Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hello Goodbye Hello Goodbye

This is not an actual podcast episode. This is more of an introduction and a goodbye rolled into one.

Listen to the show!

Final Message: Hello Goodbye Hello Goodbye

To download, right-click the title (option-click for Mac).

Click here to use iTunes. (It's a free download!)

If you just discovered this podcast on iTunes and you're like me, then you'll listen to this last episode first, and this will be your introduction to the podcast.

If you've been listening all along, then this is me signing off, reminding you of a few related resources you might want to check out.

Program Room Podcast Episodes

Here's a quick rundown of the seven Program Room Podcast episodes and interviews:

Episode 1 - Be Creative at Your Library - You can skip or listen to this one last - it focuses on the activities suggested in the 2009 summer reading manual.

Episode 2 - Making a Music Video. I talk to Steve McLinn who runs video making workshops with kids, and I talk to a young brother and sister team about how they make animated videos using lego sets.

Episode 3 - Booking a Performer. I talk to librarian Sue Busch, plus a panel of performers about things to keep in mind when booking for a library. If you book entertainment for your school or library, this is a good one to listen to.

Episode 4 - Using Music With Young Children. I speak with educators Carole Peterson and Betsy Zahniser in this episode about the benefits and methods for using music with preschoolers. If you work with preschool aged kids at all, this one is a must!

Episode 5 - Theater Games. I talk with Rozz Grigsby about how to play theater games with kids. This is awesome for almost any age, and we played these games during my librarian workshops and had a blast.

Episode 6 - Storytelling. Interviews with Dianne de Las Casas and none other than Bill Harley. If you are interested in storytelling at all, or if you work with elementary age kids, this episode is a must.

Episode 7 - Dance. Interviews with Peter and Mary Alice Amidon and with my daughter's P.E. teacher about how to play dance games and throw a dance party.

Unedited Interviews

There were three additional interviews that did not get put into a podcast episode. However they are available as unedited interviews, and they are very much worth checking out.

Additional Interview 1
Dr. Michael Bitz has worked to establish creativity at the core of academic learning. He speaks about his projects that have children creating comic books and running record labels!

Additional Interview 2
Professional storyteller, teaching artist, and author Karen Chace produces a yearly festival with her a student storytelling troupe. She speaks about how you can build a storytelling club at your library or school!

Additional Interview 3
Storyteller Eric Wolf speaks about the importance of storytelling and about his amazing resource, The Art of Storytelling With Children podcast.

Also available are the entire uncut interviews with Dianne de Las Casas, Rozz Grigsby, and Carole Peterson, as well as the panel discussion on how to book a performer.

Future Plans

You'll find this page here at www.TheProgramRoom.com until 8/26/2010.

After that you'll still be able to find all the podcast episodes at www.ReadingSongs.com, just go there and click on The Program Room.

I have no plan at the moment to continue the Program Room Podcast in its current form. However, I will keep all the episodes available for as long as I can. I think the content is too fantastic and important to just let it disappear!

If you find these episodes and interviews to be helpful and inspiring, let me know by posting a comment. If I hear from enough listeners, I'll consider reworking the podcast in a shorter format for a more general audience.

Creativity Workshop

This podcast was part of my research for a series of 13 workshops I presented in Spring 2009 for children's librarians in Kansas and Oklahoma. In the workshops, I taught that anyone can inspire kids to learn an art form, and I gave a practical framework for how to go about it. That framework was derived largely from the interviews in this podcast.

I do still offer the workshop on teaching creativity through the arts, and I can adapt it to the needs of your group. Just shoot me an email if you want to know more - monty at montyharper.com.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Be Creative Video

Check out this video using music from the "Let's Get Creative" CD. Mr. Billy and I encourage you to use our music in this way. If you or your kids make a video using our music, please let us know!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Workshop Resources

Today's workshop in Topeka was fantastic. Thanks to all my participants for their wonderful creativity.

By popular demand, here is the list of theater games. Many thanks to Rozz Grigsby who provide most of this information.

For more workshop resources, see the previous post below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

News and a Few Helpful Resources

Howdy Listeners,

I'm blogging to you from a hotel room in Topeka, KS, where I was born (not in the hotel room - in the city). Tomorrow I present the first of my librarian workshops, which was the motivation for me to create The Program Room podcast. There are three workshops this week. I'll let you know how they go!

