"Uh, I Don't Know!"



Marlee Shaw

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence u= /u/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling u. They will learn a meaningful representation (scratching chin saying, "uh"), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence u = /u/.


Materials: Graphic image of confused man; cover-up critter; LBL boxes for modeling and individual letterboxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child: d,u,c,k,s,h,r,b,d,n,p,t,t,g,m; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: mud, duck, shrub, dunk, punch, trick, trust, sprung, trump.


1. Say: Learning how to read is like figuring out a code. You have to know all of the letters and the sounds that they say in order to read. Today, we are going to talk about the letter u. Short u says /u/. When I say /u/, think about when someone says "Uh, I don't know." Has anyone ever asked you a tricky question and you just had to say, "Uh, I don't know"? So, when you hear /u/ in a word I want you to think about someone scratching their chin saying, "Uh, I don't know."           


2. Say: Now, let's listen to /u/ in some words. When I make the /u/ sound, watch wha my mouth does. It is open a little bit and my tongue is laying flat. When you hear it in a word, I want you to use the signal and scratch your chin. I'll show you: up. When I said up, my mouth was open a little bit and I heard the /u/ sound (make vocal gesture). Now you try: mug. Good. What about top? I didn't make the /u/ sound because my mouth was opened like a yawn. Now try some more. Tug, at, mutt, set, rug, run. (Have children scratch their chin when they hear /u/)               


3. What if I want to spell the word munch? "Mary was hungry so she decided to munch on an apple." Munch means to snack on. Now I need to spell munch in the letter boxes. I need to know the number of sounds so I'll know how many boxes to use. Lets stretch out the word /m//u//n//ch/. I need four boxes because c and h together make the /ch/ sound. /M/ m goes first. M-u u comes next. M-u-n n after that. M-u-n-ch and ch at the end. When you put all of those sounds together, you get munch.


4. Say: Now Im going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. Youll start out easy with two boxes for up. You'll need three boxes for the next word. Here's the word: mud. Let the students finish the word list: duck, shrub, dunk, punch, trick, trust, sprung, trump. (Give sentences with each word and observe progress)


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words youve spelled. (Show the words duck, shrub, dunk, punch, trick, trust, sprung, trump, the extra word plump, and the pseudoword thub.) Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6. Say: Youve done a great job and reading words with short u. Now we are going to read a book called Chuck and Chad Get Lunch. This book is about a chimp and a chick who are hungry for some lunch. They find something yummy to eat and they eat too much! What will happen to Chuck and Chad? (Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress.)


7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about short u, I want you to do this activity. On this worksheet, I want you to look at the picture and decide which word has the short u sound sound. Color the picture that has a short u and fill in the missing letters. (Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.)



Assessment worksheet: http://bogglesworldesl.com/phonics/ShortUListening.doc

Clabby, B. Chuck and Chad Get Lunch, http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

Crumrine, Kelley. "Uh, Do You Know?" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/crumrinebr.htm


Return to Rendezvous Index