Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ninja Story Time!

  After hemming and hawing for a few months, amassing quite a collection of book possibilities, and poring over every possibly related topic on Pinterest and beyond, I finally decided to unveil my Ninja Story Time!
  Some of my reservations about this theme had to do with the weaponry and fighting associated with ninjas, but let's face it, kids LOVE ninjas.  Boys especially gravitated to the theme, but the girls in my story times were just as into this as their male counterparts.

There aren't a lot of resources out there related to ninja story times, but I did find some great ideas for flannelboards and action rhymes from a few different sources:
 Falling Flannelboards
What Happens in Storytime...

Books Used
The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer 
At first I wasn't sure I'd read this story, but it is just so funny and weird and was such a big hit the first time I read it that I kept it in the rotation all month long.  I love this book for how it prompts the reader to ask questions of the children.  Do you think Tim is telling the truth?  Do you believe that a sunburned crocodile really landed on the roof?  What is the ninja looking at? 
Eary Literacy Aside: I might introduce this book like this: "Our first book is called 'The boy who cried ninja' and it is by Alex Latimer.  Parents, you'll notice that we talk a lot together about the pictures and the story a lot as we read this book, and that's because children need to have conversations (and LOTS of them!) to be able to figure out how language works."
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta Art by Ed Young
I love this story because it is short on text and long on large, expressive pictures.  I usually have the kids tell me what is going on in the illustrations- great for working on those narrative skills!
Early Literacy Aside: Grown-ups, you'll notice that we talk through this story to explain what we think is happening.  This is important for children to do because talking about a story helps them understand what they read, or what we read to them.

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz    Illustrated by Dan Santat
This rhyming retelling of the Three Little Pigs is as hilarious as it is adorable.  It has the most clever rhymes, and the kids absolutely love it.  It also introduces lots of fun new words. 
Early Literacy Aside: After reading this book, I would say: Parents, this would be a great book to try at home.  Read it together once, and then have the kids tell the story again as you flip through the pages.  Learning about the beginning, middle and end of a story is another important piece to understanding what you read! 
Songs and Rhymes Used

"If You're a Ninja and You Know It"  (Sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It")
If you’re a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet.  (Shhh!)
If you’re a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet.  (Shhh!)
If you’re a ninja and you know it, 
then your face will surely show it.
If you’re a ninja and you know it, 
Be really quiet.  (Shhh!)

If you’re a ninja and you know it…walk on tip toe (Tip Toe)
If you’re a ninja and you know it…say HIYAH (HIYAH!)

"Ninja, Ninja" (Action Rhyme) 
Ninja, ninja – sneak around.
Ninja, ninja – roll on the ground.
Ninja, ninja – climb up high.
Ninja, ninja – touch the sky.
Ninja, ninja – jump down low.
Ninja, ninja – touch your toe.

"Five Little Ninjas" (Action Rhyme/Flannelboard)

Five little ninjas, creeping through the door,
One said HIYAH, and then there were four.
Four little ninjas, climbing up a tree,
One said HIYAH, and then there were three.
Three little ninjas with nothing to do,
One said HIYAH, and then there were two.
Two little ninjas, having so much fun,
One said HIYAH, and then there was one.
One little ninja, on the run.
He says HIYAH, and then there were none.

Credit: Falling Flannelboards          

This flannelboard was so very fun to make (a PINK ninja!) and it was really fun to act out with the kids.  Who doesn't love saying "Hi-yah!"?  Although, one ninja kiddo told me that it's actually pronounced KI-yah.  So, there's that.  I borrowed this idea, and by borrowed I mean stole, from Falling Flannelboards (see words the rhyme above) and had a great time making this extension activity!  
I had to update this post because I really wanted to include the craft!  I created this craft using a few different ideas I found from various websites and blogs: Ninja Puppets!  This works great if you have a die-cut that has multiple circle sizes like we do.  The largest circle size works great for the background color.  Then cut more large circles with black paper, cut the black circles in half, and then a small strip from each, and you have ninja masks!  I like to use the cut strips to make eyebrows and the ends of the ties for the mask.  
A really creative example from a 1st grade Story Time attendee!

  Other Sources
Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Nap by J.C. Phillipps
Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed by J.C. Phillipps
The Legend of Ninja Cowbow Bear by David Bruins and Hilary Leung
Ninjas: Masters of Stealth and Secrecy by Joanne Mattern
Ninjas: A Guide to the Ancient Assassins by Jessica Gunderson