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Alphabet Order War

SUBMITTED BY: Thaddeus Griebel

SUGGESTED TOPIC: Alphabet / Halloween



DATE ADDED: Nov 24, 2011 






 Grade 5ĉGrade 6ċ

  Small Classes (1-15 Students)ÒLarge Classes (16-39 Students)ÓHuge Classes (40+ Students)ÔBad/Misbehaved ClassesÕHandicapped ClassesÖ


20-30 min.



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BRIEF OUTLINE: Students stategically play alphabet cards in hopes to gain the most cards.



  • Alphabet flashcards or karuta-sized cards (not included): Multiple sets for larger groups



  1. First, divide students into teams. If you have more than one teacher in the classroom, there can be multiple games going on at the same time, with 2 groups of students for each game.
  2. Next, spread all 26 cards on a desk in random order, and the 2 groups play Janken to decide who will start. The winning team says, "I want <insert alphabet letter>." They take that card and add it to their team's deck. Then the next team continues in the same way, asking for one card each turn. This continues until all 26 cards have been claimed and added to each team's deck, totalling 13 cards.
  3. Finally, play War!
    • During the 'combat' phase, each team secretly chooses one of their cards and gives it to the teacher saying, "Here you are." Both cards are revealved simultaneously, and the alphabet letter that ranks higher beats the other letter. For example, the strongest card in the game is Z, the weakest is A. The winning team says, "We got <insert alphabet letter>." Then, they take both cards used that round and add it to their victory points pile; these cards cannot be used for the rest of the game.
    • Students continue choosing cards in secret until the 13th round is finished. Then, teams count how many cards they have in their victory pile to determine the winner.



  • Use cards with pictures to introduce more vocabulary, and encourage students to say the words, for example: "I want an apple."
  • This game works well with a Halloween-themed set of cards my JTE has. I don't have the files for the cards, but anyone could make their own using these words: apple, bat, cat, dinosaur (costume?), eek!, Frankenstein, ghost, haunted house, insect, jack-o-lantern, king (costume?), lightning, mummy, night. October, pumpkin pie, queen (costume?), robot (costume?), skeleton, spider, trick-or-treat, unicorn, vampire, witch, yummy, zombie. This variation adds a lot more excitement to the game, and kids really get a kick out of having the zombie being the strongest card in the game.



  • Be sure to explain all the rules before starting, so that student know that they want to beat the other team to the highest ranking cards (Z,Y,X, etc.) It also helps to review alphabetical order before starting.
  • This activity really challenges students to learn the alphabet and its order, so it helps to pause a few seconds after each team has revealved its secret card, and ask students which card is the winner each round: "Which card wins?"


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