How I use 2 classic card games for differentiated alphabet practice

Alphabet Old Maid and Concentration Card Games (Differentiated)

 

I am always on the look out for fun ways of practicing letter recognition and beginning sounds with my students, especially since they are now expected to learn all 26 letters (well 52 letters actually with uppercase and lowercase) in a much shorter time period than previous years.

Much to my delight, I have found that my students love two classic card games just as much as I did growing up – Old Maid and Concentration (I guess that’s why they are classics LOL).

The reason I love using these two games is that they are easy for me to differentiate for all the various ability levels of my students.  I can choose to:

  • work on all 26 letters OR choose certain letters for targeted practice
  • just work on lowercase letters
  • just work on uppercase letters
  • match uppercase to lowercase letters

I also like the fact that the games are simple for young students to learn so I can use them for literacy centers, small group instruction, assessment, extra practice, free time, and more.

I ended up creating my own set of cards so that I could have both matching pictures for uppercase and lowercase letters and non-matching pictures for uppercase and lowercase for a more challenging version (students can’t simply match the pictures to figure out the matching uppercase and lowercase letters).

Card Holders from Pool Noodles

The one problem I was experiencing with playing Old Maid with young students was they had problems holding the cards. Then I found this wonderful idea on Pinterest of making card holders out of pool noodles and decided to give it a try.

Voila! Problem solved! My students no longer had any trouble handling or holding their cards!

I made both round holders and long holders and gave students the choice of which one they used to hold their cards.

To make the round card holder cut a 1-1 1/2 inch piece from your pool noodle, cut a 1/2 inch slit all the way around the circle (this allows young students to hold it from any side). I taught my students to insert their cards in the slit and then fan out the cards.

To make a long card holder cut a 14-16 inch piece from the pool noodle, cut each section in half long way so they sit flat, cut a 1/2 inch slit down the length of each section (you can make the slit go end to end or start and end a little from each side).  I mark the slit with a marker so my younger students can see where to place their cards.

Here is how I use these classic games for differentiated alphabet letter recognition and beginning sound practice.

Old Maid Game Variations:

Uppercase Letters Only –  A match consists of 2 matching uppercase letter cards. Students say the name of the letter and its sound when laying down a match.

alphabet old maid cards uppercase letters
Lowercase Letters Only – A match consists of 2 matching lowercase letter cards. Students say the name of the letter and its sound when laying down a match.


Matching Uppercase & Lowercase Letters (2 levels of difficulty) – Level 1: A match consists of 1 uppercase letter card with the matching lowercase letter card. Students say the name of the letter and its sound when laying down a match.

alphabet old maid cards lowercase letters
Level 2: A match consists of 1 uppercase letter card and a lowercase letter card with pictures that do not match. This version is a little more challenging as students can’t just match the pictures and know what letters go together.  Students say the name of the letter and its sound when laying down a match.

differentiated alphabet old maid cards uppercase and lowercase
Concentration Game Variations:

I use similar game variations for Concentration.

Uppercase Letters Only – A match consists of 2 matching uppercase letter cards. Students say the name of the letter and its sound when they find a match.

alphabet concentration game uppercase letters
Lowercase Letters Only – A match consists of 2 matching lowercase letter cards Students say the name of the letter and its sound when they find a match.

alphabet concentration game lowercase letters
Matching Uppercase & Lowercase Letters (2 levels of difficulty) – Level 1: – A match consists of 1 uppercase letter card with the matching lowercase letter card. Students say the name of the letter and its sound when they find a match.

alphabet concentration game uppercase and lowercase letters differentiated
Level 2: – A match consists of 1 uppercase letter card and a lowercase letter card (different pictures). This version is a little more challenging as students can’t just match the pictures and know that the letters go together. Students say the name of the letter and its sound when they find a match.

alphabet concentration card game uppercase and lowercase letters

 

If you would like to save time and use these cards in your classroom instead of creating your own, they are available here for only $2.00.

You receive game directions as well as detailed directions for making the pool noodle card holders, 26 uppercase letter cards each with letter and cute picture, 26 lowercase letter cards each with letter and matching picture to uppercase set, 26 lowercase letter cards each with letter and different picture than uppercase set, and an old maid card.

Here are what some fellow teachers had to say about the card games:

kelly s. said:
These 2 games will be a great addition to our centers. Thank you for the great deal as well!
April K. said:
So fun for my students!
 Jodie R. said:
My small groups loved this game!
Vickie Johnson said:
Great idea! I love how this set can be used two ways!! The students love it!
Kara Pfau said:
fun game for reading centers
Round Two School said:
We are looking forward to using these! Thank you!

Differentiated Alphabet Old Maid and Concentration Cards

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Differentiated Alphabet & Handwriting Practice for Kindergarten & Pre-K

Teaching the Alphabet to Students with Diverse Learning Styles

 

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3 thoughts on “Alphabet Old Maid and Concentration Card Games (Differentiated)

  1. Pingback: Fun Alphabet and Handwriting Practice | Lessons for Little Ones by Tina O'Block

  2. Pingback: How I Motivated Students to Learn Their Alphabet Letters with Brag Tags / Rewards & Books | Lessons for Little Ones by Tina O'Block

  3. Pingback: Differentiated Alphabet & Handwriting Practice for Kindergarten & Pre-K | Lessons for Little Ones by Tina O'Block

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