There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Cow by Lucille Colandro is a fun book to use with your students to work on those farm animal concepts and sequencing skills. I paired this book with a simple cow craft and it was a great lesson for my students. I created some book visuals, sequencing pictures, and follow up question you can use with your students. I like to use the smaller book pictures while reading the story and the larger pictures to re-sequence the story after we finish reading it.
I put a piece of hard Velcro on each page which corresponds with one of the small book pictures. I put soft Velcro on the back of the small book pictures so the students can attach the pictures into the book while we read the story. I also put a piece of hard Velcro on the cover of the book and have the students attach the old lady picture to the cover to answer the “who is the story about?” question before we start the book.
After I read each item the old lady swallows I have the student match the corresponding picture into the book. For the first page “there was an old lady who swallowed a cow.” I have one of the students find the picture of the cow and attach it into the book. We practice making those animals sounds to go along with the picture. I have all my students work on “mooing” Even my limited verbal students are often able to make some animal sound approximations or at least have fun trying.
For some of my students, I may provide them with a visual field of 2 or 3 pictures to select from and add it to the book. For example, on the second page “did the old lady swallow hay or a duck?” Then I model those sequential concepts “first cow, second hay” before I continue to the next page.
With my students who can, I have them repeat what the old lady swallowed on each page to help them remember and practice those sequential terms. “first cow, second hay, third pig.” We continue to make those silly animal noises for the animals the old lady swallows. For some of your higher functioning students you can even ask some “wh” questions while reading the book such as “what color is the pig?”
Hopefully by the end of the book the students can remember some or even all 7 items the old lady swallowed and in the correct order. I have my students take the larger book pictures and place the items in the correct sequential order. For some of my students I provide them a choice of 2 items as they work on identify which item came next. I have the students take turns re-telling the story to the group while using the pictures for the visual support they need.
A perfect follow-up craft to pair with this book is making cows with silly googly eyes. Crafts are a great time to work on those following directions and requesting skills.
For some of my groups I just cut out different size black circles/blobs to use for the cow’s spots. If your students can cut you can trace some spots and have your student work on cutting out the different spots for their cow. The students can also cut out a large pick oval for the mouth.
I have the students request a paper plate either verbally, with visuals, or an AAC device. I put 2 dots or Xs on the paper plate so the students know where to put the glue. After the students request the eyes they can add the eyes onto the glue.
Next we glue the pink mouth on the cow along with 2 small black dots for nostrils.
Then I let the students put the black spots all over their cows. For some groups we counted out a set number of spots but for other groups I just gave them some spots. We also added 2 black ears on the top of the paper plate.
You can change the level of difficulty of this craft depending on your students’ level. You can have your students do most of the cutting or if that is too difficult you can have the material prepped but work on the student following basic 1-step commands during the activity. Crafts are also a great way to work on requesting either verbally or with an AAC system. Many times I’m working with my students on single picture exchange so I can put the visual for the needed item on their PECS book and have them exchange the picture with me to receive the needed item. These cows turned out super cute!
If you want to use these book visuals and questions sheets click on the link for this Free Resource – There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Cow Book Visuals and Questions