J is for Jacket and...

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to develop and reinforce the ability to isolate and pronounce initial sounds.

Big Idea

A commonly worn clothing item is used to help students practice foundational letter sound skills essential to phonemic awareness.


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 tell them to stand up and get ready to move like the different kinds of weather that they here in the song.

We listen and move to Betsy Q’s song I Love it When it Snows off her Butterfly in My Soup CD.

When the song is over I have the students take a spot back on their dot ready for the book of the day.

Sit Down Song

There are three reasons I like to use a song as the introduction to this lesson. One reason is because the students get to move around before the lesson which allows them a chance to get their wiggles out before having to focus on me during instruction. Another reason is because the movement and flow of the song grasps the attention of my kinesthetic students (students who learn through movement). The final reason is simply because the song matches the unit we are learning about and helps me relate the lesson back to the main unit topic.  


40 minutes

“Today’s book is called The Jacket I Wear in the Snow, by Shirley Neitzel and illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker.”

“Can anyone tell me something they wear in the snow?”

I select two or three students who are following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question. I only take two or three because I do not want to lose my audiences interest in the book.

“Those were all great responses. We are going to read a book about a little girl and what she wears in the snow.”


I encourage my students to read along once they figure out the idea that the book repeats the text over and over after adding a new line. It usually does not take long for someone to figure out the flow of rhythm and rhyme within the text.

Towards the end of the book I just read the first new line and have the students read the following lines. They may require a little prompting on some lines, but otherwise they do very well reading it themselves.

Allowing the students to read along with me and then take over really engages them in the book. They also get to feel a sense of accomplishment when they have completed the book because they have "read" the majority of the book. My low readers get to be excited about reading because they are "reading" along with their peers. 


After we have finished reading I ask the students, “Boys and girls which sound do you hear at the beginning of the word jacket?”   Importance of Beginning Sounds.

“Well done I hear the /j/ sound too. What letter makes the /j/ sound?”

“That’s right; the letter j makes the /j/ sound.” You may have a student or two who says the letter g makes the /j/ sound like in the word gem or gelato, etc. To these students I say, “You are right about the sound, but today I want to focus on words that have the same beginning sound and matching letter as the word “jacket.””

Now I turn on the SMARTBoard and ask the students, “Can anyone give me word that has the beginning sound and matching letter as the word jacket?”

I select students who are following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the request.

When I have a board filled with words I turn to the students and say, “We have lots of /j/ j words on our board. It is okay if you did not get to give me a word because at one of your stations today you are going to make a little book of three /j/ j words.”   SMARTBoard image

I show them a sample of the /j/ book sheet.   Picture of J is for... book master

“You will need to fold the paper in half and then in half again so that you have a little book.” As I talk I have made the book in front of them.

“Once your book is made, you will be ready to decide which three j words you will use to complete the sentence, “J is for…” For example I might use jelly bean. I write the word jelly bean on the line and now my sentence says, “J is for jelly bean,” and now I am ready to support my sentence with an illustration.”

“Now if I am looking for /j/ j words what are some resources I could use to make my words?”

I select enough students to cover all the resources available to the students.

“You all gave me some great resources. I could use the SMARTBoard, I could use the word wall, I could sound out the words, and I could ask a friend or a grown-up.”

“Now remember I am going to use my checklist to make sure you have met all the directions I gave you. What goes on your paper first?” I allow the students to call out the responses to these questions as I go through the checklist.  Students and checklists.

“I am looking for how many words?”

“I can use what kinds of resources?”

“I am looking for how many illustrations?”

“And my work must be …. (neat and tidy)?”


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 let’s go have some beginning sound 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.

 Students using the SMARTBoard as a resource


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 of J is for... book 1      Student sample of J is for... book 2      Student sample of J is for ... book 3


Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me a word that has the same beginning sound as the word “jacket.”

“Boys and girls today I would like you to think of all the words we came up with that had the same beginning sound as our word “jacket.” Now that I have you thinking of those words, I am going to ask you to give me one of those words, or any other word that has the same beginning sound as “jacket.” Here is the deal though once a word has been used it is…?”

The students are very used to hearing me say this now and will chant back, “It is off the menu!” 

Off the Menu Explanation 

I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.

Once a student has told me his/her beginning sound 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 the beginning sound together.

This exit ticket activity helps reinforce the lesson we have just done and gives the students a chance to practice what they have worked on during the activity part of the lesson.  


I use the J is for checklist. to go over the student’s work to make sure they met all of the objectives. Once the checklist is complete I attach it to the student’s work and put it in their collection portfolio.


For morning work the next day the students complete the Initial J sound assessment. They must circle the items that have the /j/ sound. I go over the morning work assignment, make any necessary notes and then place it in the student’s collection portfolio. The reason I do this assessment the next day is so I can see if the students is able to carry over information from one day to the next which helps with lesson extensions.   


At one station the students are designing their own jacket using geometric shapes to fit with our geometry unit. They are told they can either make their design symmetrical or asymmetrical.

Student sample of jacket design     Student with his jacket design


At another station students are working on an experiment as to which color is better at keeping you warm. They have to decide whether black or white is the better color. Students check the temperature on two thermometers and then place one under a black piece of paper in the sun and one under a white piece of paper in the sun. The papers and thermometers get left there for two hours. Students check the temperature differences and record the results. Based on their observations they have to decide which color jacket is better to keep you warm. This experiment relates back to our Polar unit study about the polar bears skin (which is black) and global warming.

Students working on jacket color prediction sheet     Student sample of prediction sheet     Jacket Color Experiment

At another station the students go through catalogs finding items of clothing worn by people who pay in the snow. They cut out the appropriate clothing, glue it on their mannequin recording sheet and label the items.

Students working at clothing catalog station       Student labeling catalog clothing