Rationale: It is important for children to understand that there is a relationship between letters and phonemes. Words cannot be spelled correctly unless the phonemes are correct and phonemes cannot be used correctly unless the letters are used correctly. Short vowels are often very difficult for children to grasp because there are differences in sound and often times the movements made by the mouth are very difficult for students to distinguish between. This lesson will help students identify /a/ (short a). The students will become more familiar with /a/ by learning how to make the letter symbol and gaining a helpful representation of the letter. Also, the students will practice finding /a/ in words.
Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Andrew and Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry"; a set of cards for the class with an a on one side and a frowning face on the other side; drawing paper and crayons; a book that incorporates short a; picture page with illustrations of apple, cat, bug, bag, pass, mug, cast, back, map, mad, pig, and mask
1.) Introduce the lesson by explaining to the children that writing is something that must be figured out like a puzzle. In order to figure out this puzzle, the mouth moves we make as we say words and knowing what letters stand for must first be learned. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO BE PRACTICING HOW TO MOVE OUR MOUTHS TO MAKE THE /a/ SOUND. SOMETIMES IT IS HARD TO IMMEDIATELY NOTICE /a/, BUT ONCE YOU BECOME FAMILIAR WIHT IT, IT WILL BECOME VERY OBVIOUS.
2.) Ask students: HAVE YOU EVER HEARD A BABY CRY? WHAT DID IT SOUND LIKE? THE /a/ SOUND YOU HEAR WHEN A BABY CRIES IS THE SAME SOUND THAT WE WILL BE TRYING TO FIND IN WORDS. I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO RECOGNIZE /a/ IN A WORD. STRETCH THE WORD OUT AND SEE IF YOU HEAR YOURSELF SAY /a/ LIKE A CRYING BABY. I WILL DO AN EXAMPLE FOR YOU. I WILL SAY BAG, BBBA-A-A-A-AG. BA-A-A...RIGHT THERE! DID YOU HEAR THE CRYING BABY?
3.) NOW WE WILL TRY THE TONGUE TWISTER ON THIS CHART. "ANDREW AND ALICE ASKED IF ANNIE'S ACTIVE ANIMALS WERE ANGRY." THIS TIME, EVERYBODY SAY IT TOGETHER. WE ARE GOING TO DO IT AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME, STRETCH THE /a/ AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WORDS. "AAANDREW AAAND AAALICE AAASKED IF AAANNIE'S AAACTIVE AAANIMALS WERE AAANGRY." TRY IT ONE MORE TIME, AND THIS TIME, BREAK /a/ OFF EACH WORD: "/a/ NDREW /a/ ND /a/ LICE /a/ SKED IF /a/ NNIE'S /a/ NIMALS WERE /a/ NGRY." GREAT JOB.
4.) [Ask the students to take out their primary paper and pencil]. WE HAVE TO USE THE LETTER A TO SAY /a/ SO FIRST WE NEED TO KNOW HOW TO WRITE IT. LET'S PRACTICE. START UNDER THE FENCE. GO UP AND TOUCH THE FENCE, THEN AROUND AND TOUCH THE SIDEWALK. WITHOUT LIFTING YOUR PENCIL, GO AROUND AND STRAIGHT DOWN. NOW I WANT TO SEE EVERYBODY'S A. WHEN I PUT A SMILEY FACE ON IT, GO BACK AND MAKE TEN MORE A'S JUST LIKE IT. WHEN YOU NOTICE A LETTER A ALL BY ITSELF IN A WORD, THAT LETS YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD SAY /a/.
5.) I will randomly call on students to answer and tell how they knew: IN WHICH WORD DO YOU HEAR /a/? CAT OR DOG? FIRST OR LAST? BAG OR PURSE? GOOD OR BAD? I will pass out a card with /a/ on it to each student. Then, I will have the students see if they can recognize the /a/ mouth movement in some words. IF YOU HEAR THE /a/ SOUND, HOLD UP THE CARD SO THAT THE SIDE WITH THE A ON IT IS FACING ME. IF YOU DON'T HEAR THE /a/, HOLD UP THE SIDE WITH THE FROWNING FACE. One word at a time, I will read the tongue twister: Adam, asked, Anna, for, an, apple.
6.) We will read our book involving /a/ and discuss the important aspects. Then, we will read it one more time having the students touch their nose if they hear a word with /a/. Every word that they name, I will write it on the board. Next, I will have the students draw a picture related to the book and write something that relates to it. Their work will be displayed to show what a good job they are doing.
7.) Finally, to evaluate how much the children have gained from the lesson, I will pass out the page with the illustrations on it. We will go over them together so that they are aware of what each picture represents. Then, I will encourage them to circle all of the pictures that they hear /a/.
Reference: Murray, B. Wallach and Wallach Tongue Twisters. The Reading Genie. http://www.auburn.edu/~murrba/elucid/omearagf.html.
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