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The End of Themes...

It's too soon to tell, but I can't help but wanting to do the happy dance over the idea of dropping themes for my storytimes. It occurred to me this fall, while I was writing up the winter storytime themes for our little in-system publicity newsletter thingy that I spend a great deal of time coming up with themes.
I worry:

That I do the themes too often (bears again?)
That the themes are offensive or hurtful to feelings in any way
(holidays? too gender biased?)

That, by the time the program rolls around that I  NO LONGER want to do that theme. Maybe I found an awesome new book I can't share because it doesn't fit the theme, or maybe I'm just tired of it (I have been at this quite some time).

That the kids rarely CARE what the theme is. Yes, Captain America storytime sounds awesome. Enter the pressure to make that storytime just that: awesome. I can tell you that sometimes parents (and kids) confuse "awesome" program themes with paid events. For example, I have had sad faces that Captain America did not come in to read stories or that the kids would not actually be doing anything the "real" Captain America would be doing (like hitting things with movie prop sheilds?) Who knows.

I don't need the pressure. And I sure as heck never want to take the focus away from what is really important: the storytime itself. It's not what it's called on a flyer. It's storytime, and it is hugely important in the early years. Even if you don't care about literacy (GASP, I can't believe I just said that), it is such a great preparer for preschool and kindergarten.
Rant over, I swear.

So, the new year began with the themeless storytimes, and SO FAR SO GOOD!

Here is what I love:
I can read anybook I want to.
I can make any craft I want to.
I can perform any action songs I want to.
See a pattern?

Above is a blurry photo of last night's storytime. (Sorry 'bout that. It looked great on my phone). We call night storytimes "Pajama Storytime" and encourage the kids to come in pajamas and to bring a stuffed animal. It's usually more low key than morning storytime, because it's late. I try to do something with the "friends" the kids bring along. Hap Palmer's Teddy Bear Playtime is great for that.

I chose all of these stories because I was feeling snow. Not six months ago, but this week. And I wanted to make something to use up a bag of cotton balls. Voila!
This image is from Pinterest,
And here is mine. Easy, peasy.

I figure the amount of stress saved by the lack of themes is really quite high. I wonder what I'll be feeling for next week's morning storytime?

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Teddy Bear Storytime

Tonight's storytime followed the same format I use for all of my day storytimes as I have temporarily suspended my idea of doing storytime in reverse in order to get the kids sleepy. They only seem to run out into the library to pick out movies and books and the effect is lost. So here is what we did tonight.

Our theme was teddy bears, but our night storytime is always wear jammies, bring a lovey, and low action.

My opening song is Hello Bubbles which I learned from Read Sing Play here. BTW this woman is a storytime goddess and I have picked up many great ideas on her blog.

Story the 1st: The Red Hat by Lita Judge

 Why? Because I want to get across to my kids that books do not always have to have words in order for us to "read" them, and I want to give pre-readers a chance to feel proud they finished a book on their own. I plan to try to read or highlight at least one wordless read for the next couple of storytimes.

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How to Make a Sharknado for Your Shark Craft

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But for ME, I wanted a Sharknado.
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