Teacher Resources, Lesson Plans, and Classroom Management Tips

Wheels on the Bus Unit

Wheels on the Bus Unit

Wheels on the Bus
Wheels on the Bus
by Raffi
Illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz Wickstrom

Shared Reading

Before Reading:
  • Ask students if they have heard of the song before or any other songs about vehicles (ex. Row, row, row, your boat).
  • If many students know the song, sing it together.
  • Discuss with the children that songs can also be stories. If you have already read other books together that are also songs, ask the children if they can remember any of them (i.e. Down by the Bay, Five Little Ducks, etc.).
During Reading:
  • Read the title, author, and illustrator. Explain that this book is a traditional song and that the real author is unknown.
  • Ask the children to read with you.
  • Ask questions about the story:
    • Which was your favorite picture in the book? Why?
    • Why do you think the baby on the bus was crying?
    • Do you think the bus driver likes his job? Why?
  • Make up new verses and sing them.
  • Add hand/body movement to the song. Have the children pretend that they are doing the things on the bus (honk the horn, turn the wheels, etc.)

Literacy Activities

Act Out the Song: Line up the chairs in your classroom so that they resemble the inside of a bus, with rows and an aisle. Sing the song with your students while sitting in the imaginary "bus". You can even let a child be the driver and let them sit at the front with a "steering wheel" (you can use a paper plate, small hula hoop, etc.


Shared Writing:
  • Make a class book with the following sentence frame: "The _____ on the bus go _____, _____, _____." or "The _____ on the _____ go _____, _____, _____." Brainstorm things on the bus or other types of transportation to fill in the blanks. Here are some examples:
    • The people on the bus go up and down.
    • The dogs on the bus go woof, woof, woof.
    • The engine on the car goes vroom, vroom, vroo
Independent Writing:
  • Draw a picture or write about what you see or would see out of a bus window.
  • Draw a picture or write about what color your bus would be if you had one.

Songs and Poems

Waiting for the Bus
by Jacqueline Sweeney

We're waiting for the bus,
the yellow, bug-eyed bus;

Backpacks sitting in a bunch,
lunchtime sandwiches all crunched.

I wish that bus would HURRY UP
before this waiting gets too much!

Gabby's doing last night's work.
Matthew eats today's dessert.

Hector's splitting pumpkins seeds.
Lindy's chasing broken beads.

I wish that yellow, bug-eyed bus
Would come and take us

Off the street!


Little Yellow Schoolbus
by Pamela R. Jarrell
(tune: "I've Been Working on the Railroad")

I'm a little yellow school bus,
On my way to school.
I carry all the little children,
Yes, that is what I do.
When I see a child is waiting
My lights go flash, flash, flash!
When the drivers see my stop sign,
They all stop just like that.

How Do You Go?
(Tune: "The Farmer in the Dell ")

I'm driving in a bus.
I'm driving in a bus.
Hi, ho, watch me go.
I'm driving in a bus.

Repeat the poem and replace the word
bus, with other transportation words.


School Bus
by Kay Winters

is a
STOP and start
Fast and s l o w
On and off
Yellow box on wheels
Stuffed with kids!

Extension Activities

How Do You Get to School Graph: Make a class graph of how your students get to school. Graph how many children take a car, bus, bike, or walk to school.

Related Units

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