My activities are the perfect way to get students engaged and excited to learn!  I have a wide range of activities that include cut and paste puzzle pieces, murder mysteries, color by number, and etc.  I get a lot of questions about my puzzle activities.  Hence, I have broken down how I use the puzzles in my classroom below:

(1) Why do I use puzzles in the classroom?

I use puzzles in the classroom to reinforce a concept.  I do not use the puzzles as an introduction to a concept.  The puzzles are a fun way to have students practice acquired knowledge and develop problem-solving skills.  Students love putting puzzles together and it is a new exciting way for them to show what they know about a concept.

(2) What will students need for the puzzles?

Students will need scissors and glue.  Colored pencils or crayons is optional.

(3) How do I use my puzzles in the classroom?

There are a few ways that I use my puzzles in the classroom.  Some of these include:

- Laminating the puzzle pieces: Even though laminating the puzzle pieces can be time consuming it is definitely worth it to be able to use year after year.  I will print a set of puzzle pieces for a class of pairs.  You can use these puzzle pieces for your next classes.  So, if your biggest class is 30 students then you only need to print 15 sets of puzzle pieces.  You can have students cut them out the day before, or you can have a teacher aid help cut them out.  You can grade students by walking around the classroom and checking for understanding.

- Printing the puzzle pieces: This is the most common way that I use my puzzle pieces.  I will print the puzzle with the pieces for each student.  Each student will glue the puzzle pieces on their own paper.  I can have students work in pairs but each student will turn in their own assignment.

- Constructing puzzle into interactive notebooks: Students can place the puzzle into their interactive notebook.  The puzzles look wonderful in the notebooks, and is a great way for students to study and be organized!

- Coloring the puzzle pieces: You can decide if you would want your students to color the puzzle pieces.  It is not necessary but it definitely looks great and students would love for their puzzles to be hung up in the classroom.  If you are limited with time, I would print the puzzle pieces on card sort.  This provides an easy and fast alternative to coloring.

(4) How do I place students when they are working on the puzzles?

There are different ways that you can have students work on the puzzles.  At times, I will have students work independently, in pairs, or in groups.  However, most of the time, I have students work with their “team talk” partner (pairs).  When students are using my puzzles, I see our students interacting and I hear them having valuable discussions.  I’ve always said that students learn the most when they are interacting and talking.  These puzzles help that interaction come to life!

(5) What is a common concern about puzzles?

Some teachers do not like puzzles because they think that it is too time consuming to cut out puzzle pieces.  I have added an alternative to the more time consuming puzzles so that teachers do not have to run into this issue.  I have multiple versions so that you can decide which version you would want to choose.  The first version has the puzzle pieces shaped as a traditional puzzle piece.  This version is great to use if you have more time to spare.  The second version offers a faster way for students to cut the piece pieces.  The puzzle pieces are rectangular shaped.  The circular puzzle pieces are super fast to cut.  I promise!

(6) Why are my puzzles unique?

My puzzles are unique because there is no other resource similar to mine.  My puzzles have a high engagement rate and you will have students asking for more.  Some of my puzzles are not only matching puzzle pieces but will have students reflect or answer important questions.