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Pick and choose from a wide range of ready-to-use online puzzles.
This activity is the "Friday Puzzle" -- part of a week of "puzzling activities" that comprise this week's Lesson Planning article, A Puzzle A Day Provides Practice That Pays. This activity makes a great "bellringer" activity for settling down students at the start of the school day, immediately after lunch, or as a transition after any other activity.
You have many choices for this puzzling activity. Many wonderful puzzle sources are available on the Internet; this "Friday Puzzle" gives you an opportunity to pick and choose from that wide range of puzzles. Following are a few of our favorite ideas for creating the "Friday Puzzle."
Word Search Creator
Students love word search puzzles, and we love this Word Scramble Creator because it's so flexible. Teachers can decide how small or large a puzzle to create. Primary-level teachers can create puzzles that include only horizontal and vertical words. Teachers of older students have the option of including diagonals, or of creating puzzles with words spelled left to right or right to left. Create a word search puzzle from the week's spelling words, new vocabulary words introduced during the week, review words from a current unit or let students create their own word searches to exchange.
Brain Food's Lateral Thinking Puzzles
Here is a library of more than 50 lateral thinking puzzles. Lateral thinking puzzles are an "acquired taste." Students will get better at solving these puzzles as they do more and more of them. They will really learn to exercise their brains! Lateral thinking puzzles work best when students work in teams or small groups to solve them.
New York Times Learning Network Crossword Puzzle Archive
This archive offers students in grades 6 and up puzzles on a wide variety of themes. Students might work on their own, in pairs, or in small groups to solve these puzzles. Puzzles are grouped by topics, which include American History, Civics, Fine Arts, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and more. The list is quite varied; you'll often find a weekly puzzle that relates to a current unit of study, a holiday, or a timely event.
More Puzzle Sites to Pick and Choose From
Assessment will vary depending on the puzzles you use. Crosswords and word search are more easily graded. With logic puzzles, you should see gradual growth in students' abilities to think critically as they search for possible solutions.
Lesson Plan Source
These puzzle activities employ a wide range of critical thinking, language arts, and math skills.
Find more great puzzle ideas in this week's Lesson Planning article, A Puzzle A Day Provides Practice That Pays.