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 ask them to stand up and find a space where they will not bump into their neighbor.
“Today we are going to practice our beginning letter sounds with the help of some music. Is everyone ready in a space where they are able to keep their body in control and have room to move?”
Now I play Dr. Jean’s Lettercise. (You will need to create an account with TeacherTube to watch this version - it is a free resource)
When the school is over I sing the sit down song and get the book I am going to read for the focus lesson.
I use the Lettercise song to help prepare my students for the activity part of the lesson. The song helps the students recall the letter sounds and by using the visual version on the SMARTBoard also helps the students associate the letter with the sound.
Today I hold the book up and ask the students who they think the book is written by.
“Boys and girls, raise a quiet hand if you think you can tell me who the author of this book is.”
I select a student who is sitting quietly with their hand raised following the correct classroom protocol.
“Well done Benjamin; this book is written by Dr. Seuss. Benjamin, how did you know who the author of this book was?”
“Wow that is a lot of clues you used to know the answer. You said you knew because of the Cat in the Hat symbol on the cover of the book, you saw his name on the cover, and you have heard this book before. Those are all great ways to know who wrote the book.”
“The whole title of this book is Dr. Seuss’s A, B, C: An Amazing Alphabet Book. Does anyone know why we are reading this book today?”
“Well done Rachel; yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He is not alive anymore but we still celebrate his birthday because he made such wonderful contributions to the literary world. Does anyone have any idea what I mean by the word literary?”
I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol.
“Finnley that is a great guess; it does have to do with books. Literary means working with words through writing and reading. Dr. Seuss gave us many great books designed to help young children develop a love for reading and also helped them become good readers.”
“Let’s go ahead and read our first Dr. Seuss book for the week.”
As we read the book I ask the students questions relating to the text.
“Hey I notice something about the text in this story. Can anyone tell me what they think I notice?”
“You are right Adam; the words on the page begin with the letter we just read about.”
“When a sentence has most of the words begin with the same letter that is called alliteration. Can everyone say alliteration?”
“Great work. We are going to continue reading and I want you to pay close attention to the alliteration Dr. Seuss uses throughout the book.”
We continue reading the book through to the end.
Once the story is over I open up a blank screen on the SMARTBoard and tell the students, “Today at one of the integrated work stations you are going to come up with your own alliteration sentence. The first thing you will need to do is choose a letter to work with. I am going to choose the letter J.”
I write the upper case and the lower case letter on the screen.
“Now I have to recall the sound the letter j makes. Who can help me with that?”
I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol.
“Thanks Kallee; j makes the /j/ sound. Now I have to come up with some /j/ words in my mind.”
I verbalize this process out loud.
“Jellybean, juggle, jump, juice, jellyfish, jiggle…hmmm… I know one.”
I speak out loud as I write the sentence I want to use on the board.
“Jumping jellyfish jiggle in Jumba juice.”
Then I quickly draw a jellyfish with some squiggly lines to represent movement.
“Great. I like it. Did I use alliteration in my sentence?”
I allow the students to call out a response.
“Your right I sure did. Now I did have to put a sight word in my sentence to connect my words in a sentence and that is okay. You will most likely need to do the same thing.”
I point again to the board as I say, “What I just showed you on the board is exactly what you are going to do on a recording sheet with the letter of your choice. Don’t worry because a grown-up will be at this station to help you out if you need it.” I hold up the recording sheet so that students will recognize it when they get to this station.
“Now remember Mrs. Clapp is going to use a checklist to go over your work to see if you followed the directions that were given. Did the student put their name on the recording sheet? Is the letter written on the page – both upper and lower case? Does the sentence use alliteration? Is there an illustration to support the sentence? Is the student’s work neat and tidy?”
“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 alliteration 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.
This activity is a really good one for students to work on their phonetic skills. They have to focus on the letter sound, recognize the letter that makes, and then come up with other words with the same beginning sound. Stringing the words together in a sentence requires the students to think about sight words which would complete the sentence. Surprisingly this activity is harder for my higher functioning students as they work harder at making their sentence make sense which cause them to lose some of the flow of the alliteration.
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.
Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to
“Boys and girls, your exit ticket today to get your snack is to give me two words using alliteration. For example if Mrs. Clapp pulls my stick out I would say, “Big bat,” or “Cat cake.” Get the idea?”
“Now that we know what we should be doing, I am going to use the fair sticks to choose who is going to tell me their words first. Here we go.”
I use the fair sticks to select the order of the students.
Once a student has told me their two words using alliteration, 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.
The exit ticket helps me to see if the students have “caught what was taught” and allows the students to practice the skill used during the activity.
I use the Alliteration 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. Firstly I am looking to see if the student recognizes the letter pair of upper and lower case. Secondly, the student recognizes the primary sound made by the given letter, and thirdly the student can make a sentence stringing words with the same initial sound together.
Students match the correct letter to the correct picture based on the beginning sound. The students have a timer and must try and match all the letters before the timer runs out.
Students match the correct lower case letter to the correct upper case letter in a timed activity. The timer is set and the students work as a team to match the pairs of letters. Once all of the letters have been matched the students record their results on their recording sheet.
Watch the video version of the story later in the day. Dr. Seuss’s A, B, C: An Amazing Alphabet book.