Rhyme Time: Going Bananas!

Rhyme Time: Going Bananas!

One of the best things about being a children's librarian is that you can spend a few hours in a room with a couple dozen other adults, all of you jumping up and down and making total fools of yourselves, and call it professional development.

See, most story times in libraries don't just consist of stories: to keep things lively, and because singing and rhyming and having fun with words are all amazingly good for building literacy skills, the books and puppets and flannel board stories are interspersed with rhymes, songs, fingerplays, and sometimes even dancing. Most librarians have a tried and true repertoire of favorite rhymes. But your favorites can get stale after a while.

To keep the kids, not to mention the librarians, interested and energized, it's good to learn new stuff. There are great resources out there for parents and teachers looking for rhymes, like Jane Cobb's What'll I Do with the Baby-O, or Mother Goose's Storytime Nursery Rhymes, but nothing beats learning in person from someone who loves what they're doing.

So this week I went to a "rhyme time" workshop sponsored by a local librarians' organization. Like most workshops, it was in a windowless, carpeted room, with presenters and hosts and handouts and rows of chairs and a table with coffee and muffins over on the side.

Unlike most other workshops, as soon as the introductions were over we moved the chairs out into one big circle and immediately commenced to sing and jump up and down.

The structure of the workshop was simple: each participant presented and demonstrated the two rhymes, songs, or fingerplays they'd sent in ahead of time, we all repeated them a couple of times to make sure we had the motions and/or the tune, and then we moved on to the next person. A few people brought props—flannel pieces, puppets, a guitar and even a ukulele—but mostly it was just people in a room. At the end of three hours I left with a 35-page packet of material that was mostly new to me, and a head stuffed with music and rhythm.

Here's the first rhyme we started out with—which incidentally was one of my favorites; I'm eager to try it out on actual kids at the family story time I'll be leading next week:

  • First we pick, bananas
  • Pick, pick, bananas
  • Pick, bananas
  • Pick, pick, bananas [picking invisible bananas off trees]
  • Then we peel, bananas
  • Peel, peel, bananas
  • Peel, bananas
  • Peel, peel, bananas [hold up one finger and "peel" it with the other hand]
  • Then we eat! Bananas!
  • Eat, eat! Bananas!
  • Eat! Bananas!
  • Eat, eat! Bananas! [tossing invisible bananas into mouth]
  • Then we GO! BANANAS!
  • GO, GO! BANANAS! [self-explanatory…]

P.S. Don't forget to nominate your favorite 2008 kids' books for the Cybils—nominations close on Wednesday the 15th! (And if you're looking for suggestions for terrific books, check out the list of nominees; there's some great stuff up there.)

October 12, 2008

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I love the banana rhyme. Thank you for sharing. It will be fun to use at my Story Time Felts story time with a monkey finger play.

Ah, yes, the banana rhyme. It's a little longer at our house -- plant, water, pick... Even the big kids love it. I developed an early childhood music program years ago called "Baby Beat," which later grew into an older version called "Toddle Tunes." As a past music teacher, classroom teacher, and elementary librarian with a new son at that time (born during the 0-3 study craze), I knew first hand what music and words could do for a child.

As a picture book author, I integrate music and movement into my presentations at schools and conferences. If it's good for kids, it's good for us adults, too, right? I've found librarians are amazing singers!

All this to say that I recognize a kindred spirit, and appreciate all you're doing for kids and books.

Thanks, Deb and Lois--It's nice to see you both here!

I LOVE THIS BANANA RHYME!!!!! Thanks for sharing! The kids at my library are going to love it.

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