F As In Fuego

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Students will be able to confidently isolate and state the beginning sound in a given word.

Big Idea

Students reinforce beginning sound skills.


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.

When all of the students are on the rug I have them stand on their spots and do washing machine arms to make sure they have enough space around them ready to do an action song. I remind the students they are in control of their body and it will only do what you tell it to do.

I let the students we are going to do the ABC Rap on the SMARTBoard. I have the students do exercises while we do this song. I especially like to use actions which cross the body’s midline to wake up both sides of the brain. We do actions like windmills (opposite hands to opposite foot, punching arms crossing the midline, stretches with the arms reaching over the head and leaning to the side, opposite elbow to opposite knee, etc)

The reason I select this song is because I want the students to recall letter sounds when they get ready to do the activity for this lesson. They will need to recall letter sounds while they are trying to find items with the same initial sound.

Once the song is over I have the students resume their seats on the rug. Rather than just tell the students to take a spot on their dot I like to the Spot on Your Dot Song


35 minutes

“Today we are going to read a book titled Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos. What do you think the word fuego means?”

I often have a Spanish speaking student in my class who can educate the rest of the class on the word meaning. 

I discuss with the students how books can be written in different languages just like we speak in different languages.

“What do you think bomberos means?”

Once again I will often have a Spanish speaking student who is thrilled to be able to educate the rest of the class.

“Now that we know bomberos and firefighter mean the same thing, do they have the same beginning sound?”

 “How about fuego and fire?”

“You are all right. They do. What sound do we hear?”

“That’s right the /f/ sound.”

“Let’s go ahead and read the book and see what other words we can discover.”

The book has a nice rhyming text to it. The students do not take long to figure it out, but because it is not the main focus of the lesson I do not spend a great deal of time on it.  


During reading I will have the students predict what they think the Spanish words mean. Some of the words are obvious, some require us to really use the picture clues and others we have to read on and then reread for understanding. If the students still have not deciphered what the word is I tell them (there is a translation section at the back of the book) or I have a Spanish speaking student tell them.


Once the story is over I ask, “Now that the story is over can anyone tell me the sound they hear at the beginning of fuego?”

I use the fair sticks to select a student to respond.

“Great work Bryan. /F/ is the first sound I hear. Can anyone give me a word which has the same beginning sound?”

I use the Fair Sticks to select a student to respond.

Now I ask, “Is that the same beginning sound as the word fire?”

I use the fair sticks to select a student to respond.

“You are right Anthony it is the same beginning sound. Fire and fuego both begin with /f/. Can anyone else give me a word that has the beginning sound as fuego and fire?”

Again I use the fair sticks but this time I take three or four responses.

“Those were great examples to give me. Today at one of the work stations you will be asked to find items which have the same beginning sound as fuego and fire. On the table you will find a container filled with flames (I emphasize the /f/ on the word flame). Each flame has a picture on it. You will have to determine if the picture has the same beginning sound or not. If it does you will glue the picture onto the flame outline on your recording sheet.”

Here is the tricky part. Once you have used a particular flame you cannot use that one again. You have to find a new flame to fill in the outline on your recording sheet. Each flame outline has to have a different picture in it. I would like you to make an attempt to label your items.” Materials   

Once I feel the students understand the concept of what is being asked of them I prepare to send them over to the Integrated Work Stations where they will find pencils, glue sticks, and the recording sheet.

“At the work station you will find the container of flames with pictures on them and you will each get a copy of the recording sheet. 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.”

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 fuego fire 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. 


Importance of Beginning Sounds


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. 

Fire phonics student sample 1                                            Fire phonics student sample 2

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students that their “exit slip” to get their snack is to tell me one word that has the same beginning sound as fuego. I tell the students, “Here is the tricky part once a word has been used by another student that word is Off the Menu. This means you should have two or three words ready in case someone else says one of the words you wanted to use. So take a minute to think of two or three words in your brain that have the same beginning sound as fuego.”

I pull out a fair stick to select the first student. The selected student gives me a word and if he/she is successful the student uses the hand sanitizer and goes to get his/her snack. If he/she is not successful, he/she has two choices.The student can:

  • select someone to help or, 
  • wait until the end and we can work on finding a word together.

I use this exit ticket process as a quick assessment to see if the student has "caught what was taught." If a student has trouble with the exit ticket process I know he/she made need extra assistance through such activities as small group games or simple emergent readers.     


For this assignment I would simply place a copy of the student’s work along with the Beginning sound Fuego checklist in his/her portfolio to illustrate whether the student was able to meet the objective or not. 

using the checklist helps me to stay focused on whether the student was able to meet the objectives or not. The checklist also provides a point of reference for IEP meetings and lets the parents know hoe their child is doing in the classroom. The student can use the checklist to help determine what skills he/she does well and those that may need improvement. 


Have the students try to find words/items which have the same final sound as fuego. This time I would have the students use multi-media resources such as magazines to try and find items with the same ending sound. Fuego ending sound recording sheet


I have the students play BINGO using the Spanish words from the book. This is done with pictures. I use picture boards of items from the story and the matching picture as the calling cards. I say the words in Espanola holding up the picture as the clue.