What's at the End?

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Students will be able to isolate and recognize the ending sound of a given word and then find other words with the same ending sound.

Big Idea

Words are made up of sounds. I can say the last sound I hear in a word and say another word with the same final sound.


10 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 seated on their dot in the rug area I start randomly saying words with the same ending sound with a dramatic flair. “Barrel, fateful, tearful, whale, mail, distasteful, grateful. Can anyone tell me what is the same about all of the words I just said?”

“No they are not all emotions, but that was a nice try.”

“Yes! Rachel is right; they all have the same ending sound. Listen closely.” I repeat the words slowly emphasizing the ending sound.

“Now does everyone hear it?”

“Great. Well today’s forest animal has the same ending sound as the words I just said. Does anyone want to try and guess which animal it is?”

I use the fair sticks to select a student.

“That’s right, you got it. It is the squirrel. The most common squirrel here in Maryland is the Eastern Grey Squirrel and we are going to read a story about a squirrel.”


40 minutes

“The book for today is called The Busy Little Squirrel. In this book Nancy Tafuri is both the illustrator and the author. What does that mean she did?”

“That’s right Adam; she wrote the words and drew the pictures.”

“Looking at the cover of this story do you think it is going to be fiction or non-fiction?”

“Why do you think it will be fiction Carson?”

“I agree the pictures are drawn rather than photographs. That is a good observation Sarah.”

“Well let’s go ahead and read to see if our prediction is correct.”


During reading I will ask questions of the students to see;

(a)   If they are paying attention, and

(b)    To make connections to previous discussions we have had.

For example right there on the first page I will read, "Leaves were falling. The air was getting cold. Hey wait a second; if the leaves are falling and the air is getting cold I already have a clue as to what season it is. Can anyone tell me?”

“That’s right Karl. It is fall. How did you know?”

“I agree with you. Leaves falling and the air getting colder is a sign of fall.”


I continue reading. “It was time for squirrel to get ready for winter.”

“Why does squirrel have to get ready for winter?”

I select a couple of students to respond to this question and then continue reading.  


As I continue reading the students begin to pick up on the pattern that squirrel is always busy. “What is he doing?”

“That’s right he is collecting food. Why does he have to collect food?”

I select a couple of students to respond and continue on reading.

We discuss the foods he is collecting and whether a squirrel will actually eat that type of food or not. I will occasionally get a student who tells me the squirrel would not play with the cat, the dog, or the owl because they are a predator of the squirrel. We will discuss this point if it comes up.


Just before the last page of the story I take my turning the page after the owls, because so many of the students think the squirrel is still busy and will say, “He was so busy.” However, squirrel is not busy because he is asleep.


When the book is over I ask the students, “Now what is the last sound we heard at the end of the word squirrel?”

“That’s right. Well I am going to have you tell me some words that have the same ending sound. While I start up the SMARTBoard I want you to begin thinking of words with the /l/ sound at the end.”


Watch this video clip to see my students come up with words. Whole group coming up with words      SMARTBoard picture

After my students have come up with a good list of words I tell them they are going to try and find items with the same ending sound as squirrel to put on their recording sheet.  Ending Sound Squirrel

“At this work station you will have two pieces of paper. One paper has lots of different pictures on it and the other is your recoding sheet. Your job will be to look at the pictures and find the ones which have the same ending sound as squirrel. When you find one you will cut it out and glue it onto your recording sheet. When you have found all the pictures you think have the same ending sound, you will need to label the items. Can anyone tell me how I could go about labeling my items?”

I select a few students to respond to the question.

“Those were all good suggestions. I could tap out the sounds, ask a friend, ask a teacher, use a book, or use the word wall.”

“Now when you get to this station there is one very important job you have first, does anyone know what it is?”

“Yes. Put your name on your paper. The date stamp will be at the table too for you to date your work.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”

Students working at the station     Student and I sounding out a word


Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions 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 /l/ ending word 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.”


Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.  

Student working     Student work 2     Student work 3   

Having the students sort through the images and naming the image helps the students to hear the letter sounds within the word for themselves. When the students work with and say the words for themselves it helps them develop a discriminatory ear. this will help them later on when they need to classify words as the same or different based on the sounds they hear.  


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.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.

Student Sample 1    Student sample 2

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one word with the same ending sound as squirrel. “Today you will need to be able to tell me one word with the same ending sound as squirrel. Here is the deal though, once someone has used the word it is off the menu for everyone else. I am going to give you thirty seconds to sit and think of two or three words so that if someone else uses your word you will have another one ready to go.” I look at my watch and start timing.  

“Okay the thirty seconds are done. I hope you all thought really hard and came up with more than one word. I am going to use the fair sticks to help me pick the students. Here we go.”

Once a student has told me his/her word with the same ending sound as “squirrel” they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on a word ending with /l/ together.


For this assignment I use the Ending Sound Checklist to go over the student’s work. Once I have completed the checklist, I attach it to the students work and place it in his/her working portfolio. 


At another station we play the game “Hide and Peek.” I managed to find some plastic acorns at Michael’s craft store to use as the game pieces. You could also use real acorns if you can get your hands on them.


A very brief but informative video Clip about the Eastern Grey Squirrel which we watch during the later part of the day.

Eastern Grey Squirrel video