October 22, 2018
By Catherine Crider

Lesson plan

Ordering Up ABC

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Students will be able to place letters and words in alphabetical order.

(10 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Read Eating the AlphabetBy Lois Ehlert
  • Sing the "ABC" song together.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students if they notice anything about the book and the song they just sang. (Students should be guided to point out that both include letters and that the letters are in order from A to Z.)
  • Explain to students that when letters are in order from A to Z, this is alphabetical order. Putting things into alphabetical order is known as Alphabetizing.
  • Show students an alphabet chart and look at all the letters in order.
  • Pull a random letter out of a letter flashcard set. Ask students what letter comes before and after this letter. Repeat several times asking students to also explain how they determined what letter comes before or after.
  • Have every student in the class take a letter from the flashcard set and go around asking other students what letter comes before or after it.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together. Ask students to share about their experience. Were some letters harder to think of than others? Did any of the letters stump them?
  • Inform students that they will get to have more alphabetizing practise playing a fun make-believe game with their partner.
  • Explain that today, students will be opening their own restaurants! The only trouble is that these restaurants can only serve certain foods. At these restaurants, the only foods that can be served are those that start with a letter after the restaurant’s name. One student should be the owner/waiter and the other the customer. The owner/waiter should introduce themselves, say the name of the restaurant they have chosen, and then ask the customer what they would like to eat. Once the customer suggests a food they would like to eat (starting with a letter after the restaurant’s name), the owner/server must suggest a food whose name starts with a letter that comes later in the alphabet than that food. This dialogue should continue back and forth until students get to Z when they can restart with another restaurant name.
  • As a class, brainstorm some possible restaurant names. Write these on the board.
  • Play a few rounds of the restaurant game as a class before breaking students up into pairs or small groups to continue playing on their own.
  • Before sending students off to play, remind them of any rules or expectations for partner work times (i.e., only speaking in inside voices, no running, etc.). Make sure that students have no further questions.
(15 minutes)
  • While students are working, any adults should be circulating the room, taking anecdotal notes, answering questions, and assisting students as needed.
  • It can be helpful to spread groups out as much as possible and to partition the room, so that groups have clear space divisions and can focus.


  • For students who would benefit from a little extra assistance, it can be helpful to use partnerships as a scaffold. Alphabet charts can be a helpful visual aid for this lesson as well as word walls with pictures/written words representing all letters of the alphabet.


  • For students who need more of a challenge, encourage students to write and decorate a menu for their restaurant featuring an item for each letter of the alphabet. Of course, the menu should be in alphabetical order!
(5 minutes)
  • Anecdotal notes about student participation, ideas, and accuracy can be taken during large group and partner work times to track student progress toward the lesson’s objectives.
  • After the lesson, students can be shown various letters from the alphabet and asked to put them in order to determine if the lesson’s objective was met.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share about their experiences in the “alphabet restaurant.” (What were the most interesting/creative foods? Were any items tricky?)
  • Show students an ABC flashcard and ask which letter comes before and after. Continue doing this so that every student has a chance to answer.
  • If time allows, play a few rounds of the restaurant game and remind students that they can continue to play this game at home and during recess/free periods.
  • Remind students that the word alphabetize means to put things in order based on the letters. Students will need to be able to do this for many jobs!
  • Close by singing the "ABC" song one more time as a class.

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