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YOUR TARGET: Standard, Goals & Outcomes

Teacher: Molly Close Grade: Pre-Kindergarten Activity: Sound Sorting

TARGET: Unpack Your Standard

Part 1: My Standards, Goals and Outcomes

Academic Standards:​ ​Cite your standard

Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in
three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words.1 (This does not
include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)

Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by
producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each

Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each
category and sort the categories by count.1

Big Questions ​(​Questions to Knowledge ​(Concepts to be Skills ​(What you will

frame student learning) understood and applied) explicitly teach)

What strategies can we use Words have beginning, Sounding out a

to determine the spelling of middle and ending sounds word to determine
an unfamiliar word? (we will be focusing on the its beginning sound
beginning sounds in this and letter
What are some strategies activity)
we can use to sort objects Categorizing objects
into categories? Sounds are represented by based on their
letters beginning
How can spelling patterns We can classify and sort Using logic to
and similarities help us learn words based on similar self-correct and
to decode words? characteristics (in this case, determine if an
beginning letters/sounds) answer makes
How can we use sense
problem-solving skills to We can use logic to
determine if our thinking is determine if our thinking is
on track (self-correct)? correct when faced with a

Student Learning Goal​: ​State your Goal for the students to share

Students will match the sound of several common consonant letters (B, C, D, F, L,
M, N, P, R, T) with their alphabetic letters

Students will practice the skill of sounding out a word to determine its beginning
sound and letter

Students will classify objects based on initial sound

Students will use problem-solving skills to determine if their thinking is correct

Student Social-Emotional Goal (LEARNER):

Students will increase their confidence at decoding unfamiliar words as they learn
to associate the beginning sounds of words with their associated letters. They will
work cooperatively as they consider how to categorize objects based on initial

Barriers to learning (LEARNER):

Students are performing at different levels of phonics comprehension within the

classroom. Students who are more proficient may gravitate toward and monopolize
this activity, leaving more struggling learners on the sidelines. Students may not
have sufficient attention spans to see the activity through to its end.

Common Misconceptions (LEARNER & TARGET):

Students may incorrectly identify the objects used for sorting, leading to
misunderstandings about how to categorize them. Students who are more concrete
thinkers may struggle to associate the objects with their beginning letters rather
than their uses and associations with other objects.
Part 2: My Class
My Classroom Composite: (TEACHER & LEARNER): ​ ​Whole group

The class is composed of sixteen students; there are 9 girls and 7 boys. No students
have yet been formally identified with exceptionalities, but two students are suspected
to have some sort of learning disability (processing disorder and ADHD). Most
students are beginning to show an active interest in the sounds of words and their
associated letters. There has been an ongoing study surrounding a “letter of the
week,” which has spurred interest in the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, but
no formal phonics work has yet taken place. The classroom is play-based and
technology free. The class reflects a wide range of interests.

Accommodations/Adaptations/Intervention (Teacher, Learner, Instruction,


Focus Student #1: ​Special Needs Focus Student #2: ​English Language learner

For students with exceptionalities, All of the suggestions for accommodating

spend extra time identifying the students with exceptionalities could be
objects to be sorted, perhaps allowing implemented for ELL students as well.
time to explore and play with them
before continuing with the activity. Label the objects being sorted as well as
the pictures identifying the sorting
Spend extra time activating categories to assist ELL students with
background knowledge about letters beginning sound recognition (multiple
and sounds before attempting to means of matching the beginning
identify the beginning sounds of the sound/letter of a word).
objects and sorting them into

This activity could be done one-on-one

(with teacher) or in smaller groups
(pairs) to provide additional assistance
for students who need more
individualized practice.

For students who might become

overwhelmed with many choices,
choose one sound at a time to focus
on and provide fewer choices for
categorizing (break the activity down
into manageable parts).
Multiple Means of Representation
(modeling & practice) 1. Create speech-to-text buttons for objects to
be sorted (big mac, switchboard) to allow
students to hear the words independently

2. Color code objects or use alphabetic labels

to increase input for sorting (many ways to sort
and receive feedback -- colors, letters, sounds,

3. Choose objects that are relevant and

meaningful to the students rather than abstract
objects that have no meaning to them

4. Provide lots of opportunity to interact with

the objects to be sorted to allow students to
connect with them and become familiar

Multiple Means of Engagement

1. Use objects for sorting that are interesting
and compelling, that come from previously
studied units, or are connected to students (for
example: ask each child to bring a small object
from home and sort those objects by beginning

2. Activate background knowledge by reading

lots of books about letter sounds; build interest
in the activity

3. Break activity down into smaller chunks:

instead of presenting all ten cards at once,
introduce one at a time in order to reduce
overwhelm and increase interest in

4. Instead of using premade sorting boards,

create categories using images of students
whose names represent various consonant
sounds that need practice
Multiple Means of Expression
(practice & assessment) 1. Pair students with partners to complete
activity rather than completing it as a whole

2. Work with students one-on-one

3. Offer opportunities to creatively express

connections between objects, beginning
sounds and letters -- artwork, singing, collage,

4. Create a classroom book based on sorting

objects/pictures by sound (could start with
students’ names, familiar classroom objects,
and then move on to more abstract concepts,
including the objects being sorted in this

Managing the Classroom Activity will be implemented with small groups

Environment rather than the whole class to allow for
individualized assistance and assessment

Plenty of time will be allotted to complete the

sorting activity to allow for discussions of
student choices for sorting and any
conversations that arise during the activity


DAILY AGENDA: What will you use to manage daily instruction?

