Mary had a Little Lamb



* Group students in pairs (by passing out tongue depressor, colored bracelets, and having them locate their partner) and read story and have students share their thoughts on questions asked (click here) before, during and after reading the story, plus narrative questions (click for pdf)

* Things to share after reading book, singing and chanting song]

a) Tell me a word that rhymes with ________? (repeat this exercise with different words from the song – Mary; little; lamb; white; day; snow; play)

b) Say two words (one word from the song and a rhyming and non-rhyming word) and ask them if they rhyme  ex. Mary …David? Mary…Larry?

c) I am going to say a word from the song and you tell me what letter it begins with (select word from song)

d) Listen to the word I say and lets count the syllables (clap, snap, pat or stomp syllables with the class)

e) I am going to say a sentence from the story / song and you fill in the word that is missing

Example: Mary had a little _____________:  Its fleece was white as _______________; etc.  continue with the other phrases from the song.

f) I am going to say part of a sentence and you finish the sentence.                Example:

(teacher) Mary had a (students) little lamb

(teacher) Its fleece was (students) white as snow  (etc.)

g) Once they are able to accomplish the task by phrases you can now do it by word. (T = Teacher  and S = Students)

Example: (T) Mary  (S) had  (T) a  (S) little  (T) lamb  (S) little  (T) lamb  (continue with song)

* Complete Venn diagram and compare a lamb to another living animal with similar characteristics in the middle (click for pdf)

* Complete a story map: title, setting, characters, problem, and solution.

* Ask students what is white and create a map on there answers.

* Use this song to practice echo reading, choral reading, buddy reading, and work on phonological awareness activities (click for example)

* Synonyms.  Chant song and substitute words to expand vocabulary. Example: (synonyms)  little = small, tiny, petite, etc. big, large, huge, etc.

* Have students sing the melody by using the syllable Baa.  

 Example:  Baa baa  baa  baa  baa-baa-baa  baa-baa-baa  etc.

(You can change initial letter to N, M, C, T or any other letter.  You can select the first letter of each of their name)

* Create different ending to the story or talk about what the little lamb might be doing at school or where else she can go?

* As a class, create silly alliteration sentences. Read them, chant them, whisper, normal voice, and loud voice.

Example:  Little lambs love licking lollipops.

Little Lambs love to leap and laugh.

* Use this song to practice echo reading, choral reading, buddy reading, and work on phonological awareness. (see video example)

* Letter recognition for (M)ary and (L)amb .  List the words (students name) that have this letter and sound in the beginning.

* Write the nursery rhyme on chart tablet and identify upper case, lower case, commas, periods within the song.

* Using the pocket chart, cover a word with a red cover sheet.  Follow the words with your finger, and ask the kids to clap while they read the word under the red card. The can also whisper the red word.

* Make multiple copies of pdf and color them the seven colors mentioned and pass out lambs of various colors and take turns in having children call out their color and the class sings,

“Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb its fleece was _______ as _______.

(black as night; green as grass; red as an apple; orange as an orange; blue as the sky; brown as dirt; yellow as a banana) (click for pdf)

* Present a stuffed lamb / sheep animal. Call on students to listen and place the lamb in various positions in the room. (For example, on the chalkboard ledge, under the chair, beside the computer, moving through the door, moving around the table, etc.)


* Discuss the process of making wool. 1) One haircut per year, usually in the summer; 2) sort the wool by color and condition (quality); 3) wash all the germs from the wool; 4) once the wool dries, comb the wool and remove tangles; 5) weave fibers to make yarn; 6) use yarn to create fabric: 7) fabric is then used to make coats, socks, carpets, jackets, pants and much more. Bring a role of wool yarn and a piece of wool fabric…WalMart!

* Introduce wool and have students touch it, walk on it barefoot and touch their neighbors arm to experience static electricity shock.

* Let students witness the results of static by placing balloons near their neighbors’ hair to see the hair react to static.  Place cheerios on floor and let children use balloons to pickup cheerios from the stactic…balloon does not touch cheerios.

* Study the difference between warm and cold.  Using a wool sock have the children test to see if they can feel the cold when they hold an ice cube with the sock over their hand and without.  You can also give them a wool sock, cotton sock, polyester sock and see which sock is warmer.

* Compare and list other animals that are “white as snow”. Play matching / memory game. (click for pdf)

* Pass around a piece of wool and cotton and compare texture (use cotton-balls to cover lamb). (click for pdf)  

Social / Emotional

* Act-out, recite, chant, and sing the song using stick puppets, masks or by assigning roles. (click for pdf)

* Discussion questions can be talked about in a group or with partners as conversation practice.

Topic A:  What would make you laugh at school?  Record their answers

Topic B:  Discuss the friendship between Mary and her lamb.  Relate the discussion to how the children feel about their pets and/or   friends.  Talk about “The Buddy System”: To be paired with someone to help them or protect them

Topic C:  Discuss which points in the story could be happy or sad.

* Was the lamb sad that Mary would be gone all day; is that why he followed her.

* Would the lamb feel lonely by himself all day?

* Was Mary happy to go to school with her friends?

Topic D: Wool is warm. “What makes you feel warm?” A sweater, hot chocolate, a blanket, a jacket, etc.

Topic E:  Sheering sheep is like getting a haircut.  Ask the children if they ever get haircuts.  Does it hurt?  Did they cry?

* Discuss “Rules” at school / home / etc.  What rules exist at your house? Have the class make a rule for the day and change the rule each day for a week.


* Time the children with a stopwatch or by counting while student run 25 yards or around the playground.

* How long did it take for Mary and her little lamb to walk to school that day?  Would it have been faster by car or bus?  How do you get to school?  How long does it take? Ask them to report.  Create a graph with the answers.

* Create a timeline of the events in the story. Use the picture clips from the stick puppets.

* Use this printout to place the sheep in order (1-5) on their way to eat hay or gluing the assigned number of cotton balls on each lamb. (click for pdf)

* Have the children estimate and then count the number of cotton-balls that will cover the lamb.  Have the children select a specific number of cotton balls or pompoms.

* Have children practice picking up cotton balls with the chopsticks. (children’ sized chopsticks can be found in any Asian market but regular size will work as well). Kids learn to use chopsticks quickly and it becomes a writing ready skill.

* Group the cotton balls and have the children discover which group is more/less, big/little.  Incorporate more vocabulary by using the words: pile, heap, stack, mound or mass.  Extension:  Use colored pompoms, then sort and count by color.

Physical / Outdoor

* Sing or chant “Mary had a little lamb” forming a circle as a class and holding hands and walking one direction and changing directions each verse.

* Place masking-tape in a circle or a straight line and encourage children to use one foot in front of the other and balance as they walk on the tape lines and repeat the rhyme / song or the alliteration above or your own alliteration created by the class.  Change movement:  criss-cross over the tape. You can also have them in three lines and assign each group to  different color and have the first three go together while singing “Mary had a Little Lamb” and walking on their assigned colored line. (click for example: Illustration)

* Play “Follow the Leader”, to reinforce how the lamb followed Mary everywhere she went.  You can create various small groups to allow everyone to be a leader.

* Test their knowledge by have them squat as you give statements that are wrong.  When they hear the correct statement, they jump!  (sample questions)

Did Mary have a cow? No

Did Mary have a horse? No

Did Mary have a Lamb? YES!  (kids jump)

Did it follow Mary to the store? No

Did it follow her to church?  No

Did it follow her to school? Yes! (kids jump)

It made the children sad? No

It made the children mad? No

It made the children laugh? Yes! (kids jump)

Continue with different questions on where it followed her and what it made the children do.  Great way to promote story comprehension.

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