ABC Mix-up

A game to approach the alphabet in a different manner than repeating the song over and over again. The teacher can really get into this one as the more animated and cartoon or clown-like the teachers actions are generally get a better response from the class.

Time: (depends on how many letters are mixed up) average 4-5 min.


Magnetized ABC flashcards

Knowledge of the ABC

(optional) Knowledge of the song

What happens:

Start – The teacher has the class review the alphabet. As the class goes through the letters the teacher places the flashcards up on the board.

The mix up – Once the review is done the teacher selects a number of letters and swaps their positions. I advise the teacher try to sing the abc song in its new arrangement, acting disturbed or grossed out when hitting a switched letter then placing their fists on their hips as if frustrated the song sounds wrong but not sure what needs to be fixed.

4-5 short game

6-^ longer (harder) game

** Much of it is like a joke, short and sweet is better than long and complex, but some classes like a** **challenge**

HELP – The kids are hopefully laughing at your frustration. Now its time to get them involved! Gesture in an ‘I don’t know’ manner and verbally ask “What do I do (first)?”. They may not understand, but its good to let them hear the words. Then move to the letters up on the board as if to remove one for correction.

**I have rarely had a class that didn’t catch on to their task, but if there was too long a pause I would gesture towards them and then back to the letters maybe even removing one and trying it out in a new position… failing and going back to the students for help.**

For example:

Fixing it – The students will continue practice saying the letters as much as they can. To do this they will say the letter to be fixed and then the letter it is to be switched with. The teacher can either listen closely and correct the letters the majority of the class call out or students can be selected.

Periodically, the teacher can give hints as to remaining wrong letters and the progress of the game by singing out the abc, cringing when a portion of the song sounds off due to a misplaced letter.

The End – The chaos is over when the class as fixed the alphabet. For the most practice the alphabet can be verbally walked through as a class one last time for closure. As a bonus the class can try joining in on the song the teacher has been singing for the past few minutes. Congratulate the class then move on to the next topic.


-(Japan) despite the stereotype, children can do “L” and “R” quite well, it’s things like “V” and “B” or even “G” and “Z” that will cause much frustration. Target these for further practice or avoid them and avoid the frustration.

-singing as a conclusion should be the very last thing if done. Its a nicer closer than simply droning out the alphabet in its correct order.

-A few of my schools had changed the song many who grew up with Sesame Street should know; the “LMNOP” run has been slowed down and the ending stumbles to an awkward ending. Its not a big deal, but I was surprised how disturbing I found this. This new rendition I saw had merit in allowing those sounds to be differentiated and correctly practiced within the song, but the kids should eventually return to the original “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” cadence. My reason being, once they have the individual sounds down they should play around with the sounds. The “LMNOP” run gives a small tounge twister of sorts to experiment what their voice is capable of.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *