Adult Ed
Short "E" Searching


Introductory Activities
Learning Activities
Culminating Activity
Cross-curricular Extensions
Community Connections

Introductory Activities

State the tongue twister: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers".

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Repeat the phrase three times slowly before asking students to repeat the phrase quickly. Most students will be amused by the exercise and may challenge others in class to a speed recitation. Tell students that the phrase is called a "tongue twister" because it is difficult to say (especially quickly) due to the repetition of sounds created by the words. Ask students to brainstorm possible characteristics of a "tongue twister". Complete the activity (Parts A-C) listed at ESL Pizzaz! Post the funniest phrases on a silly board in the room.

Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to define "shibboleth". Ask students to log onto the 1st International Collection of Tongue Twisters website. When the first student has found the definition for "shibboleth", ask the student to state for the class its meaning. Engage students in a discussion of why this might be a useful strategy of defense among cultures. (Shibboleth: "A word or phrase used as a test for detecting foreigners, or persons from another district, by their pronunciation." (OED) Students will likely point out that there are very slight nuances in language that distinguish words and their meanings. This is especially true in languages other than English. This term was likely born out of tribal differences in Africa for example or communities in Asia. Ask students who are ESOL students to provide examples of the nuances and/or explain differences in dialect in their language.)

Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to write down a tongue twister attributed to their country and at least one other neighboring country in the language of their choice; ask students to translate it from memory. Direct students to the Collection of Tongue Twisters website. Verify translations provided by the students with the recorded translation provided on the website. Invite pairs of students to compare their translations or compare any nuances in the language that might exist between dialects (e.g., Chinese or African languages).

Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to consider how tongue twisters are "made". PLAY two consecutive segments of the Between the Lions tape: "Slot robots" and "Great Smartini" before checking student responses. You will see three robot-like slot machines with letters in each of their front panels. The Great Smartini segment shows a puppet in a magic show.

PAUSE the tape once the puppet states "ten red-vested hens". Check for student understanding. If student responses do not indicate that tongue twisters are created by sounds that create similar audio patterns, ask the class to say "ten red-vested hens" together slowly three times then challenge a few students to say it fast.

FAST FORWARD the tape to the Monkey theater segment. You will see the title "Monkey theater" and four small dancing monkey puppets in line on a stage, approaching the stage from stage right. This portion of the lesson can also be completed online with Quicktime video provided on the Between the Lions website.

PLAY the tape through the song "Sven said". Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to listen for long and short vowel sounds in the song. Students should be able to recognize the short "e" sound in the song. The lyrics are also posted on the site with a Quicktime video for reinforcement. Point out to students that constants make hard or soft sounds. Take the time to point out to students the differences in hard and soft consonant sound too.

Learning Activities

Vowel dice game
Create a vowel die from a wooden cubes by writing each vowel (A, E, I, O, U, Y) on each face of several wooden cubes. If a plain wooden cube is not available, write each letter on a small piece of masking tape. Cover each face of a commercially available dice with the pieces of tape. Create one dice for each pair of students in a class.

Arrange students in pairs. Have one student in the pair roll the dice while the other announces the long and short sounds associated with the vowel face the results during the roll.

On the second round of the vowel dice game, have students take turns rolling the dice and coming up with a list of three words that begin with short vowel sound. The second student in the pair should record the first student's list on a sheet of paper before beginning his/her turn.

Subsequent rounds of the vowel dice game require students to build words with the vowel sounds in the "middle" of a word, build words that have multiple vowel sounds or words that have a minimum length of five letters.

Chicken stackers
Use the printed versions of the Chicken stackers game as word lists for students. Have students develop a story using 10 words from each of the "right words" lists and 5 words from the "wrong words list". Underline the "right words" in green and the "wrong words" in red.

Culminating Activity

Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to point out any rules or patterns they may have recognized when two letters are blended together. On the board or on a separate sheet of paper, provide students with a list of blended consonants, (e.g., br-, bl-, ch-, sh-, ph-, fl-, pr-, ct-, sk-), making sure that the pairs are sounds that can be found at different places within a word. Ask students to repeat the sounds that the blended pairs make.

REWIND the Between the Lions tape to the "Gawain's Word" segment - where you will see a banner of the title and hear horn medieval horn music announcing the segment. PLAY the tape. The two jousters are in charge of their own blended sound. The first knight "SL-" creates one sound, while the second knight ("-EEP") creates a different sound. Once the two knights charge to create the word "sleep", STOP the tape.

Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to identify any rules or patterns that they might have recognized when two vowels are blended. Provide additional examples of blended vowel pairs if necessary, (e.g., -oa, -ea, -ie). LOG onto the Between the Lions website song list for "When two vowels do the walking" (Requires Quicktime). Allow students to hear the song before asking them to identify the rule being established in the song. The rule being presented suggests that when two vowels appear next to each other in a word, the sound created is the long sound of the first vowel only. Point out to students that this is a general rule and does not apply in every case. Take the time to explain to students that long vowel sounds can also be created in different ways most notably when followed by a consonant and an "e". Give students examples of this by providing them a list of words that show this pattern.

Long Vowel Pattern
consonant-vowel-consonant-e Examples: cape, lake, mere, ride, kite, stove, pole, crude, rule


Cross-Curricular Extensions

POUNCE is a picture-word recognition game that often reinforces specific short vowel sounds. Print out pages or play the interactive version (requires shockwave) from the link provided at the Between the Lions Web site.

FUZZY LION EARS is used in this lesson to emphasize phonetic awareness. Practice skills building by playing charades using the same word lists but substituting the alternate letters provided. For example, the third word in the Set 1 list is "_ o g". The intended word is "f o g". The alternate words are dog and log. Have students act out or draw cards for the alternate words. More advanced students (or in a higher round of play) can create word lists that contain the root word sounds within other, longer words. For example the word "happening" has the word (and the sound) "pen" (from Set 4 word list) in it. This second, more advanced game is similar to Look out below.

"Boggle" is a commercial game that requires players to build words using specific patterns of letter cubes. Challenge yourself to an untimed match over a few days. Try to uncover twenty words in your first sitting. Leave the game and come back to see if you can uncover twenty more. Electronic and manual versions of the game are available at most retail outlets. Instructions on how to play the game are provided on the Hasbro website. English and Spanish versions are available for the manual game; the English version is also available for the electronic version of the game.