- Standards: 1d, 4c
- Theme: Training ABC and Word Recognition
- Lesson Topic: ABC and Word Detectives
- Students will be able to: name letters;
- distinguish between upper and lower case letters;
- sing the song ABC;
- recognize words based on the context;
Students will revise vocabulary on everyday activities, house appliances, food.
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The students will listen to the ABC song and sing along. They will also sing the song on their own in groups and they will rise when they see ‘their letter’. Auditory and kinesthetic learners will benefit from this activity.
Students will listen to the story and look at pictures that will help them decode words.
ABC, milk, mouse, cookie, straw, blanket, pillow, have a nap, sweep, wash the floors.
Squares of colored paper, pieces of white paper, glue, ABC song (tape-recorded), the video of the book (“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”), PowerPoint presentation with the pages from the book with missing words.
The teacher notes that children will sing the ABC song and show their creative letters. The teacher also mentions that the students will become words and letter detectives
Students first listen to the ABC song and sing along. After that, they have an activity on letter recognition.
The following part is concerned with reading the book. Students watch the video and the teacher follows the story marking each word with the pointer. The activity on word and letter recognition follows.
Practice and Application
The students make their creative letters by gluing pieces of colored paper to the white paper. The teacher distributes letters among students (a student can have several letters). When they are ready, students sing the ABC song displaying their letters.
The students try to recognize words when listening to the story read by the teacher. The teacher follows the text displayed in the PowerPoint presentation with the pointer and stops when there is a missing word.
Review and Assessment
Students develop the necessary understanding of lower and upper case letters, concepts of print, and skills to recognize words based on the context.
Students may be asked to identify letters on the page. For instance, the teacher asks the student to find all Bs (or upper case letters).
This assessment has become a very important experience for me as I developed certain skills in creating a lesson plan and I could check its effectiveness. First, I would like to note that I paid a lot of attention to each section of the plan and the part concerning objectives turned out to be quite difficult to develop. It has been acknowledged that objectives should be concise and precise as this enables the teacher to remain focused on particular achievable aims that can be reached (Cooke and Teichmann 27).
During the lesson, I understood that the objectives are really helpful, as I could focus on achieving particular aims without being distracted by other aspects, I knew that students should work on their knowledge of the ABC, phonological comprehension as well as the ability to detect words. Another difficulty for me was the development of the assessment section. Maki claims that an assessment of the lesson should be carried out on the stage of planning, which will enable the teacher to develop efficient plans and achieve teaching goals (166).
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However, it was difficult for me to assess the lesson before holding it. I believe the assessment is the most effective when the teacher evaluates its weaknesses and strengths after its completion. Of course, when I have more experience, I will be able to evaluate lesson plans easily. I would also like to note that the lesson plan helped me be more confident as I knew exactly what to do.
I would also like to note that the lesson was quite effective as the academic goals were achieved. When watching the recorded lesson, I detected certain strengths and weaknesses in the lesson. One of the strengths was the use of diverse learning strategies. Students sang a song, they moved in the class (displaying their letters), they explored their creativity through making their colorful letters, they listened to the story, and tried to detect words and letters. It is especially important when working with young children whose attention span is very short. Students were very creative when making their mosaics, and they were proud to display them when singing the song.
The use of music was also beneficial. Researchers note that the use of songs is an effective strategy for teaching reading as students manage to learn more efficiently (Harman). I also share such opinions as I witnessed the outcomes of using a song for memorizing letters and the ability to recognize them. Of course, young children prefer singing songs and dancing rather than trying to memorize a set of data.
Another strength of the lesson was my ability to motivate students to focus on particular tasks. Motivation is one of the most important components of any lesson (Wirtz 3). I told students about activities and they were eager to start reading the book as I mentioned that they will read with me, and then they would turn into detectives. I believe this was an effective strategy as some students did not want to work with letters, but when they were told that without letters, they would not be able to read, they focused on the tasks associated with letters.
At the same time, when they were working on their creative letters and especially when they were singing the song and displaying the letters, they got carried away. I had to remind them about the reading activity and their turning into detectives, which motivated them to settle down and start working on other things.
One more strength of the lesson was the use of technology. The students loved the video, and they were also eager to complete the task involving the PowerPoint presentation. It has been acknowledged that contemporary students prefer the inclusion of technology, which makes the lesson more interesting for them (Cogill 170). The students enjoyed watching words appear in the blank space. It was also interesting and easy for them to check whether they counted letters (Bs or lower case letters) correctly when the necessary letters changed the color.
At the same time, there were certain downsides in the lesson. For instance, I distributed letters among students, and some of them got two letters. However, students worked at a different pace, and some of them managed to complete the task earlier.
I had to react and ask them to make other letters. Other students started saying that they had those letters and I had to explain that the more letters we could make the better. It turned out to be quite fun in the end as the class had several letters and singing the song was quite entertaining. However, I think that next time, I will give each student a letter and tell them that those who make their letters quicker will get another one. This will bring more order to the classroom. I will be able to avoid the confusion I had during the lesson in question.
The mentor also noted that the lesson lacked the cultural component. She noted that it is essential to try to incorporate cultural aspects in almost every lesson, as diversity is one of the core values to be promoted in US education. I agree with that but I still find it difficult to add a cultural component to my lesson. The only way was to use another story that touched upon certain cultural issues or revealed the cultural peculiarities of some groups.
To sum up, it is possible to state that this was a very useful experience for me. Working with young children is quite a difficult but rewarding task as the outcomes of the lesson can be traced when the lesson is over. I learned a lot about planning, and I was able to manage effectively activities for a group of young learners. I have learned a lot about the teaching profession. Now, I know that every lesson is based on meticulous planning. The teacher takes into account various things. Importantly, the teacher makes a plan and follows it, but the effective teacher is ready to change it. Of course, there are always things to learn and improve.
Cogill, Julie. “A Model of Pedagogical Change for the Evaluation of Interactive Whiteboard Practice.” Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research and Practice. Ed. Michael Thomas. New York: IGI Global, 2010. 162-179. Print.
Cooke, Nicole, and Jeffrey Teichmann. Instructional Strategies and Techniques for Information Professionals. Bungay: Elsevier, 2012. Print.
Harman, Maryann. Music and Movement – Instrumental in Language Development. 2008. Web.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. 2009. Web.
Maki, Peggy L. Assessing for Learning: Building a Sustainable Commitment Across the Institution. Sterling: Stylus Publishing, LLC, 2012. Print.
Wirtz, Rita M. Reading champs. Bloomington: LifeRichPublishing, 2014. Print.