What is your Learning Map sequence for Day 1?

1. Gather students in a group (five or six students) and share the objects to be sorted
with them.

2. Take the objects out of the box one by one, asking students to name them. Correct
any misconceptions about what the objects are (for example: if students call the
“broom” a “mop,” make immediate corrections so that miscategorization does not
occur during the activity that might lead to confusion
3. Show students the picture cards with spaces for items to be sorted. Ask them to
name the pictures on the cards (again, clear up any misconceptions to prevent
confusion during the activity).

4. As students name the pictures on the cards, invite them to share what letter they
think that word starts with. Place appropriate letter tile above that card.

5. Invite students to select one item each that they would like to sort. Go around the
circle, inviting each student to sound out the name of their chosen object and match it
to the picture that begins with the same letter sound.

● If a student places an object on the wrong picture card, invite a discussion to

determine why they chose that particular match.

● If a student seems unable to make a match, ask them if they would like their
friends to help them. If so, open up a discussion with the students about where
they think the object should go and why.

● If students falter with making a match, show them how to sound out the word,
emphasizing the beginning sound, and sound out the pictures on the category
cards to help them hear the similarities and differences
● If items are mis-categorized and not corrected, demonstrate how
problem-solving could remedy the situation: “Hmmm. It looks like we have an
object that begins with the sound and letter “C,” but our “cake” card is already
full. Let’s check and make sure that all the objects on our “cake” card actually
begin with the letter/sound “C.”

6. When all objects have been sorted using the picture category cards, invite the
group to review which objects belong to which category.

Possible Extensions:

● Can you think of any other words that begin with that sound/letter?

● Create a classroom book of sound groups. Invite students to draw pictures of

objects that begin with the sounds that have been studied in this activity

● Create a collage of items that begin with the same letter; display the collage in
the classroom literacy space

What materials will you use?

Lakeshore Learning Beginning Sounds Phonemic Awareness Boxed Set

ness/beginning-sounds-phonemic-awareness-box/p/AA411​) or similar,
teacher-created card/object sorting set
Alphabet tiles or squares of paper on which the letters that correspond to the
beginning sounds of the picture cards have been written.

How will you assess student learning?

Student learning will be assessed using a teacher-created checklist for phonics


Teacher will observe students’ interactions with the items to categorize and make
observations notes on the following criteria:

● Student’s skill at sounding out the beginning sound of words

● Where difficulties or misconceptions occur

● Where additional practice might be indicated

Wrong answers (mis-categorized objects) will be points of discussion for

understanding a student’s relationship to the topic and comprehension of phonics and
sorting and noted for further practice and study.

What evidence of student learning have you collected?

While implementing my Learning Map, I collected data for the students who
participated by jotting down notes that I later inputted into an assessment table to
track their knowledge of beginning sounds.

I also jotted down notes during my implementation and reflected afterward about how
the activity was going, where changes needed to be made, and what I thought went
particularly well.

How will you analyze this evidence?

I used my rough notes to create data tables on student knowledge of beginning
sounds. I will use these tables and associated notes to create activities that will target
the sounds that students struggled with, and to determine student growth in this area.
I will also use this evidence to determine which students need further instruction or

Specific Findings:

● I determined that out of the six students that I assessed, four need further
instruction and evaluation either because they did not know many beginning
sounds (two students), or because they chose not to participate in the game
(two students).

● I found that the sound/letter most challenging for the students assessed were
the letters “C” and “F” (1/6 students able to match their sounds), and the
easiest and most familiar were “R,” “M,” and “B” (3/6 students able to match
their sounds). In the middle were “D,” “L,” “N,” “P,” and “T” (2/6 students able to
match their sounds). This mirrors the suggestions provided by Bear, Invernizzi,
Templeton & Johnston (2016) to introduce beginning sounds in a specific
sequence and choose letters that are “very different in place of articulation” (p.
162). The authors go on to suggest introducing up to four contrasting sounds
in the recommended sequence of:
○ B/M/R/S
○ T/G/N/P
○ C/H/F/D
○ L/K/J/W
○ Y/Z/V

What instructional decisions can you make as a result of your analysis of the

The instructional decisions that I can make based on my analysis of the evidence that
I collected are:

● Certain students do not enjoy sharing their knowledge in small group activities;
these students may need to be assessed one-on-one or through more
naturalistic observations, or provided with alternative opportunities to share
their knowledge.
● The introduction of certain phonemes should happen in a sequence rather than
all together, at least when these phonemes are novel to students. Students
particularly struggled with the similarity in sound and pronunciation of B, P, D,
and T initial sounds. Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton & Johnston (2016) suggest
beginning the study of consonant sounds for students in the letter
name-alphabetic stage with “frequently occurring initial consonants, in which
the contrasts or differences are clear both visually and phonetically” (p. 163).

