Kids love games and puzzles, and they are just about guaranteed to stir up enthusiasm, but games and puzzles can take time – time to set up, and time to play. That’s why quick little puzzles ready to use at a moment’s notice are a teacher favorite. Whether you have one minute or ten, throw a riddle or a rhyming puzzle up on the board and kids take note. Word puzzles are fast, fun reviews and touch on all kinds of reading and vocabulary skills from making inferences to solving analogies.
Here are five kinds of word puzzles that I like for middle school and upper elementary kids. Each of them fits right in with language arts objectives, and I’ve put them all on slide presentations, with one puzzle per slide, to make it easy to use just one or a few puzzles at a time.
Solving riddles is making inferences. So, what could fit in better in a middle grades language arts class? And the fun thing about doing a riddle with the whole class is that you can present one clue at a time and let the kids decide when they are ready to guess. These are two slides of the slides for a riddle about a haircut.
Learning to solve analogies is a helpful skill that boosts kids reading comprehension, not to mention that sooner or later kids may need to solve analogies on standardized tests. This is the answer slide for one winter analogy.
Kids love to rhyme. Add a clue and you have a rhyming word puzzles.
Alliteration puzzles are fun too, and they reinforce an element that kids often learn in their poetry unit.
Words to unscramble are on old favorite, and they help kids with their spelling skills.
Use one or two puzzles for a fill-in, or use all of one type for a mini-lesson to reinforce a particular skill. Either way, the kids will will be right there with you!
Are there other types of word puzzles that you like to use for a quick language arts activity? I would love to hear more ideas to add to my collection.