This classic story/nursery rhyme was always a big hit with my own kids, but I honestly wasn't sure how well it would work in the preschool ESL classroom. The language is not "easy" necessarily. I was pleasantly surprised though. The preschoolers really loved this story AND looking at the book. My only complaint is that this book is small (it's a board book) and the details are hard to see, especially when using it a read aloud for a large class.
I used this book twice at school. Once for the large classes to introduce some farm animals. We focused on six animals: pig, duck, horse, cow, goat, and sheep.
Game 1: I tossed farm animals around the room and asked students to go find them one by one. It's a very simple game, that the students enjoyed. There's something about a teacher doing something they're not supposed to do (throw toys) that tickles a preschooler's funny bone.
Game 2: In Italy they call this game the "Box Game". Students crouch into a "box" position. Then I called an animal, and students came out of their boxes and made the correct animal sound.
Game 3: Using my play parachute, one student crawled underneath and made an animal sound. The others had to guess the animal name in English. Whoever said the correct animal first (in English) got to crawl under the tent and make the next sound.
I also used this book in my private afternoon lessons. These group lessons are much smaller and we use them to continue to practice and build on the vocab we introduce in class. For class, we used THERE WAS AN OLD LADY... and completed this fun craft which I found on Miss Thrifty SLP Blogspot. The students LOVED this. With these as a visual guide, the students were actually able to tell the story back to me (and their parents) at a very simple level.
In addition to being a writer, I have about the best job in the world. I teach 3-6 year olds English in an Italian preschool. I LOVE using picture books in my ESL lessons as introductions to my daily topics, and just because kids love books. My goal with this blog isn't to highlight the most "of-the-moment" picture books, but rather to present books that work well for ESL learners and that are accessible to teachers living all around the world. If you're an ESL teacher who loves books, then this blog is for you.