● Based on the above-referenced suggestions by Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton &

Johnston (2016), in the future I would introduce only a few sounds at a time,
and ensure that those sounds were different in both their appearance and
phonetic pronunciations.

● As suggested by my colleague during a conversation we had after my lesson

implementation I would implement this activity as part of a small group activity,
rather than during free choice time. This would allow me to focus in on what
students are struggling with without other distractions, and provide a framework
for all students to participate instead of merely observing (J. Heinz, personal
interview, March 1, 2019).

My Personal Reflection:
What new information did I get about my students in relation to their learning

I learned that some of my students prefer to observe an activity rather than

participating in that activity; these students may need to be assessed in a different
way (one-on-one) for their knowledge of concepts and their learning growth, and
might benefit from more individual or full-group work with these concepts. It would
also be important to present this sort of activity in different formats to allow all learners
to benefit: perhaps an introduction during circle time, a small group activity time, and
then offered during station time for independent practice.
I also learned that some students enjoy helping other students, and some students
would prefer not to be helped unless they request it. This is an issue that I feel should
be addressed as a classroom community so that there is a framework in place so that
when opportunities to help arise, students know how to ask if help is needed or

How will I use this information to plan my future instruction?

I learned that my students represent a very diverse knowledge set on phonics skills. I
will use this information to plan more activities that emphasize the sounds of letters,
such as more letter/sound matching activities and reading alphabet books to my

I learned that my students respond well to phonics “games,” and will strive to present
these sorts of activities to them in a fun and playful manner.

My students have been asking to revisit this game, and I am brainstorming ways to
change it up to make it interesting and relevant to them. One idea that I had was to
tape a picture of each student over the stock picture on the picture cards and
encourage them to match the objects to their names instead of the stock pictures. I
also plan to bring in our “letter buckets” (small plastic buckets labeled with letters and
containing small objects that begin with that letter) and using those objects to provide
new opportunities for letter/sound matching.

How effective were my practices? What will I keep, what will I improve and what will I

I believe that my practices were overall very effective.

What went well:

● Creating a fun, game-like atmosphere and staying engaged with the students
while they completed the activity.
● Helping them sound out the words on the cards and the objects so they could
make a sound match.
● Encouraging the students to self-correct when they noticed that an answer
didn’t make sense (such as when a card was full but there was another object
that matched that picture’s sound: which object didn’t really belong?).
● Willingness to be spontaneous; when students wanted to brainstorm other
words that began with the same sound as the picture cards, we added that to
the game

Where improvements could be made:

● I feel that I should have articulated specific strategies to help students learn
how to sound a letter/word out, and encouraged them to do this work
themselves rather than sounding it out for them
● I feel that I should have decreased my level of control over the activity, and
allowed students to struggle a bit before I jumped in to assist.

What new understanding do I have about my own teaching practices?

I have learned that I am a flexible teacher, and willing to change an activity to meet
the needs of my students. When I needed to re-record the lesson, I tried several
different ways of doing it: re-implementing the activity as written, creating a circle time
activity out of it, and then changing gears and switching to rhyming words instead of
beginning sounds (which I learned, after creating my Learning Map, are more
accessible to students in the age group I was teaching to) (Bear, Invernizzi,
Templeton & Johnston, 2016; Moats & Tolman, n.d.).

What have I learned about myself as a teacher?

As a teacher, I feel that I need to be more aware of how to integrate the teaching of
phonics and other word learning skills into what we do as a community in the
classroom, rather than creating isolated experiences for learning skills. This was a fun
activity, and it provided quite a bit of insight into my learners and myself, especially
my comprehension of phonics teaching. I know that I need to do more research and
investigate how to teach these important skills to young learners, especially in an
investigative fashion rather than a teacher-directed fashion. I also learned that it was
incredibly insightful to talk to another teacher about my experiences! I did not think I
would gain anything from that experience, but found that my thinking about this
activity and phonics lessons in general were affected by my conversation with my
colleague. So I learned that community as a teacher is important to the teaching

As a professional learner, where do I need to continue to grow and strive for?

As a professional learner, I need to learn more about teaching the skills of language
and literacy in an integrated fashion rather than as individual, isolated skills. As a
preschool teacher, I believe that much of my work in the classroom draws on this
idea, but I have not yet envisioned how I will apply this to an elementary school

I feel that I need to do more research on the sequence of teaching skills; I created my
Learning Map before realizing that rhyming skills precede phonics skills, and feel that
they rhyming alternative that I created fit the needs of my students better. So, just
being open to learning and growing as an educator is a high priority.

My central question after completing this activity is: how do I integrate phonics skills
into an inquiry-based learning environment? This is the question that I believe will fuel
my future teaching explorations.


Bear, D., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (2016). Words their way: Word

study for phonics, vocabulary and spelling (6th ed.). Place of publication not

identified: Pearson.

Heinz, J. (2019, March 1). Personal interview.

Moats, L., & Tolman, C. (n.d.). The Development of Phonological Skills. Retrieved from