Note: A version of this post first appeared on the Growing Wisconsin Readers blog.
After attending a New Media Training this spring, my goals included increasing our use of new media (ipads) in our programs and serving as a media mentor to our patrons. With that in mind, I planned a new media evening storytime, and advertised it as a way to learn about quality apps and how to use them with your kids.
We have a YS ipad (one of the older ones) and we’ve tried a couple ways to hook it up to our projecter. Unfortunately, our apple TV doesn’t play nicely with our system wi-fi, so we ended up with a ipad/vga adapter, and that seems to work fine, although it sometimes takes a little fiddling to get it started.
I also recently bought this new ipad case that only requires one hand to hold; that way, I can use my free hand to manipulate the app or gesture while I’m talking. I also run the adapter cord through the handle and that helps it stay in place.
I also teach families this great song that I learned from Carissa Christner:
If the ipad’s disconnected, clap your hands (x2)
If the ipad’s disconnected, I can fix it in a second,
If the ipad’s disconnected, clap your hands
They didn’t actually use it later in the program, but they sang along and laughed, and it helped break the ice and explain that I’m not above tech failures too.
I started by talking briefly about our plan for the evening, and noting that I was going to be sharing some favorite apps that they would get a chance to play with. I also talked about the difference between book apps and game apps, but I left most of the comments on using ipads together for during the storytime.
When I started planning this, I had to figure out where I would sit. Generally for storytime, I sit at the front of the room on a chair; but this blocks the bottom part of the projector screen. So I ended up sitting only for the book; otherwise I stood off to the side where I could see both the screen and the audience.
Book app: Barnyard Dance, by Sandra Boynton
Everyone knows that this book is pure gold, and the app is too! It is a great addition of not too much music and animation that enhances the story and enriches the vocabulary learning opportunity.
Song: Alphabet song. Before we sang this song, I mentioned that we were going to look at an alphabet app next.
App demo: Endless Alphabet
This one was a big hit, especially for a preK kid who was working on letters at the time.
Book: LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
This ended up being too long for my group, so we just read parts of it. When I did my next program, I made sure to have lots of different book options at a huge range of levels and lengths.
Activity: Jump for J!
This activity I learned from a kick-ass librarian that I interned with in grad school. Basically, we go through alphabet cards (in order!) and jump up and down every time we see the letter J. Spoiler: there are like six letter J cards. The kids love it, and I love trying to psych them out about what letter comes next.
App demo: Alien Assignment
This is great because it requires grown-up/child interaction and also includes the real world around you. This one got the kids up and moving and looking around, so I thought that was a real plus.
App demo: Keezy
We recorded and mixed our own music in this one; and had fun singing and making silly noises.
Early literacy/new media stations:
I used the same stations from my Early Literacy Family Fun Day, one for each early literacy practice, and then I added a couple tables of ipads. Each ipad was locked to one app, including the ones we used and a few other good ones. The kids loved exploring and trying them out, but they did also spend some quality time playing.
As the kids and parents were exploring, I went around and talked to everyone and answered any questions. I also handed out a new media flyer, with some suggestions for choosing and using apps and a list of top early literacy apps, and a smaller flyer with the apps and book we used tonight listed.
How it went:
So, I only had one family and one older kid show up. Bummer. But, the time of year was wonky, and who knows, it was the first one. We’ll see what happens when I try again. BUT. They were pretty much an ideal audience! The family came on the recommendation of their daycare provider, and were super into learning about how to use apps with their kids and what they could do together over the summer to get ready for preschool and really listened and did pretty much everything I could have asked for. So basically, I was happy with how it went, and I’m hoping that this is something I can continue to grow.