Jedi Music

A Resource for the Beginning Elementary Music Teacher


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

That little old lady sure does like to eat, doesn't she?  If you are a fan, you may want to introduce the original song "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" before delving into the many seasonal "old lady" books.

For the spooky season, Lucille Colandro has written "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!" This is a good reinforcement of sequence and cumulative songs. Most kids just love Halloween and everything associated with the holiday, so this song and book will make them very excited!

Here are my ideas for using this book in your music class:

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

1. bat

2. owl

3. cat

4. ghost

5. goblin

6. bones

7. wizard

  • 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!

  • For those who don't like to use the lyric, "Perhaps she'll die", this book substitutes "Imagine that!"
  • Some years ago, I bought this old lady puppet who could "eat" all of the items in the original song.  If you could find small objects of each of the creatures that she eats in this book, students would really enjoy feeding the creepy creatures to the old lady puppet.
  • Check out my ideas for differentiated instruction strategies for this book!

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