The Thanksgiving season is an ideal time to use this lesson. Pie can be referenced and explored as a tradition of many people. After the initial lesson, repeat activities or add variations during subsequent 15-minute lessons. This lesson could be done with any words that students can decode and read. This activity could be repeated at various times throughout the year to help reinforce the concepts of decoding and syllabication. For example, use hat and mitten as a winter activity.
Show students the card that reads pie. Invite the students to repeat the word over and over to a steady beat. Do the same for the card that says pumpkin. Help students discover the word pie is one syllable or sound in one beat. The word pumpkin is two syllables or sounds in one beat.
Have a student arrange the pie and pumpkin cards in four rows of four cards. Invite the students to say the words in sequence, one word per beat.
Teacher: Let’s read the words in your sequence together in a steady beat. (For example: “pie, pie, pumpkin, pie.”)
Help students to use non-pitched instruments such as rhythm sticks, drums, or body percussion—such as clapping, patting, or stomping—to play the rhythm of the words as they say them. Each card represents one beat. The rhythm is the combination of one or two sounds / syllables per beat / card.
Teacher: This time we're going to think the words in our minds as we play the rhythm of the words.
Have students take turns arranging the cards, creating and playing new patterns. Maintain a steady tempo that is slow enough to ensure they can follow. Practice and repeat any difficult sections. Determine and instruct students beforehand whether they will say the words as they play or play only.
Image 1: James Huston.
Image 2: Jennifer Purdy.
Image 3: James Huston.