If you’re part of our Learning Librarians group on Facebook (and if not, why not join us today?), you’ve met today’s guest blogger.
Struggling with library lessons for Kindergarten? I have a fun and easy solution!
Hi, my name is Sandy Liptak and I’ve been an elementary librarian for the last 9 years, but I’ve been teaching for 25 years. When I first started as a librarian, I felt pretty confident in my abilities, and I felt like I had a good grasp on how to plan fun and engaging lessons. Then there was kindergarten! LOL! I quickly realized that in order to keep my little friends engaged, I was going to have to come up with something different.
Fortunately, I stumbled upon the website ArtForKidsHub.com and found a fun and easy solution to designing library lessons for kindergartners! Artforkidshub.com was created by a dad (Rob) who made step-by-step videos of drawing lessons that he did with his own children. What’s really cool about these videos is that as you watch, you don’t only see him drawing each step, but you see one of his kids following his directions right along side him. This was a great way to show my students that everyone can be successful, and that your drawing doesn’t have to be perfect or end up looking EXACTLY like his.
How To Train a Train
I was so excited that I started exploring his site and found a video that went along with our book that week, How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton. (If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it! It’s fabulous!)
After we finished the book, I had my students get a clipboard from our crate, a piece of paper, and a pencil and we watched the video together. (Now they always get excited to see clipboards out because they know it may lead to an ArtForKids extension activity!) We shared our drawings, and then we added our own color details from the story (other characters, settings, etc.) They used their picture to help retell the story to each other. It was absolutely precious when they left “cradling” their own “pet train” that I knew I was onto something great. My only regret is that I was so involved with the activity that I totally forgot to take pictures!
I tried it again the next week with the book Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano and this time I remembered to take pictures! We ended up having a shorter class due to an unexpected fire drill so we didn’t get much time to add our own color details, but they were so excited with their drawings that their teacher gave them time in class to complete them!
Since then, I’ve used Art For Kids with other grade levels, and even my fifth graders have fun! It’s so easy to integrate this website with any book you happen to be using for your lessons.
If you are interested in trying this out with your own kids, here a few suggestions:
- Set up a system for students to get supplies. (I usually put a crate with clipboards on the floor, and then place paper and pencils on a table so they can go through the “assembly line” to get their materials. This avoids a “clump” of students crowding around and the inevitable pushing and shoving.)
- I pause the video on the screen where it shows the orientation of the paper and use this as an opportunity to teach/review terms such as “horizontal” and “vertical”.
- If this is your first time doing this with your kids, I would also pause the video right when Rob makes his first mark and talk about the placement of the drawing (middle of the page, top, sides, etc.) That way the kiddos don’t run out of room.
- There have been times when I played the video twice to help those students who weren’t happy with their first attempt.
- After the drawing is complete, ask kiddos “What’s missing?” and use this as an opportunity to review the parts of a story (characters, setting, problem, events, and solution) and then they go back to the tables to add in those details with crayons/markers.
If you’ve been struggling with library lessons for Kindergarten, I hope this helps give you something new that you can try with your own students. I’d love to hear how it goes!
Thank you for sharing, Sandy! I know you’ve been an inspiration and encouragement to many other elementary school librarians! For more great ideas, check out her blog, Lessons by Sandy!