The other thing that has taken up my time as of late is a new CD called "Let's Get Creative," which I'm recording with my friend Mr. Billy. We are on the home stretch, and I'll be able to let you hear some of it soon.

Thank you for your patience on waiting for new episodes to come out. I have three great interviews in the can, and now that the workshops are underway and the new CD nearly complete, I'll be able to turn some attention back to continuing the podcast. I hope to post new episodes in March!

In the meantime, I've uploaded four new files for my workshop participants, which I hope you will find helpful as well.

1. Encouraging Kids Creatively - this is a .pdf version of my slide presentation for the workshops. It is a work in progress, and I'm not sure how much of it will make without the narration, but it is here for workshop attendees to reference, and maybe you'll find it useful too. There is some good information about how to encourage kids to be creative, which can be applied to any and all arts activities. If you're going to be in my workshop, no fair peaking ahead of time!!

2. Create a Comic Book Character - feel free to adapt this activity as needed and try it out with your kids. Use the characters they create in all kinds of other activities, such as storytelling, drama, or movie making. They could even make a comic book! Check out my interview with Michael Bitz for more information on how to make comic books.

3. Songwriting With Kids - this is a fairly detailed outline of what I do with kids in my songwriting workshops, when there's time. Specific tactics are suggested for older, younger, and middle grades.

4. The Art of Critique - It's important for kids to get feedback on their work if they are to grow as artists in whatever field. This critique method puts the artist in charge and allows them to receive useful feedback from a group without ever feeling they are being criticized.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Join Us For These Live Conversations!

Howdy, listeners! 

I'm still cranking out podcasts; I've just been delayed in posting them. Please look for more new episodes in February. In the meantime, please enjoy the currently available episodes, and join us for these upcoming live interviews:

1/15/09, 3:00 PM Eastern - Karen Chace on building a storytelling club.
1/20/09, 3:00 PM Eastern - Dr. Michael Bitz on the Comic Book Project.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Eric Wolf interview January 8! 

Friday, December 19, 2008

1.07: Throw a Dance Party for Kids at Your Library

Traditional music and dance experts Peter and Mary Alice Amidon discuss their approach to performing for kids, creativity, singing games, and advice on how to present a community dance event. P.E. teacher Kelly Worthy shares her experience putting on an elementary school dance party. Plus lots of sample clips from songs that include their own dance instructions.

Listen to the show!

TPR 1.07: "Throw a Dance Party at Your Library"

^ Click the PLAY button to listen now.

To download, right-click the title (option-click for Mac).

Click here to use iTunes. (It's a free download!)

The Amidons

  1. Peter and Mary Alice Amidon Homepage
  2. Peter's List of Traditional Dance Resources (.pdf)
  3. Jump Jim Joe: Great Singing Games for Children
  4. Down in the Valley: More Great Singing Games for Children
  5. West Music Company

This episode is jam-packed with songs that are featured and/or mentioned in the interviews. Many of those songs are listed here, along with many many more. Consider these iTunes iMixes as a starting place for your own explorations. Both are filled with great useable dance music!

Note: If the links don't work, then you likely don't have iTunes installed. It's a free download. If you don't want to use iTunes, you can email me to request a text version of the list.

The Program Room Pop Dance Music iMix - These are songs kids probably know from popular media; many of them are connected to specific dances. Most of them work well with all ages - even teens. Do a quick YouTube search on any of these titles and you'll likely get to see these songs in action. This list includes songs recommended in the manual and songs recommended by Mrs. Worthy.

The Program Room Danceable Kid Songs iMix - These songs all included dance or movement instructions within the lyrics. These songs will appeal mostly to elementary age kids.

These lists are just the beginning - there's no shortage of great dance music out there for kids. Post a comment to let us know your favorites!

Dance Resources on the Internet

Country Dance and Song Society

The Dance Gypsy

Ballroom Dancers

Please Thank Our Sponsor!

Carole Peterson and her new CD, Dancing Feet!

Friday, November 21, 2008

1.06: Storytelling With Kids at Your Library

Storyteller Dianne de Las Casas discusses ways of inspiring kids to tell their own stories, including story theater, board games, and fractured fairy tales. Storyteller Bill Harley discusses prompts that inspire children to tell their own tales, and both touch on the importance of this type of work with kids. Plus songs from Monty Harper and Bill Harley.

Listen to the show!

TPR 1.06: "Storytelling With Kids at Your Library"

^ Click the PLAY button to listen now.

To download, right-click the title (option-click for Mac).

