decided that some of them weren't ready. If your kids are ready, you can give each of them a card with one of the bird names on it (my cards also included a hint, like "a pink bird" or "big beak"). When you show the group an image, the child who thinks that they have that bird's card can stand up. You will then ask if the other kids agree and discuss some of the main features again.
Afterwards: Book Exploration
After the lesson, the kids are free to explore and play in the library for about 15 minutes. One of the things we like to do is put out some related books for them to explore. The covers for the books I used are below:
My favorites of these are Animals Animals, Wellington Pelican, Edward the Emu, and The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?
And that's it for our bird storytime! I hope your little scholars enjoy learning about our feathered friends! :)