Getting to Know Letters | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA GK:S3:C12:L61

Getting to Know Letters

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Daily Learning Targets

  • Opening A: I can identify a keyword for the consonant digraph "sh." I can act out the events from the Letter Story: "sh." (RF.1.3)
    • I can look at each consonant and say its sound.
  • Opening B: I can follow along in a shared text (tongue twister/poem) (RF.K.1) and search for digraphs. (RF.K.3)
    • I can point to the first word in a sentence.
    • I can point to the last word in a sentence.
    • I can point to words in a text.
    • I can move my finger under words as I read them on a page, left to right and top to bottom.
  • Work Time A: I can identify a keyword for the consonant digraph "th." I can act out the events from the Letter Story: "th." (RF.1.3)
    • I can look at each consonant and say its sound.
  • Work Time B: I can follow along in a shared text (tongue twister/poem) (RF.K.1) and search for digraphs. (RF.1.3)
    • I can point to the first word in a sentence.
    • I can point to the last word in a sentence.
    • I can point to words in a text.
    • I can move my finger under words as I read them on a page, left to right and top to bottom.
    • I can look at each consonant and say its sound.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Observe students during Opening A and Work Time A. Determine whether they can say the sounds for each letter correctly.
  • Observe students during Opening B and Work Time B. Determine whether they demonstrate one-to-one correspondence with words.
  • Record students' progress on the Snapshot Assessment.

Agenda

Agenda

1. Opening (5-10 minutes)

A. Getting to Know Letters: Letter Story: "sh"

B. Introducing Poem/Tongue Twister and Letter Search: "ShaMiiah, Sh!"

2. Work Time (5-10 minutes)

A. Getting to Know Letters: Letter Story: "th"

B. Poem/Tongue Twister and Letter Search: "Thank You, Theo!"

3. Closing and Assessment (2 minutes)

A. Reflecting on Learning

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

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Enlarged poems/tongue twisters: "ShaMiiah, Sh!" and "Thank You, Theo!" (or write on chart paper/poster)
    • Poetry notebooks: Each student needs a spiral or composition book with a copy of the poem glued or taped inside, or else a loose copy of the poem in a plastic sleeve
    • 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)

  • high-frequency word, keyword (L)

Materials

  • Letter Story: "sh" (placed in an envelope or wrapped in colorful paper; one for teacher use; see the Learning Letters Book)
  • Keyword Picture Card: "sh" (one for teacher to display)
  • Enlarged poem/tongue twister: "ShaMiiah, Sh!" (or handwritten on chart paper to display)
  • Large pointer (optional; for teacher to point to words in poem as the class recites)
  • Poetry notebooks (one per student; see Teaching Notes)
  • Poem: "ShaMiiah, Sh!" (one per student)
  • Letter Story: "th" (placed in an envelope or wrapped in colorful paper; one for teacher use; see the Learning Letters Book)
  • Keyword Picture Card: "th" (one for teacher to display)
  • Enlarged poem/tongue twister: "Thank You, Theo!" (or handwritten on chart paper to display)
  • Articulatory Gestures chart (to post)
  • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Getting to Know Letters: Letter Story: "sh"

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot"):

"Now let's read a story, word by word. Get yourselves ready to repeat what you heard. When we hear the digraph, we will say: This is the sound two letters made today!"

  • Invite students to sit in a circle.
  • Begin a read-aloud of the Letter Story: "sh":

1. Teacher displays the wrapped Letter Story: "sh."

2. Teacher says, with expression: "I have here, in my hands, a story to tell. Lis-ten carefully ... lis-ten well."

3. Teacher slowly unwraps and reveals the story.

4. Teacher reads the story aloud expressively and without interruption, using movements to accompany what is happening in the story.

5. Teacher invites students to stand and silently act out the story in place with him or her while he or she reads it aloud again.

6. After the second read, teacher asks:

"What happened when the snake went into the house?"

7. Teacher invites the students to turn to an elbow partner to discuss the answer to the following question:

"Why do the letters 's' and 'h' make just one sound when they're together?"

8. Teacher invites one or two students to share with the group.

9. Teacher displays the Keyword Picture Card: "sh," holds his or her finger in front of his or her lips, and says "Sh ..."

10. Teacher invites students to do the same.

  • To heighten the anticipation and drama around the presentation of Letter Story: "sh," consider wrapping it in colorful paper or placing it in a decorative container and revealing it slowly.
  • Consider having students lie down on their stomachs with their heads oriented toward the center of the circle while reading the story aloud the first time through. This, together with the unwrapping of the story and the language in step 2, develops a storytelling ritual like that suggested for the vowel stories.
  • Acting out the story the second time through not only engages the students but also develops vocabulary.
  • Remind students that the /sh/ sound is soft and stops with the exhale of breath, and does not include the "uh" that many students add to the sound.

