Aaa, Alligators!!!

Lisa Wells
Emergent Literacy

Rationale:
It is necessary for children to learn the letters and their sounds that are currently used in the English language in order for them to learn to read well.  The /a/ sound is a very common sound in the English language, as is the letter A.  This lesson will enable children to become more familiar with the letter A, as well as the /a/ sound.  This lesson will also help children to recognize this sound in regular speech.  Through this lesson, students will also become more familiar with writing the letter A.

Materials:
-Primary paper
-Pencil
-Alligator stickers
-Pat’s Jam (Phonics Readers Short Vowels.  Educational Insights.  1990)
-Picture page (cat, dog, bag, bird, cut, mat)

Procedures:
1. Begin the lesson by introducing the /a/ sound.  Explain that the letter A makes the /a/ sound.  “This is the sound that you make when something scares you, like when you scream.  Can you make this sound with me?”
2. Give a few examples of some words that begin with the /a/ sound or have the /a/ sound in them.  Example: apple, Alabama, black, cab; Be sure to stress the /a/ sound in each word.  “Say the word, apple.  Now stretch out the /a/ sound.  Aaaaple.  Did you hear the /a/ sound?”
3. Ask the students to think of their own words that have the /a/ sound.  “Raise your hand if you can think of your own word that contains the /a/ sound.  I will only call on those that raise their hands.”  By doing this, you can be sure that the children have a clear understanding of the /a/ sound before you go any further.
4. Have students take out paper and a pencil.  “We are going to practice making the letter A.  Start below the fence and make a little c.  Instead of picking up your pencil, go ahead and come all the way up to close the fence and drop back down, leaving a tail.”  (Making the “tails” on letters makes it easier for children to learn to write in cursive later).  Demonstrate making a lower case a.  “Now, I’m going to walk around and put an alligator sticker on everyone’s paper who is doing as I asked.”
5. “Now we’re going to play a game that will help you to become more familiar with the /a/ sound.”  This game can be played with the entire class being one group, or the class can be divided into two groups.  If played in one group, children should raise their hands in order to guess the riddle.  If played in two groups, each group should take turns, allowing a different child to answer for the group each time.  If played in two groups, points can be given for each correct answer.  “I am thinking of an animal that has rough skin.  It has many teeth and it starts with the /a/ sound.  What animal am I thinking of?”
6. “Now I am going to call out some words that may or may not contain the /a/ sound.  If you hear the /a/ sound I want you to hold your arms out straight and slap your hands together like an alligator biting down on something.  If you do not hear the /a/ sound I want you to scratch under your arms and act like a monkey.”  Demonstrate each of these motions.  Stress to the children that if the activity gets out of control it will have to be stopped.  Example of words to use: stamp, dog, cat, apple, orange, glove, snack, alligator.
7. Read Pat’s Jam and allow time for the students to discuss the story.  Next, have the students to write their own tongue twister made up of words containing the /a/ sound.  “Take out your pencil and paper and write your very own sentence of words containing the /a/ sound.  Here is an example: Alice screamed, “Aaa” after she saw the aggravated alligator.”
8. For assessment, I will distribute a page with pictures on it.  “Write the name of each object below the picture and circle the words that contain the /a/ sound.”

Reference:
Eldredge, Lloyd, J.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classroom.  Prentice Hall.  1995.  Pp.50-70.
www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/nungesserel.html    Ashley Nungessar  Appetizing Apple

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