Printed from

A to Z Chart

This brainstorming activity encourages students to come up with a variety of words related to a particular topic. Students organize their words in an alphabetical format, writing the word in the relevant box of the chart according to the first letter of the word. Students should be able to explain the meaning of the words they are including in the chart as well as how they relate to the given topic.

How to use

1. Choose

Choose a topic for the top of the chart. This can be a new or recently introduced topic, or one that has been covered. It can also be a process, theory, or concept.

2. Group

Have students work in groups of two to four.

3. Brainstorm

Students write down words related to the given topic. They should record the word on the chart in the box of the first letter of the word. For example, for students learning about the circulatory system, “arteries” and “aorta” could be written in the “A” box. Encourage students to come up with as many words as possible in each box and fill in as many boxes as possible. You can give a prize to the group that has the most words and/or the groups that are able to find a word for every single letter from A to Z.

When to use

Use the A-Z Chart as an activity at any time during the lesson:

  • As an introduction to a topic to assess prior knowledge
  • As a warm-up to review a topic covered in previous lesson
  • During the presentation of new material as a way for students to take notes
  • As a closing activity so that students can review what was learned in the lesson
  • As a vocabulary building exercise using any category (not just from the content areas; for example, shades of white – cream, egg shell, off-white, ivory)


Graffiti A-Z Chart

Hang multiple A-Z Charts with related topics/content ideas around the room. Have students walk around the room and write at least one word on each chart. (See Gallery Walk/Graffiti Teaching Tool)

Synonym Chart

Students can use the chart to write synonyms for a given word (for example, coming up with “Words Other Than ‘Said’”  that can be used to vary word choice when studying dialogue construction).

Printed from