B. Introducing Poem/Tongue Twister and Letter Search: "ShaMiiah, Sh!"

  • Introduce the Poem/Tongue Twister and Letter Search instructional practice:

1. Teacher invites students to stand and begins to "chant" the /sh/ sound to the beat of "I'm a Little Teapot" (i.e., "/sh/-/sh/-/sh/-/sh/-/sh/-/sh/" instead of "I'm a lit-tle tea-pot," and so on).

2. Consider inviting students to move slowly in their circle while "singing" the /sh/ sound and holding their fingers to their lips.

3. Teacher invites students to sit and says: "I have a friend, ShaMiiah. Sometimes she can be kind of loud. In fact ... she shouts a lot. She doesn't mean to. It's just that she gets very excited and so she can be loud. Well ... one time, we went fishing, and do you know what happened? It was the strangest thing ... she caught a magic fish. The fish wanted to give her a wish, but ... you know ShaMiiah ... she can be kind of loud, so this is what I told her ..."

4. Teacher displays the enlarged poem/tongue twister: "ShaMiiah, Sh!"

5. Teacher reads the poem once or twice, pointing to each word as he or she reads it (with a finger or pointer).

6. Teacher says: "That was a little tricky to read. It kind of twisted my tongue up."

7. Teacher asks:

"What did you hear in this that kind of made my tongue twist up?" (/sh/)

8. Teacher says: "That's right, the /sh/ sound seems to be everywhere! Let's see if we can find it!"

9. Consider distributing poetry notebooks or student copies of the poem: "ShaMiiah, Sh!" to individuals or partners.

10. Teacher displays the Keyword Picture Card: "sh."

11. Teacher and students recite the poem, pointing to each word as they read it. During the shared reading of the tongue twister, teacher asks students to point to the first word in each line and the last word in each line.

12. Teacher models searching for the letters "sh" and making the /sh/ sound, and circles the letters "sh" on the enlarged poem/tongue twister.

13. If students are following along with their own copy, they circle the letters "sh" with their fingers.

14. Consider saying each word with the letters "sh" aloud, inviting students to identify whether the /sh/ sound is at the beginning or end of the word.

15. When finished, students put their notebooks off to the side, or teacher collects them.

  • To provide support or practice with left-to-right directionality and one-to-one matching, consider inviting individual students to approach the enlarged poem and point to the words as the class chorally recites.
  • Consider drawing students' attention to the capital "S" in the name ShaMiiah, explaining that capital letters are used to signal the beginning of a sentence and for proper names.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Getting to Know Letters: Letter Story: "th"

  • Begin a read-aloud of the Letter Story: "th":

1. Teacher displays the wrapped Letter Story: "th."

2. Teacher says, with expression: "I have here, in my hands, another story to tell. Lis-ten carefully ... lis-ten well."

3. Teacher slowly unwraps and reveals the story.

4. Teacher reads the story aloud expressively and without interruption, using movements to accompany what is happening in the story.

5. Teacher invites the students to stand and silently act out the story in place with him or her while he or she reads it aloud again.

6. After the second read, the teacher asks:

"What happened when the tern went into the house?"

7. Teacher invites the students to turn to an elbow partner and answer the following question:

"Why do the letters 't' and 'h' make just one sound when they're together?"

8. Teacher invites one or two students to share with the group.

9. Teacher displays the Keyword Picture Card: "th," sticks his or her tongue out between the teeth and says "th ..."

10. Teacher invites students to do the same.

  • To heighten the anticipation and drama around the presentation of the story of the letters "th," consider wrapping it in colorful paper or placing it in a decorative container and revealing it slowly.
  • Consider having students lie down on their stomachs with their heads oriented toward the center of the circle while reading the story aloud the first time through. This, together with the unwrapping of the story and the language in step 2, develops a storytelling ritual like that suggested for the vowel stories.
  • Acting out the story the second time through not only engages the students but also develops vocabulary.
  • Remind students that the /th/ sound stops with the exhale of breath, and does not include the "uh" that many students add to the sound.

B. Poem/Tongue Twister and Letter Search: "Thank You, Theo!"

  • Begin the Poem/Tongue Twister and Letter Search instructional practice:

1. Teacher invites students to stand, and begins to "chant" the /th/ sound to the beat of "I'm a Little Teapot" (i.e., "/th/-/th/-/th/-/th/-/th/-/th/" instead of "I'm a lit-tle tea-pot," and so on).

2. Consider inviting students to move slowly in their circle while "singing" the /th/ sound.

3. Teacher invites students to sit and says: "I have a friend, Theo. He is very thoughtful. That means that he thinks about other people and takes good care of them. Listen to the thoughtful thing he did one day for someone who was very thirsty."

