Christine MacPherson


 Rational: The most important phonemes that children learn are their vowels. This lesson will teach children the short /a/ phoneme. Children will learn that the letter a by itself in a word says /a/. The lesson will be engaging to children because they will be remembering the short /a/ sound in reference to by the reaction one would make when seeing an avalanche; /a/! Children will be able to recognize the /a/ sound in words by the end of the lesson. Children will also be able to read words with /a/ in them.


Materials: The materials needed for this lesson will include:

1. A poster board.

2. A "picture of an avalanche that will take up one half of the poster board.

3. A picture of a child saying /a/ and holding up both of his hands that will take up the other half of the poster board.

4. A smaller version of this picture for each child to have and use.

5. Flash cards with short /a/ words and corresponding pictures.

            a. cat

            b. frog

            c. flag

            d. mat

            e. trip

            f. crab

6. Chalkboard

7. Chalk

8. White paper circles that are about eight inches wide.

9. Pencils

10. Black Markers (enough for class to share)

11. Assessment worksheet to see if children can recognize the /a/ sound in common objects such as apple, brush, bat, and hammer.
12. The book Pat's Jam



1. I will begin the lesson by reminding the children about the letters in the alphabet by reviewing the alphabet song. I will then explain what a vowel is and how vowels are important when reading. "Did you know that all words have at least one vowel in them?"  I will give them the vowel sequence (/a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/), and then tell them that vowels can be "short" and vowels can be "long." The vowel we are going to learn today is short a or a by itself says /a/. When a does not have an "e" after it, it usually says /a/."


 2. I will hold up the poster with the avalanche and the child. "This is a picture of an avalanche. An avalanche is when a lot of snow comes down a mountain really fast. Imagine if you were on a mountain and you saw an avalanche coming towards you. You would probably say /a/.This is the sound that short /a/ says, and this is the sound that the child in the picture is making when he sees the avalanche. Lets all say it together. You take your mouth and open it wide. Keep your tongue down and say /a/." I will then hold up my hands and say "this will help you remember the sound that /a/ makes. All together /a/."

3. I will show the children the six picture/word flashcards. I will ask them to say /a/ and do the hand gesture if they hear the avalanche sound. "This is the word cat. Do you hear the /a/ sound in cat?"

4. I will write this tongue twister on the board. "On that mat sat the fat cat." I will read it slowly to the children while pointing to each word with my pointer. I will then ask the children to read it with me and do the /a/ hand gesture when they hear the avalanche sound.

5. I will then read the book Pat's Jam to the students. This book focuses on the short /a/ sound. There are a lot of words in the book with the a=/a/ correspondence. I will give a brief book talk about the book. "Pat the rat goes to the store with his pal named Pam. Pat gets some ham and some jam. The two rats go back to the van, but oh no! The van has no gas. What are Pat and Pam going to do?" I will then read the book and ask the children to do their /a/ hand gesture when they hear the a=/a/ sound. I will discuss each page briefly so that the children can gain some comprehension of the story.

6. I will flip through the book again and ask the children to tell me some of the words that had /a/ in them. As the children call out the words I will write them neatly on the board.

7. I will hand the children each a white circle. I will ask the children to pick a word from the story and write it on their "snow ball." I will then walk around the room while the children are working and ask each child if they can say their word. If they cannot I will help them sound out the word. This will allow me to see which children can spell out the words and which ones have trouble. I will make notes on a clip board.

8. After each child has written their word I will have them trace over it with the black markers. I will ask each child to show their snowball to the class and say their a=/a/ word.

9. The snow balls will be but together to make a class avalanche. The avalanche will be put outside our classroom on display with the heading "Our avalanche of /a/."

10. The assessment worksheet will help teachers decide if the children can identify the /a/ phoneme in written words.

11. I will give the students the smaller avalanche pictures and explain that these are for them to keep. "You can use this picture to remember that a=/a/."



Book: Pat's Jam

Phonicsworld.com. (handout).



Avalanche Picture



Scared Child saying /a/.


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