Bess the Busy Bee Blew Big Blue Bubbles

Emergent Literacy

Scottie Ferree


Rationale: This lesson is available to help children identify and understand how to say the phoneme /b/ which is represented by the letter b. After this lesson has been taught, hopefully students will have been able to improve their ability to recognize the letter and the sound of b when they see and hear it in their reading. Students will learn to recognize the /b/,"buh", sound in spoken words by learning it through a meaningful representation (creating bubbles with their cheeks while pressing their lips together). Students will also learn to recognize the letter symbol b, practice finding /b/ in words, and also be able to apply phoneme awareness with /b/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters. Because students often confuse the lowercase letters b and d, this is a method to show students how to remember the specific sound that the b makes, hopefully extending it to their recognition of it on paper, and their recognition of its sound in oral language.



King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood

~Blue food colored water bubble mix

~Bubble wands, one per student, preferably larger ones

~Large laminated B's that have been taped to bubble wands (the top hole in each B letter should go around the holes in the end of the bubble wands- to demonstrate the round look of the letter "B" while the bubbles trace that same line)

~One large aluminum tray for pouring bubble mix into

~Primary Paper


~"Letter Bb" assessment worksheet from Kid Zone Website, under "Beginning Consonant Sound Worksheets"

~ Word cards with Bee, Cat, Bat, Bird, Ball, Fog, Bin, Scrub, and Beat



1.     Say: "We all have been learning our alphabets for a long time now. Sometimes it can be hard to remember which sound goes along with which letter! Many of the letters of the alphabet can look a lot like other letters too, so it is very easy to get them confused! Our mouths move a certain way for each letter of the alphabet. Today we are going to be working on the letter B (while drawing the letter on the board). Does anyone know what sound this letter makes? We make the sound /b/ when we see the letter B. Just like the letter B looks like two bubbles, we will be blowing our very own bubbles with B when we make the sound /b/." The teacher will act like she is holding up a bubble blowing wand and say /b/ like she is in fact blowing a bubble. "The letter B looks like two bubbles and we make the same sound when we blow bubbles as when we say /b/."

2.     Let's pretend we are blowing some giant bubbles right now, /b/, /b/, /b/. (Pantomime blowing some bubbles). Do you notice that you are closing your lips together and your cheeks look like bubbles? Let's all practice doing that together. (Get the class to practice blowing bubbles with /b/ about four times and hold up their hands in front of their mouths like they are holding a bubble wand.

3.     I am going to show you all how to find /b/ in the word tub. I am going to stretch tub out in super slow motion and listen and look for my bubbles coming from my cheeks! Tttt-uuu-bbbb. Did you hear my sound at the end, and see my cheeks making their bubbles?! My lips came together, and my cheeks blew up just like what happens with a bubble! So I was blowing my bubble as the end of the word tub.

4.     "Now we are going to say a tongue tickler. It is written right here on our easel. "Bess the Busy Bee Blew Big Blue Bubbles in the Bathtub." Lets all say it together while imagining Bess the Busy Bee blowing those big blue bubbles! Make sure to hold up your bubble wands when we say the /b/ in our words, so that we know that the bubbles coming from our sounds we make are going through our bubble wands. Bbbess the bbbusy bbbee bbblew bbbig bbblue bbbubbbles in the bbbathtubbb." "Let's all say all of the words one more time but this time while breaking off the sound /b/ in each word. /b/ess the /b/usy /b/ee /b/lew /b/ig /b/lue /b/u/b//b/les in the /b/athtu/b/. "