4. Teacher displays the enlarged poem/tongue twister: "Thank You, Theo!"

5. Teacher reads "Thank You, Theo!" once or twice, pointing to each word as he or she reads it (with a finger or a pointer).

6. Teacher says: "That was a little tricky to read. It kind of twisted my tongue up."

7. Teacher asks:

"What did you hear in this that kind of made my tongue twist up?" (/th/)

8. Teacher says: "That's right, the /th/ sound seems to be everywhere! Let's see if we can find it!"

9. Consider redistributing poetry notebooks or student copies of the poem to individuals or partners.

10. Teacher displays the Keyword Picture Card: "th" again.

11. Teacher and students recite the tongue twister, pointing to each word as they read it. During the shared reading of the tongue twister, teacher asks students to point to the first word in each line and the last word in each line.

12. Teacher models searching for the letters "th" and making the /th/ sound, and circles the letters "th" on the enlarged poem/tongue twister.

13. If students are following along with their own copy, they circle the letters "th."

14. Consider saying each word with the letters "th" aloud, inviting students to identify whether the /th/ sound is at the beginning or end of the word, or whether it makes a soft sound, as in "Theo," or a harder sound, as in "the."

  • To provide support or practice with left-to-right directionality and one-to-one matching, consider inviting individual students to come up to the enlarged poem and point to the words as the class chorally recites.
  • Consider drawing students' attention to the capital "T" in the name Theo, explaining that capital letters are used to signal the beginning of a sentence and for proper names.

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:

"When we see the letters 'sh' or 'th,' how can we remember the sound they make?" (Think about how they go in the house and the sound is changed. Think about the keyword.)

"How will that help us with reading or writing?" (Responses will vary.)

  • For students who need additional support organizing their ideas: Provide sentence frames. Example:
    • "When I said the word 'fish,' I _____."

Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher

Suggested Plan: Teacher works with the Pre-Alphabetic and Partial Alphabetic groups. At this point in the year, the teacher may be ready to meet with three rather than just two groups per day. If so, the teacher should work with students in the Full and Consolidated Alphabetic phases at least once per week. The teacher may choose to guide students through the suggested independent activity or refer to the possible practice activities.

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 guidance document (see K-2 Skills Resource Manual) for more details.

Pre-Alphabetic:

  • Practice activity: Students identify pictures sharing initial sound with keywords ("sh" and "th") and write the letters for those sounds. The pictures include: "shirt," "shoe," "thumb," "three."
    • Consider beginning by revisiting the two tongue twisters from the lesson, guiding students to match the letters ("sh" and "th") and sounds (/sh/ and /th/) in the words.
    • Teacher guides students in reading the first picture and identifying the initial sound (/th/ or /sh/).
    • Teacher guides students to skywrite the letters for the initial sound.
    • Teacher guides the students to write the letters on the line under the picture.
    • Teacher repeats this process for each of the remaining pictures.
  • Additional Supporting Materials:
    • Initial Sound Pictures: /sh/ and /th/ (one per student)
    • Pencils (one per student)

Partial Alphabetic:

  • Practice activity: Students identify pictures sharing initial sound with the keyword ("sh" and "th") and write the letters for those sounds. The pictures include: "shirt," "shoe," "thumb," "three."
    • Consider beginning by revisiting the two tongue twisters from the lesson, guiding students to match the letters ("sh" and "th") and sounds (/sh/ and /th/) in the words.
    • Teacher guides students in reading the first picture and identifying the initial sound (/th/ or /sh/).
    • Teacher guides students to skywrite the letters for the initial sound.
    • Teacher supports students and they do this independently for the remaining pictures.
  • Additional Supporting Materials:
    • Initial Sound Pictures: /sh/ and /th/ or Initial and Final Sound Pictures: /sh/ and /th/ (one per student)
    • Pencils (one per student)

Full and Consolidated Alphabetic:

  • Independent practice activity: Students identify pictures sharing initial or final sounds with the keywords ("sh" and "th") and write the letters for those sounds. The pictures include: "shirt," "shoe," "thumb," "three," "fish," "dish," "moth."
    • Students read each picture and identify the initial or final sound /sh/ or /th/ in the words.
    • Students write the letters "sh" or "th" on the line below the word.
  • Conference with students about Accountable Independent Reading.
  • Choose a lesson from the K-2 Differentiation Packets to extend the students' learning. (Refer to the students' assessment data and the Assessment Conversion chart to determine an appropriate lesson or group of lessons.)
  • Additional Supporting Materials:
    • Initial Sound Pictures and Final Sound Pictures: /sh/ and /th/ (one per student)
    • Pencils (one per student)

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