Sometimes, the kids just need a break. Sometimes, the teacher just needs a break. Sometimes, a sub just needs something easy to depend on. Sometimes, we can have Puzzles... Plus!
Puzzles Plus takes something that the kids love and can do easily and makes it a learning experience that can be enjoyed, talked through and assessed!
In the end, whether I need a break, they do or we just have to fill a few minutes of indoor playtime, we can do something easy that takes little to no planning and time!
Whether the kids need a brain break, I need one, I have a sub or I just need something for the kids to do for indoor playtime, Puzzles Plus is always a fun and respectable place to go!
Puzzles Plus is easy- The kids can "play" puzzles; they just have to talk their way through it and explain their thinking to me when they are done. It sounds simple... too good to be true, right? That's what makes it so easy and genius!
When I pass out puzzles, I always focus on letters and letter sounds with at least one puzzle. I am also very particular about the other puzzles I pass out. I typically try to pass out puzzles that are supportive of the standards we are working on in reading and math. For example, when we are working on rhyming words, I can pass out rhyming puzzles. When we are working on number words, I can pass out number word puzzles. In the end, there are always a few letter-sound puzzles and the others get changed along with the learning!
Although the students (or the teacher) may need a brain break, there is still some easy assessing that can be done! Here are the ways I assess this task:
1- I listen to the students talk to each other... If they're not talking to each other, I redirect them.
2- I comment on good thoughts from students.
3- I walk around at the end of the puzzle time and have the students explain their puzzle to me. For example, the students who put together a letter-sound puzzle might say, "I knew that P went between O and Q." They might also say, "I put the egg with the E because egg starts with the letter E." With a rhyming puzzle, students might say, "I matched tree to bee because they sound the same at the end."
This task can be assessed really easily; meanwhile, the kids have a lot of fun!