The Wide Mouthed Frog

Author: Shannon Elmer
Year: 2015
Artform: Music
Subjects: Science
Grade: 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade & Kindergarten
Duration: 1 or 2 sessions

Students will explore the characteristics and needs of living things and their habitats while incorporating various elements of music with simple percussive instruments.


  • Word strips with animal types, habitats and food sources found in the book (in PDF)
  • A variety of simple percussion instruments
  • Music & rhythm (in PDF)


Book Resources

Download PDF Lesson Plan

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards


The student will develop the voice and body as instruments of musical expression.


The students will play instruments as a means of musical expression.


The students will create music through improvising, arranging, and composing.


Students will gain an understanding of Life Science through the study of changes in organisms over time and the nature of living things.


Identify basic needs of living things (plants and animals) and their abilities to meet their needs.


Communicate and justify how the physical characteristics of living things help them meet their basic needs.

  • Identify basic needs of living things (plants and animals) and their abilities to meet their needs.
  • Explore the potential of the human voice to make sounds and sing with a natural voice.
  • Demonstrate playing simple percussion instruments from the classroom and various cultures.
  • Demonstrate ability to play instruments accurately.
  • Improvise a variety of rhythms, melodies, and sound effects with the body, voice, and instruments.

Teaching and Timeline


Begin by singing FROG ROUND with the students. This song does NOT have to be sung in a round. After singing discuss with the children what a habitat is (the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism). On the board place your word strips of habitats, animals and food sources. Ask the children to listen and watch for information about the word strips while you read the book.


  1. Sing the whole FROG ROUND to the students twice. Ask the students to keep the steady beat by patting their laps while you sing and then to join in singing when they are ready. Sing the song several times through always encouraging them to keep the beat while they sing. You can do this by having them pat their laps or walk around the room while singing.
  2. Place the word strips on the board in a random fashion. Your word strips should include the following: Wide Mouthed Frog, Flies, Pond; Blue-feathered bird, wriggly worms and slugs, tree; furry brown mouse, crunchy seeds and juicy berries, field; big green Alligator, wide-mouthed frogs, swamps and wetlands.
  3. Read The Wide Mouthed Frog to the students and ask them to listen for different animals, what they eat and see if they can figure out where they might live. (habitats are not stated in the book)
  4. Ask the students to match the animals listed in the word strips to their food source and probable habitat.
  5. Teach the Wide Mouthed Frog speech pattern also called an ostinato. Read the book again and this time have the students accompany the book with the speech pattern each time the frog says what he eats, changing it to: I eat flies. I eat flies. Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy flies. You could even add some simple percussion instruments like: sticks, triangle, wood block, and drum to this speech pattern by having the kids play what they say. A whip would sound awesome on the last flies!
  6. Tell the students you would like them to create their own speech pattern by using the food sources (what each animal eats) found in the book. Divide the class into 4 groups. Each group will be in charge of coming up with a creative and rhythmic way of saying one of the 4 food sources. Each pattern needs to represent 4 steady beats and be repeated 4 times.
  7. When each group has finished have them perform their pattern for the class.
  8. Begin layering the patterns and perform as group.
  9. Once the students are successful at performing this as a speech piece, have them explore the simple percussion instruments and come up with 1 instrument that represents their pattern then perform again as a group.


During a future class you could have the students create a second speech pattern based on habitats or animals or the sounds the animals make and transfer to instruments again. This is a great extension activity.

  • Most living things need water, food, and air.
  • Animals eat plants and other animals for food.
  • They can use their five senses to observe living things and their environments.
  • Plants and animals use earth materials to sustain life
  • Can the students define a habitat?
  • Can the students create a 4 beat pattern with a word or combination of word?
  • Can the students transfer speech to playing?
  • Use instruments that are very tactile and easy to manipulate.
  • Use visuals representations instead of word strips, e.g., pictures of animals, habitats and food sources.


While the kids are manipulating word strips watch to see if they understand the concepts. If not, help guide them to the correct answers.

While the kids are creating their own speech pattern assess if they understand what a 4 beat pattern is and how to repeat it 4 times. If not, guide them to understanding what a 4 beat pattern looks and feels like.


Discuss with the students what they learned in class. Ask them to talk with their group and report something they learned and enjoyed today. Have them demonstrate their understanding during a follow-up lesson by asking them to choose a different habitat – find an animal that lives in it and also identify its food source. During the next class time they could explore the new habitats, animals, and food sources.

You could also have the students create a Haiku Poem using something they learned about in a previous lesson, or listen to short snippets from FIVE FROGS by Jenni Brandon, a woodwind quintet piece and have them identify what they hear the frogs are doing in the music (Leaping, On The Lily Pad, Swimming, Bullfrog, Catching Bugs.)

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