Prior to this lesson, you will need to set up a “tea party” in your classroom. I like to make some herbal tea and sweeten it a little. I also make mini cupcakes and buy “fancy plates and cups” (partyware from the dollar store). The reasoning behind having a real tea party is because it hooks the students' attentions and sets the stage for the rest of the learning. Many of my students are not familiar with tea parties, and so I want to build a foundation in a fun and interactive way.
When the children come to the tea party, I greet them with a “how do you do” and an “I’m so happy you could come.” I teach them to put their napkin across their laps and sit up tall. I ask the children if they have ever been to a tea party or have played tea party before. We chat for a moment and talk about what tea party is like. I tell them that I will be reading a book about a special tea party, called Miss Spider’s Tea Party while they are enjoying their tea and cake. I let them know to be particularly aware of the rhyming words, and we review that rhyming words sound alike at the end of the word. I give a couple of examples like noon/moon, bee/see.
I provide this experience for my students so that as readers and writers, the children can make meaning through their sensory experiences. They can take their tea party experience and use it to write a story or to refer back to this event later on as part of their prior knowledge.
Most of the time when I am having the children listen for a particular reason, I will read the book once for their enjoyment, and again to really focus on our objective, but since this is a long story, I will only read it through once during this particular lesson. While reading the story, I try to emphasize the rhyming words with a bit of exaggeration in my voice. After completing the story, I will ask for volunteers to share any rhymes that they heard. Did anyone hear moth/cloth (etc.)? We make a list of the rhymes we have heard.
When our list is complete, I will assign each child a word to illustrate on a 3x3 piece of paper. I tell the children that I want to see their best work with a detailed drawing. After about five-eight minutes, I call the group to the rug to show off our work. I tell each of the children that they have a rhyming buddy, but they can only know who their buddy is if they listen carefully. Their rhyming buddy is the person who has a word and picture that rhymes with their word and pictures. I let the children try to find their buddies on their own at first, but after a few minutes, I call children up to me to tell about their picture and we all help in uniting the buddies. When that happens, I have the children help me glue their pictures onto a paper plate. The plates are then stacked up and holes are punched into the side. I use a paper plate cover that has been made to look like Miss Spider. We will have constructed a class rhyming book that I am sure will be well-loved!
Reflection: This idea of a rhyming buddy has been used in my class on a couple of other occasions, including a lesson taught earlier based on the book and song, "Down By the Bay". In this case, the children illustrated a word, found their buddy, and taped it to the class chart as we sang the song. They children enjoy "looking" for their buddy before sharing because it keeps their attention and it reinforces the concept of rhyme.