Click here to use iTunes. (It's FREE!)


  1. Dianne de Las Casas - homepage
  2. Bill Harley - homepage
Dianne Recommends Many Great Books!

Dianne recommended a long list of reference books, including some of her own, to help you get your kids started telling stories! You'll find them all listed in our Amazon.com store.

Bill Harley Recommends These Songs and Stories

Bill recommended these songs and stories of his (at my request) as prompts for encouraging kids to tell their own similar stories.
"You're in Trouble," available on the CD You're in Trouble - (lyric .pdf)
"Is Not Is Too," available on the CD Play It Again: Favorite Songs (& One New Story)
"Mrs. Lunchroom (story)," available on the CD Weezie and the Moonpies
"You're Not the Boss of Me (story)," available on the CD Play It Again: Favorite Songs (& One New Story)

Featured Songs

"Frog Song" by Monty Harper, available on 
The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD
"At Your Library" by Bill Harley, available for free download from ALSC

Please Thank Our Sponsor!

The Music Box - 180 songs to use with young children, designed to make programming a snap.
Also available from TeacherStorehouse.com or Redleaf Press.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1.05: Theater Games at Your Library

Rozz Grigsby, Education Director for Oklahoma Children's Theater, speaks about how to do theater games and story dramas with kids. Learn how to play Red Light, Freeze Dance, Space Walk, Screen Test, Magic Toybox, Whatchya Doin?, Echo, Freeze, Zip Zap Zop, Sound Orchestra, and Questions. Plus, a song from Funky Mama.

Listen to the show!

TPR 1.05: "Theater Games at Your Library"
^ Click the PLAY button to listen now.
To download, right-click the title (option-click for Mac).
Click here to use iTunes. (It's FREE!)


  1. Rozz Grigsby
  2. The Uncut Rozz Grigsby Interview (.mp3)
  3. Oklahoma Children's Theater
  4. Funky Mama - "Freeze Dance"
Rozz Recommends These Reference Books for Theater Games
  1. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher's Handbook, by Viola Spolin
  2. Drama of Color: Improvisation with Multiethnic Folklore, by Johnny Saldana
  3. Structuring Drama Work, by Jonothan Neelands and Tony Goode
  4. Acting Games: Improvisations and Exercises : A Textbook of Theatre Games and Improvisations, by Marsh Gary Cassady
Rozz Recommends these Authors / Books to Use for Story Drama
For young children:
For older children:
  1. Neil Gaiman - The Wolves in the Walls
  2. Daniel Manus Pinkwater - The Big Orange Splot
  3. Allan Ahlberg - Previously
  4. Chris Van Allsburg - The Mysteries of Harris Burdick
  5. Louis Sachar - Sideways Stories from Wayside School
  1. Anything with animals that can be acted out
  2. Folk tales, fairy tales, standard stories
  3. Shel Silverstein poetry - Falling UpA Light in the AtticWhere the Sidewalk Ends
  4. Books with no text, just illustrations
  5. Anything that's your favorite!
Please Thank Our Sponsor!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Join Us For These Live Conversations!

Monday November 3, 1:00 PM Central
"Theater Games"
Tune in for a talk with Rozz Grigsby, Educational Director for the Oklahoma Children's Theater, about how to lead theater games with kids.

Friday, November 7, 1:00 PM Central
"How to Tell Stories With Children"
Internationally-touring author and award-winning storyteller Dianne de Las Casas teaches storytelling to children in school residencies. Join us to discuss how to encourage children to tell their own stories!

Joining these live calls is easy! Your questions will make them all the more relevant to your needs. Please call in if you can. Visit our TalkShoe page for instructions. While you're there, click "follow this" to make sure you don't miss any upcoming live talks. 

If you can't make it to the live program, email your questions ahead of time to monty@montyharper.com.

Talk with you soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

1.04: Using Music with Young Children

An interview with music specialist Carole Peterson on why and how to use music with young children, plus an exclusive song from Stuart Stotts, and an interview with Betsy Zahniser about The Music Box, an early childhood music programming tool.

Listen to the show!
TPR 1.04: "Using Music With Young Children"

^ Click the PLAY button to listen now.
To download, right-click the title (option-click for Mac).
Click here to use iTunes. (It's FREE!)

