"A Punch in the Gut"


Libba Brannon
Emergent Literacy

Rationale: Children need to understand that letters stand for phonemes and that spellings map out these phonemes in the words that people say. Children must first recognize the phonemes in spoken words before they can match letters to the phonemes that they represent. This lesson is to help children identify /u/ (short u). They will learn to recognize /u/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /u/ in words.

 Materials: primary paper and pencil; chart with "My upset uncle is under the umbrella;" set of cards with /u/ on one side and a question mark on the other; drawing paper and crayons; Fuzz and the Buzz (Educational Insights), picture page with suds, mud, bat, nuts, bug, dog, duck, sun, gun, nest, rug, mug.

 Procedures: 1.  Introduce by explaining that our written language is like a secret code. You must figure out what mouth movement the letters stand for. Today we're going to be working on finding the /u/ sound. At first it will be hard to find the /u/ sound, but as you get some practice you will be able to pick it out in words. 

2.  Ask students: Have you ever been hit in the stomach? If you have then you probably said /u/… That is the mouth movement we are looking for in words. Let's pretend we are getting punched in a boxing match and make the /u/ sound. (Gently punch yourself in the stomach, then ask your students to do the same)!

 3.  Let's try a tongue twister (on chart) "My upset uncle is under the umbrella" Everybody say it with me 3 times. Now lets say it again, stretching out the /u/ sound at the beginning of all the words. "My uuupset uuuncle is uuunder the uuumbrella."  Let's try it again, and this time break it off the word: "My /u/ pset /u/ ncle is /u/ nder the /u/ mbrella."

 4.  Have students take out primary paper and pencil. We can use letter u to spell /u/. Let's write it. Start at the fence.  Draw down to the sidewalk, curve and go back up to the fence, and now, without lifting your pencil, draw straight down to the sidewalk again. I want to see everyone draw a u. After I check it and put a sticker on it, then I want you to draw nine more just like it, so you'll have ten in all. When you see the letter u all by itself in a word, that's the signal to make the "punched in the stomach sound," /u/.

 5.  Call on students to tell how they know: Do you hear /u/ in bug or spider? Star or sun? Mud or dirt? Dog or pup? (Pass out /u/ - question mark cards to each student). Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /u/ in some words. Show me the u if you hear /u/ and the question mark if you don't. (Give words one by one). My, upset, uncle, is, under, the, umbrella.

 6.  Read Fuzz and the Buzz and talk about the story. Read it again and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /u/. List their words on the board. Then have each child draw a Hot Air Balloon and write a message about it using invented spelling. Display their work.

 7.  For assessment, distribute the picture page and help the students name each picture. Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have the punch in the gut /u/ sound in them.

 Reference:

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/mahoneyel.html – "Under the Umbrella" by Amanda Mahoney

 http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/berryhillel.html – "The Squiggly Snake Says: Sssss" by Stefanie Berryhill

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