Shocking A

Emergent Literacy Design

JulieAnna M. Whiting


Rational:  The goal of this lesson is to teach students to recognize the letter "a" and identify its /a/ phoneme.  This lesson will help to introduce the students to the vowels and their phonemes.  Short "a" is the first to be taught of the vowels usually.  It will help the students to recognize not only the "a" symbol, but also the sound that goes along with it.  Since every word has a vowel in it, teaching "a"- being the first of the vowels is crucial and important.  Also, it will help the students to identify the sound of /a/ in vocal language; in turn it will help the students to make a correspondence.





  1. Introduction:  Explain to the students we are going to learn about letters.  Explain that in our language we use 26 letters to create words.  They are symbols to help us communicate to one another through our speech and in writing.
  2. Today we are going to learn about the first letter of the alphabet.  A makes different sounds, but today we are going to learn what short a says.  A makes the sound /a/.  Kind of like when someone shocks or startles you- you might say /a/.  Okay, now everyone say it with me: 1- 2- 3- /a/.
  3. Now we are going to all say a sentence that uses a lot of short a sounds.  We are going to say: Ally and Abby like apple pie.  Let's say it all together.  This time I want you to draw the short a out and notice how your mouth feels and moves when you say the /a/.  Aaally aaand Aaabby like aaapple pie.  Can you show me how you mouth forms when you say /a/?
  4. Now I'm going to show you how to write the symbol or letter for a.  You put your pencil just below the fence.  Then you make a curve by going up to the fence and down to the sidewalk and back up to the point you started.  This will make a circle for you.  But then without pulling your pencil up, draw a straight line down to the ground.  This will give you the letter a.
  5. Now I'm going to say the word crack.  I'm going to stretch it out and show you the /a/ in the word by listening for a shocking /a/ sound.  Okay, cccc rrrr aaaa ckckck.  Crack.  Did you hear the shocking /a/ sound?
  6. Now I am going to show you some pictures of opposites and I want you to tell me which one has the /a/.  Do you hear /a/ in: Dog vs. cat; apple vs. orange; lady vs. man; thin vs. fat; foot vs. hand.
  7. Okay, I'm going to read you a short story.  This is a story about Jan and ants.  Jan wants to have ants to play with.  She gets them to come to her by putting a sweet treat out for them.  But then the ants start to bite her.  What do you think will happen next?  What will happen to Jan?  First I'll read the story through.  Then I will read it a second time and you give me a thumbs up every time you hear the /a/.  I will record all the words with the /a/ sound on the board as you give me a thumbs up.  "Ants in a Can.  Jan grabs at an ant.  Dad hands Jan a can.  'Nab an ant in the can, Jan.'  Jan adds a snack.  The ants act fast.  The ants have the snack.  The ants act fast.  Jan smacks the ants.  'Aaaaaa!' says Jan.  I can't have ants.  Dad pats Jan.  Dad hands Jan a cat."
  8. Now I would like you to use one or two of the words on the board to create a picture in your journal and then write about it.  If you don't know how to spell a word just try to spell how you think it may be spelled.
  9. For the final assessment give the students a paper with the pictures of the opposites.  Go over each picture so they can remember what they are labeled as.  (Dog, cat, apple, orange, lady, man, thin, fat, foot, hand.)  Tell them to circle the picture with the /a/ sound.  Remind them that this is a quiet part of the lesson because you want to see if they understood the lesson.


Harcourt Brace Spelling.  Teacher's Edition.  Orlando. Harcourt Brace & Company.  (1999).  Pg 6.

Murray, Geri.  Ants in a Can

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