Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and lends itself particularly well to creating fun, engaging and instructional activities in the classroom. This blog is all about The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, a thrilling, chilling Halloween story for children of all ages.
Hopefully, your school library will have a copy of the book, otherwise check local libraries, or see if your school will purchase a copy for you. In my opinion, it’s one of those “must have” books for your classroom library!
So, what makes this book so terrific? Well, the brave, somewhat cocky attitude of the Little Old Lady has you rooting for her right from the start, the repeating phrases that can be paired with movement are super fun, and Megan Lloyd ‘s illustrations add just the right amount creepiness you want in a Halloween story. What’s not to love?
I suggest using this book during group time for the entire week leading up to Halloween. Here is a list of ideas to help engage your students while at the same time practicing fine motor, memory, communication, comprehension and turn-taking skills. If you use assistive technology (such as the TechTalk 8) prepare a page that includes each image and record the repeated phrase for each. Click here to download free line drawings or free photos that you can use to support the lessons.
- Say and Do. Encourage the group to repeat the phrases and move their body as the book is read. Let the non-verbal students participate by using the assistive technology.
- Ask questions. “What do the pants do?” “Wiggle, wiggle!” “What goes wiggle, wiggle?” “The pants!’
- Get in Character. Assign each student a “character” (ie. pants, gloves, head etc.) and have them stand in front of the group. Give them a visual to hold in front of them to show what they are representing. Let the students act out the part when it is read aloud.
- Read Aloud on YouTube. Listen and watch the story read aloud on YouTube. This is best if you have a White Board, but can also work just showing it on your laptop, click on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHXZ1MbBE-M
- Animated on Youtube. Watch an animated version of the story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZuqGwfiS0s
- Sing Along on YouTube. Here’s a version where the story is sung, and the pictures are animated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiUflxXF-Zg
- Say and Do Game. Make copies of the visuals and place them in a plastic pumpkin or a bag with a pumpkin drawn onto it. Let each student reach into the container and pull out one image. Encourage student make the sound and movement of their pick. You can either put the image back in the container or not after it has been chosen. Be sure to have the assistive technology available for the activity.
- Cut and Paste. Students cut out the images and paste them down to create a scarecrow.
- Mix and Match. Make 2 copies of the images and play the memory game. If you want, you can make a master set and laminate it and then also make a set for each student so they can take it home to play.
- Cut and Paste Matching. Students practice cutting and matching drawing to photo. Click here for a free scarecrow template.
So, there are ten ideas to get you started! Consider getting your Occupational Therapist and Speech Language Clinician on board to help faciliated these activities. Have fun!