Pr is for President

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Students will be able to recognize and write the blend /pr/ as part of practicing grade level phonics.

Big Idea

Sorting picture items helps the students begin to recognize the blend /pr/, which helps build fluency when reading.


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 seated on their dot in the rug area I tell them they are going to watch a short video about George Washington.

“Boys and girls today I am going to show you a very short video about George Washington.”

“Can anyone tell me why we might be watching a video about George Washington today?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand and waiting to be called on.

“Nice one Joshua; we are learning about George Washington because Presidents Day was on February 17th. We were on Mid-Winter break for the actual Presidents Day, so we are learning about it now.”

“What is special about Presidents Day?”

Again I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand and waiting to be called on.

“Very good Clara; it is a day we honor the Presidents of the United States of America. Presidents Day used to be on February 22nd and it was George Washington’s birthday. Then lots of people wanted to recognize Abraham Lincoln’s birthday too which is on February 12th. As a compromise, that means keep everyone happy, the US Government decided to pick a day between the two birthdays, February 17th, and call it Presidents Day.”  

“Let’s go ahead and watch our short video clip. Remember to use your good observing skills to see what new information you can learn.” By telling the students to use their “good observing skills,” I am reminding them to listen for new information and to watch for interesting facts.

The video I use is from Scholastic – Let’s Find Out – My Weekly Reader online resources. Your school will need a subscription to use this site. I like this video because it is short and at kindergarten level.  

I use this short video clip to show the students that a famous President started out as a small child just like them. This helps the students begin to see that people who made a difference to our world began their life as children and then used their life experiences to help make the world a better place for others. This sets the stage for the book we are about to read during our focus lesson.  


When the short video clip is over I have the student stand-up and stretch, touch their hand to their opposite foot and then switch sides to help wake up both sides of their brain. Then I ask them to sit back down on their spot.   


40 minutes

“Today’s book is called I Can Be President Too! This book is written by Yanitzia Canetti. Can anyone tell me what they think this book is going to be about?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Adam thinks this book is about children who want to be president. Why did you think this book is about children who want to be president?”

I give the students a chance to respond to the request, but if he is unable I select another student to try and give a rationale answer to the request.

“Those were great ideas Adam. The picture on the cover has a group of children and the title does use the words “I can be President.” Great clues to use Adam.”

“Can anyone tell me what type of punctuation mark they see at the end of the title of the book?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Well done Kallee; this is an exclamation mark. What type of sentence is a exclamation mark used for?”

Again I select a student following the correct protocol.

“Yes Justin it does mean the person saying this title is excited.”

“Let’s go ahead and read this book and see why these children think they can be the president.”


During reading I will stop and discuss new vocabulary words such as respectful, determined, admit, blame, honest, etc. These are great words to discuss as I can refer back to our Me, Myself and I unit when we went over character traits and our class rules. Referring back to previous lessons helps to clarify the words which aids in student comprehension.


When I have finished reading the book I tell the students to take a seat around the edge of the rug.

Edge of the Rug Song.

“Can anyone give me a brief summary of what this book was about?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Thank you Connor; you are right. The book is about why some children think they would be a good choice for the job of American president.”

“Does anyone remember a fact from the short video clip we watched before reading the book?”

Again I select a student following the correct protocol.

“Nice one Carson; George Washington used to like to ride horses. Now if he liked to ride horses, who do you think had to take care of the horses?”

“I agree Finnley; George would have to take care of those horses which make him a responsible person. So we know for sure being a responsible person is a good quality to have because George Washington did become president. Can anyone tell me which president he was?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Very good Emily; George Washington was the very first president the United States. Does anyone remember who the other president was that I named this morning before we read the book?”

Again I select a student following the correct protocol.

“That’s right Rhys; Abraham Lincoln. He was the 16th president of the United States of America and he helped stop slavery.”

“Well today we are going to work with the blend /pr/. Who thinks they can tell me which two letters make the /pr/ sound?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Owen thinks the letters p and r blend together to make the /pr/ sound. Does everyone agree?”

I allow the students to call out a response.

“Great; you are all right. The letters p and r make the blend /pr/ sound as in the word president.”

“Today at one of your work stations you are going to have three sheets.” I hold up the three sheets for the students to see.

“This one is your recording sheet and this one has a whole bunch of pictures on it. It will be your job to look over the pictures and decide which ones begin with the /pr/ blend like the word “president.” Now can anyone tell me a picture they see on here which begins with /pr/?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Well done Justin. Justin selected the picture of a prince. Does everyone agree that “prince” has the same beginning sound as the word “president”?”

I allow the students to call out a response.

“Great work team. It sounds like you are ready to begin the assignment.”  

“Now remember I will be using a checklist to go over your work to make sure you have followed the directions you were given. Did the student write their name on their recording sheet? Are there at least four /pr/ blend pictures on the recording sheet? Did the student try to label the items? Is the student’s work neat and tidy?”

Pr Blend Recording Sheet and Images

Checklist overview for students explanation

After I have gone quickly over the checklist I ask, “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 /pr/ blend sorting 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.”

Student working on /pr/blend sort

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.


Blending is a skill easily overlooked. As proficient readers we already ‘know’ the entire word and can easily break sounds apart and effortlessly put the word together again. Since it is effortless for us we often fail to recognize the difficulty beginners face in combining individual sounds to form words. Beginner readers do not ‘know’ the end result (the word). Therefore, choppy segmenting of sounds can prevent them from being able to combine sounds together and form the word. 

To read proficiently, the student needs to learn to blend individual sounds smoothly together into words without choppy pauses between the sounds. The ability to seamlessly combine individual sounds together into the fluid word is not only vital for developing correct phonologic processing, it is also critical for developing eventual fluency. Recognizing consonant blends leads to smooth blending which is one of the subskills vital to developing correct phonologic processing, the foundation for proficient reading.

To avoid potential difficulty it is important to directly teach smooth blending skills from the beginning. The student needs to automatically engrain the skill of smooth blending. Also remember, it is always easier to develop correct techniques in the initial stages then try to ‘undo’ engrained bad habits of ‘choppy’ ‘segmented’ sounding out. Take the time to develop smooth blending from the very beginning. 



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 showing /pr/ blend work

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me a word which has the blend /pr/ as its initial sound.

“Today’s exit ticket is you have to tell me a word that has the /pr/ blend at the beginning. I want you to think back to all the /pr/ blend words you thought of for your shadow outline. Now you might want to think of more than one /pr/ blend word because once someone has used that particular word it is…?”

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

“Now I am going to give you about ten seconds to think of your /pr/ blend words.”

I hold up my arm and look at my watch as I “time” their thinking. I also pretend to be thinking so the students stayed focused on thinking.

“Okay your time is up. I hope you thought carefully because here we go.”   

I use the Fair Sticks to determine the order of the students.

Once a student has told me his/her /pr/ word 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 coming up with a /pr/ blend word together.

Pr blend exit ticket


I use the Pr Blend Sort Checklist to go over the student’s work and once it is complete I will place the student’s work in his/her collection portfolio.

Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused on the point that I am looking to see if a student can differentiate between a blend and an initial sound. For example a student may select to put the image of a pickle onto the /pr/ recording sheet. This shows me they can isolate the initial sound, but they need more practice at identifying blends as a pair of letters which make a specific sound. 


Write about what you would do if you were the President of the United States of America.

If I were the President... writing prompt

Student working on writing prompt      Student sample of writing 

Tally tossing the penny (find pennies that have Abraham Lincoln bust on one side and the Lincoln memorial on the other). Record how many heads or tails you get tossing the penny 15 times. 

Students flipping pennies      Sample of the tally sheet