Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Let's Sing, Read, and Write

Cathy Burgess
Bay District Schools


The students sing and read the old favorite song Wheels on the Bus and write new song text for a poster and a class book.


The student contributes ideas during a group writing activity.

The student uses repetition, rhyme, and rhythm in a variety of activities (for example, chants, songs, or story innovations).


-[Wheels on the Bus] big book and cassette tape, Scott Foresman First grade materials
-An Adaptation of the traditional song: "The Wheels on the Bus" Kovalski, California, Scott Foresman and Company, 1987.
-[The Wheels on the Bus Raffi Songs to Read] by Raffi, Crown Publishing, 1990.
-Listening center: tape recorder, earphones
-Art center with markers, color pencils, and crayons
-Yellow butcher paper
-Large school bus enlarged on yellow butcher paper
-Blank school bus picture on 8x11 page
(You can download school bus picture. See Weblinks.)


1. Get a large piece of yellow butcher paper.
2. Draw a giant bus. Write the text under the windows on the side of the bus.
3. Gather books and cassette tape.
4. Set up listening center with a tape player and six headsets.
5. Arrange to visit Art center. Gather supplies of markers, color pencils, and crayons.
6. Make sure scissors and glue are handy.


1. Introduce the new story by telling the students that they sing about and read a big book called [The Wheels on the Bus]. Many have learned to sing this in Pre-K and Kindergarten, and it is an old favorite, but now they practice one-to-one correspondence, pointing to the words as they learn to read it.

2. Do a book walk; make predictions. Play the cassette tape/or teacher reads. Students listen and follow the teacher as the teacher points to the words. The next time practice the motions.

3. Tell the students that they are going to add a verse to this song that describes how they feel about first grade. Together on the board brainstorm one-syllable words to fit the innovation(new text)of this song. Remind them of what one-syllable words are and that these one-syllable words are describing words. Describing words tell more about the noun. Clap out some together.

The children on the bus say:
First grade is________.
First grade is________.
First grade is________.

The children on the bus say:
First grade is__________,
All through the town.

4. After listing their one-syllable words on the board, the class votes on one word to use in the verse written on the enlarged school bus that will be hung on the wall. The teacher then fills in the blank on the bus. This bus goes to the art center for children to draw a picture of themselves sitting on the bus. The children visit the Art center during center time each day while the teacher is teaching small group guided reading. Pick one child to draw a picture of the teacher driving the bus.

5. Then the children add their own one syllable word to the verse on their own page and color. When everyone is finished, collect papers and put them together for a class book called First Grade Wheels on the Bus. Have a student share the book in the Author's Chair.


A formative assessment will be done on activity #3. The teacher observes by asking questions to see if all the children are contributing ideas during the lesson.
A formative assessment will be done on activity #5 to make sure that all children have contributed something for the book.


A thematic unit on transportation could be integrated into this lesson.

An extension to this lesson is to put the book and tape at a listening center for center time and from there into the self- selected reading basket to enjoy independently.

Web Links

Web supplement for Let's Sing, Read, and Write
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