Sources for Toddler and Preschool Songs

Sunday, October 19, 2008

About The Program Room

"The Program Room" is a free biweekly audio magazine for librarians who do children's programing, available as a podcast through iTunes. Much of the 2008/2009 season will be focused on the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme, "Be Creative @ Your Library." But this resource has plenty to offer for any children's librarian or elementary or preschool teacher. You'll find it at www.TheProgramRoom.com.

Each episode of The Program Room includes interviews with artists, performers, librarians, teachers, authors and other professionals who can help librarians create great programming for their youngest patrons. Library-related children's songs are included in every show, and reviews of books, music, websites and other resources are often included as well. Live conference calls and panel discussions are part of the show, too, so listeners can join in on the fun and ask questions of the experts! 

Currently available episodes of The Program Room are listed below. Each episode includes a show notes page, which provides links to all the resources mentioned in that episode. The Program Room episodes are 50 - 70 minutes long. They can be listened to online, or they are free to download, and can be burned to CD or easily transfered to an iPod or other MP3 player. 

To listen on this website, simply click the play arrow to the left of an episode title. To download, right-click (or control-click if you're a Mac person) the title, and select download from the pop-up menu. You can download episodes automatically as they become available by subscribing through iTunes.

A schedule of upcoming live events can be found in the right-hand column of the website at www.TheProgramRoom.com, or on our TalkShoe page.

The Program Room is financially supported by sponsors who are very carefully selected. Our sponsors offer quality products that are helpful to librarians in creating programing for children. We keep our sponsorships low-key because we never want you to feel that you're being bombarded with advertising! On the contrary, we want you to feel like thanking us for connecting you with these products and services. Our sponsors cannot purchase air-time within the show. If our sponsors are featured in the content of the show, it is because they have information to share that will benefit our listeners. If you benefit from listening to The Program Room, please thank our sponsors.

The Program Room Sponsors


The Program Room is produced and hosted by Monty Harper.

The Program Room Episode List

CSLP president, Sally Snyder, and this year's manual committee head, Julie Tomlianovich, talk about the scope of the 2009 theme and the contents of the upcoming manual. Includes the songs "Imagine That" and "Take Me to Your Library."

An artist, a librarian, and a teenage brother and sister team who make animated videos using Legos all give tips on producing music videos with children. Find out how to access "Video-Safe" music that you can use, including award-winning children's artists Bill Harley, Eric Herman, Gunnar Madsen, Marla Lewis, The Hipwaders, and many others. Includes samples of songs from all of the above artists.

Children's Librarian Sue Busch tells how she books 16 performers each summer, and a panel of performers discuss what librarians should keep in mind when calling to schedule a program. Includes the songs "On Halloween" and "Scarecrow A-Go-Go" from Mr. Billy's new Halloween CD, Big Pumpkin.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Join Us For These Live Conversations!

Monday, October 20, 6:00 PM Central
"Music with Young Children"
Carole Peterson is a nationally renowned music specialist who regularly presents workshops for teachers and librarians. Come discuss with us the whys and hows of using music and movement with young children!

Friday, November 7, 1:00 PM Central
"How to Tell Stories With Children"
Internationally-touring author and award-winning storyteller Dianne de Las Casas teaches storytelling to children in school residencies. Join us to discuss how to encourage children to tell their own stories!

Visit The Program Room on TalkShoe to learn how to join these live conference calls. It's easy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

1.03: Booking a Performer

An interview with children's librarian Sue Busch on booking entertainment, plus a panel discussion on what to keep in mind when calling a performer to book a program, and two Halloween songs from Mr. Billy.

Web References (from the Sue Busch Interview):
The legendary lost panel discussion:
Panelists (from the legendary lost panel discussion):
Web References (from the legendary replacement panel discussion + more):
These are places you can go to find/evaluate children's performers...
  1. Mr. Billy and his "Big Pumpkin" CD (Songs in the podcast are: "On Halloween" and "Scarecrow A-Go-Go")
  2. ReadingSongs.com

Thursday, September 25, 2008

1.02: Make a Music Video

Interviews with Steve McLinn, Rhonda Turley, and Kathryn and Andrew about making music videos, plus Video-Safe Music.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

1.01: Be Creative @ Your Library!

Interviews with Sally Snyder and Julie Tomlianovich of the Collaborative Summer Library Program about the 2009 theme and manual.

Web References:
  1. Imagine That by Monty Harper
  2. Take Me to Your Library by Monty Harper
  1. Plantzilla, by Jerdine Nolen, Brian Keliher, and David Catrow
  2. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell and David Catrow