I don't know about you, but I LOVE books. I always have, and that is probably one of the reasons I love to incorporate the ideas from a book into my preschool age dance classes. I find that it helps the kids to connect with the concepts, when they can think about the picture on the page and the story behind the theme of class. But, rarely do I choose a book that is ABOUT dance itself! Most often, the book I'm using relates to the theme we're dancing about -- for example, in a robot themed class, I would read Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman.
But, the situation we are all facing at the moment -- being away from our students -- has forced me to think outside the box a bit! I generally really (really really really!) dislike myself in front of a camera, but I was really (really really really!) wanting to connect with my students while we were away. Two weeks ago, I did something I never had before -- a Facebook Live! For the first one, I decided to sit on the ground, with all of my books about dance surrounding me and just talk to the camera about them. I own more dance books for younger kids than I thought I did!
Everyone's nice comments about this Facebook live, and how their children loved seeing a familiar face in this uncertain time, spurred me to do a live storytime the following week, Let me assure you, it was NOT perfect.....far from it! But I'm a big believer in action over perfection, and if I can do it, you can too! Here's a few tips about what I learned!
1. Choose a book that you love and that you've read before. Start with something short but sweet, with great pictures and fun characters.
2. If you make a mistake (or your child or dog pops into the frame!) acknowledge it! Your students love getting a view of the real you. Act as if you are talking with them directly, rather than putting on a performance.
3. As you read the book, stop and ask them questions, reflecting on the story in parts where you'd like them to think a little deeper.
4. BEFORE YOU BEGIN, play around with the Facebook live settings, I did mine on my phone, and I did not realize that I would have to use the tools to flip the image so that the book and the words showed up on camera the right way. (For my entire broadcast, the words were all backwards). I'm finding that with the type of phone I have, the tools setting does not allow me to do this. But, if I was to broadcast live from my computer instead, I have this capability.
5. This is the MOST important (and funniest!) one! Before you go live, check that you are on your studio's Facebook account and NOT your personal. Oops! For my first live storytime, my friends and family got a "preview" as I went live on there first by mistake!
My first book choice is one that I love -- Elephants Cannot Dance by Mo Willems. In this story, the readers learn both about perseverance and about being accepted for who they are. (And if you are not familiar with Piggie and Gerald the Elephant -- they're so cute and fun!) I came up with a Storytime Reflections sheet to share with the families, to give the kids something to do at home while reinforcing the concepts from the story. You can download it by clicking the button at the bottom of this post. Feel free to use this form if you decide to use this book in a live storytime of your own!
In the meantime, I want to encourage you to just do it! Get out there, make some mistakes, and connect with those kiddos! Let us know how it goes!
Hello! Kristina here to give you a quick DDH parent perspective on watching online story time videos with my two young kiddos! I have 3 and 6 year old girls who love to dance and read. So, this Mo Willems' story was a natural hit with both of them, especially since Ms. Corey is their teacher and they love her!
Here are 3 tips that made this work well for my family:
1.) Make sure you choose a time during the day when the kids are naturally winding down, like after lunch or before bedtime so they stay more focused and are ready to listen and follow along.
2.) If you have a place in your home where you usually read stories like on a comfy couch with blankets or a reading nook in a bedroom, watch the video with your kiddos there. If not, this is a perfect time to create this special space and ask your kids to help!
3.) If it doesn't work and they aren't interested, don't force it. Just try again another time. This is meant to be fun and relaxing and not stressful for you! You can always watch the replay. :)