September 1, 2018
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By Catherine Crider

Lesson plan

Sound Smoothies

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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Reading and Writing With Our HandsPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Reading and Writing With Our HandsPre-lesson.

Students will be able to blend letter sounds together.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Ask if students know how to make a smoothie. If anyone has made one before, have the student tell the group what they remember about that experience.
  • Pass out a slice of banana for each student to taste. Ask students to think about the taste of the banana as they eat it and try to describe it to a partner. (If students need some help describing what they are testing, suggest words like "sweet," "yummy," "sour," etc.)
  • Next, pass out a strawberry for each student to taste. Again, have students come up with words to describe the taste of the strawberry with a partner.
  • Show students the blender or mixing bowl. Place some strawberries and bananas in it (add some ice if using a blender). Blend the items together.
  • Give students a taste of the blended smoothie. Ask students to describe what they taste. Can they identify the individual flavors?
  • Explain to students that they have just tasted something that is blended. The smoothie still has each of the individual fruits’ tastes, but the tastes have now combined together to make something tasty. This same thing can happen with letters when they are forming words and stories!
(5 minutes)
  • Place a clean mixing bowl in front of the group.
  • Show the lowercase letters “d,” “o,” and “g.” As each letter is shown, have students make the sound of that letter. Place the letters into the mixing bowl.
  • Stir the letters in the bowl with a spoon. Then, pull the letters out of the bowl in the order of “d,” “o,” and “g.” Have students make the sound each letter makes until the next letter is pulled out. Place the letters in order so that students can see them as a word. Explain to students that they just read the word “dog”!
  • Repeat with “cat” and “hat” for extra practise if necessary.
(5 minutes)
  • Divide students into groups of three. Have students dump the small alphabet letters into their bowl and mix them up.
  • Write the word “bed” on the board and instruct students to take turns pulling the letters out of the bowl in order. As students find each letter, they should say the sound that the letter makes. As each student finds a letter, the previously found letter sounds should be repeated until students have sounded/blended out the whole word.
  • Repeat this process with the word “hen.”
  • Divide the class into partners and hand each group a stack of word note cards to blend along with a mixing bowl and a set of small alphabet letters. Make sure that everyone is clear on the process they will be using to blend the letters into words.
  • Before sending students off to work in partners, remind them of any applicable independent work time rules (i.e., only speaking in a whisper, raising hands for needs, etc.) and encourage students by telling them they can be great word cooks!
(15 minutes)
  • While students are working, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and assessing students' letter knowledge and blending abilities.
  • Spreading out partner work areas throughout the room can help to keep noise and distractions down.
  • If students finish their note card decks, have them try to read the words without pulling letters out of the bowl.

Enrichment:

  • For students needing a greater challenge, introducing diagraphs and longer blends can add to the difficulty of the lesson.
  • Students can also create their own note card deck of words from stories and books.

Support:

  • Offering partnerships across ability levels can help to scaffold this activity.
  • Creating individualized note card decks of only two-letter words, native language words, etc. can help make the lesson more accessible.
(5 minutes)
  • Adults can take anecdotal notes about student letter knowledge and blending abilities in completing the activities. These can be used to make determinations about what students know and the direction of future lessons.
  • Student accuracy in identifying letters, sounds and blending sounds can be used to determine the success of this lesson.
(5 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share about their experiences. What did they like to do most? What did they find most difficult? What words were most difficult? What words were easiest?
  • If time allows, have students blend a few more letters into words as a whole group.
  • Leave a set of note cards, magnetic letters, a bowl and a spoon out in the classroom for students to mix up some more words when they have free time.
  • Close by reminding students that words are like smoothies: all they have to do is blend the letter sounds together!

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