Zipping up Zippers

Jade Jipson

Rational: This lesson will help children identify /z/, the phoneme represented by Z. Students will learn to recognize /z/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (zipping up a jacket) and the letter symbol Z, practicing finding /z/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /z/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, a picture with a zipper with the tongue tickler: "The zebra zoomed zig-zag in the zoo." Word cards: buzz, cake, zoo, zap, far, zip. Zlata, Me, and the Letter Z  by, Cynthia Fitterer Klingel, Cynthia Klingel, Robert B. Noyed (Child's World (August 1, 2003) ; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /z/.

Procedures: 1. Say: "Today we are going to learn about one of the many letters in our alphabet!" The teacher will write the letter z on the board. Ask: "who can tell me what letter this is? Very good! This is the letter z." "To hear what the letter z sounds like, we are going to zip up our zippers" Show a video of children zipping up their zippers. Tell the students that later that they will all practice /z/ by zipping up their zippers.  Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth moves /z/. We spell /z/ with the letter Z.

2. Let’s pretend to zip up our zippers, /z/, /z/, /z/. "Can anyone tell me how our teeth were when we zipped up our zipper?" "Yes, making the sound /z/ makes our teeth come together and touch. Let’s zip up our jackets again and notice our teeth touching." "Now can anyone tell me what your tongue does when we say /z/?" "Yes, the tips of our tongues touch the top or the roof of our mouth. So, when we say /z/ our teeth come together and the tip of out tongue goes to the top of our mouth"

3. Let me show you how to find /z/ in the word fuzzy. I am going to stretch fuzzy out in super slow motion and listen for the sound of my zipper zipping up. Fffff-u-u-u-zzzz-y. There it was! I felt my teeth come together and the tip of my tongue touch the top of my mouth. I can feel zipping up zippers /z/ in fuzzy.

4. Let’s try a tongue twister (on picture). "The zebra zoomed zig-zag in the zoo." Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /z/ at the beginning of the words. "The zzzzebra zzzzoomed zzzzig-zzzzag in the zzzzoo." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: "The /z/ ebra /z/ oomed /z/ ig-/z ag in the /z/oo."

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use the letter Z to spell /z/. Capital Z looks like the zig-zags in a zipper. Let’s write the lowercase letter z.  To write a lowercase z we start at the fence and make a seven and then go back across the bottom. I want to see everybody’s lowercase z and when I put a sticker on it, I want you to make nine more just like it! To write a capital z we start at the rooftop and make a seven and then go back across the bottom. I want to see everybody’s capital z and when I put a sticker on it, I want you to do nine more just like it!

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /z/ in part or zan? Funny or zero?  zack or apple? Cap or buzz? Tear or fuzzy? Cake or frizz? Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /z/ in some words. Zip up your zipper if you hear /z/: bug, fuzzy, jar, zip, blue, zebra, car, the, zone.

7.  Say: Let’s look at a book about the letter /z/.  While we are reading  Zlata, Me, and the Letter Z  by, Cynthia Fitterer Klingel, I want you to zip up your zipper every time you hear /z/ in a word. Let’s all practice real quickly with the title: Zlata (zip up zipper), Me, and the Letter Z (zip up zipper), very good! Let’s get started. Have the students illustrate their favorite /z/ word they heard in the story. Display their work.

8.  Show Zoo and model how to decide if its zoo or boo: The Z tells me to zip up my zipper, /z/, so this word is zzzz-oo. You try some: ZAP: zap or cap? CAKE: fake or cake? BUZZ: buzz or fuzz? FAR: far or par? ZIP: lip or zip?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with Z. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step 8.

Assessment worksheet:

Lesson reference: Ashley James,

Book reference: Zlata, Me, and the Letter Z  by: Cynthia Fitterer Klingel (Author), Robert B. Noyed. Child's World (August 1, 2003)

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