Feel the Beats | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA GK:S1:C3:L19

Feel the Beats

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Daily Learning Target

  • Opening A: I can identify the name and sound for the letters “h,” “p,” “a,” “t,” “c,” and “n.” (RF.K.3)
    • I can identify the name of each uppercase letter.
    • I can look at each consonant and say its sound.
  • Work Time A: I can feel and count the syllables (beats) in the words of a poem. (RF.K.2)
    • I can count the syllables in a spoken word.
    • I can segment (break apart) and pronounce separate syllables in a spoken word.
    • I can blend separate syllables to form a spoken word.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Observe students during Work Time A.
    • Determine whether they can identify the number of syllables in spoken words.
    • Also determine whether they can pronounce each individual syllable, blend them, and segment them. 
  • Record students’ progress on the Snapshot Assessment.

Agenda

Agenda

1. Opening (5 minutes)

A. Letter-Sound Chant: “h,” “p,” “a,” “t,” “c,” and “n”

2. Work Time (10–15 minutes)

A. Feel the Beats

3. Closing and Assessment (2 minutes)

A. Reflecting on Learning

4. Differentiated Small Group Instruction and Rotations (40-45 minutes)

In Advance

  • Prepare the Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)
  • Gather materials for differentiated small group instruction (see Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher).

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)

  • beat, blend, segment, syllable (L)
  • creek, newt, peek (T)

Materials

  • Enlarged poem: “My Cat, Noodles” (to display; from Lesson 16)
  • Large pointer (optional; for teacher to point to words in poem as the class recites)
  • Articulatory Gestures chart (from Lesson 16)
  • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Letter-Sound Chant: “h,” “p,” “a,” “t,” “c,” and “n”

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”):

“Now let’s say the alphabet, letter by letter. Here is the letter, here is the sound. When we chant together, we sound great. Listen up to the sounds we make!”

  • Begin the Letter-Sound Chant instructional practice:

1. Teacher says: “Today, we will do a Letter-Sound Chant with ALL the letters we have learned so far.”

2. Teacher models the Letter-Sound Chant for “h”: “‘h,’ house, /h/,” and repeats.

3. Teacher asks students to join in the Letter-Sound Chant for “h”: “‘h,’ house, /h/,” and repeats.

4. Repeat steps 2–3 with “p,” “a,” “t,” “c,” and “n.”

5. Teacher says: “Great job! Knowing the sounds for letters helps us become better readers.”

  • Invite students to feel how their mouths and tongues move and where the breath is released when pronouncing each sound.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Feel the Beats

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”):

“Let’s count the syllables, beat by beat. Tap your fingers and drum in your seat. When we hear a syllable, we will tap. Try it out with a rat-a-tat-tat.”

  • Begin the Feel the Beats instructional practice:

1. Teacher reads the Enlarged poem: “My Cat, Noodles” once, pointing to each word as he or she reads it (with a finger or a pointer) with expression.

2. While reading, teacher draws students’ attention to the rhythm and beats by tapping each beat under the word.

3. Teacher says: “There’s a wonderful rhythm and beat in this poem! Let’s see if we can feel it in our bodies and mouths.”

4. Teacher models how to make little drumsticks with two fingers from each hand: Tap together the index and middle fingers of the right hand against the same two fingers of the left.

5. Students practice tapping.

6. Students and teachers recite the entire poem aloud slowly, tapping the rhythm and beats on their fingers.

7. Teacher recites the first two lines while tapping as students listen: “My cat, Noodles, and I went for a hike one day. We walked near the creek and began to play.”

8. Teacher asks:

“How many beats are in the word ‘Noodles’?” (two)

9. Teacher invites students to say the word: “Noodles” aloud, holding up a finger every time they hear a beat.

10. Teacher asks:

“What do we call the beats in a word?” (syllables)

11. Teacher says: “That’s right. Each beat in a word is called a syllable. We segmented the word ‘Noodles’ into its two syllables ‘Noo-dles’ by listening for the beats.” 

12. Repeat steps 8–9 with the words “began” and “play.”

13. Teacher says: “Some words have one syllable, like the word ‘day,’ and some words have more than one.  The word ‘began’ has two: ‘be-gan,’ and the word ‘play’ has one.”

14. Repeat steps 7-8 with the remaining lines in the poem.

15. Teacher says: “Now let’s play a game: I’ll say each syllable in a word, and you say the word they make.”

16. Teacher says: “a-gain.”

17. Student(s) say: “again.”

18. Repeat steps 16–17 with two or three more multisyllabic words from the poem.

  • It can be challenging for young students to differentiate the number of beats in a spoken word from the number of printed words on a page. Many students expect that the finger will move on after each beat when pointing. In this lesson, tapping each beat in a word with two or more syllables directly under the word lays the groundwork for understanding this concept. 
  • For students who have difficulty managing the timing and coordination involved in physically marking each beat in spoken words: Allow them to recite it slowly instead.
  • Consider substituting the tapping of fingers with marching in place or gently slapping a knee with one hand for students who need a more gross motor method. 
  • In the step 8, a specific word from the poem is spoken aloud and students are asked to determine the number of syllables it has. To extend the depth of analysis, consider reversing the process with one of the later lines in the poem by not providing the spoken word first. Instead, ask students to identify “a word with one syllable,” “two syllables,” etc. as they recite the line.  

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning

  • Emphasize that successful learners think about what they’ve learned and why it’s important. Consider using a metaphor, such as a baseball player learning to keep his or her eye on the ball to know exactly when to hit it.
  • Ask:

“What can we do if we can’t remember the sound that the letter ‘c’ makes?” (Think of the chant; think about the letter story; look at the letter chart/picture.)

“How might that help us with reading or writing?” (Responses will vary.)

  • For students who need additional support organizing their ideas: Provide sentence frames. Examples:
    • “When I said the word _____, I _____.”
    • “When we wrote the letter _____, we _____.”
    • “When I blended the sounds _____, I _____.”

Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher

Suggested Plan: Teacher works with the Pre-Alphabetic and Early Partial Alphabetic groups. Teacher may meet briefly with the Late Partial and Early Full Alphabetic groups to get them started on independent work.

Note: Groups not working with the teacher at a given time should be engaged in purposeful independent rotation work. Refer to the Independent and Small Group Work guidance document (see K–2 Skills Resource Manual) for more details.

Pre-Alphabetic:

  • Practice activity: Teacher guides students as they tap out each beat in the first two lines of the poem: “My Cat, Noodles” as they recite it. Students work with the teacher to determine the number of syllables (beats) in a specific word. They continue the process with the remaining lines, if time allows.

OR:

  • Suggested Activity Bank activities:
    • Syllable Say Animal Feed (with teacher)

Early Partial Alphabetic:

  • Practice activity: Teacher guides students as they tap out each beat in the first two lines of the poem: “My Cat, Noodles” as they recite it. Students work with the teacher to determine the number of syllables (beats) in a specific word. They continue the process with the remaining lines, if time allows.

OR:

  • Suggested Activity Bank activity:
    • Syllable Say Animal Feed (with teacher)

Late Partial and Early Full Alphabetic:

  • Independent practice activity: Students practice reciting the poem: “My Cat, Noodles” and tapping the beats with their fingers a few times. Then they read the poem aloud in their poetry notebooks and indicate the number of syllables under each word. Example:
    • Under the word “cat,” students will make one line, while under the word “noodle,” they will make two.

OR:

  • Suggested Activity Bank activity:
    • Syllable Say Animal Feed (independently)
  • Additional Supporting Materials:
    • Poetry notebooks (from Lesson 16; one per student)

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