blank'/> Promoting Success: Should You Use Crosswords and Word Searches in the Classroom?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Should You Use Crosswords and Word Searches in the Classroom?

Do crossword puzzles and word finds have a place in the classroom?
Teaching Crossword Puzzles Teachers Pay Teachers Promoting-Success

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This really depends on your students' individual needs and your purpose for assigning such work.  If it is a time filler (busy work) with no real objectives, then you may need to re-evaluate. If your objective is for fact review, vocabulary development, time on task goals, etc., then they may be valuable. Some students thrive on these types of activities and are extremely motivated by them. Other students struggle and often enlist the help of their parents...who then wonder what is the educational value of these things?!

Here is a list of possible reasons for using either of these resources:

1.  When young students complete word finds, it just may be enriching their word work.  Student may search for consonant clusters and vowel combinations while searching for words.

2.  Crossword puzzles can be a great way to introduce (with a word bank) or review subject specific vocabulary for your unit.

3. Both puzzles allow students to have more exposure to vocabulary and extra practice to enhance long term memory of concepts. Please don't use them on assessments!

4.  Word finds can become more valuable when definitions are the clues for the words to find, rather than just searching for the words given.  However, classic word searches may be beneficial for letter identification and visual discrimination goals.

5.  Students can create their own word finds by creating their own definitions of words in the search.  Graph paper works well for this.

6.  Alternative assignments may need to be provided for students with dysgraphia and other special learning needs.  These puzzles are not appropriate for every student, including some students without special learning needs. They may be best if offered as an optional enrichment or extra practice activity.

7.  These puzzles should be based on individual learning needs.   Puzzles should be used based on the needs, skill level and emotional stamina of each student.

8.  Word finds could be altered to have students write sentences using the words.  The word find portion could be used for early finishers.

9.  Never assign a word find or crossword puzzle you haven't completed yourself...without the answer key!  These should be quick, reinforcing activities, NOT hours of homework.

10.  Word searches are maze based, which research shows is useful for developing right brain intuitive skills.

It is important to remember that ANY teaching tool can be good or always depends on HOW it is being used in the classroom!


You may like these printable crossword puzzles from our TpT store.

For 35+ printable crossword puzzles for literacy, math, science and more, click HERE.


 school vocabulary crossword puzzle


 place value math crossword puzzle


 human body systems science crossword puzzle


 nouns crossword puzzle


 U.S. Constitution Day Crossword Puzzle


You may also like these resources from our Amazon Associate store:

 Vocabulary game for classroom kids BLURT

 vocabulary activities for kids in the classroom game

 vocabulary games for the classroom ideas


 science vocabulary for the new standards


 math vocabulary task cards


 math dictionary vocabulary for kids


 science dictionary for kids


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