Lesson plan


Students blend sounds all the time when they speak, but a whole new level of *ssshhh* is possible through selected literature and picture sorts!
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Two Letters Together pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Two Letters Together pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify words beginning with the sh diagraph and recognize which letters make this sound.

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. Do an elaborate routine of ssshhhing the students to begin the lesson. (For example, “A ssshhhh fell over the crowd.”)
  • Read students the book Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw. While reading, make sure to stress the sh sound whenever it appears in the story.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about what they remember from the read-aloud. Guide students towards eventually discussing why certain words were stressed and the sound they heard when words were being stressed.
  • Write down the letters S and H on the board for students. Ask students what sound the S makes and what sound the H makes. Explain to students that when these letters are next to each other in a word, they blend together to make a whole new sound.
  • Tell students that the sound the letters make when they are together in a word is the sound they heard stressed in the story and a sound they have made a lot in their lives. Have students make the ssshhh sound.
(10 minutes)
  • Now is a great time to show students pictures of words that start with the sh sounds if possible (sharks, shells, ships, shovels, etc.).
  • Ask students to look around the room and identify any items that begin with the sh sound (shirts, shoes). Explain why any incorrectly identified items do not start with the sh sound.
  • Say some words like “shove,” “stove,” “should,” and “stop.” Ask students to identify whether or not these words begin with the “sh” sound. It can be helpful to write these words out on the board, so that students can see them visually after they determine whether or not the “sh” sound is present.
  • Pass out the Sorting "Sh” worksheet. Explain the directions to cross out words that do not start with sh and draw a line from words that do start with sh. It may help students to do one or two examples as a class.
(10 minutes)
  • Before sending students back to their seats to work, review any applicable classroom rules for quiet work times. Any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and directing individuals as needed. If some students are allowed to work with partners, consider designating specific portions of the room for partners so that the noise does not disturb other students.


  • For students who need a little extra support, working with a partner can provide additional scaffolding for the activity. It can also be helpful to have an adult pronounce the name for each picture out loud for students. This can be especially beneficial to English Language Learners who may experience pronunciation differences or lack the key vocabulary required by the activity.


  • For those who need a greater challenge, encourage students to do the Separate Ships worksheet in addition to the Sorting "Sh” worksheet. Students who need an extra challenge can also be encouraged to create their own books of words that begin or end with the sh sound.
(5 minutes)
  • Students can be informally assessed based on their participation in group discussions and small group interactions. Whether or not students are engaged, able to answer questions, or contributing to the discussion in informed ways are all indicators of student understanding.
  • Students can be more formally assessed based on the amount of correct answers they are able to provide on the Sorting "Sh” worksheet.
  • For an additional form of assessment, students can be assigned another sh worksheet for homework or asked to come up with a list of 5 to 10 words that begin with the sh sound.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Go through the Sorting "Sh” worksheet. Have students in the class discuss and compare answers as a whole group. This is a great opportunity to clarify any questions and address confusion students may still have.
  • Read Sheep in a Shop by Nancy Shaw to the class. Have students raise their hands, clap, or perform some other fun action anytime they hear a sh sound in the book.
  • Remind students that the sh sound is made of the letters S and H. Conclude the final group discussion by having all the students say “ssshhh.”

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