When I was still a classroom teacher, I liked to start each day with what I dubbed “BSA’s” – Beginning School Activities.
Because mornings tended to be a bit hectic, what with collecting permission slips, organising tuckshop collection, discussions with lingering parents etc., I liked to have the children come in to the room and have something to start on without needing direction from me. The BSA’s ensured a quiet and orderly start to the day with no time wastage.
BSA’s consisted of puzzle games or activities that the children completed in pairs or as individuals. Only “30 centimetre” voices were allowed. Children could not work with the same partner more than once a week.
Alphabet Games were always very popular BSA’s. Given a category e.g. girls’ names or capital cities, the children had to come up with an example using each letter of the alphabet. The more examples they could think of, the more points they scored. If they managed to find an example for all 26 alphabet letters, their score was doubled. At the end of the week, points were tallied up and were rewarded using whatever classroom system we were using at the time.
ALPHABET GAME: Words that can be followed by ‘up’
A: act, add
B: beat, bob, build
D: dig, dust
F: fed, fatten
G: grow, get
H: hold, held, holding, high, hop
M: mash, mix, mop
P: push, pick
Q: quicken, queue
R: run, rip
S: save, sweep
T: take, throw, think, tidy
American readers, I think some of these examples are idiomatic Australianisms, e.g. queue up when queue would probably be more grammatically correct.
Time allowed for the activity depends on circumstances of course. Fifteen minutes was usually ample for my students. Dictionaries or atlases are allowed for finding extra examples and checking spelling. (Extra skills practice too!)
P.S. If you can come up with examples where I couldn’t, please let me know. and I’ll add them.