Teacher Resources, Lesson Plans, and Classroom Management Tips

"There Was An Old Lady..." Unit

"There Was An Old Lady..." Unit

Shared Reading

Before Reading:
  • Dress like an old lady for the reading!
  • Make predictions.
During Reading:
  • Allow children to read story along with you as they learn the words/predictable pattern.
  • Have children make a "gulping" sound each time the old lady swallows an animal.
After Reading:
  • Draw a Venn diagram comparing different versions of the "There Was an Old Lady" story.
  • Bring in a box of old lady wigs and/or clothes. During rereadings, allow your students to dress up as they read.
  • Use the cloze technique to cover up words or phrases in the story.
  • Make a list of rhyming words in the story as you read.
  • Have children sit in a circle to form a "tummy". Hand out animal story props to children. While reading the story, the person who is holding the corresponding animal sits in the middle of the circle/"tummy".
  • Use a story prop to retell the story. Pictured below are some story props from different stores.
There Was an Old Lady...
This is the story prop that I own and I love it. It is small (about 14 inches high) and easy to store. The price can't be beat either - $10.49 from Discount School Supply.
There Was an Old Lady...
Here is a more expensive puppet from Storytime Pals.
There Was an Old Lady...
Here is another fun prop for the story - a small mitt available from Education Depot.
There Was an Old Lady...
Here is a story kit available from Lakeshore Learning.

Writing Activites

New Version: Many of the "Old Lady..." stories now are written with a theme (example: I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie is themed for Thanksgiving). Write a new themed version of the story. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • There was an old lady who swallowed a:
    • pencil, marker, ruler, school bus (school theme)
    • fish, whale, anchor, boat (ocean theme)
    • duck, cow, pig, sheep (farm theme)
    • star, flag, apple pie, baseball (USA theme)

New Ending: Write a new ending to the story.

Rhyming Verses: Have children create rhyming verses like the ones patterned in the story (example: There was an old lady who swallowed a fish. She made a wish and swallowed a fish.) Older children can write the whole sentence on their own, but younger children can be given a sentence frame to complete (example: There was an old lady who swallowed a ___. She _________________ and swallowed a _______.)

Venn Diagram: Draw a venn diagram and compare/contrast two different versions of the "There Was An Old Lady" story.

Math Activities

Sequencing: Have children sequence the characters in the story by the order in which they appear. Use cut outs from printables (see Resource Links below) or use the animals from a story prop (see above).

Size Order: Using cut outs or story props, have children place the animals in size order from largest to smallest or from smallest to largest.

Songs and Poems

There's a Fly Up in the Air
(tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It")

There's a fly up in the air, in the air.
There's a fly up in the air, in the air.
There's a fly up in the air
It saw _____ and landed there.
There's a fly up in the air, up in the air.

*Use words such as names, color words, etc. in the blank.

Shoo Fly!
(tune: "This Old Man")

1, 2, 3,
Flies bug me.
Shoo, fly, shoo;
Don't bother me.
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
Shoo, fly, shoo,
Again and again!

Resource Links

Related Literature

Coming soon...