Lesson plan

Heads Up!

A fun twist to charades. Students act out and guess different words while identifying the long and short vowel sounds inside each of them.
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Students will be able to distinguish long vowels from short vowels and identify the spelling-sound correspondences.

(5 minutes)
  • Write the word “Charades” on the board and ask for a show of hands to see how many of your students have ever played the game.
  • Practice a quick game with the students by acting out simple words and having the students guess the correct answer.
(10 minutes)
  • Create a T-chart on the board and write "Short Vowels" on the left and "Long Vowels" on the right.
  • Remind students that vowels can create different sounds based on their position in a given word. Ask students to think-pair-share as they try to think of words that can be placed on either side of the T-Chart.
  • After two minutes, allow students to share their answers and transfer them onto the board.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that today you would like to play “Heads Up!” with them, a game that is very similar to charades.
  • Demonstrate the rules of the game by drawing a card from one of the clear bags and holding it up to your forehead, have a volunteer come up to the front and act out the word whilst you attempt to guess it. Once you have discovered the mystery word, tell the students that it is also your job to decide whether the word has a long or short vowel sound in it.
  • Explain to the students that long vowel cards will be written in red and short vowel cards will be written in blue and that you cannot earn a point unless you are able to guess the word on the card and correctly decide whether it carries a long or short vowel sound.
(15 minutes)
  • Allow students to play “Heads Up!” by dividing them into groups of two and issuing a plastic bag to each player.
  • Remind them that they cannot earn a point unless they guess the word and the vowel sound correctly.
  • Allow them to keep track of their score on a sheet of notebook paper and to switch cards with other groups of students who have finished when they have completed their bag.
  • Enrichment: Challenge above level students by asking them to spell the word on their forehead in addition to guessing it and deciding whether it has a long or short vowel sound.
  • Support: Create a separate stack of index cards for below level students that have a drawing next to each word for easier decoding.
(10 minutes)
  • After the activity, have students take a spelling quiz that includes 10 words from the game.
(5 minutes)
  • Allow students to join a partner and answer the following 2 questions:
  • What sounds do the long vowels make?
  • What sounds do the short vowels make?

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