Explore Together (indoors): Big and Little Letters

  • alphabet charts (uppercase; lowercase)
  • Between the Lions alphabet chart
  • chart paper
  • letter cards (for each pair: 1 set of uppercase, 1 set of lowercase)
  • markers
  • alphabet
  • big
  • explore
  • little
  • lowercase
  • uppercase

MA Standards:

Foundational Skills/RF.PK.MA.1: With guidance and support, demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of printed and written text: books, words, letters, and the alphabet.
Speaking and Listening/ SL.PK.MA.1a: Observe and use appropriate ways of interacting in a group.
Language/L.PK.MA.5.a: Demonstrate understanding of concepts by sorting common objects into categories.

Head Start Outcomes:

Social Emotional Development/Self-Regulation: Follows simple rules, routines, and directions.
Logic & Reasoning/Problem Solving: Classifies, compares, and contrasts objects, events, and experiences.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills & Method 2: Observes and discusses common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

English Language Arts/Language 4: Engage in play experiences that involve naming and sorting common words into various classifications using general and specific language.
English Language Arts/Reading and Literature 7: Develop familiarity with the forms of alphabet letters, awareness of print, and letter forms.
Mathematics/Patterns and Relations 7: Explore and describe a wide variety of concrete objects by their attributes.

Explore Together (indoors): Big and Little Letters

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

Educator Prep: Create two different letter charts: "uppercase" (big letters); "lowercase" (little letters). Display charts with a box for sorting under each chart. Print out the Between the Lions alphabet chart or create an alphabet chart on chart paper. 

Tell children they are going to learn about uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet today. Say, Turn to a buddy and share what you know about uppercase and lowercase letters. 

Then explain that you want children to work with the buddy to put all the uppercase, or big letters in the "uppercase" box and the little, or lowercase letters in the "lowercase" box. 

Review to be sure that children have grasped the difference between the big (uppercase) and little (lowercase) letters. Say, Let's look at the alphabet chart before you begin exploring the letters. Point to a letter and demonstrate tracing it. Ask a volunteer to trace and identify each letter as an uppercase or lowercase letter. 

Give each pair a set of uppercase and lowercase letters. Encourage them to look at the alphabet charts and match the letters to help them decide how to sort the letters. Circulate as children work together and engage them or offer guidance if needed, for example,

  • The letter "c" is one of the letters that is the same shape as an uppercase and lowercase letter. How do you think you can use the alphabet charts to help you figure out whether it is a big or little letter? 
  • I noticed how you traced the lowercase "b" on your card and then traced it on the alphabet chart. That was a great idea to find out if the shape on the lowercase alphabet chart was the same as the shape on the letter. 

Reflect and Share

Gather and review the letters children have sorted into each box. Encourage children to share how they sorted different the letters. Ask questions such as,

  • What did you do to find out whether the "O" letter card was an uppercase or lowercase letter?
  • Did you use the Between the Lions alphabet chart to see if the big letter matched your card? How did you use the chart?

English Language Learners: You may want to reinforce the words big and little using blocks as a visual aid. Place the blocks side by side. Point to the little block and say, This block is little. Point to the big block and say, This block is big. Have children point and repeat after you and then repeat on their own. You may use other visual aids, such as big and little ball, big and little shoe, etc. to reinforce the concept. 

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