When I was looking for great links to include in my September Wakelet, I discovered that September 9th is International Sudoku Day. Of course, I can’t ignore that because I literally play Sudoku every single day. It’s my favorite “down-time” activity. I put several links in the Wakelet to help you celebrate this auspicious day, including some online Sudoku games and some places you can find free printables. There’s even a link to a free picture Sudoku you can download from TPT. And, don’t forget to check out the interactive Sudoku bulletin board ideas that you can find here.
I used to like using Jigsawdoku with my students because it allows you to choose different options in order to scaffold. For students who need some extra challenge, you can have them try Mystery Grid (click on question mark for instructions) or Inkies (also known as Ken-Ken Puzzles or Mathdoku). And if you have some students who get really passionate, you can try one of these alternatives.
As if American politics aren’t scary enough, the United States celebrates Halloween next Monday, which is all kind of wrong – because spending a day with students who can’t wait to trick-or-treat plus 4 more days after they fill up on sugary candy should not be required of any teacher if you are at all interested in helping him or her maintain a semblance of sanity.
The president I would vote for would resolve to make Halloween on a Saturday for the rest of eternity, but so far I haven’t seen that mentioned in anyone’s campaign.
For those of you who are in the same boat (or should I say, riding the same broom?), here are some resources I’ve collected in the past that might help to briefly engage your students in something other than daydreaming about all of the candy they will need to confess to eating at their next dental appointment:
I have a third grade student who brings a pad of sudoku puzzles out to recess each day. Any time there is a possible treat on the horizon, some of my second graders call out, “Can it be a sudoku puzzle?”
So if, like my students, yours also love these logic puzzles, here is a Halloween Sudoku you could try this week. It could be fun whole-class on an interactive white board, or as a station. Be sure to click on the settings gear on the bottom right corner, so you can choose the appropriate level. Something that I like about this particular site is that, once you finish, you are given another challenge – so it’s not just a one-shot deal.
For more digital activities with an October theme, check out Laura Moore’s amazing Listly that includes some spooky magnetic poetry and more!
A couple of years ago I posted about the cute idea that I’d found on several websites of having students build leprechaun traps. Since my Kinders were learning about Inventor Thinking around that time, we tried it out. They were very earnest about creating efficient traps, and I’m pretty sure at least one of the students was disappointed that he didn’t catch his prey. You can see our class blog posts from that year here and here.
Here is an updated list of St. Patrick’s Day links in case you want to try to capture your own leprechaun this year – or, better yet, his pot of gold:
For a Pinterest Board with over 200 Leprechaun Trap ideas, click here.
UPDATE 1/26/2021 – Here is my up-to-date Wakelet collection of Valentine’s Day resources.
I was going to title this post, “VD is Making me ADD.” Fortunately I realized that was a bad idea – for so many reasons.
Well, I kind of lied. I have been saying for two days that all of my posts this week would be about the TCEA conference I attended last week. But then one Valentine resource popped up. And then another. And I thought that some of you might actually want to learn about them before Valentine’s Day which, of course, for those of us in the U.S. who follow the Hallmark Holiday Calendar, is this coming Saturday.
Even though it’s not my favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day does lend itself to some fun classroom activities. I’ve already posted a bunch of resources. It’s kind of sad, actually, that I have more links to Valentine’s Day resources than Presidents’ Day. I think it’s a silent rebellion against working on a day that the students get a holiday…
Anyway, here are a couple more to add to the list of ways to have fun teach critical thinking and problem solving skills that are vital for standardized testing 😉
Valentine’s Day Sudoku – I have some other links to online and printable sudoku puzzles here, but these free printables are particularly well-suited for Kinder and 1st graders.
Hopscotch Hearts – I thought it would be fun for my students to use Hopscotch (the iPad coding app) to make something Valentine-y, and they have been working on their own ideas on and off for a couple of weeks. (You can see what a few of my 2nd graders have done so far here – most of them haven’t finished, yet.) Then I saw a tweet from Hopscotch about a new tutorial they just posted to make a “Pixel Art Heart.” My 3rd graders tried it out yesterday and really liked it. A few of them finished the code and then started modifying it to make the heart bigger or smaller as well as different colors. A couple of other students messed up on the code and I loved watching their peers working with them to try to figure out where they went wrong. (Because I had absolutely no idea!)
So those are my two off-task suggestions for today. I would promise that I’ll be back to the plan tomorrow, but who knows what will capture my attention between now and then?
Full disclosure: this first week of December is going to be my busiest week this year. Therefore, I decided to cheat a bit for a few days and recycle some posts from last year. I’ve done a bit of editing to make sure they remain current but otherwise they are the same. Hopefully you still find them useful!
This one is NOT free (currently $8), but it’s 213 pages, and chock full of critical thinking activities for 1st-3rd. Personally, I think it’s well worth the money for this set of “Christmas Critical Thinking Puzzles,” that includes: Primarily Christmas Logic, Christmas Logic with a String of Lights, Christmas Analogies, Christmas Which One Doesn’t Belong?* I do not know Susan Morrow, the author of this set – and I am certainly not getting any money for advertising her product. But, I think it’s a great deal. Quite frankly, I am very jealous of her talent 😉
*You can also purchase a few of the included puzzle packs separately, if you prefer.
Another idea, which I plan to try with my older kids, is to have them design some Winter Kodable mazes (similar to the app), along with the coding solutions. This will let them use a bit of creativity along with their logical thinking skills! (By the way, don’t forget about Hour of Code next week!)