5.     To model drawing the letter B both upper and lower case (b), draw the lines that are on the primary paper onto the dry erase board or easel. Show the students how to carefully draw the uppercase letter B, and then do the same with the lowercase b. "Look at how I am making a bubble wand here, and then I am drawing two bubbles on top of one another for the uppercase B, and leaving the wand with just one bubble on the bottom for our lowercase b." After modeling, pass out the primary paper to students and tell them aloud, "Now I want to see that all of you know how to draw both the uppercase and lowercase B/b. Make sure that you start by drawing a straight line from the rooftop all the way down to the sidewalk. Then, make sure that you go back up on the very same line you came down on, and draw one bubble and then another bubble beneath it, for the uppercase B. Once you get back to the line you started on, you are done! For lowercase b, you need to remember to draw that same line from the rooftop all the way down to the sidewalk, but this time only go back up that line half way, and then draw the bubble that curves back around to the beginning of your line you just made. I am going to walk around and make sure that everyone draws 5 uppercase Bs and 5 lowercase bs. If you are doing that, you will receive a stamp on your paper!"

6.     "Now I am going to call out some words that have the letter B in them, and the /b/ sound we have been practicing. When you hear me say that sound, I want everyone to make their bubble faces that we have just been working on." I will call out the words: bee, bird, beat, scrub, cat, dance, egg, bread, food, and blue. (If students are understanding the /b/ sound in the words by making the bubble faces at the right time, it indicates their understanding).

7.     Say: "Lets read a book about someone who would not get out of his bbbig bbbathtubbb bbbecause he was too bbbusy bbblowing bbbig bbbubbbles!" Pull out a copy of King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, a big book is preferable, but a regular sized one is fine as well. A big book for this particular story is best because it is predictable and students can join in. "Where do we usually see lots of bubbles?" (Students raise hands and respond 'In the bathtub'). "That's right! And how many people like to take baths in big tubs with lots of bubbles? (Wait for raised hand responses). Lets read about this king who loved to do that too, and he loved to do that so much that one night, no one could get him to come out of the tub! Let's read and find out what happens! As we read, I want everyone to listen for words that sound like the blowing bubble /b/ sound we have been making, and lets notice if our cheeks make the shape of the blowing bubbles for certain words! After we finish each page, we will talk about the words we noticed, and we will write them up on our board here. Let's begin." After completion of the book, initiate class discussion about the book, what happened, and what the solution to the problem was. Mostly, have students realize that throughout the book, the /b/ sound was used quite often, and it many different words.

8.     Show the words on the word cards to model how students can decode these words to find out if they use the /b/ phoneme in their spellings. For example, for the word BAT- "Is this word cat or bat?: The "B" tells me to make the bubbles with my mouth and my cheeks, so this word must be bbb-at, bat. Now you all try some: (hold up word cards). BEAT: beat or meat? BALL: ball or tall? FOG: fog or bog? BREAD: bread or red? SCRUB: scrub or wash?

9.     Finally, for the assessment, the teacher distributes the "Letter Bb" worksheet to students to work on. Students are to say the names of each picture from the worksheet and listen for the /b/ sounds. If the words of the pictures have that sound, then the students are instructed to color those pictures in. After finishing that task, have students complete the tracing of the letter at the bottom of the page. Inform students that if they can complete the worksheet, we will go outside for a surprise activity involving our letter B that will help us see the bubbles within our letter a bit better.

10.                         Finally, for further assessment and a relieving and fun activity to extend students' knowledge on the letter B/b and /b/ phoneme, students will walk to the nearest outdoor area. Students will be instructed to sit crisscross applesauce on the pavement/grass while teacher demonstrates the "Bubbles in our B's" instructional activity. With the bubble blowers, which have laminated Bs attached to them on their openings in the letters, the teacher will dip her bubbling blowing wand into the blue food colored bubble mix. She will then proceed to blow bubbles as slowly as possible from the wand. After teacher does it once, she needs to inform students to watch as the curved part of the bubble matches the curved part of the B. Finally, students will be given their own bubble wands and be allowed to do the activity on their own. Hopefully this will be a fun way to relieve the structured learning while also extending the students' knowledge of the letter and phoneme sound beyond the classroom.




Amy Harris, "Blowing Bubbles with B"

Kid Zone Assessment worksheet


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