Jedi Music

A Resource for the Beginning Elementary Music Teacher


Differentiated Instruction for "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat"

When I originally presented ideas for utilizing "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat", there was pretty much one activity for the class: learn to follow the sequence of the song by using some visual aids to help them.  For use in a regular education class, that plan has been very sufficient. 

Now, I'd like to share some more ideas for the very same lesson, this time to address differing needs in a special needs classroom.  Differentiating the instruction can help more students of different abilities to achieve the objective of the lesson: learning to follow the sequence of a cumulative song so that they can more easily sing along!

  • Class Magnetic Visual Aids: Here is the set-up of the visual aids at use in a regular education class previously.  Now that I have divised visual aids for differentiated instruction, I'll begin using them in the mainstream setting as well.

  • Flip Books: For your students who are more physically coordinated, but still need something "hands-on to help them, these books are a great way for them to follow along with the story song.  Each page that they turn to has an element from the song.
These are 5.5 inches by 4.25 inches:
a great size for little hands.

    "There was an old lady who swallowed a ghost..."
  •  Story Song Mats: Some students lack the coordination for the small flip books.  They would need a paraprofessional (teacher's aid) to help them locate and stay on the correct page.  For these students, I developed the Story Song Mat.  This helps them to see the entire sequence of the story song on one 12 by 18 inch contruction paper mat, and more easily participate in music class independently.
    Front view
    Rear View
    "There was an old lady who swallowed a bat..."
    "There was an old lady who swallowed an owl..."
    Title page!
    Big Finish: Turn it over..."Trick or Treat!"
  • I'm so lucky with my daughters being the ages that they are right now (just turned 3 and almost 5) because they LOVE trying out any activities that I'm working on for school at home, (and getting to be my models in the process!) It was very interesting to observe them as two typically developing children at two different ages. My three year old struggled mightily with the Flip Book, and I switched her over to the Story Song Mat and she was instantly successful.  My almost 5 year old handled the flip book very well, but also enjoyed using the Story Song Mat.
  • Having three different strategies (Class Magnetic Visual Aids, Flip Books, and Story Song Mats) at work for the achievement of the same goal just makes sense, although creating the visual aids is quite time consuming!  The end result is worth the effort, when your participation levels are right where you want them: at 100%. Also, if you use one of the Teacher's Best Friends: The Laminator your work can be used over and over for many years to come!

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