Shhhh… Something is Fishy!


                                                                                                            Liz Hooper

Rationale: This lesson should be used when teaching children about consonant digraphs. They will understand that when you put two letters together, they sometimes combine to make one single sound. This particular lesson focuses on the digraph /sh/. The lesson is designed to help students learn to read, write, spell and speak words that contain the digraph /sh/.

Chart paper with the tongue twister: "She sets sheep and fish on the shelf" on it
Class set of the book by Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Class set of Elkonin boxes, with the letters (a,b,c,e,f,h,i,l,p,r,s,u)

Primary paper and pencils for each student
Work sheet with pictures on one side and on the other side a blank for them to write the word that would match the picture.  Words can include ship, sheep, shed, shelf, rash, mush, hush, push, and flush.

1. Ask students, “When your someone wants you to be quiet what do they tell you to say? "Shhh!" Ask them to put their hand in front of their mouth as they repeat the sound. Ask them what they feel. "Air." Tell them:  That’s right! The /sh/ sound is made by putting your teeth together and pushing the air out of your mouth. Ask if they know what letters go together to make the /sh/ sound? "An S and an H." Tell them that when you see these letters together in a word, they make that special sound.  This sound is called a digraph.

2. Tell students: I am going to say a sentence, listen hard for words that have /sh/ in them. She sets sheep and fish on the shelf.  Now let's repeat that sentence a few times together. Raise your hand if you hear the /sh/ sound in that sentence? Good, now lets say it, but make the /sh/ sound longer each time we hear it in the sentence. “Shhhhhhe sets ssshhhhhhhhhhheep and fisssssshhhhhhhh on the ssssshhhhhelf”.  How many times do you hear the /sh/ sound in that tongue twister? “4.”

3. Now that we know that /sh/ is made from the letters S and H, can anyone think of any words that were not in our sentence that have that sound in them? Get out your paper and pencil and write as many words that you can think of. (You can have several of the students share their words and discuss them with the class.) 

4. After a quick discussion, you can begin the letterbox lesson. Have everyone get out their Elkonin boxes and letters for the lesson.  Tell them, “I would like everyone to start by spelling she with their letters, like this [model] “This is how I would spell the word push. I would start with our sound /sh/ Then I would try to fit in the first two sound. /p/. Oh, P! Then /u/. Oh, U! (Each word should be said out loud and have the students spell the words in their own boxes just like the model. 2 phoneme: she, 3 phoneme:  ship, rash, shell, fish, cash, 4 phoneme:  flesh, brush, flush

5. After the kids have spelled all the words, use your own letters to spell the words on the overhead and have them read them as a class after modeling once. Put the word ship on the board and show them, this says ssssssshhhhhhhhip. Tell them to make sure they stretch out /sh/. 

6. Begin reading: “We are now going to read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss,” and ask if any of the students have ever read this book? Give the students a short book talk and then pass out the class set. “Have you ever heard of Dr. Seuss. Well he writes lots and lots of wonderful book. This book I have here is about some fish. This book is about fish of all different colors. Have you ever seen red and blue fish? Well lets read this book and find out what happens to these silly looking fish”. Send the children into their reading groups and take turns reading pages. This is a good review, because the children will practice reading /sh/ in a hands-on fashion.  Tell students to read the page once and then go back and read it and stretch out the /sh/ sound whenever they hear it. This should be fun for them!

Assessment: Give the students the worksheets and explain directions. Each worksheet will have a picture of objects and students are supposed to match the name of the object with the picture. The names of the pictures will be in one column and the pictures in the other. This activity can be modified by having the teacher show the pictures and give two word choices on what it could be. As a class or as a single student they should pick the correct word and talk about what sounds they hear in the word, making sure they note specifically where the /sh/ is. They are to identify the pictures by writing the name of the picture across from it or matching the picture to the words.

Seuss, Dr. (1960). One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Random House, Inc:
New York, NY. 1960.

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