Can You Spell Car?

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to spell simple word phonetically, drawing on knowledge of letter-sound relationships.

Big Idea

Writing about how they get to school provides students with an opportunity to practice inventive spelling.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

Once the students are sitting on the rug I Have them stand up and use washing machine arms to make sure they have enough space around them to move to the song we are about to do. I tell the students, “We are going to be pretending we are in a car. Now we are going to all be good drivers and make sure no one gets injured or pulled over by a state trooper. I am the state trooper and if I see anyone being an unsafe driver I get to take away their drivers license and they have to sit by the side of the road. So let’s make sure we are all safe drivers so we can stay on the road.”

Now I play the song Take You Driving in My Car sung by Greg and Steve. The original song is sung by Woody Guthrie and there is a You Tube version that has the book sing along. It is only 1 minute and 44 seconds long so it could be used on the SMARTBoard as a nice little support at the beginning or end of the lesson.  

When the music is over I have the students sit back down on the rug ready to hear the book.

I use this song to get my students motivated about transportation which will help them make a connection to the text.   


35 minutes

“This story is called This is the Way We go to School, written by Edith Baer and illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. If the title of the book is This is the Way We Go to School, what do you think the book will be about?” I only take a couple of replies to this question as I do not want to lose my audience’s attention.

Now I go ahead and read the book. It does not take too long for the students to notice the rhythm and rhyme that makes up the story. I will often pause before giving away some of the words to see if any of the students will jump in with the appropriate rhyming form of transportation.


When the book is over I ask the students to tell me some of the ways they saw students going to school. We discuss if any of these ways would work here for us. Some could; like riding a horse, but we discuss how it is not possible if you do not have a horse. Some most certainly would not work; like rowing a boat as there is no river from a student’s house to our school.


Next I tell the students that I am going to go around the rug and ask each person how they come to school each day. I make it clear that I only want to know how they get to school most of the time. Making this clear to the students takes away the chance for students to give you more than one answer as they may go home a different way or they may arrive by a different method if they are from a divorce situation, etc.   


When each student has had a turn to share I let the students know their assignment today is to complete the writing prompt “I come to school in a …”

“Today boys and girls you are going to try and complete the prompt all by yourself. I want you to use what you know about letter sounds to tap out the sounds and then try to write the word without using any assistance.”

I go over some of the words we have tapped out using our fingers in previous phonics lessons. Then we practice by tapping out some of the transportation words we may come across.

Tap it out explanation.


Once I feel the students understand the concept of what is being asked of them I prepare to send them over to the work station tables. “At the work station you will find the I come to school in a ... writing prompt. What is the first thing you will do?” Hopefully someone will remember the first thing they need to do is write their name at the top of the paper. “You do not need to write the date because we have the date stamp. Use it to date your work.”

“Make sure you tap out your sounds slowly and use your best handwriting so the reader can understand your work. Make sure your illustration matches your words and is detailed so the reader gets a clear picture in their head of what you are writing about.”


Now I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go have some tapping out fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Give the students about 15 minutes to get this assignment done. Remind the students they can look at the visual timer to check how much time they have left. 


Phonetic Spelling


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

I remind students to put their completed work in the “completed work” bin and those that are not complete go into the “under construction” bin.  

Student sample 1 - high performing student who used upper case letters

Student sample 2 - high performing student who used correct letter formation.  

Student sample 3 - middle performing student who has beginning and ending sounds (bus)

Student sample 4 - high performing student 

Student sample 5 - high performing student

Looking at the student samples shows you how students are experimenting with the sounds they hear within words. Sometimes it helps to ask the student to justify the letter choices they have made so you can truly understand what they hear. 

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students that their “exit slip” to get their snack is to tell me one way they would like to come to school. It can be anyway they would like, but they can only pick one. 

"Room 203 today your exit ticket to get your snack is to tell me one way you would like to get to school. It can be any form of transportation that you want. For example, the one way I would like to go to school is by dog sled. I think it would be very exciting to ride on a sled behind a team of husky dogs. I don't know what I would do with the dogs once I got to school, but I still think it would be a fun way to get to school."

"I will give you one minute to think about one way you would like to get to school."

Once the time is up I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students. If a student has difficulty with coming up with a way to get to school they can do one of two things:

  1. Call on a friend to help, or
  2. Wait until everyone is gone and we will work on a way to get to school together. 

I close out with this exit ticket because I want to provide the students with a discussion point during snack. The students can recall the different forms of transportation from the book and may even come up with their own ways.   


10 minutes

For this assignment I would place a copy of the student’s work in his/her portfolio to illustrate whether the student was able to meet the objective or not. Ways to get to School

Call the each student over during a time which fits into your classroom schedule. I call my students over to work with me during free choice centers time or at integrated work station time (only if I have enough parent volunteers and I am not working a station myself).

Have the student look at each home. Ask them to tell you what it is. If they do not know, tell them. “This first picture is a house. The second is a hut, and the third picture is of a castle.” Now tell the student to “tap out” the sounds he/she hears and write down those sounds to label the picture. Place this sample in the student’s working portfolio. Inventive Spelling Skill Check 2


Work on the –an word family based form the word “van.” There is a nice word family wheel using a van in the Scholastic book Turn to Learn Word Family Wheels ISBN – 13: 9780590643764


Another –an word family resource can be found in Creative Teaching Press Build-a-Skill Instant Books, Word Families – Short Vowels. ISBN – 13: 978-1-59198-408-5  


Another activity could be using the controlled R sound. There is a little flip book in the Creative Teaching Press book Build-a-Skill Instant Books, R-Controlled Vowels and Vowel Diagraphs. ISBN – 13:978-1-59198-413-9

The flip book uses words such as: arm, barn, farm, harp, jar, star, etc