Beacon Lesson Plan Library

ABC Detectives

Heidi Tilton


Students will alphabetize words according to the first letter while pretending to be detectives with magnifying glasses. Your students will also be working on their social skills and character development when working with their teams and partners.


The student alphabetizes words according to the initial letter.


-Alphabet on Transparancy
-Overhead Projector
-Markers (one per student)
-Paper Plates
-12 Sets of 10 Vocabulary Words (can use any subject matter)
-Magnifying glass


1. Have paper plates for each student.
2.Make 12 different sets of 10 Vocabulary words. This lesson works with any vocabulary words.
3.Gather crayons, markers, and paper for each student.
4.Make a transparancy of the alphabet


1. Sing or Recite the Alphabet out of order

2. Ask the students to sing along. Have a discussion on whatís the matter with the letters.

3. Discuss the list of five vocabulary words on the overhead pointing out the first letter of each word and referring to the alphabet. Continue this procedure with examples/and non-examples of alphabetizing by the first letter of each word.

4. Group students in teams of four, making sure no two students have the same initial letter in their name.

5. Instruct the students to write their first name in the middle of a paper plate with a marker.

6. Have the students stand up in their team and alphabetize their first names by holding their plates in alphabetical order.

7. Call upon each team to tell the class how they placed their names in alphabetical order. Students will call out their names in alphabetical order. After the class has given the thumbs up for work done correctly, teams will be able to complete a team cheer for a job well done.

8. Divide students into pairs and give them a list of ten vocabulary words previously learned from any subject matter. Vocabulary lists vary from group to group. Each team of two will be given a list of different vocabulary words. (This way the teacher can keep the words and let the students practice alphabetizing different sets of vocabulary words). Each pair will review and practice the list of ten words.

9. Announce who will start, for example the student with the longest hair will choose the first word that will be first in alphabetical order. Each group will have a magnifying glass to be placed on the first letter of each word because they are the ABC detectives.
Assign each student a different color crayon. The A person will write in one color and the -B- person another. The teacher will circulate and observe while students are working.

10. Have partner A write the first word that would appear first when writing words in alphabetical order, partner B will check the spelling and the order of the word. If the word is out of alphabetical order partner B will coach partner A if needed. Then they will switch rolls. This will continue back and forth until all words are placed in alphabetical order.

11. Students need to be reminded to praise each other
after each word is written down correctly. Students will need to orally praise each other as well as place a smiley face next to each correct response on their partnerís paper.

12. Wrap up the lesson by reviewing what they have learned today about alphabetical order.


In this formative assessment, the teacher observes students alphabetizing word lists. Since each student within the pairs will be using a different colored crayon, the teacher is looking for each childís ability to order words. Students who have difficulty completing this activity will be given more instruction and opportunity of ordering a new list of five words.
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