Meet Alex the Ant!

Rationale: As beginning readers, it is important for students to understand that English is a complex code. Students need to be taught letters and their corresponding sounds. Short vowels are difficult to learn. It is best to learn these by explicit instruction. This lesson will focus on the correspondence of a=/a/. As a result of this lesson, students will be able to recognize and read this correspondence by making memorable connections with it in spoken and written words.

Materials:

A toy ant

Letterboxes and letter tiles for the students.

Letterboxes and letter tiles for the teacher.

Letterbox Words:

 2-At 3-Ant 3-Act 4-Smash 5-Draft 6-Strand

Letters needed: a, c, d, e, f, h, m, n, r, s, t

Document Camera

Flashcards of various objects (some with short a and some without).

Example: Picutre of an ant, a bike, a pot, Baseball bat, etc…

Big chart with the "tongue tickler:" Alex the ant got carried away by Annie the bat.

A copy of the decodable text Lad and the Fat Cat (Murray 2010) for each student and the teacher.

Primary paper and pencils for each student with a picture of an ant and the letter "a" written inside (for students and teacher).\

Assessment of various objects worksheet.

Picture:

Procedure:

1.) It is important to introduce the lesson explaining to the students that the written language of English is a secret code. We have to figure it out in order to read it. Today, we will be focusing on the correspondence of a=/a/.

2.) Ask the students, "Have you seen an ant before?" Pull out the fake ant. Ask them what shape their mouth makes when they say the word "ant". The mouth should be open wide (lips and teeth apart). The teacher should model this and then let the students try it. Now, tell the students that when you open your mouth like that to say a=/a/, the sound you make should be "aaaa." Model this for them and then let them try. Students can remember this easily because they often say "Aaaa!" each time they see an ant. Ants sting! Have them make a scared face (mouth open and hands on cheeks) each time they say "aaaa." Explain to the students that they will do this each time they see the letter "a."

3.) Now, introduce them to the tricky tongue tickler: Alex the ant got carried away by Annie the bat. The teacher should say it first, as a model. Tell the students to listen for each short a sound in the words. Each time they hear short a, they should make their scared face. After you say it, ask if anyone heard it. Then, have the whole class try it together. After you try it together, say "Great job! Now, let's say it together and stretch out the 'a' sounds." AAAlexaaander the aaannnttt got caaarried away by AAAnnie the bbbaaattt.

4.) Now, turn to the letterboxes and letter tiles to practice the correspondence of a=/a/. Before you pull out the list of words, retrieve the toy ant. Explain to the students that you can even "draw" the lowercase letter a inside of the ant's abdomen. Model this by drawing a on both the toy and and on the printout picture. Have the students say a=/a/ once more with their scared face. Now, it's time to move on. Say: "Alright students, now we are going to practice how to spell our special sound by using letterboxes and letter tiles." The teacher should pass around a full set of the letters and letterboxes to each student. Then, the teacher will say: "I want everyone to watch how I spell the word ant in our letterboxes on the document camera. Remember that each of the sounds gets its own box! Now that I have spelled the word, listen for the short a sound as I read it. When you hear it, I want to see you to make your scared face. Ok, 'Ant' (in Body-Coda form). Did you hear our special sound? Did you make a scared face? Great!" Students should try and spell the rest of the words in letterboxes as the teacher reads them. The teacher should give each student time to spell each word, observe as they spell them, and then model the correct spellings. Be sure to point out common mistakes that were made by misspelling the word and reading it first.

6.) Now, the teacher should have the student read each word as class in the Body-Coda form. After this, the teacher should pass around a copy of Lad and the Fat Cat (Murray 2010) to each student. Also, the teacher should keep one copy. The teacher will give a book talk.

Script: "This book is about a dog named Lad and a cat named Scat… Who happens to be fat! Lad and Scat do not get along. Lad gets angry with Scat. We will have to read the rest of the book to find out why Lad gets mad at Scat."

7.) After this, explain to the students that they will now whisper-read. "Now class, I would like for each of you to whisper-read this story. I will walk around and observe each of you reading. Do not be surprised as if I ask you to read for me."

8.) Now that each student has had much practice with short a, tell them that they will now practice writing it. The teacher should have a copy of primary paper on the document camera. Then, pass out one sheet of primary paper to each student. The paper should also have a picture of an ant on it. Model for the students how to write lowercase a. Say: Ok, since we now know what short a sounds and looks like, let' s write it! Watch me as I write it on my paper. I am going to start at the fence and draw a circle going down to the ground. Now, we will draw a cane on the right side to hold up our circle." The teacher should tell the students to write it on their own paper five times. They can use the ant picture as another reference for the basic lowercase a shape.

9.) The class should put on their scared faces and say "aaaa" once more.

10.) For part of an assessment, the students can play "Words around the World." The teacher should arrange the desks in a U-shaped fashion. The object of the game is for students to make it "all the way around the world" (back to their own seat). Say to the students: "Today, we are each going to try and make a trip all the way around the world with the short a sound. I am going to have flashcards with a different object on them. I want you to tell me the name of the object and whether or not you hear the short a sound when you say it." One student will move from desk to desk. The catch is that each time the one student moves, he/she is in competition with the student sitting in the next desk. Explain the rest of the game in this way:

"The object of the game is to make it all the way around each of the desks without messing up. I will start with (insert student name). Now, I want (student) to stand behind (student). You two will be in competition with each other! I will hold up a flashcard in front of both of you. You have to say the name of the object, wait for one second, and tell me if you hear short a when you say it. The first person to tell me all that and be right, will move on. However, if (student standing) gets it wrong, and (student sitting) gets it right, (student sitting) will get up and move on. If you make it around the world, you get to be the king or queen for the first round!!!"

*Before or after the game, for the second part of the assessment, the teacher should hand out a worksheet with different objects and their corresponding words. Each student should circle the word/words that have the short a sound in them. Also, they should read each word and match those that have the short a sound in them with their corresponding pictures. They can color the pictures if they wish.

Resources for this lesson:

Ant Image. (2010). Microsoft Word Clip Art.

Young, Emily. (2007). Aaaaaaaaaa! You Scared Me! Odysseys Research-Based Lessons Designed by Preservice Teachers: Auburn University, 2007. Beginning Readers. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/youngbr.html

Assessment:

Name:______                                                                                             Date:______

1.)                                                                          Racket

3.)                                                                                  Boat

4.)                                                                                Snake

5.)                                                                                     Bicycle

*Possible Pictures for Flashcards:

Baseball Bat

Bicycle

Pot

Ant

Dog

Cat

Book

Fork

Hat (etc…)