Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Spill the Beans

Colleen Habhab-Strickland
Sumter County Schools


Are you looking for an exciting, hands-on approach for your students to practice forming short vowel words? Try Spill the Beans. Students use an alphabet bean game to create short vowel, CVC words.


The student knows the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.

The student understands basic phonetic principles (for example, knows rhyming words; knows words that have the same initial and final sounds; knows which sound is in the beginning, middle, end of a word; blends individual sounds into words).


-Lima beans
-Serving Spoons
-Construction paper
-Glue sticks
-Chart paper


1. Write letters of the alphabet on one side of lima beans. (vowels in red, consosnats in black)
2. Divide beans into bowls to accommodate class size.
3. Provide space for students to work in pairs.


1. Introduce the CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) spelling pattern.

2. Write the word cat on the board.

3. Show students the vowel pattern in the word by coding the vowels with v and the consonants with c.

4. Point out the CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) pattern.

5. Explain to students that a vowel followed by a consonant makes the short sound.

6. Tell students to code the vowel with a breve to show the vowel makes the short sound.

7. Have children brainstorm words following the CVC spelling pattern. Record the words on a chart or overhead.

8. Once students have brainstormed CVC words have students play Spill the Beans to allow practice.

9. Tell students to play the game, Spill the Beans to create 10 or more words that follow the CVC pattern.

10. Review the rules for Spill the Beans as listed below.

10.a. Put a bowl of alphabet beans on the table.

10.b. Player one scoops out a spoon full of beans and spills them on the table.

10.c.Players separate the beans with the letters turned up and return all of the beans with the letters turned down to the bowl.

10.d.Players use the beans with the letters turned up to form words following the CVC pattern.

10.e.Each player must read each word to the other player on the team. The other player must agree the word is spelled correctly.

10.f. Players then glue the beans onto construction paper to create CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) word cards.

10.g.Students continue to take turns spilling beans until they have created 10 or more CVC words.

11. As a formative assessment have pairs read the words on the word cards to the class. Have class respond to each word with either a thumbs up or down.

12. Students who have less than 80% mastery should work in a small group for re-mediation with the teacher, assistant, volunteer or peer.



Student created word card with 10 or more CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words.

Students are able to read CVC words.

80% of words spelled correctly indicates student is capable of moving on to next phonics rule.


1. Students can use Spill the Beans to work on other phonetic patterns such as, CVCV, or VCCV.
2. Words can be written on the beans for students for form sentences.
3. Students can arrange the words they create into sentences.
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