January 2, 2019
by Catherine Crider

Lesson plan


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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Vowels Are Special pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject
Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Vowels Are Special pre-lesson.

Students will be able to recognize that every word has a vowel in it.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Hand each student a picture of an object with one clear vowel sound.
  • Remind students what sounds the vowels a, e, i, o, and u make. Post the letters a, e, i, o, and u around the room as this is being done.
  • Ask students to think carefully about the item in the picture they are holding. Do they hear any of these sounds when they say the item’s name? If so, have them go to the letter that makes that sound. If they do not hear a vowel sound, they should stay in the middle of the classroom.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share their pictures with the class. Encourage students to listen carefully to each word in case a student missed the vowel or stood under the wrong letter. Remind students that everyone is working together to make sure that the words are sorted by their correct vowel sounds (if they have a vowel sound).
  • Once every student is standing under the correct letter sign with their picture, ask students to look around. Which vowel has the most people standing by it? Which vowel has the least? Are there are any words without a vowel sound left in the middle?
  • After students have noticed that every word has a vowel sound in it, ask students to think about whether they have ever seen a word without a vowel before. Help students to realize that every word they can think of has a vowel. (Students may mention the word “my,” in which case it may be necessary to explain that sometimes the letter “y” can act as a vowel.)
(10 minutes)
  • Divide students up into groups. Hand each group a magazine, scissors, glue, and 5 pieces of paper.
  • Help each students to label the top of each piece of paper with a different vowel, so they have “a,” “e,” “i,” “o,” and “u.”
  • Explain to students that they will be working together to find pictures (or words) in the magazines that have each of these vowel sounds. Once they find a picture/word, they should cut it out and paste it on the right page.
  • Take a moment to demonstrate going through a magazine, finding a picture, and matching it with the appropriate vowel as a whole group.
  • Give students the opportunity to practice this in their small group. Have them share the picture and which vowel they matched it with to the whole class. Take a moment to check that everyone understands what is expected.
  • Before sending students off to work, remind them of any independent work rules (i.e. only speaking in a whisper, raising hands for needs, etc.)
(20 minutes)
  • While students are working, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and assessing student contributions to their group’s vowel book.
  • Playing quiet music in the background can help to set a good working mood and keep noise level down.
  • Having multiple supply stations with everything students need to complete this activity spread throughout the room can help prevent congestion and arguments over supplies.


  • Strategically planning groups to include all learning levels can help to scaffold this activity.
  • Pre-cutting pictures so students can sort according to the vowel sounds can allow students to just focus on words and vowel sounds.


  • For students needing a greater challenge, encourage them to create a list of words they already know how to read and circle the vowels in these words. Then, have students say the words out loud, focusing on the vowel sound.
(5 minutes)
  • Adults should take anecdotal notes about student thought processes 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 vowels as pictures/words are found and sorted should be noted.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share about their books and experiences. Did they have a favorite picture/word? Did they struggle to find the vowel in any of the words? Were finding pictures for some vowels easier than others?
  • Post these somewhere in the classroom for students to be able to flip through or even add to during their free time.
  • End this time together by encouraging students to make a vowel book at home tonight with their family!

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