A Personal Classic: The ABC Game

During my first month as a teacher I was fortunate enough to work with a great fellow from Calgary who taught me one of the first games I ever used. I call it the ABC game, and it’s a great for all levels.

The ABC game can be played with teams or individually. You’ll need a six sided dice. To start, write the numbers 1 to 6 horizontally on the board, followed by the letters of the alphabet, like this:

How's that for team names?

The first player rolls the dice. Let’s say the number one comes up. As you can see on the board, the letters a, g, m, and s are under the number one. The student then chooses one of those four letters and says a word, like gorilla. Erase the letter g from the board, and tally up the points. Since there are seven letters in gorilla, that’s seven points. Now it’s the other player’s turn.

One letter down, twenty five to go!

In team play I let them discuss possible answers amongst themselves but after they have rolled the dice they have no more than thirty seconds to think of something or they miss a turn. They aren’t allowed to consult books either.

Kids soon realize that they get more points for longer words.  Students will rack their brains for long and difficult vocabulary so you can get pretty creative answers. U is for United States of America (21 points). E is for elementary school (16 points). C is for congratulations (15 points). P is for physical education (17 points).

If all the letters under the number one have been played and someone rolls a one I let them choose from any of the remaining letters on the board. This helps keep it from dragging at the end.

Amazing, four consecutive ones! What are the odds of that?

In some versions of the game I give double points for students who can also spell the word, while to really bring it up a notch they only get points if they can spell it.

I’d love to know it works out for other teachers. Enjoy!


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