Have I ever told you how much I LOVE puzzles?
Oh wait, I don’t personally love puzzles. No way. If you know anything about this perfectionist, she CANNOT sit down and complete a puzzle. There isn’t a more frustrating activity in the world! But, I do LOVE using puzzles with my classes.
It all started last year (when I ran a circus) when I realized the only way to reign my circus in was to pull out the puzzles. Instantly all was calm in the LeBrasse classroom and the boys were engaged in problem-solving and teamwork.
So, when I was looking for a lesson to use while attempting to get back into the swing of things after the Christmas holidays, it dawned on me that I had yet to pull out my secret weapon . . . puzzles.
If it worked on my 3rd graders last year surely it would work on them this year (and let me tell you these current 3rd graders need some SERIOUS team building exercises). Not only did they LOVE the activity (without too much bickering), but I decided to treat my old 3rd graders (now 4th graders) to delightful puzzle building.
In my fit of creativity, I have named this lesson . . . .
Topics Covered: Responsible Behavior, Problem-Solving, Communication Skills, interpersonal Effectiveness, Motivation to Achieve, Caring
The beauty of this “lesson” is that there isn’t any tricks. You literally break the boys into groups of 3-4 and ask them to work together to complete as much of a puzzle as possible. I warn them that in 30 minutes they will not be able to complete the puzzle, but the outcome is NOT the finished product. The outcome is the teamwork.
Therefore, the second “rule” was that each person needed to work on the same area of the puzzle. I didn’t want this person over here working on the bottom, this one on the words, this one on the dancing elephants, and this one handing pieces to people . . . not the objective.
The boys (3rd and 4th) really did enjoy this activity. Sometimes I think they enjoy having semi-structured activities that allow them to work towards a goal while interacting with each other in a less structured classroom environment and a less competitive recess/P.E. environment.
On a completely (but kind of related) unrelated topic, look at this injury/rug burn from Insanity! I swear Shaun T. is trying to kill me!