What do you Hear?

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to recognize and produce the initial sound of a given word.

Big Idea

Celebration words can be used to help students review and practice beginning sounds.


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 place the globe in front of them and tell them to pack their suitcases because we are going to climb aboard our imaginary plane to head off to an area of the world called the Middle East.

“This will be a long flight so be ready. We will take off from here in Maryland, fly east out over the Atlantic Ocean, fly above the continent of Africa over the Mediterranean Sea and drop down into a region known as the Middle East. The Middle East includes countries such as Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and some others. These countries have many people who practice the faith of Islam and they are called Muslims.”

While I was talking I moved the push pin I was holding across the areas I spoke of and then pushed the pin into the central area of the Middle East.

 “Looking at Israel are we in the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere?”

“That’s right we are still in the Northern Hemisphere, so what season do you think it is there right now?”

“Well done winter, just like us.”

Now I move the globe back to its resting spot on our book area shelf and take my seat in front of the students on the rug area.

“Today we will be celebrating Id-ul-Fitr. This is one of many celebrations recognized in the Middle East. If this is a celebration what do you think the Muslim people will do?”

I use the Fair Sticks to select students to respond to the question. Once several students have had the opportunity to respond I recall a few of the responses and say, “Go on break from school, wear special clothes, eat special food, go to a house of religion – in this case a mosque, put up decorations, give presents or gifts; those were all good predictions. We are now going to read a book about Id-ul-Fitr to find out if you are correct.”    


40 minutes

“The book for today is called Id-ul-Fitr, and it is written by Saviour Pirotta. Can anyone tell me what they see on the cover?”

“I agree with you Michael; I see happy people and they are all dressed in white. I wonder if that has something to do with the celebration. Let’s go ahead and read to find out.”


During reading I point our new vocabulary words as we come across them within the text. As I mention them I make a point to have the students tell me the beginning sound.

“One of the foods I heard mentioned in the book was “dates.” What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word “dates”?”   Why beginning sounds?

I use the fair sticks to select students to respond to these types of questions as I want to ensure multiple students get a chance to respond and practice their skills.

“Well done Justin. The beginning sound you hear in the word “dates” is /d/.”

We discuss what it means to “fast” and I will give a quick overview of the word “breakfast.”

“Boys and girls what do think it means when the author writes, “Muslims fast from sun-up to sundown”?”

I select a few students to respond to the question, but there are very few who have an idea of what “fasting” is. “Well when the author uses the word “fast” here he is not writing about speed as in how fast a car or the Muslims go, he is writing about the fact that Muslims do not eat any food between sun-up or sundown.”

Most students in my community are shocked by this and ask, “Not even snack?”

“No they do not even snack.”
“When do they eat?” ask several students.

“Well let’s read further and find out.”

We find out the Muslims eat a light meal before the sun comes up and a larger meal after the sun goes down.

“So now we know the meaning of the word “fast” in this book, what do you think the word “breakfast” means?”

“Well done Carson; the word breakfast does mean “to stop not eating.” I really like the way you described that word.”

We continue reading the book.  


Once the book is over I ask the students to come up with similarities between Id-ul-Fitr, Diwali (which we read the previous day), and also our own celebrations.

“Those were all great comparisons. I too noticed the candles, the presents or gifts, the decorations and lights.”

“Today at one of the stations you are going to get a sheet of paper that has a set of pictures on it. Each of the pictures has something to do with celebrations. Your job will be to cut out the pages and put them together in a little book. The cover will of course go where?”

“That’s right the front of the book. The rest of the pages can go in whatever order you would like them to go in.”

“Once you have your pages in the order you want, you will use the stapler to staple your book together. Your next job is to go through your little book and write down the letter that represents the beginning sound of the picture.”

“What is one important thing you will remember to do when you have put your book together?”

“Yes, please use a pencil to write your name on the front of your book so I know whose book is whose.”  Celebrations Beginning Sounds Book

 “Does anyone have any questions?”


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. 


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.

Samples of student work

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me the beginning sound of the celebration word I give them.

See the short movie of this part of the lesson -  Celebration Beginning Sounds Exit Ticket

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.


5 minutes

I will check over the students work and make any necessary remarks or notes on it, and return the work to the students to go home to show the family. 

I will call each student over during a time which fits into my classroom schedule. I usually 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).

I will tell the student, “We are going to play a game called “The Listening Game.” I am going to say some words and your job will be to tell me the first sound you hear in the word. So if I said the word “fig,” you would say /f/. Ready?”

I would read down the list of words and record the student responses. Once the student was done I would make any notes I needed to make and place the assessment in the students assessment file.   Initial Sound Assessment


Allow the children to try dates (the Prophet broke his fast on this sweet treat). Not many children eat this healthy snack – be careful of allergies.


At another station we made cards which had the message Id Mubarak inside.