Ticking Timemachines say T,T,T…


Emergent Literacy

By: Sarah Plier


Rationale: This lesson will help children recognize /t/, the phoneme represented by t. Students will learn to recognize /t/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful motion (tapping the wrist where a watch would be) and the letter t by practicing finding /t/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words through their beginning letters.


-primary paper          


- poster board with the tongue tickler "Tiny Tim taught Ted to turn," -flashcards (tip, talk, tan, tell, tap)

-The Alphabet Book     

-blank paper





- worksheet to assess understanding of /t/ by identifying pictures with /t/ through coloring the picture and completing the spelling of the word represented


1.   Say: "Words in our language are made of letters, and each letter makes a sound. It is up to us to learn how to move our mouths to make the sounds of each letter in order to properly pronounce words. Today, we will work on moving our mouth to make /t/. The letter t spells /t/, and /t/ sounds like a ticking clock. Repeat after me: tick, tock, tick, tock. Great! As we practice moving our mouths to say /t/, I want you to tap on your wrist, as if pointing to a watch, every time you hear /t/in a word. Try it with me as you say tick, tock, tick, tock (do the motion with the words)."

2.   Say: "Now I want you to notice what your tongue does when you say /t/. Do you feel it hit the roof of your mouth and then press against the back of your front teeth? If so, you are properly moving your mouth to sound the letter t! Let’s make this sound together: /t/,/t/,/t/. Great! Now let’s go back to the sound a clock makes: tick, tock, tick, tock. Did you feel the movement in your tongue and mouth?"

3.   Say: "What if we wanted to find /t/ in a word? Let’s take the word sweeter and stretch it out very slowly so we can hear /t/.

Sss-ww-eee-ttt-eerrr. Now let me say it even slower- sssss-wwwww-eeeee-tttt-ee-rrr. Did you hear /t/? I did! And I could feel my tongue hit the roof of my mouth and the back of my front teeth as I said the word sweeter."

4.   Say: "I brought a poster with me and I have something called a     tongue tickler written on it. I want us to try together to say what is written on the poster. You should hear /t/ in every word! Remember our motion for /t/. Every time you hear /t/ tap your "watch" on your wrist. Let’s say it four times together: "Tiny Tim taught Ted to turn." Now let’s say it again stretching out each word so you hear every sound: "Tttt-iiiii-nnnnn-yyyy Tttt-iiii-mmmm ttttt-aaaauuuggghh-ttttt Ttttt-eeeee-dddd tttt-oooo tttt-uuurrr-nnnn." Now say the tongue tickler where you break off /t/ from the rest of the word: "/t/ iny /t/ im /t/ augh /t/ /t/ ed /t/ o /t/ urn."

5.   Say: "Does anyone remember what letter represents /t/? It’s the letter t. To practice writing the letter t we will need to take out our primary paper and pencil. Look at the lines on your primary paper. They are labeled as rooftop, fence and sidewalk. To form the capital T, which you would use in a name such as Tim, you want to position your pencil at the top line, the rooftop, and draw a line straight down to the sidewalk, then cross at the very top of the line right under the rooftop. A lower case t is formed in much the same way, but instead of crossing at the top of the line directly under the rooftop, you make the cross through the fence, in the middle of your line. I want you to practice both the capital and lower case t. Once you have written one of each, I will check it off with a smiley face and then have you write them three more times."

6.   Call on students to answer and explain how they know for the following activity: "Do you hear /t/ in tuck or muck? Do you hear /t/ in tip or hip? Do you hear /t/ in ten or den? Now I will say some words and when you spot my mouth move to say /t/ tap your "watch" to signal to me. Listen closely: tap, send, mail, ten, tail, bed, rent, hint, hide. "

7.   Say: "This is The Alphabet Book. I am going to show you the page with /t/ words. What words do you think might be on this page? Let’s see if you were right! Now, since you have your very own paper, pencils and scissors, we will make a class book with the letter t. I want you to look through these magazines and cut out a picture of something that begins with /t/ but was not in this book, glue the picture to your paper, and write the name of your /t/ item on your paper."

8.   I am now going to show you some words and I want you to tell me what they are. Let’s look at this word together so I can model how I would figure out what the word is (tip is the word): the t tells me to tap my wrist and say /t/, so this word is ttt- ip. Now it’s your turn! TALK: talk or walk? TAN: man or tan? TELL: yell or tell? TAP: tap or cap?

9.   To formally assess the students, have them complete the worksheet linked below. They will have to color the pictures that begin with the letter t and then complete the word by writing in the first letter on the line. This not only helps them identify words that start with /t/, but it will also assess their ability to write the letter t. http://www.kidzone.ws/imageschanged/kindergarten/t-as-begins2.gif


Assessment Worksheet  http://www.kidzone.ws/imageschanged/kindergarten/t-as-begins2.gif

Lawyer, Nicole. Slithering Snakes Say SSSsss.


Ivey, Jennifer. T…Tick-Tock Goes the Clock.


Eastman, P.D. 1974. The Alphabet Book. New York: Random House, Inc.

Google Image http://schools.pinellas.k12.fl.us/gallery/cartoon/Page0003.html


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