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Walt Disney – Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf? (Primary)

Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf? – Walt Disney (Primary)


There were ten minutes left at the end of my lesson with a class of ten 7-year-olds. They were not “my” class, I was substituting another CAMPANIA ELT teacher, a specialist in teaching young learners who works in our Centres of Excellence team in the Italian state schools.

What could we do in ten minutes so that the kids would leave the classroom with smiles on their faces? I didn’t want them to mess around, it had to be a positive activity that would make them remember the lesson. I asked them what English songs they knew. Blank faces. They knew the chants from their course book, and they’d listened to a number of songs. But they couldn’t sing one for me.

So I said I would sing a song. They giggled. The song was the first one that came into my head, “London Bridge is Falling Down”.

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

The class then sang it with me. I mimed the bridge falling down with my hands. I found myself worrying about meaning, and especially because I myself did not know who “My fair lady” was. What could I say if they asked?

They didn’t. But in ten minutes they were singing the song perfectly – it sounded right. They left the classroom singing it with a smile.

I had been worried about meaning, forgetting that what we adults mean by meaning is quite different from what children perceive as meaning. We adults are concerned with dictionary meanings, with definitions, and with what words and word groups refer to beyond their apparent meaning. We are self-conscious about it, we are full of doubt when presented with an unfamiliar word.


Children are not concerned at all. The season of doubt has not yet set in. Meaning for them is sound, rhythm, intonation, and the association of these with actions and pictures. So here’s a song which is very much for children and intimately associated with actions and pictures: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf in Walt Disney’s 1932 cartoon “The Three Little Pigs”. You can find it on YouTube or at www.tuneintoenglish.com.

The dialogue is mostly made up of the song itself. Children can therefore follow the story as they follow and later sing the song. The worksheet features some suggested steps.

Worksheet written by Prof. Roy Boardman, Naples

Download worksheet

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