(the tune of “Three Blind Mice”)
Old Mrs. Witch, Old Mrs. Witch.
Tell me what you do, tell me what you do
I fly on my broomstick; I fly on my broomstick
I fly on my broomstick and I’ll scare you. BOO!!
Mrs. Barbara Lewis taught me this song in its entirety when I was in the third grade. We called her Mrs. B. Lewis because there was another Ms. Lewis at my elementary school. She spent quite a bit of time teaching us different songs, creating art projects related to Halloween, and reading us books related to the holiday.
As an adult, I have taught my kids this song and I honestly don’t know how I remember it except that I loved Mrs. B. Lewis like she was my own mother and hung on every word she said. I think about her classroom a lot when I am in classrooms and wonder how she did all the things she did.
In the mornings, she pulled small reading groups and those of us not in groups worked independently. We just did it. There were no assistants and nothing fancy going on. I remember hurrying to get done with my work so I could sit and read. Yes- she let us sit and read whenever we wanted. The books were also whatever we wanted and there were no points or rewards. We just read for the joy of reading.
We had math right before lunch and after lunch we had social studies and science on what seemed like every day. We went outside every single day for playtime unless we had PE as a special. Her playtime included teaching us real games and not just walking around on the playground. She was actively engaged in each game we played even if it was just to blow the whistle and have us run relay races.
At this time of year, I am wondering if any teachers still have time for songs like “Old Mrs. Witch” or have they fallen my the wayside? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for reading, writing, math and high quality instruction across the board. It is totally understandable if the songs have been eliminated, given all the things on the instructional plate these days. My memory may even be playing some tricks on me and maybe Mrs. B. Lewis wasn’t Teacher of the Universe. I just keep thinking about how she wanted us to be “whole” and she made time for that to happen.
At any rate, as you head into this holiday weekend I hope you have a chance to sing “Old Mrs. Witch” with your students and get outside for some playtime- even if you just blow the whistle for relays.
Have a safe and happy Halloween weekend!