Jedi Music

A Resource for the Beginning Elementary Music Teacher


Children's Literature for Music Ed: "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"

There are many book versions of "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" out there; I included this one illustrated by Pam Adams just because it's the one I own.  It is a nice big size to share in class and includes die-cut holes in the pages to see each animal swallowed.

This is a great book and song to include early in the school year, because there is a variety of different "Old Lady" holiday variations to include throughout the year.

Here are my ideas for incorporating "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" in your music class:

  • Print out pictures of each of the items that the old lady swallows:

  • 1. fly

  • 2. spider

  • 3. cat

  • 4. dog 

  • 5. cow

  • 6. horse

  •  Attach magnets to the back of each picture so that you can hang them on your board to help students with the order of the song.

  • Students will take turns being the leader and pointing to the items as we sing about them. Previously, I used a yardstick for my pointer, but my son found these much superior pointers at a Scholastic book fair. The are much safer than the yardstick for my youngest students!

  • Some find the lyric, "Perhaps she'll die" too harsh for their early elementary students. Dr. Jean substitutes "I wonder why?" in place of that lyric, which can be an option if the original bothers you or your students.

  • I bought this puppet years ago from one of the "Books Are Fun" vendors.  The students enjoy placing the animals in her mouth as she "eats" them!

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