Ahh, I remember this time of year in the classroom so well, when the semester is nearing its close — and panic begins to set in. Those students you tried so hard to set a fire under earlier who seemed to think they had all of the time in the world (my daughter’s coach used the term, “no sense of urgency” for those who seemed delightfully unconcerned about the passage of time) are slowly beginning to realize they might have slightly underestimated how much time those assignments would take, or how much help they might need from you. And then there are those who finished everything almost before you even finished describing the task, and they are looking at you expectantly for the next challenge. These are the moments that test a teacher’s multi-tasking abilities to the max, and it is oh so tempting to tap your magical heels together and wish yourself anywhere else but standing in front of a room full of students who desperately want a million different things all at exactly the same time.
It’s tempting to show a video (sure, I’ve done it, everyone has those days) or tell the got-it-done-on-timers they can read a book or play on their phones while you help the ones who need to catch up. But, despite the cheers you might get for unrestrained phone time or another screening of Monsters, Inc., most students really do want to learn when they are at school. Independent research projects and Genius Hour are certainly options, but those need planning and possibly more guidance than you have the bandwidth to offer at the moment. That’s when puzzles and brainteasers can be helpful. And I just happen to have a collection of those for you right here.
From math stumpers to Ted Ed riddles and rebus puzzles to lateral thinking teasers, you can choose some challenges that are just right for your students from this Wakelet of Brainteasers and Riddles. There is even a link to site to make your own puzzles for those of you with older students who might want to create some for their peers. Encourage your students to take some time to exercise their brains in a different way, and even invite them to try to stump you.
Every day, I collect and organize more resources to help you engage students. See all of my Wakelet collections here, and feel free to comment on this post if you have a suggestion for a link that I should add.