I'm Not Scared

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Students will be able to put story events in the correct order to retell a story.

Big Idea

Using a popular, repetitive action story, helps students develop story retelling skills.


10 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell them, “When I was a little girl I had a very high bed. There was lots of space under it. It was a great bed to put things under but at night I was afraid because I used to think there was something under my bed. Has anyone else ever been afraid of anything?”

You will most likely get a variety of replies including one or two students who tell you they are not afraid of anything.

“That’s great that you are not afraid of anything. I have a story today about a little old lady who was not afraid of anything either.”


35 minutes

“The book for today is called The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd. Hands up if you have heard this story before?”

I ask this question because it is a very popular book and nine times out of ten I have at least one or two students who have heard the story before.

“Great. Hands down. I am going to ask you to not spoil the book by telling us what happens at the end. I would like the people who have not heard the story to be surprised and to enjoy the story as we go along. Everyone got the message?”

“Okay. Looking at the cover what can you tell me you see?”

“Wonderful Sydney. I also see a little old lady walking home and a pumpkin up in the tree. What do you think this tells me about this book?”

“You are right Rachel. This book is most likely a fictional story about an old lady with a pumpkin. Does anyone who has NOT read the story have an idea about what may happen?”

“That sounds about right Finnley; the pumpkin will probably try and scare her. Let’s read and find out.”


During reading I discuss any new vocabulary words we may come across. Words like; sliver, startled, etc. I do this by reading the word and then saying something like, "Hey wait a minute. What does "sliver" mean?"

If no one in the group can answer the question then I talk myself through the word meaning process to model the various steps I could take to find out a word meaning. I will model steps such as - ask a friend/grown-up.

             - reread the sentence to try and make sense of the word using the words around it.

             - look for the word on the word wall.

             - use another book such as a dictionary.


While I am reading I also have the students do the following actions:

  • Stamp their feet two times whenever we hear clomp, clomp for the shoes
  • Wiggle on their spots whenever we hear wiggle, wiggle for the pants
  • Shake their shoulders and elbows whenever we hear shake, shake for the shirt
  • Clap two times whenever we hear clap, clap for the two gloves
  • Nod their head two times whenever we hear nod, nod for the hat
  • Shout “Boo, Boo!” whenever we hear Boo, Boo, for the pumpkin head.

Having the students do the actions while I am reading engaging them in the text and stimulates the brain through physical activity. This helps the students recall the story details which will improve their retell ability. 

I discuss with the students why the old lady started to walk faster and why she ended up running home. “Why do you think she is walking a little faster each time?”

“I agree with you Ryan, I too think she is starting to be afraid but she does not want to admit it.”

Towards the end of the story when the pumpkin asks the old lady what is to become of him if she is not afraid of him, I ask the students to make a prediction about what they think the old lady’s suggestion was to him.


“Now that the story is over I am going to ask you what order the old lady saw the items in the woods.”

I open up a blank screen on the SMARTBoard ready to record the students’ responses.

I use the fair sticks to select students to ensure I do not select the same students over and over. This also requires all of the students to pay attention as they do not know if they will be selected or not.

When I write the students’ responses on the board I make sure to use ordinal numbers beside each item. For example,

1st boots

2nd pants

3rd shirt

4th gloves and hat

5th pumpkin

“Great recall students. Today at one of your integrated work stations you will need to use this information to complete the assignment.”

“You will each get a sheet of paper like this one (I hold up the paper with the story items on it). You will need to cut out the items and put them in the correct order in your little black book. Make sure you cut out the cover piece first and glue it on the front of your book. This will help you know where to begin. Also remember to write your name on the front so I know whose book it is.”  Master of Items for Story Retell

“If you need help to recall the story order what resources can you use to assist you?”

“You are all right. I can use the SMARTBoard, the story book itself and Mrs. Clapp’s example hanging up in the "Help" spot.”

“When you have all the pieces in order, then you may go ahead and color your work.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”


Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go have some story order fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.  Students working   Students working 2   Students checking ordinal numbers   Student sample

Retelling books explanation


5 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time. Story order cover   Story order 1st and 2nd   Story order 3rd and 4th   Story Order 5th

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me their favorite part of the story. I let them know this can be any part of the story and it may even be an action.

I use the fair sticks to select students to tell me their favorite part/action of the story.

Once a student has told me their favorite part/action then they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack.     


For this activity I use the checklist to assess the student’s work. I attach the checklist to the student’s work and place it in his/her working portfolio. 

Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused on the point that I am looking to see if a student can accurately recall the key events and put them in the correct order. I check to see if the student attempted to label the steps with the ordinal numbers. I also make comment on how neat and tidy the work is.

The checklist helps me because the work sample provides me with evidence of students learning as to whether the student met the objectives or not. The checklist helps to convey information to the student’s family as to how well they are doing in class, and finally it helps the student by letting him/her know how he/she did and if there are areas where he/she could improve. 



Have the students watch the musical version of the story. Explain to the students that some stories can be turned into songs or be out to music. 

Do some of the activities from the site Making Learning Fun which relate to the story The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. 


Read the book or watch There’s An Alligator Under My Bed the cool thing is that it is read by the author and illustrator himself.