Tossing Touchdowns in Time with T

By: Katie Kilgore

Emergent Literacy Design


Rationale:  The purpose of this lesson is to introduce t=/t/, and to teach children how to write the letter t as an uppercase and lowercase letter. Students will learn to recognize /t/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation of moving their finger like a pendulum.  Students will practice finding /t/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /t/.  At the end of this lesson students should show evidence of being able to identify the phoneme t=/t/ in written and spoken language. 


Materials:  Primary paper, pencils, poster of the tongue twister: “Trotter tracks time tossing touchdowns”, Ted and Tim: The Sound of T by Cecilia Minden; word cards with TAG, SIT, TRASH, MAKE, SAND, SAM; Pictures of objects containing and not containing the phoneme /t/ (cat, dog, tag, sun).



1.  We are going to be talking about the letter t today. The hardest part of our language is learning what each letter stands for.  We are going to be discussing that t=/t/. 

2.  Let’s pretend our finger is a pendulum in a clock, /t/,/t/, /t/, /t/ (demonstrate this).  When you make the /t/ sound the tip of your tongue touches above your top teeth.  Listen to me say Tick Tock (swing the pendulum). Now you say Tick Tock and swing your pendulum.

3.  Write the tongue twister on the poster board: “TROTTER TRACKS TIME TOSSING TOUCHDOWNS.”  I will say the tongue twister, TROTTER TRACKS TIME TOSSING TOUCHDOWNS.  Then I will have the students chorally say the tongue twister. I will then say it by dragging out the /t/. Now I will say the tongue twister again.  TTTTTroTTTTer TTTracks TTTime TTTossing TTTouchdowns. Did you hear how I drew out the /t/.  Now you try it.

4.  I will now have students use their primary paper to write the letter t and T.  I will model how to write the letters and then they will do it.  We are now going to write the letter t in uppercase and lower case form.  Watch me write the lowercase t on my primary paper. The first step is to form a line going down between the rooftop and sidewalk.  Then form a dash on the line at the fence.   Now get your primary paper and practice writing the lowercase t ten times.  Then I would demonstrate a capital T and have them practice it.  Now we will form a capital T by forming a dash going across the rooftop and then drawing a line in the middle of the dash going down to the sidewalk, like so. Now you do it ten times.

5.  Now I will call out words and have students tell me how they choose which words have the phoneme /t/.  Do you hear /t/ in bat or bag?  Do you hear /t/ in hot or pod?  Do you hear /t/ in track or rack?  Then I will say: If you hear the /t/ in any of the following words I call out make your pendulum movement:  RAT, MAD, FAT, TRIP, RACE, TUCK. 

6.  Now we will read the book Ted and Tim: The Sound of T.  This book is about two boys, Tim and Ted, who are in Mrs. Trooper’s class, play soccer, and play games.  But, does their fun get in the way of their classroom studies and get them in trouble?  You will have to read to find out!  Now that we have read the book, we are going to go back and pick out the words that have the /t/, and I want you to write them down.   Students will use invented spelling. 

7.  ASSESSMENT:  I will call students up to my desk one at a time.  I will show them a note card with a word on it.  I will have them pick which word it is.  Note card with TAG- Is this TAG or RAG? Note card with sit- Is this sit or Sam.  Note card with Trash- Is the trash or wash?  Note card with make- Is this make to take? Note card with sand- Is this sand or sat?  Note card with Sam- is the Sam or Sit?  I will do this with the rest of my note cards.  I will also show them pictures of objects that have the phoneme /t/.  I will have them say what the picture is and have them move their pendulum if it has /t/.



Bell, Elizabeth.  “Slinky Scaly Snakes”. Emergent Literacy Lesson. 2006.  Back to Doorways Index