Sally’s Camel has Two Humps!
By Jacque Mills

Rationale: The first step in learning to read is letter recognition.  Most children learn all or most of the letters of the alphabet by rote, but many enter kindergarten or first grade still unable to recognize them in print.  This lesson will help children recognize and write the letter m by learning a letter symbol and associating it with the humps in Sally’s Camel.  They will also learn the phoneme m=/m/ by listening for and saying /m/ in words.

Materials:  Paper with a camel outline drawing minus the humps and lined like primary writing paper on the bottom half (one copy for each child), overhead copy of the same, pencils, set of m cards for the class, Good Morning, Muffin Mouse, by Lawrence DiFiori.

Procedures:
1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that we can not only sing and say the letters in the alphabet but we can also see and write them!  Today we will learn about the letter m.  First I’ll show you what m looks like.  (Teacher makes the letter m on the blackboard.) We’re also going to learn what m sounds like.  Then we’ll learn to write the letter m.
2. Tell students:  Pretend you just finished eating a bowl of your favorite ice cream.  Rub your tummy and say “mmmmm, that was good.”  Now just say “mmmmmm.”  Can you guess what alphabet letter says “mmmmm”?  That’s right! “M”!  Say “M”.  Now say “emmmmmm.”
3.  Now we’ll do a cheer for the letter m.  First I’ll show you the cheer, and then you’ll do it with me. This is M. M says /m/.  Marshmallow, marshmallow /m/ /m/ /m/.   Let’s do it three times.  (Everybody does the cheer three times.)  What does M say? Mmmmmm.  Good work!
4.  Who can tell me what our mouths are doing when we say /m/? Call on students.  What are our lips doing?  That’s right, our lips are touching each other.  Teacher models mmmm.
5.  Now I will say two words and you tell me which word has the sound /m/.  You might hear it at the beginning of a word or in the middle of a word or at the end of a word so listen closely.  Call on students to answer.  Do you hear /m/ in mouse or house?  Juice or milk?  Bacon or ham?  Camel or horse?
6. ( Hand out camel pictures.)  Get a pencil out of your desk.  Now we will learn to write the letter m.  Look at the picture of Sally’s camel. (Show on overhead.) What’s missing in the picture? That’s right! The camel is missing its humps! When we write the letter m, we make two humps, just like Sally’s camel!  Watch me write the letter m where the camel’s humps should be. Teacher models.  Now you do it! Good work! You’ve written the letter m. Now look at the bottom of the page at the part with the lines.  That’s where we’ll practice writing the letter m.  Watch me first.  Start at the fence line.  Draw straight down to the sidewalk.  Come straight back up to the fence line and make one hump, two humps, just like Sally’s camel.  I’ll come and look at your m and after I’ve looked at yours I want you to make five more the same way.  Remember, m has how many humps? Two humps and what does m say? M says mmmm.
7.  Hand out m cards.  Read Good Morning, Muffin Mouse to the class two times.  On the second reading, have students listen for the sound /m/ and have them raise their m cards when they hear /m/.

References: Punch in the Stomach, A Model Lesson Design by Dr. Bruce Murray,
Auburn University, www.auburn.edu/~murraba
Alphabet Cheers, observed in the classroom of kindergarten teacher Alice
Smith, Navarro Elementary, Bryan, TX., Fall, 1996