Baaa Baaa Black Sheep have you any Wool?

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Emergent Literacy

Audrey Stockdale

: Before learning to spell or read, students need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out phonemes in spoken words.(Murray, 2007) This lesson will help students identify /b/. This lesson is designed to help students identify /b/ in spoken words, as well as practice the mouth moves for the letter b, and then they will practice finding the /b/ in spoken words.


Materials: Primary writing paper, pencil, drawing paper, crayons, tongue twister written on chart: “Bart’s baby boy busted the blue balloon.”, book, It’s Not Easy Being Big by Stephanie St. Piere, Random House Books for Young Readers, picture page with pictures of: baby, book bag, ball, bus, car, tub, band, boy, bear, and tub. Picture cards with boy/girl, ball/egg, tub/shower, above/under, bear/lion, and book bag/purse.



1) Begin the lesson by discussing our written language with students. Letters stand for the mouth moves we make as we say words. (Murray, 2007) Today, we are going to find the mouth move /b/ in spoken words. To make the /b/ sound, our lips start out together, then they open and a puff of air comes out. Voice box on, now make the /b/ sound with me. (Murray, 2007) It might be hard to find the /b/ sound in some words at first, but we will find /b/ in many different words.


2) Ask students: Have you ever seen a sheep before? What does a sheep say? That’s right, baa.  We hear /b/ in the sound that a sheep makes, baaa. Say it with me baaa. Do you hear the /b/ sound in baaa? Raise your hand to let me know you hear /b/ in baaa.


3) Let’s try a tongue twister. [on chart] “Bart’s baby boy busted the blue balloon.” Repeat the tongue twister together 3 times with the entire class. Now this time, let’s try the tongue twister, but really stretch the /b/ at the beginning of the words. “Bbbbbart’s bbbbbaby bbbbboy bbbbbusted the bbbbblue bbbbbballoon.” Now let’s say it again, and break off the /b/ sound from the rest of the word. “/B/ art’s /b/aby /b/oy /b/usted the /b/lue /b/alloon.”


4) [Instruct students to take out primary writing paper and pencil.] We can use the letter b to spell out the /b/ sound. Let’s write it. Start at the roof, go down, bounce up and around. (Murray, 2007) I want to see everybody’s b. After I put a sticker on your b, make 9 more just like that one. Now, when you find the letter b by itself in a word, you know to say /b/.


5) Let me show you how I would find /b/ in the word tub. I don’t know if I hear the /b/ sound, so I’m going to stretch the word tub out in slow motion and try to find the /b/ kind of like the baaa sound the sheep make. T-t-t-u-u-u-b-b. tub I heard the /b/ sound in tub!


6) Call on different students and have them explain how they knew: Do you hear /b/ in boy or girl? Ball or egg? Tub or shower? Lion or bear? Bag or purse? [pass out cards with pictures to each student] Say: Let’s see if you hear /b/ in some words Baaa like a sheep when you hear the /b/ sound. Bart’s baby boy busted the blue balloon.


7) Say: “Big Bird and Small Bird are very good friends. Big Bird is very big! Small Bird is very small. Small Bird finds out it is not easy being big sometimes. Big Bird finds out that it’s not easy being small sometimes. But sometimes it’s easy being both big and small. Let’s find out what happens when we read the book It’s Not Easy Being Big by Stephanie St. Piere.” Read the book again, and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /b/. Write their words on the board. Have each student draw an object that is either big or small and write a message about it. Display the students’ work.


8) For assessment, distribute the page of pictures and name each picture with the students. Have each student circle the pictures whose names have /b/ in them. 

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