K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Learn that mud is squishy, wet, and messy.
  • Learn that in order to have mud outside we must have rain.
  • Observe what happens to dirt when water is added and mixed together.
  • Apply their inventive spelling skills to write the name of the farm animal of their choice.
  • Draw or select a farm animal from clip art to match their writing. All papers will be bound into a class book.
  • Identify cows, pigs and ducks.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 days


  • Mud Walk by Joy Cowley
  • water
  • dirt
  • bucket
  • towels
  • farm animal clip-art: cow, pig, and duck
  • large Bubble Map from Thinking Maps (draw on large chart paper)
  • teacher-created worksheet
  • crayons
  • pencils
  • glue
  • large Story Map
  • KWL Chart — Know, Want to Know, Learned
  • individual snack-size chocolate pudding


In a shared reading lesson, the children will state what they know about mud. Together the class will begin the “Know” section of the K-W-L chart. Read Mud Walk by Joy Cowley discussing parts of the book and predicting events as the story is read aloud.


Day 1

  1. Discuss the children’s prior experiences with mud and what it feels like. Read Mud Walk by Joy Cowley.
  2. Follow up activity: have the children name the characters, setting, problem and solution to complete a story map.

Day 2

  1. Reread Mud Walk. Students will discuss how the animals said the mud felt. The class discusses how the mud was created filling in the “want to know section of the K-W-L chart.” What mixed with what? What kind of weather had to have happened for there to be mud?
  2. Follow up activity: students complete the teacher made worksheet that reads “The _____ is in the mud.” Students pick a farm animal and either draw the farm animal or choose pre-copied and cut out clip art piece and place it on their worksheet. Once they have there animal selected and applied it to the worksheet, they use chocolate pudding to cover their farm animal to imitate the mud. Students then write the name of the farm animal they selected using inventive spelling. Students take turns reading their work to the class. All the worksheets are bound together to complete the class book. The book will be displayed in the library center.

Day 3

  1. Reread the story. Have a chart size bubble map ready on board. Have a large bucket of dirt and pail of water. Begin by quizzing children on how to make mud. Then the teacher adds water to the dirt and mixes the two together with hands or large spoon. The children are then invited up one at a time to feel the mud and tell how it feels. As the students feel the mud they provide an adjective to write on the bubble map. We only chose 7–8 children during the lesson, and later in the day we let the rest of the class feel the mud. Complete the last section of the KWL chart on what they learned about mud.


Students will:

  1. Write the beginning and ending sounds of the animal they have chosen.
  2. Give an adjective to tell how mud feels.
  3. Name what is needed to create mud.

Supplemental information

Worksheet for use during the lesson.


We also enjoyed acting out the story. We ordered animal masks from Oriental Trading Company. But you could easily make them out of poster board. We use a large sheet of brown cloth for the mud and laid it near the acting area. We have red slippers, an apron, and a wig to dress up as Mrs. Wishy Washy. If you are looking for ideas on retelling, I made a set of picture cards from the book with out the words. I have students put the pictures in order to assess their retelling ability.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Foundational Skills

        • K.RFS.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). K.RFS.2.1 Recognize and produce rhyming words. K.RFS.2.2 Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words. K.RFS.2.3 Blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable...
        • K.RFS.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. K.RFS.3.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant. K.RFS.3.2 Associate the long and...
      • Reading: Literature

        • Kindergarten
          • K.RL.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
          • K.RL.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • K.P.2 Understand how objects are described based on their physical properties and how they are used. K.P.2.1 Classify objects by observable physical properties (including size, color, shape, texture, weight and flexibility). K.P.2.2 Compare the observable...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)


  • Goal 1: The learner will develop and apply enabling strategies to read and write.
    • Objective 1.04: Read or begin to read.
      • Read or attempt to read own dictated story.
      • Attempt to read/reads simple patterned text, decodable text, and/or predictable texts using letter-sound knowledge and pictures to construct meaning.
  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.06: Write and/or participate in writing behaviors by using authors' models of language.
  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.01: Develop spelling strategies and skills by:
      • representing spoken language with temporary and/or conventional spelling.
      • writing most letters of the alphabet.
      • analyzing sounds in a word and writing dominant consonant letters.

Science (2005)


  • Goal 3: The learner will make observations and build an understanding of the properties of common objects.
    • Objective 3.01: Observe and describe the properties of different kinds of objects (clay, wood, cloth, paper, other) and how they are used.
    • Objective 3.03: Describe how objects look, feel, smell, taste, and sound using their own senses.