Monsters, Mustaches, and M&Ms.

We’re about to spend some time on the letter M. And, we’ll have fun doing so through phonemic awareness play. Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.

We work on phonemic awareness all year long. It takes a good deal of repetition for our kids to become letter sound experts! And, they’ll be stronger readers and writers as a result.

Our day will include singing and hand-clapping to Miss Mary Mack (Mary Ann Hoberman/Nadine Bernard Westcott). I’ll break down the hand-clapping motions over the next week so they will know them well when it’s time to sing and clap along.

They’ll be able to put all of the bits together and take in the benefits of hand-clapping According to a study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, hand-clapping songs have legitimate neurological value. The study found that “hand-clapping songs improve motor and cognitive skills (Science Daily).

Since our hand-clapping game to Miss Mary Mack is performed with a partner, the kids also cross the midline. Crossing the midine is important in the development of a child, as it develops the use of both sides of the body together. The left and right hemispheres of the brain must coordinate and communicate with each other.

Our midline work continues with drawing monsters under the table. The kids l-o-v-e this every year. Getting under the tables is such a novelty to them so this activity is perfect. I glue two googly eyes on white construction paper for each student and tape the paper underneath our classroom tables.

The kids lay on their backs to draw and color a monster doing something at school. Asking them to draw a monster relieves any pressure they might feel about drawing something “right” and allows freedom to create.

We’ll get our giggle machines moving with our colorful mustaches from Oriental Trading. Then we’ll brainstorm words that begin with the letter M and rhyme. We’ll also watch this Sesame Street video on the letter M.

Of course our day wouldn’t be complete without sorting, counting and graphing. With M&Ms. Mmmmm — This activity is a delicious favorite!

Since we work on phonemic awareness all year long, the following picture books are included in my lesson plans.

  • Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Excellence (Deloris Jordan/Barry Root)
  • If You Give a Moose a Muffin (Laura Numeroff/Felicia Bond)
  • Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (Jennifer Berne/Eric Puybaret)
  • Millie Waits for the Mail (Alexander Steffensmeier)
  • Monster Manners (Joanna Cole/Jared Lee)
  • Mouse Mess (Linnea Aspline Riley) – Bonus: Rhyming!
  • My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Christine King Farris/Chris Soentpiet)

Letter M, you’re Marvelous!