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The home of Vocab Gal and other educational experts K–12 resources

July 17, 2014 VG Teaching Resources Vocab & ELA Res, VG Seasonal Activities Summer, VG Writing with Vocabulary 6-12, VG Writing with Vocabulary K-5, Vocab Gal, ELA K-5, ELA Seasonal Back to School, ELA 6-8, ELA Resources - Activities, ELA 9-12, ELA Resources - Games, ELA Focus - Writing with Vocabulary, ELA Focus - Vocabulary

Back-to-School Icebreaker: Puzzle Together Your Vocabulary Words, Grades 1–12

 Are you looking for a fun AND educational back-to-school icebreaker? With a few minor tweaks, Puzzle Together Your Vocabulary Words makes a great icebreaker activity.

Puzzle Vocabulary Activity

I really love the idea of creating and then reassembling a jigsaw puzzle to review one’s words. Students love puzzles, especially spatial and kinesthetic learners!

To get to know my new students, I am going to print out copies of my downloadable jigsaw template onto cardstock and then have each student pick one of the following options on the Puzzle Together Your Vocabulary Words instruction sheet. To make it a back-to-school icebreaker, students will tweak the option they choose to include words and graphics that represent who they are as an individual.

Students love puzzles, especially spatial and kinesthetic who might not always be able to have a physical activity to do while studying words.  Hopefully this is a unique enough twist for students to learn to piece words and meaning together!Vocabulary-Activities

VOCABULARY PUZZLE OPTIONS
  • Write one vocabulary word on each puzzle piece and draw a coordinating picture on the other side. Then link the pictures together so that the jigsaw puzzle has another larger image that ties together all the smaller pictures. Once you cut the pieces out from the cardstock, review the words as you recreate the finished puzzle.

  • Write coordinating vocabulary words on neighboring pieces. For example, if you have the word “expunge” and the word “extirpate” (both mean to get rid of something) –put those two words next to each other.  Then, on the other side of “expunge”, perhaps write “truculent” because someone who is “truculent” (angry) often “expunges” items. Once you cut the pieces out from the cardstock, review the words and their related meanings as you recreate the finished puzzle.

  • Write your vocabulary words on separate puzzle pieces and then draw a lovely pictures that weaves around all of the words. On the back of each puzzle piece, write the definition of the word. Once you cut the pieces out from the cardstock, review the words as you recreate the finished puzzle.



Once their puzzles are complete, collect each student's puzzle and then pass them back out at random. Classmates can then complete the jigsaw puzzles to get to know one another!