Prioritizing Your Priorities

There must to be a hierarchy between priorities as sooner or later there will be a choice between two (or more) and a decision must be made. First of all, there really is only so much time in a storytime session. How will you choose between which elements should be part of the routine? In addition, how will you decide when an exception to any storytime rules should be made, and when to hold the line? By having a hierarchy of priorities, I have found it led to less impulsive and subjective decisions, which in turn led to less hurt feelings of both staff and patrons.

I have found simple lists are often confusing and difficult to make the hierarchy clear. For my brain at least, a picture is indeed worth a thousand lists, and so rely upon metaphorical images. However, one of the drawbacks of using symbolism for a group is that some may grasp it right away and others might understand the concept but don’t really “get” it enough to put it into meaningful practice. After going through this process with my colleagues, I have come up with metaphors or methods that seem to work well: The Building Method and The Atom Method.

In my department, we have reconstructed our storytime program a few times for various reasons. In our discussions, we had some using the Building Method and a few using the Atom Method, but we were able to transverse across the two methods without issue. In both methods, the meaning and layering is the same. It was merely which image worked best for each individual. You may not find a tool everyone can use effectively at the same time, but you might find different tools that work the same to get the same job done.

 

The Storytime Building Method

Storytime.BuildingPlease note: This is meant to be an alternative to the Storytime Atom.

 Consider having each storytime leader filling out one by themselves before coming together as a group to discuss. The next step is, with respective managerial staff, create an “authoritative” house that can be referred back to as storytime sessions are planned.

 Foundation Elements:

These elements are the core or “heart” of your storytime program. When a choice arises in either the enforcing of a rule or in choosing to incorporate a new element, these values trump everything. If the choice would go against these core elements, either the “heart” of the storytime program must be reassessed or the decision should be altered.

Recommendation: The foundation elements should not exceed more than four. Because these elements should be steadfast, make sure to select only the elements that you wish to uphold before all else.

The Frame Elements:

These are elements that you find value in. Stagger the elements so that the farther away from the foundation, the less important the element is to you. In practice, should a choice arise between two frame elements, the element closest to the foundation should win out.

Recommendation: Potentially opposing elements should not be placed on the same level. While the sample has two floors, eliminating a floor or adding one if need be is perfectly acceptable. However, for a focused cohesive approach, be cautious about building a skyscraper.

Walls and Decorations:

These are the specific stories, fingerplays, songs, and other activities that are used during storytime. They should draw upon the “bones” of the house you built to validate its place. If it does not have support from the frame, consider eliminating or altering the activity.

 

The Storytime Atom Method

Storytime.AtomPlease note: This is meant to be an alternative to the Storytime Building.

 Consider having each storytime leader filling out one by themselves before coming together as a group to discuss. The next step is, with respective managerial staff, create an “authoritative” atom that can be referred back to as storytime sessions are planned.

 The Nucleus Elements:

These elements are the core or “heart” of your storytime program. When a choice arises in either the enforcing of a rule or in choosing to incorporate a new element, these values trump everything. If the choice would go against these core elements, either the “heart” of the storytime program must be reassessed or the decision should be altered.

Recommendation: The elements with the nucleus should not exceed more than four. Because these elements should be steadfast, make sure to select only the elements that you wish to uphold before all else.

The Electron Elements:

These are elements that you find value in. Stagger the elements so that the farther the orbit, the less important the element is to you. In practice, should a choice arise between two electron elements, the element closest to the nucleus should win out.

Recommendation: Potentially opposing elements should not be placed on the same level. While the sample as five orbits, eliminating orbits or adding one if need be is perfectly acceptable. However, for a focused cohesive approach, be cautious about the quantity of orbits included.

Energy Created:

These are the specific stories, fingerplays, songs, and other activities that are used during storytime. They should draw upon the structure of the atom you built to validate its place. If it does not have support from the atom, consider eliminating or altering the activity.

Examples in Use

 

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