Uh, Uh, Oh, It's U
Beginning Literacy
By Autumn Aldrich


Rationale:  The children will learn the correspondence u=/u/.  They will be given a sound representation to help them identify /u/ in spoken words, and together will review written representations to identify u in written words.  

Materials:  The use of a chalk board and chalk, Primary paper and a pencil for each child, the book, Fuzz and the Buzz (Educational Insights) for every other child in the classroom, Elkonin boxes and the letters u,p,c,b,h,g,n,t,r,o,s,f,e,l,p,d, and m and finally a picture page that contains pictures of the following: a bug, baseball, drum, cookie, sun, nail, sandwich, nut, toothbrush, and children hugging.

Procedures:  1. Introduce the lesson to the children; "Today we are going to learn a secret code for the letter u.  Once we can break the code for u's sound we will be able to hear it in the words we say and when we see it in written words like bug (write bug on the board for all to see), we will know that the u is telling us to make a particular sound."   

2.  Ask the children; "What sounds do you make when your thinking, (begin making a thinking face and scratch your head).  Uh, is the sound I make when I'm trying to figure out an answer and Uh, is the sound I make when I see the letter u."  

3.  Write this tongue twister on the board so the children can follow along, Ugly Uncle Ugg gets under his umbrella.  Have the children repeat the tongue twister together.  "Now class, I would like for you to scratch your heads like your thinking, every time you hear the u sound."  Repeat the tongue twister very slowly for the children, pointing out all the u sounds they identify.

4.  Model for the children a letter box correspondence.  Say the word bug  ( write the word bug on the board for all to see) and then stretch the word out slowely concentrating on the three sounds that can be heard.   Draw a box around each sound.  The first sound is /b/ the sound that b makes. Draw a box around the b, the next sound is our new one, it sounds like /uh/.  Draw another box around the u and finally the last sound makes a /g/ sound, for the letter g.  Draw the final box around the g.  Ask the children; "Can you listen very carefully and spell bug on your letter boxes?  Wait for the children to all spell bug, using three Elkonin boxes.  Follow with the words; cub, hug, cab, nut, run, hot, sun, fun, bug, all using three Elkonin boxes and finally help and drum using four Elkonin boxes.

5.  Have the children find a partner and explain to them that they will be reading Fuzz and the Buzz.  "This book is about a bear who loves honey, but this bear, while getting honey one day, gets into some trouble, to find out what happens to Fuzz you and your partner will have to read Fuzz and the Buzz."  One child will read pages 1-4 and the other 5-8.  

6.  A writing activity will follow.  Ask the children; "Tell me about your favorite bug and remember that when we are writing our u we will start at the fence, jump down onto the ground run and jump back up onto the fence and then jump back down once again (model writing the u as you explain it).  Pass our lined writing paper for the children and give them some time to write their passages.  

7.  For Assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture.  Then ask them to draw a circle around each picture that has the /uh/ sound in it.  Have the children write the names of the pictures under each one after they have finished finding the u sounds.     

Reference:   Cushman, Sheila. Fuzz and the Buzz.  Educational Insights. Carson, CA:  1990

                    Outlaw, Ginger.  Uuuuh I Don't Know.  21 Oct. 2003.