Are you a Preschool or Kindergarten teacher looking for an exciting way to celebrate your classroom study of the Alphabet? If you’re like me, you’ve spent nearly 26 weeks this school year focusing on each letter, helping students become fluent identifying and making their sounds AND have assessed their knowledge many times. You and your students have worked so hard… Now, let’s celebrate! In this post you’ll find the breakdown of my favorite event of the Kindergarten school year- the unforgettable Alphabet Parade!!!
If you find yourself with a hankering to host your own Alphabet Parade- be sure to grab your FREE PLANNING CHECKLIST included at the end of this post. I also have a COMPLETE PLANNING GUIDE here in my TPT store.
What is an Alphabet Parade?
Teaching students to identify and use the Alphabet is one of the most AWESOME aspects of teaching Kindergarten (in my humble and absolutely correct opinion.) There isn’t another content area that gives so much freedom to incorporate fun, engagement and memories. A few years back, when my year-long study of the alphabet was over, I took a look at all that fun and really didn’t want it to end so abruptly. I wanted to mark the occasion, wrap-up all hat knowledge and recognize my students for all their hard work. And thus, this tiny idea sprouted in my head. “Hey, why not have a giant ALPHABET PARTY??!!” 😀
So, what is an Alphabet Parade? Simply put, it is a giant, alphabet-themed party that takes place at the end of your alphabet study. Think about a complete immersion into the ALPHABET. To me, there are six components of focus when planning a successful Alphabet Parade. To understand these, just ask yourself- “What aspects do all good parties contain?”
#1: Family Involvement
Note: This is the most important of all the components, which is why I have listed it first.
At the time of my original idea for this event, my district was encouraging teachers to incorporate more family involvement into the curriculum. I think we’re all aware of the incredible impact that family participation can have on student learning. Research reported by Responsive Classroom puts it this way:
“When parents are involved at school, the performance of all the children at school, not just their own, tends to improve. The more comprehensive and well planned the partnership between school and home, the higher the student achievement.”
In my case, I owe a LOT OF CREDIT to my classroom families for supporting my students in their learning from home. Although I send very minimal homework, I do require families to be responsible for practicing letter/sounds as part of my Letter/Sound Fluency Routine. They have stakes in this too! My point is this- academically involved families deserve a celebration of their child’s accomplishments as well as anyone else.
To ace family involvement here, realize first that we want families to participate in the preparation and attendance of our event. Use all the forms of communication you have available to make families aware at every step of the way. Once you’ve assigned each student a letter to represent (see Attire & Food Components), notify them of their role in preparing their child for the event. Send reminder notes, texts and messages pretty often so they can plan their schedule and attend your event.
#2: Alphabet Décor
The best parties are visually appealing to the eye and coordinate with the theme. A giant alphabet party is no different. Our goal for Alphabet Parade décor is to immerse our visitors into an environment that is very bright, colorful and alphabet-y. (Well, that’s not a word- but you get the point.) How do we do this?
Display Student Work! Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to create and display student work. Your students will be so proud of their display and their families will enjoy the conversations that they create. There is an abundance of Alphabet Crafts online (just search and go to work) but I use a collaborative “Alphabet Quilt” project I created that is perfect for this occasion. I send each child a quilt-piece home that corresponds with their letter and they can decorate to represent that letter and its sound. What results is STELLAR! Here are some samples from my COMPLETE PLANNING GUIDE to give you a better idea.
Create or Purchase Themed Decorations. A quick Pinterest search will bring up thousands of ideas for Alphabet Party decorations. You can certainly make your own or purchase pre-made items fairly cheap. I used the .98 cent biright-colored decorations from WALMART as my base and then added fun letter elements to add depth.
#3: Alphabet Attire
This component is definitely the STUDENT FAVORITE of the event. Some of my students raved that the Alphabet Parade is “more fun than Halloween.” I know that could scare a Teacher away from this post completely, but I promise- it is totally worth it! Here is a group picture showing the array of costumes from a few years back. So cute!
