Sep 25, 2015

WonderWorks: The technology of thermometers

How do we measure how hot or cold something is?

Today's Topic: thermometers!
a variety of thermometers.  I found some at the dollar store and at Big Lots and I e-mailed participants to ask if they could bring any thermometers they had at home that were appropriate for sharing (i.e. not germy medical thermometers).
Ice cubes
hot water (I asked the coffee shop next door to make a carafe of hot water
red chenille stems
this printable thermometer

cover art Temperature : heating up and cooling down / Stille, Darlene R.

Sep 23, 2015

WonderWorks: Does it absorb?

Let's learn about things that absorb and things that repel liquid!

Today's Topic:Absorption
fabric scraps (various kinds)
containers to hold water 
water droppers (we also used baby-ibuprofen-type syringes)
paper towels
coffee filters
waxed paper
regular paper
plastic wrap
styrofoam plates
paper plates
measuring cups and/or spoons

 cover art Maisy takes a bath / Cousins, Lucy

This book was a bit of a stretch, but I've always loved the page where Maisy is standing at her front door in her towel, dripping water and it's not easy to search for picture books that specifically include towels!

For one of the classes, I also showed this duck video and talked a little bit about how duck feathers don't get wet but the water just slides right off and why (the ducks have a special oil gland that they use to spread oil over their feathers to waterproof them).

Sep 18, 2015

The Supper Club: Mixed-up Apps

Mice that moo, yellow stop signs, and scrambled animals all make for hilarious fun in this month's apps!  Here's the list:

All Mixed Up Apps 

We ended the class by making our own peek-through paper dolls similar to the elephants in Elmer's Photo Patchwork. The dolls were printed from this site (which, although I cannot read the Czech text, I can tell you is FULL of fantastic free printables--definitely worth exploring!). The kids especially loved running their paper through the cold laminator (this one is much cheaper and looks like a similar product...).
 And then "dressing" their paper dolls in clothes that matched their own outfits.  How fun!

Sep 4, 2015

Flannel Friday: Isadora Aspires (a guest post by Rebecca Pettyjohn)

 (Many thanks, once again, to the amazing Rebecca Pettyjohn, who created this flannel story (original poem and artwork) and was kind enough to name the heroine after my own daughter. Enjoy! -- Carissa)
With the summer reading theme of Every Hero Has a Story, it was a natural progression to have a storytime about community heroes. Besides, stories of doctors, firemen, and astronauts are action packed and crowd pleasers. But here we hit a dilemma. Again, we found ourselves without an interactive story of flannel board to present as a part of our storytime. There was one option that included a series of hats, but the lines were exactly what you would expect and not exactly riveting. There seemed to be a lack of the imagination in what one could do when talking about community heroes, which is a little silly. 

To me, a distinctive part of childhood was remembering what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would imagine myself grown up and independent and saving the world one overly dramatic veterinary emergency, law case, or press conference at a time. I would be very important and very good at my job and do worlds of good. I am unsure of where these ideas came from, since most imagery I remember as a little girl involved princesses, but they were definitely there. I wanted to create that story. One of imagination and dramatic effects and a little girl imagining jobs with no concern of her gender. 

So I made Isadora. Isadora has big dramatic dreams, and while her concept of what she may be doing in her job is slightly pie in the sky, her desire to make a difference is not. Her mother is encouraging and inspiring, but realistic. Not in doubting her success, but bringing her goals back down out of the clouds, or out just out of her imagination. She aspires to be a doctor, a firefighter, and an astronaut. A solid collection of community heroes with enough information to let our audience know what they do, but with an imaginary element to keep the poem engaging and silly and invite audience commentary and participation. 

The poem is included here, with pictures, and a scanned version of the felt pieces to make your own pattern. Enjoy Isadora in your own story times about community heroes, monsters, or future jobs! 

Isadora Aspires
by Rebecca Pettyjohn © 2015
My mom says,
and she knows her stuff
I can be whatever I want
when I grow up! 
I think I'll be a doctor
who heals the sick! 
Take care of people
and fix them up quick! 
And then when the Zombies
come creeping to my door 
I'll have the antidote!
They'll be Zombies no more! 
“That sounds great Isadora,” mom says,
“…except for one thing.
There's no such thing as Zombies...
or ghouls... or swamp thangs...”
Hmmmm. Then I guess I'll be a Fire Fighter!
That's work that's worth doing! 
I'll save cats from trees
and stop buildings from burning!
And when Godzilla comes
to eat Madison for lunch, 
I'll use my fire hose
to deliver a watery punch! 
“Wow!” says mom,
“What dedication and drive. 
But Godzilla's made up,
He was never alive.”
What? No monsters to defeat
or Zombies to cure?! 
Well, maybe not on this planet,
but how can you be sure…
There aren’t creatures on other planets?
I’m sure there are lots!
That’s it, I’ve got it!
I’ll be an astronaut!

Sep 2, 2015

Toddler Art Class: String Painting

Experimenting with color blending and the patterns and textures string can create.  (a guest post by Rebecca Pettyjohn)

Art Project: Painting with string rolls and stampers
Toilet paper tubes
Paper towel tubes
Egg cartons
Big sheets of paper
Paint, washable tempera in primary colors

I got my inspiration for the rollers here: But did not have enough rolling pins. So we made our own:


  cover art The line / Bossio, Paula 

I loved the chance to model reading a wordless picture book in a storytime setting. Using our imagination to narrate what we saw on the page and what the little girls imagined she could do with her string. A fun way to set the tone.

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