Many weeks before the event, I assign each child a letter of the Alphabet and I ask their families to help prepare a “costume” to represent their letter/sound. What results is an incredible parade of adorable kids displaying the alphabet perfectly. It is really a show-stopper to see the creativity that families exhibit here. To make this component as easy as possible- be sure to give families plenty of notice and send home a few examples or suggestions to help them understand what is expected of them. I would also recommend touching base with families in the days leading up to the event to be sure every student will have a costume. (If not, be prepared to plan a costume for any child who’s family can’t participate.)
#4: Student Performances
So, you’ve got the place looking snazzy and the kids are ADROABLE- it’s time to wow the crowd even more by performing. Your biggest performance of course is the “parade” part. Before your students enter the venue, put on some thumping alphabet music and lead them around the room several times so that everyone can admire their cuteness. For my own parade, I printed and prepared (with popsicle sticks) little signs for my students to hold during this portion to identify their letter. They wave them as they walk and it added another level of cuteness to the whole thing.
Show what they know! Beyond that, search for alphabet-themed performances that showcase the talents and knowledge of your students. Every morning in the classroom my students review their Letters/Sounds with my mulit-sensory Fluency Routine. We actually demonstrate this to our families during the event and it always wows the crowd. You can check out that routine here:
Other ideas for student performances could include:
- Finger Plays
#5: Student Recognition
Let’s put all of our kids in the spotlight! This is the perfect opportunity for you to recognize each student individually for all of their hard work in studying the alphabet. Our little ones don’t get enough recognition for what is expected of them., so I really enjoy this part This also gives their families a moment to openly cheer them on and show their support for their learning.
I recommend giving every student a certificate or small trophy to help commemorate their journey. I also like to give a small gift to accompany my certificates.
#6: Alphabet FEAST
A party without food? Come on now, y’all. You know we’ve got to go ALPHABET CRAZY on this portion. To me, this is the most exciting part of this whole shindig! Whenever I assign students a letter to represent, I also ask their families to bring in a food item that corresponds. What results is a massive Alphabet FEAST.
Order food by Letter Name. To add an extra level of cute, inform your guests (and students) that they can only order food by asking the server for that letter. For example, if they want “bananas” they must say something to the effect of, “Can I have a double serving of Letter B, please?” <3 <3
Preparing the Feast. Make sure you ask families in advance what they plan to bring so you can have all of your letters covered. Important note: Make sure drinks are one of those items being sent. (All food and no drinks would be bad!) In my experience, I only ask parents to send enough of their item to feed half of the class. There will be 26 items to choose from which is a HUGE variety and lots of extras. Use your own judgement here!
Feast Display & Serving Tips: I made the signs shown here to help label each food item (included in my COMPLETE Planning Guide.) You can get the same effect with some handwritten letters on card stock. I suggest having plenty of space and lots of help serving. Allot plenty of time for this component and give families and students time to enjoy each other. This is really the perfect ending to all of your planning.
Are you up for the fun? Get your FREE CHECKLIST!
I won’t lie, this event- like any other- requires an ample amount of planning and preparation to run smoothly. The good news is that it will provide lifelong memories and fun for you students and their families. Years after hosting my first one, I’ve had parents still confide in me that it was one of the greatest school events they had EVER attended. It is worth it and I have tools available to help you in the process.
Get the FREE Planning Checklist here! This will get you started in this process. If you love getting creative and putting your own creativity into preparing events, this is for you! Insert your name and email and I’ll send it right over. (If you don’t see it in your regular inbox, search your other folders for my name, Teacher Toni.
Check out my COMPLETE PLANNING GUIDE!
Want more guidance and help preparing? My COMPLETE PLANNING GUIDE is a foolproof plan to help you in every step of this process! Check out a full description and preview HERE in my Teachers Pay Teacher store.
Teacher Friends, add your input!
How do you celebrate learning in your classroom? Have you hosted an event similar to this? I’d love to see your ideas and so would the other teachers who visit this page. Leave a comment, friend!
I hope you pursue this idea and find the same joy that this experience brings to me.
God bless you, Teacher friend!